The Flash Throwback Recaps With John Wesley Shipp: Watching the Detectives

This week: A female detective has been hired to learn the true identity of The Flash. Editor's [...]

This week: A female detective has been hired to learn the true identity of The Flash.

Editor's Note: We know we're late! But we'll be running twice weekly to catch up. Check back Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT for more.

The episode opens on a blazing fire. Officers Bellows and Murphy are trying to hold a crowd of onlookers at bay while keeping their eyes peeled for The Flash.

As a woman with a camera starts filming the scene, The Flash arrives to rescue a pair of kids trapped inside.

[Flash fact: John Wesley Shipp was promised a darker, more adult-oriented kind of superhero show and specifically told that he wouldn't be "rescuing kids from a burning building on page six." He specifically remembered this scene with a laugh during our interview, noting that at least it was on page eleven.]

The woman with the camera sees The Flash bring the kids to a firefighter, saying she can "cut him off the list." She heads to a van, where she's surrounded by lots of gear. She says she still has a possibility, using a cell phone to call Barry Allen at the crime lab. He's out, though, and she asks a photo of him how he looks in red.

Outside of the courthouse, a gangster named Simonson boasts about being exonerated. A reporter named Devine badgers him on the steps, and then a district attorney threatens a cop that they need to give him more to work with so they can bring Simonson in.

The DA follows Simonson to a makeshift casino, where the two talk about colluding together to get the DA re-elected. He wants a raise, but Simonson sends him away.

Julio is trying to hook Barry up with a friend of his current girlfriend's, but Barry dismisses it, saying he's busy with work. They're trying to find the source of some Asian fireworks that started the fire last night. They stop into a curio store and speak with an old woman who was at the fire the night before. She had seen all three recent fires, and Barry wants to know more.

She describes the blazes, which fit the description of something that could be set off by fireworks.

Outside, Julio convinces Barry to double-date with him tonight after all. While he waits for his date that night, the woman with the video camera now has a small, handheld still camera and is taking some shots of Barry surreptitiously. A man comes to her, hitting on her, until she finally knocks him on the ground. Barry gets up and offers to help her press charges, but she leaves.

He tries to follow her, but runs into Julio and the girls and is impressed by his beautiful date, Judith.

[Flash Fact: Like Barry's true love Iris in the comics -- but not like Iris in the TV pilot or the new CW series -- Judith has red hair.]

Like Iris in the pilot, though, Judith is kind of a hippie who talks about his "aura." Barry pulls Julio aside and tells him he's a dead man.

The woman with the camera heads into her office, where the district attorney is waiting for her. She's apparently been on the job trying to track down The Flash for three months. She tells him that she has a frontrunner and will have the man behind the mask by Friday.

The next morning, Julio and Barry bicker about the date. They get tracked down by Murphy, asking them if they're interested in joining a pool for the next place The Flash will show up. Julio gets in on it, but Barry is all business, asking about the fires. At the lab, Barry figures out that it appears to be a conspiracy to start all these fires, and wonders who is benefiting from them.

Barry shakes down a three-card monte dealer for information, using his family connection (the dealer was friends with Barry's dad). The dealer tells him he'll call him with any information he hears about the fire.

At her office, the detective named Megan Lockhart is looking over video footage of The Flash coverage in the press and see the S.T.A.R. Labs van over and over, wondering what their connection is to The Flash.

Lockhart makes herself up to look like a lab rat and pretends to be covering for a low-level employee who's out sick. She makes a mess of Tina's workspace and annoys Tina to the point where she leaves the room to get something rather than sending her "helper." Lockhart finds classified files on Tina's computer pertaining to The Flash.

[Flash Fact: In this scene, Tina is looking for a Dr. Carter. Michael Jon Carter, better known as Booster Gold, has a son who, in the '80s, worked with S.T.A.R. Labs, going by the name Dr. Rip Hunter. It's impossible this was an intentional connection, since Booster's connection to Rip had not yet been revealed by 1990...but it's now my head canon that she's reaching out to Rip.]

At Simonson's office, he talks to a man who is working for him -- clearly the arsonist. He says that he has designs on buildings that the city has designated as historical, so he needs them to burn so they become available. He gives the man a next assignment.

At Barry's house, Lockhart has snuck in, claiming to be a cable TV repair worker. He recognizes her from the bar, and asks her out. She asks for a rain check and starts to back out, although the dog jumps on her. Barry asks her out for the weekend, and she claims she's involved, and that she's double-parked. His phone rings and she excuses herself.

Barry gets a call from his con man, telling him that he's seen an arsonist in town who he hasn't seen in years -- since Simonson's father died and Simonson inherited the operation. He gives Barry an idea of where the arsonist might be, and Barry hangs up, arriving at the Old Customs House as The Flash.

There, he finds a device primed to blow. He throws it through a window, where it explodes harmlessly.

Lockhart, meanwhile, had a video feed on Barry's house and calls the DA to tell him that she saw him transform into The Flash. DA Castillo comes to Barry's house at 3 a.m., telling him he knows he's The Flash. Castillo thinks that if he works with The Flash, it will help his approval ratings, and threatens to be Barry's enemy if he doesn't work with him.

When Barry continues to deny it, the DA throws a hand grenade at Barry's dog, which Barry has to defuse at super speed. He gives him 24 hours to work with the DA, or he'll send the video of Barry "flashing out" to a reporter.

Barry ransacks his apartment, finding the camera.

After talking it out with Tina at S.T.A.R., Barry agrees to work with Castillo, who asks him to break up the casino.

Barry enters the place dressed up for the occasion, and then uses his speed powers to manipulate the games into a winning streak.

Barry gets up by a quarter of a million dollars, and Castillo goes out to intimidate him away from the casino. He cashes out and then, on his way out the door, uses his speed to make everyone in the place a winner, shutting the casino down for the night.

Castillo comes in and tells Simonson that he has The Flash on his payroll, and that he's demanding partnership in Simonson's operation.

Outside, Barry goes after Lockhart in her van, confronting her about what she's been doing. The two bicker to no particular end, until a video feed of one of her other clients reveals that she's about to murder her cheating husband. Barry speeds in to stop the gunshot, and Lockhart is visibly shaken.

The next day, Castillo comes to the crime lab to see Barry, and asks him for his cash. Barry says he donated it to charity, and that he's done working for Castillo. Castillo threatens his family, and Barry asks him what now. Castillo wants The Flash to dig up dirt on his opponent.

In her van, Lockhart figures out that Castillo is working with Simonson. While she's watching his feed, he orders her murder to keep the Flash information exclusive. He then says to kill Tina McGee.

The Flash arrives at the offices of Castillo's opponent and, after an attack of conscience, hangs posters for the man everywhere in the neighborhood at super speed.

Lockhart heads to S.T.A.R. to warn Tina, but when she isn't there, she distracts the hired guns by pretending to be McGee and telling them there's a radiation leak. When Tina comes, Lockhart grabs her and they run. They get away, finding Barry, who has figured out that Castillo wants property to build a casino when a planned bill is passed to legalize gambling. Lockhart wants to help him stop the next fire, but Barry speeds out without her.

While Barry stops the arsonist, Lockhart starts recording the feed from Castillo while he bickers with Simonson over power. The Flash tells the arsonist to tell out Simonson to the cops, or he'll be back for him. Meanwhile, Lockhart confronts Simonson and Castillo, then ends up running from their goons. The Flash arrives to save her.

After Simonson is taken down, The Flash goes after Castillo. He threatens to out Barry if he exposes him, saying that Barry doesn't have it in him to kill him, which is the only way to be sure. He gets in his car to drive away, but Simonson had already planted a bomb in it and he's immediately killed.

He tells Lockhart that he resents her poking around in his personal life, but she says that she helped him catch the bad guys. He asks how he can trust her not to leak his secret, but she assures him that she's learned a lesson. She's leaving town, and gives Barry the tape.

He asks her out again, and she says they had their first date already at the fire. The two kiss, and she leaves "for now."

We talked last time about how this episode was when Shipp really thought the show hit its stride, and it's certainly true that it was a big step up, in terms of quality and focus, from "Out of Control."

What did Shipp have to say when we discussed the episode and some of its themes? Read on...

The one guy we haven't seen in the new Flash who played a big role in your show, especially in helping to shape how we perceived Barry in these early episodes, is Alex Desert. What did he bring to the table, in your view?

I think that we had a great chemistry. I like what he did; he grounded me. If they were going to make Barry, as they were, sort of excitable and driven by a lot of passion, Julio served as the guy to cool him out.

If Barry was having all the romantic problems and stumbling over himself, Julio was the one who offset that. When i did ["Shroud of Death"], this is jumping ahead, but Julio was the one who tried to defuse the conflict between Garfield and Barry.

But there again, the problem was, he floated in and out. It was the same dynamic that we talked about with Tina. One episode we'd flirt, the next episode we wouldn't. Is it a romantic interest, or isn't it? She gets jealous when I'm with Megan, but that has not been laid in carefully.

So Julio would come in, but it wasn't decided...the contemporary equivalent of Julio, obviously, is Cisco, but they decided who Cisco is. They decided from Day One who Cisco is, and they have written him consistently.

In fact, they've done that with all of the actors. They get this. Maybe it's because Greg Berlanti comes from series television as well as being a comic book guy. Geoff Johns certainly understand the importance of telling story. But they got from Day One that they had to know who these people were and keep them consistent, becuase it's the characters. It's not the suit, it's not the special effects. That's the gravy; that's the icing on the cake, but first you have to bake the cake, and the cake is the characters and the relationships. That's what's going to keep the audience.

This isn't my opinion; look at the history of it. The shows that have been successful always understood that.

I think sometimes, fans are reluctant to embrace that because they want more action but the appeal of these stories that go on for seventy-five years without stopping...there has to be an element of soap opera.

Yeah! It's serialized drama. What makes the way The Flash deals with a situation different from the way Superman would deal with it? What makes Batman different from the way Superman would? Who are these people behind the masks? And what makes the decisions that they make as superheroes, what differentiates one from the other? I would think that would makesome people Flash fans, some people Superman fans, some people Batman fans.

We talked a little bit about the darkness of the show -- and these early episodes, we get a version of Central City that is very Gotham-inspired. The pilot starts with a city essentially under martial law. Do you remember what you thought when you were reading some of those scripts?

April Webster was exactly right when she said on the phone, "John, just read it." And that did it for me. I loved the tone of the opening. I loved the actor, the lady in the pilot who was like "Get inside!" She's terrific, she did that just right. I loved all that stuff. My concerns were laid to rest very early on in reading.

By this episode, we almost forget that aspect of the pilot. Gotham never really gets better, and Metropolis never really gets worse -- but Barry clearly had a massive impact on the city in these three months. It's an interesting way to differentiate him from that.

Yeah, yeah. That's a wonderful observation, and I'm glad we were able to get that across.