Thursday, May 03, 2007

Live Action: "Sins of the Father"

“Sins of the Father” (November 8, 1990)

Writer: Stephen Hattman
Director: Jonathan Sanger
Editor: Lawrence J. Gleason

Synopsis: After escaping from a prison chain gang, brutal bank robber Johnny Ray Hix sets his sights on retrieving the long-hidden loot from his last great bank heist and plots revenge on the cop who put him away: Henry Allen. Barry must track down this elusive killer whilst simultaneously striving to protect his overly proud father, who may ultimately prove to be a danger to himself!

Commentary: M. Emmet Walsh and Priscilla Pointer return as Henry and Nora Allen in an episode that has more to do with Barry Allen’s irascible father than with our fleet-footed hero. This installment is disappointing because it is poorly plotted and paced. Unfortunately, it takes “Sins of the Father” entirely too long to find its footing and pick-up speed. The action and the drama finally gain some momentum when Barry and Henry engage in a long-overdue clash of ideologies, but this moment comes more than halfway into the episode, too late to save it. Henry Allen is an irritating and downright unlikable character. It doesn’t help that his crotchety quirks are sometimes played for drama and other times simply for laughs. Guest star Paul Koslo is a bit over-the-top as villain Johnny Ray Hix. Even sporting a sinister growl, however, it never seems as if this violent crook could convincingly present a threat to someone with Barry Allen’s powers. This episode is certain to let down any viewer anticipating comic book action and stupefying superheroics. “Sins of the Father” is more of a run-of-the-mill police drama than any episode of the series thus far. As a result, the Flash makes only a few scattered appearances in costume and the scenes involving the superhero seem to have been written as an afterthought. The same is true of Tina McGee, who makes her obligatory appearance in only a single awkward scene. Shirley Walker’s score is the most promising element in the episode, often striving to convince us that the story’s more fun than it really is. “Sins of the Father” may not be all bad but it is badly written and, more often than not, boring. It’s unlikely that anyone will finish the episode looking forward to a return appearance from Barry Allen’s beloved parents.

High-Speed Highlight: During a brief barroom brawl, the Flash taunts a frustrated thug by swiftly snatching away beer bottles, one-by-one, before they can be used as weapons.

Quotable: “One of the best men I’ve ever known is in a coffin and all I get from you is footprints and coroner’s reports. Well, let me tell you something: all the chemicals and all the microscopes in the world aren’t going to bring Pete back! He’s dead, Barry! Everybody in the whole damn world knows who killed him, and I have to sit here and listen to this?!” --Henry Allen vents rage on his son, once again voicing his disregard for the work of police scientists


Mad Mac Genius said...

There were some cool bits here and there in the episode (like the barroom brawl), especially when Barry runs at full speed at the demolition site and changes into the Flash in mid-run.

Dixon said...

You're right, Steve. In fact, I briefly considered listing that change of costume as this episode's "High-Speed Highlight." It was pretty cool. All of the Flash moments in this episode are fleeting, unfortunately.