Just as a 23-episode order can hurt a season of television by stretching it out too thinly, the room given to broadcast network series can also allow for episodes like The Flash’s “King Shark” to linger on trauma in believable, realistic ways.
In the third episode of The Flash, ‘Things You Can’t Outrun’, the focus shifts away from Barry Allen to shine some light on the supporting cast and it surprisingly works. Caitlin and Cisco both have more to do than they have in the previous two episodes combined and for the first time in the series, Eddie Thawne feels like an actual character.
Caitlin still suffers from the lost of her fiancé when the particle accelerator exploded and the fear that incident instilled is brought to Barry’s attention. She has been more frigid than her comrades and now we can see why, thanks to a series of flashbacks to that fateful night. Danielle Panabaker does her best work yet in the show and she feels like a woman in mourning, but there is hope of her moving on in her interactions with Barry. Possibly the most important part of the episode is the introduction of Caitlin’s fiancé, Ronnie Raymond, played by The Tomorrow People star and Stephen Amell’s cousin Robbie Amell. Comic readers will know the character very well and his inclusion is a nice treat. Amell successfully sells the character as noble and intelligent and his heroic “death” is the episode’s dramatic highlight. Caitlin tells Barry that Ronnie was funny and evened her out, saying that they were like “fire and ice” (get it, comic readers?).
For the most part Time Lapse efficiently builds suspense around its simple conceit, offering a tightly wound up story that showcases how a once closely-knit unit can break apart when its pieces begin to obsess over the details of their respective lives that were, that are and those that shall come to pass. Bradley King smartly offers up a depiction of people’s obsession with destiny. In this case said destiny is not manifest in the traditionally understood sense but rather figuratively served on a platter for the trio of plucky protagonists to observe, digest and then obsessively try to adhere to it out of fear that any deviation will lead to their ultimate obliteration.