The Good: Moments of character, Good direction, The performances are good
The Bad: Rushes the introduction of Fallout, Light on character development (Ralph Dibny is the moral core of the episode?!)
The Basics: "The Trial Of The Flash" begins on The Flash, with a very different direction from the source material!
Fans of The Flash from the DC Comics book series have had a lot of big events in the story of Barry Allen to look forward to in the television show. In fact, it did not take die-hard fans long at all to start predicting that the newspaper seen from the future in the pilot episode was an allusion to where the series could logically end with The Flash performing the ultimate sacrifice during the Crisis On Infinite Earths. But, between the beginning and the probable end, there are a few solid storylines from The Flash comic books that fans are likely to cream themselves waiting to see on television. As The Flash returns from its midseason hiatus, one such storyline has come: "The Trial Of The Flash."
In the source material, The Trial Of The Flash (reviewed here!) is a major event that, for a while, changed the trajectory of both Barry Allen and The Flash comic book. But, given that "The Trial Of The Flash" is a follow-up to "Don't Run" (reviewed here!) and not a plotline in which The Flash appears to murder the Reverse Flash after he kills Iris, obviously the television show is just using the name, not the plotline. In "Don't Run," DeVoe managed to place his incredible mind into a new body, one that was better euipped to handle his mental bandwidth (and was not dying at an accelerated rate). In the process of disposing of his native body, DeVoe framed Barry Allen as his killer.
Barry Allen asserts that he is being framed, but he allows Ramon to alter the GPS coordinates on his ankle monitor to allow him to meet with the team at S.T.A.R. Labs. With the team assembled, Ramon and Wells realize that when Barry Allen came out of the Speed Force, one of the things he stated was that he did not kill anyone. While they look into other things Barry said when apparently speaking gibberish, Joe West tasks Ralph Dibny with finding clues that might prove Barry innocent. While Marlese DeVoe adapts to her husband's new body, the trial of Barry Allen progresses rapidly with Anton Slater prosecuting based on the mountains of evidence against Barry.
Captain Singh is called to testify against Barry, but Horton - who is representing Barry Allen - manages to turn his testimony to her advantage. While some of the S.T.A.R. Labs team works to catch the latest metahuman who appeared to attack a bank, Dibny manages to get photographs of Marlese kissing DeVoe in his new body. After advocating for Barry to reveal himself on the stand, Horton gets the evidence needed to exonerate Barry. Unfortunately, Marlese is able to turn the revelation of Dominic Lanse to her advantage. When a metahuman on the streets forces Barry Allen to leave his trial, Allen, Snow and Ramon have to drain Fallout of his lethal radiation. While they are able to save Central City, they are not able to forestall the inevitable conclusion to the trial.
"The Trial Of The Flash" is a largely straightforward episode of The Flash, with the titular trial dominating the episode. While most fans of the source material might be geeking out over the altered version of the Flash's big court case, I was actually excited by the first appearance of Fallout. In Geoff Johns's tenure writing The Flash, Fallout was one of the most pitiable and intriguing metahumans he created. Johns made a metahuman who was haplessly dangerous and who willingly confined himself in Iron Heights away from people so he could not hurt them. Indeed, when Rogues and others broke out of Iron Heights, Fallout often remained behind. In "The Trial Of The Flash," Neil is introduced as a b-plot, like pretty much every other metahuman on The Flash.
Neil, Fallout, is presented in "The Trial Of The Flash" as a metahuman with no control over his abilities and he is performed with a sadness that is instantly palpable. Fallout is used in "The Trial Of The Flash" as part of DeVoe's endgame, which allows him to force Barry Allen out of the courtroom. Instead of giving Fallout a slower arc that allowed him to develop in such a way that his tragic nature could be explored and he could be stopped in a more compelling way. Instead, Killer Frost, Vibe and The Flash do a heroic team-up, Neil gets a line or two out to indicate he is not in control and he has to be stopped. But Fallout deserved more and while it is easy to feel sympathy for him, he is hardly the empathetic character he is in the books.
Phil Chipera provides good direction for "The Trial Of The Flash." The episode feels different from many of the others, even if it is unfortunately predictable. The result is a real split decision on the return of The Flash.
For other midseason premiere episodes on The Flash, please visit my reviews of:
"Revenge Of The Rogues"
"Borrowing Problems From The Future"
For other television reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2018 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.