Fourteen years ago, a young Barry Allen is unable to run fast enough
to get away from his bullies. When he returns home, his mother Nora
bandages his injuries and Barry explains that he tried to defend some
classmates. Nora tells him that it’s better to have a good heart than
fast legs, just as Henry Allen comes home and greets his wife and son.
That night, Barry is in his room when he hears a noise from downstairs. The water in his fish tank rises out of the tank on its own. Barry goes downstairs and sees his mother surrounded by a red and yellow blur. Henry comes in and tells his on to run. Before Barry can react, he suddenly finds himself blocks away in the middle of a street. He runs home, yelling to his parents.
The present, and Barry arrives late at a crime scene. His adoptive father, Detective Joe West, is there with his partner Fred Chyre and their boss, Captain Singh. The CCTVs have confirmed that brothers Clyde and Martin Mardon robbed the bank and killed a security guard. Joe covers for Barry with Singh, but Singh isn’t impressed. Barry checks the area and quickly finds some animal excrement in a tire track and uses Chyre’s pen to collect a sample.
At the crime lab, Barry is examining the sample when Joe’s daughter Iris comes in. He tells her that he can’t take her to the unveiling of Central City’s new S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator that night because of the Mardon case. Barry tries to explain why the accelerator is so important and how much works its creator, Harrison Wells, has put into it. Joe comes in and Barry tells him that the excrement came from a farm and narrows it down to four possibilities. Since Barry has solved his part of the case, Iris convinces Joe to let him off for the night so that he can take her to the unveiling.
That night, Barry and Iris arrive at S.T.A.R. labs and they start talking about relationships, including the one he had with Felicity in Starling City. He’s more interested in Iris but she misunderstands him and assures her adopted sibling that he doesn’t have to feel awkward talking with her about his girlfriends.
Harrison addresses the crowd, telling them that his work will usher in a new age of advancement for mankind. As he talks, a thief grabs Iris’ laptop backpack and runs outside. Barry chases him into an adjoining building but the thief attacks and knocks him down. As Iris arrives, police detective Eddie Thawne shows up and catches the thief. They go to the station and Eddie happily boasts about catching the thief. Barry explains to Iris that Eddie is a recent transfer from Keystone City, and Iris eyes the new detective appreciatively.
Joe and Chyre approach the last of the four farms. A storm breaks out and Chyre is ready to go home, figuring Barry was wrong. Joe isn’t and says that they should check it out while they’re there.
Barry returns to his lab and discovers that the skylight is leaking rainwater. He watches a news broadcast on TV about the accelerator unveiling, and then unveils his hidden board on strange phenomena... including the blur Henry claimed was presented after he was arrested for his wife’s murder.
Joe and Chyre spot a car with the tire tracks that Barry identified earlier. The Mardon brothers open fire and then run out to a nearby plane. Clyde manages to shoot and kill Chyre, while the brothers take off in the plane.
Barry watches in surprise as on TV, the accelerator goes out of control. The power blacks out across Central City and waves of energy sweep out from the accelerator, covering the city.
Joe looks up and sees the energy wave hit the plane, destroying it.
Barry goes to close the skylight but hesitates when everything in the room starts shaking. Lightning strikes, hitting the chemicals on a nearby shelf and dumping them onto Barry, who passes out from the shock. The EMTs soon arrive and take Barry to the hospital. Iris can only stand by as they try to revive him.
Nine months later, a comatose Barry is at the shutdown S.T.A.R. Lab building. Scientists Caitlin Snow and Cisco Ramon are checking on him when he suddenly wakes up. They summon Harrison and while they wait for him, tell Barry what happened to him. Caitlin, a biologist, is surprised to discover that Barry’s muscular degeneration is healing at accelerated speeds. Barry wonders how long he was in a coma and a wheelchair-bound Harrison comes in and tells him that it was nine months.
As Harrison shows Barry around the once thriving facility, Harrison explains that FEMA classified them as a disaster area and shut them down. When the accelerator exploded, seventeen people died and countless more were injured... including Harrison. The energy wave triggered off the storm and the lightning bolt that struck Barry. They realized that Barry’s condition was unique when his heartbeat at the hospital couldn’t be detected because it was going too fast for the sensors to detect. Joe and Iris, out of options, gave Harrison permission to monitor Barry. Caitlin and Cisco arrive and Barry says that he has to see Iris immediately. He refuses to let the scientists test him further and leaves.
Barry finds Iris at Jitters, the coffee shop where she works. She hugs him and Barry assures her that he’s fine. When another waitress trips and spills her tray, time suddenly seems to slow down for Barry.
At the Gold City Bank, Clyde walks in and gives the teller a note saying to hand over the money. When she hesitates, Clyde casually generates a tornado from nothing, shattering the bank’s skylight.
Barry and Iris go to the station and Joe welcomes Barry back. They get a report about the bank robbery, while an officer notes that a storm is picking up nearby. Joe leaves for the bank with his new partner—Eddie—who tries flirting with Iris. She gives him the cold shoulder and then tells Barry that Chyre died on the night of the explosion. As they talk, a violent suspect grabs a cop’s gun and tries to escape. Barry, surprised, sees time slow down again. He runs over and disarms the man so fast that no one sees him, and then goes back to where he was standing. Iris asks if he’s okay and Barry says that he is and he’ll call her later.
When Barry gets outside, his hand starts to vibrate. He suddenly runs forward, out of control, and slams into cars. He finally manages to gain some control and starts running as fast as he can, only to go out of control and slam into the back of a laundry van. Brought to a halt, Barry stares at himself, surprised and happy.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry tells the scientists what happened. They take him to an abandoned airfield and Cisco equips him with a skintight heat resistant suit, equipped with a lightning-shaped two-way headset resistant to sonic booms. As Caitlin prepares her monitoring equipment, Barry comments that she doesn’t smile very much. The scientist tells him that she doesn’t have much to smile about because her career is over and the accelerator explosion killed her fiancé Ronnie.
Barry starts running and soon goes over 200 knots per hour. As he runs, he remembers the blur on the night that his mother died and suddenly goes out of control, running into a barrier and breaking his wrist.
Joe and Chyre bring the teller back to the station and she says that a storm sprang up in the middle of the bank. Eddie points out that it’s the third such robbery accompanied by freak storms, and that the security cameras were shorted out at each robbery. They check the witnesses’ cell phone and get a partial license plate of the bank robber’s car.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Caitlin is surprised to discover that Barry’s broken wrist has healed in the time it took them to return. Harrison asks what happened and Barry explains about the blur, which he now realizes was a man moving at superspeed. People told him as a boy that what he saw was impossible and Henry was convicted of murder. Harrison insists that no one else could have Barry’s abilities.
Eddie stops in at Jitters to meet Iris, and complains about how she pretends to hate him when she’s around Joe so that he won’t know that they’re involved. They kiss just as Barry comes in and sees them together. Iris takes Barry for a walk and asks him not to tell Joe. She then explains that she saw more of Eddie when she was at the hospital at Barry’s bed, and things developed from there.
As Barry says that he’s unhappy lying to Joe, Clyde drives by with two police cars in pursuit. When one of them skids, Barry gets Iris out of the way at superseded. He then catches up to Clyde’s car, gets in, and grabs the wheel. The car flips but Clyde and Barry are unharmed. The robber summons a cloud of fog to cover his escape and Barry dodges out of the way just in time when the other police car barrels through the fog at him.
As the medics arrive and take away the dead driver, Joe complains that Barry endangered Iris by taking her out. Barry talks to his adopted father privately and starts to explain about Clyde’s superpowers, but Joe figures that it’s another of Barry’s conspiracy theories. He doesn’t believe there was a yellow blur at Nora’s death and insists that Henry was the killer. Joe tells Barry that he has to see things as they really are for once, and Barry walks away. Eddie arrives with a composite sketch from the killer’s description and Joe realizes that it is Clyde... and Barry was right.
Barry returns to S.T.A.R. Labs and accuses the scientists of knowing that there were others like him and hiding the information. Harrison admits that the accelerator explosion opened an extra-dimensional portal, unleashing energies across the city. They’ve mapped the energies but have no idea how many people were affected like Barry. Barry blames Harrison for creating Clyde, but Harrison insists that Barry and his accelerated metabolism is the important thing. If they can analyze and duplicate it, they can save thousands of lives. Harrison warns Barry that he’s just an ordinary man, not a hero, and Barry walks out. He speeds through the city and thinks back to the night of Nora’s murder.
Barry runs home and finds the police taking Henry away. He goes inside and finds Joe securing the crime scene. Joe, a neighbor, knows Barry as his daughter’s best friend. Barry goes to Nora’s corpse, crying, and Joe goes over to comfort him.
In Starling City, Barry meets Oliver—as the Arrow—and tells him what happened. The Arrow wonders why Barry came to see him, and Barry explains that he always wanted to do more and now he has the chance. However, because he failed to stop Clyde, one man is already dead. The Arrow tells him that if Barry decides to become a hero, he’ll make mistakes, and admits that he’s made a few himself. He tells Barry that he can be a better hero because he can be a hero and an inspiration, rather than a vigilante like the Arrow. The Arrow suggests that Barry might want to wear a mask if he’s going to continue as a superhero, and swings away into the night.
Later when Barry returns to S.T.A.R. Labs, he tells Cisco and Caitlin that he’s been reviewing unsolved cases since the explosion and discovered an increase in missing persons and unexplained deaths. He asks the scientists to help him capture Clyde and anyone else using their powers for evil. They agree and Cisco provides Barry with a new red fire-resistant body suit. It has built-in sensors so that they can track Barry no matter where he goes. Meanwhile, Caitlin uses the S.T.A.R. satellites to track weather anomalies in Central City and gets one from the farm where Joe confronted the Mardons nine months ago.
Joe and Eddie drive to the Mardons’ former hideout to find Clyde. He is waiting for them and explains that he survived the plane explosion... and realized that with his new powers, he was God. He knocks Eddie unconscious with a micro-storm and confronts Joe. When Joe points out that God wouldn’t need to rob banks, Clyde agrees and admits that he’s been thinking too small. He summons a tornado, blasting the roof off the barn. Joe carries the unconscious Eddie out but a piece of debris sweeps toward them. Barry arrives just in time to catch it, and Cisco warns him over the headset that Clyde is generating a F-5 tornado.
Clyde surrounds himself with the tornado and starts walking toward Central City. Barry figures that he can run against the tornado and extinguish it, but Caitlin warns him that he could die from the strain of reaching the 700 MPH necessary to pull off the maneuver. Barry looks over at Joe and then runs against the tornado. Caitlin and Cisco, monitoring his vitals, realize that he can’t do it just as Clyde blasts Barry out of the tornado. Barry realizes that he isn’t fast enough... and Harrison gets on the radio and admits that Barry was right, and he is responsible for the deaths that the metahumans have caused. He asks Barry to make up for his mistakes and to run as fast as he can. Barry charges back into the tornado, extinguishing it, and the backlash knocks him down, knocking off his hood. Clyde is too shocked to summon another storm, but draws a gun and prepares to finish Barry off... and Joe shoots him dead. The police detective then goes to his adopted son to make sure that he’s okay.
The next morning, the police secure the farm while Barry explains to Joe how he gained his superspeed. Joe apologizes to Barry for not believing his story about what killed Nora, and realizes that Henry is innocent. The detective then makes Barry promise not to tell Iris so that she’ll stay safe.
Later, Barry goes to Iron Heights Prison to visit Henry and tells him that he just won a fight. Henry is proud of him and Barry says that he knows his father didn’t kill Nora, and now he has a way to find the killer and stop them... and that he’s proud to be Henry’s son.
Eddie and Iris have coffee and watch a newscast about the mysterious “Red Streak” that saved a family’s life.
Cisco decals a lightning bolt insignia onto Barry’s suit.
Barry and Henry say that they love each other.
At a secret chamber at S.T.A.R. Labs, Harrison brings up a hologram display and gets out of his wheelchair. He then brings up a newspaper article about the Flash vanishing on April 25, 2024 in a crisis.
Written by Gadfly on Jun 23, 2019