“Out of Control” (September 27, 1990)
Writer: Gail Morgan Hickman
Director: Mario Azzopardi
Editor: Greg Wong
Synopsis: The homeless of Central City are being used as human guinea pigs, and the police are ignorant to their plight. Barry Allen personally investigates the matter and soon links the mysterious deaths to Dr. Carl Perkins, one of Tina’s old friends, a man who is growing increasingly obsessed with his dangerous experiments in genetic manipulation.
Commentary: Consider this the closest the series will come to a crossover with The Incredible Hulk (1978). On second thought, that’s not fair to the green goliath’s classic show. There are enough layers to this episode’s opening acts to grab nearly any viewer’s interest but, in the end, “Out of Control” is a ridiculous and pointless adventure. As the story’s villain, Dr. Carl Perkins further represents The Flash’s interest in exploring the connections between morality, science, and the law. The practical purposes of Dr. Perkins’s dangerous and bizarre experiments are never suggested or explored, however. They’re merely utilized as a means of prompting cheap battle scenes involving poorly-realized monstrosities. A sequence in which Bellows, Murphy, and the Flash stalk a German Shepherd transformed into a poor man’s werewolf can only be watched from between your fingers--not because it’s frightening but because it’s downright embarassing. Dr. Perkins is simply a mad scientist out to create senseless chaos. A subplot involving a love triangle between Barry, Tina, and Perkins serves only to portray the show’s protagonists as disappointingly childish. Additionally, Barry’s superhero alter ego is almost an afterthought in this tale with little to do, a seemingly glaring misstep considering this is the first regular episode of the series. Sadly, “Out of Control” is an episode that opens with promise but ultimately lives up to its name.
High-Speed Highlight: Using the pointed star of a security guard’s badge, the Flash swiftly slices a circular hole in the glass door of a sealed vacuum chamber.
Quotable: “It’s not my responsibility to be the conscience of the human race. I’m only a scientist.” / “I disagree. I think we’re all responsible.” --Dr. Perkins and Barry Allen argue the morality of genetic research