- For other episodes of the same name, see Pilot (disambiguation).
- "You can do this, Barry. You were right. I am responsible for all of this. So many people have been hurt because of me, and when I looked at you, all I saw was another potential victim of my hubris. And yes, I created this madness, but you, Barry, you can stop it. You can do this. Now run, Barry, run!"
- —"Harrison Wells" to Barry Allen
"Pilot" is the first episode of the first season of , and the first episode overall. It aired on October 7, 2014.
|Barry Allen was just 11 years old when his mother was killed in a bizarre and terrifying incident and his father was falsely convicted of the murder. With his life changed forever by the tragedy, Barry was taken in and raised by Detective Joe West, the father of Barry's best friend, Iris. Now, Barry has become a brilliant, driven and endearingly geeky CSI investigator, whose determination to uncover the truth about his mother's strange death leads him to follow up on every unexplained urban legend and scientific advancement that comes along. Barry's latest obsession is a cutting edge particle accelerator, created by visionary physicist Harrison Wells and his S.T.A.R. Labs team members, Caitlin Snow and Cisco Ramon, who claim that this invention will bring about unimaginable advancements in power and medicine. However, something goes horribly wrong during the public unveiling, and when the devastating explosion causes a freak storm, many lives are lost and Barry is struck by lightning. After nine months in a coma, Barry awakens to find his life has changed once again – the accident has given him the power of super speed. Thrilled with his new powers, Barry learns how to control them with the help of Dr. Wells and his team. However, keeping his secret from his best friend Iris is proving to be harder than he thought, especially when Joe's new partner, Eddie Thawne, catches her eye. When another meta-human attacks the city, it's time to put Barry's new powers, and himself, to the test.|
Barry Allen, a forensic crime scene assistant for the Central City Police Department, reminisces about his life of running. 14 years ago, in 2000, he usually ran from bullies, who were picking on others, getting beat up in the process. He was treated by his loving mother Nora, and being lovingly called "slugger" by his father Henry. The following night, Barry woke up hearing strange noises and saw the water on his aquarium rising. He went downstairs, and saw his mother being surrounded by what seemed to be a red and a yellow lightning, Nora told him to stay back, and Harry came down too, and urged his son to run. The red lightning engulfed him and next, Barry found himself outside. He started to run back to his house.
As Barry runs, the scene shifts to the present day, where Barry is running to a crime scene, having just returned from Starling City. His caretaker, Detective Joe West is already at the scene, where bank robbery had taken place. Captain Singh, while he acknowledges Barry's skills as CSI, is annoyed him constantly being late. Barry finally arrives, and checks the scene. He determines that the robbers, the Mardon Brothers, fled the scene with a Ford Mustang, that caught manure. Back in his lab, he analyzes the manure to determine, where it came from. Barry's best friend, Iris West, Joe's daughter (whom Barry is secretly in love with), comes in in order to come with Barry to the S.T.A.R. Labs, where the cutting edge particle accelerator is about to be activated. Since Iris is not of scientific mind, Barry explains the accelerator to her. His manure analysis finishes, and he gives Joe four possible locations on where to find Mardon brothers car. Joe allows Barry to go to the S.T.A.R. Labs.
At the Labs, Dr. Harrison Wells holds a speech, when suddenly a thug steals Iris' laptop. Barry runs after him and catches him. But the thug won't surrender and hits Barry. He tries to escape, but he is caught by detective Eddie Thawne. At the station, Iris asks about him and Barry says he is a transfer from Keystone City. As the night goes on, a thunderstorm brews. Joe and his partner, Chyre, reach the last place on Barry's list and find the car, but get into a firefight with Clyde Mardon. Chyre is hit as Mardon boards a plane to escape. At the same time, something is happening with the particle accelerator. It explodes, causing Mardon's plane to explode. A surge of power from the accelerator escapes into the sky and affects the storm clouds. Barry is in his lab, when suddenly, all the liquid in there starts to float. Then, suddenly, he is is struck by lightning from the affected storm clouds, and he hits upon all the chemicals in his lab and falls unconscious. He is immediately taken to an emergency care, still alive. However, it seems he is flatlining. Iris comes and is terrified for him.
Nine months later, as he is being looked after by Cisco Ramon and Dr. Caitlin Snow in S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry suddenly awakes. Shocked and disoriented, Cisco and Caitlin examine him and alert Dr. Wells. Cisco explain he was in coma. As Wells arrives, he talks with Barry and explains that when the particle accelerator was activated, it ran smoothly for 45 minutes, then an anomaly happened that caused the explosion. Since then, S.T.A.R. Labs has been categorized as class 4 hazardous zone and Wells was reduced to a wheelchair for life and lost his reputation. He also explains that after Barry was struck, the EKG couldn't register his heartbeat, because his heart was beating too fast for it to detect it. He then offered to look after Barry in the Labs, and Iris came to see him quite often. Barry decides to return to the city to see Iris and Joe, despite Wells' objection. He goes to CC Jitters, where Iris works as a waitress. She is surprised to see Barry awake. Suddenly, another waitress slips, and as she does, Barry notices that the world around him seems to be slowing down. It lasts only for a second. Iris then takes him to see Joe. Joe is happy to have him back, and Eddie is also glad to see him. When an arrested man attempts to take a gun from an officer, Barry notices it, and runs to him in split second. Everyone are wondering, what happened, as is Barry. He goes outside, and notices that his hand is vibrating intensely. He moves a short distance with super speed, and smashes a police car rear window. He tries more, and soon he runs a long distance with near supersonic speeds, and crashes into a laundry truck. Elsewhere, Clyde Mardon, who was thought to have been killed nine months ago, robs a bank by unleashing a meteorological storm inside the bank.
The next day, as Wells, Cisco and Caitlin are preparing for a test with Barry, Cisco explains to him what he experienced yesterday. The world didn't slow down; Barry was moving so fast it only seemed like the world was slowing. Cisco then explains more about Wells and Caitlin and says he makes the toys. Caitlin comes to check on Barry, and he asks, why she doesn't smile so much. Caitlin answers, that after the explosion, her promising career in biophysics ended, her boss is on a wheelchair and she lost her fiancé as well in the explosion, summing that her face pretty much covers it all. The test gets underway, and Barry speeds himself to speeds not normally possible for a normal human, amazing Caitlin. But as Barry runs, he remembers events from 14 years ago, and loses focus. He crashes into water tanks, injuring his arm in the process.
Back in the Labs, Caitlin says his fracture has healed itself in three hours. Wells asks Barry what happened, what made him lose focus. Barry explains, how his mother was murdered, when he was 11, and how he saw what seemed to be a ball of lightning, and inside it, he saw a man in a yellow, who killed her. Barry goes to see Iris, and sees that she is dating with Eddie. As the two then walk and discuss about it, Iris asks Barry not to tell Joe about it. Barry then sees a car being chased by the police, and as the car passes,Barry sees Mardon inside it. Mardon causes the police cars to be driven off the road, and Barry quickly pushes Iris out of the way, and then runs after Mardon. He enters the car and flips it over. Mardon survives and escapes by creating a thick fog. Due to the fog, a car crashes and its driver is killed. Joe arrives and is angry at Iris and Barry for being here. Barry talks with Joe about what he saw, but Joe doesn't believe him, like he has never believed Barry about the true circumstances surrounding his mother's murder. Joe tries to explain that his father is guilty, and Mardon is dead, causing Barry to leave. Eddie arrives with a sketch of the bank robber, which looks exactly like Mardon.
Barry returns to S.T.A.R. Labs, and angrily claims he wasn't the only one who was affected with the particle accelerator explosion. Wells admits, that when it happened, many different substances escaped, such as dark matter, giving normal humans special abilities, which they have branded into "meta-humans". Barry feels Mardon needs to be stopped, as he can control the weather, but Wells denies it, claiming that only Barry matters, since inside him can be answers to many of the world's problems. Barry disagrees with his new friends since an innocent man died and runs . While remembering how his father was arrested for Nora's murder, despite pleading innocence, Barry ran 600 miles to Starling City.
While in Starling City, Barry tells his story, from the lightning striking to that day's events, to Oliver Queen/The Arrow while on the city's rooftops. Believing the lightning chose Barry, Oliver advises Barry to use his newly-given powers for good, as he can inspire people in a way that he as the Arrow never could: watching Central City like a guardian angel, saving people in a flash. Finally, he suggests Barry follows his own advice: wear a mask. Barry expressed his awe by Oliver's exit, swinging away with his arrow gadgets, likewise with Oliver impressed by Barry speeding away. With his confidence restored, Barry runs back to Central City.
Barry talks with Cisco and Caitlin, having realized that many of the meta-humans have been busy for nine months. He feels he needs to stop Mardon, but he needs their help. Cisco, exited, introduces Barry to a suit he made for firefighters. Caitlin then notices how atmospheric pressure just dropped at a location outskirts of the city. At that very site, Joe and Eddie arrive, and find Mardon. Mardon unleashes his powers and knocks Eddie out. He then proceeds to create a tornado and directs it to the city. As Joe is about to be hit with large debris, he is saved by Barry. To stop the tornado, he tries to run around it in the opposite direction. Caitlin doesn't think he can do it, and Barry does fail. Wells arrives and admits that all of this is his doing, but claims that Barry can stop this and says "Run, Barry, run!", and Barry runs again, this time succeeding. Mardon attempts to shoot Barry, but Joe shoots Mardon first. He is shocked to see what Barry just did.
The next day, Joe asks if the lightning bolt did this. Barry says more or less, and Joe finally believes, that Barry did see something 14 years ago, and that Henry is innocent. Joe also demands that Barry won't tell Iris about any of this, as he wants her safe. Barry goes to Iron Heights prison to see his father. While Barry is going to get Henry out, Henry encourages him to move on, which Barry can't do. Barry tells him he is proud to be Henry's son.
In S.T.A.R. Labs, Wells enters a secret room. He rises from his wheelchair, and looks upon a holographic image of a newspaper (published on April 25, 2024) with a headline that reads "Flash Missing, Vanishes in Crisis".
- Grant Gustin as Barry Allen/The Streak
- Candice Patton as Iris West
- Danielle Panabaker as Dr. Caitlin Snow
- Rick Cosnett as Detective Eddie Thawne
- Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon
- Tom Cavanagh as Dr. Harrison Wells
- Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West
- Michelle Harrison as Nora Allen
- Chad Rook as Clyde Mardon
- Patrick Sabongui as Captain David Singh
- Al Sapienza as Detective Fred Chyre
- John Wesley Shipp as Dr. Henry Allen
Special guest star
- Alistair Abell as ER Doctor
- Yoshie Bancroft as Nurse #2
- Osmond Bramble as Uniform with Junkie
- Lauren Carnovale as Barista
- Fulvio Cecere as Officer Vukuvich
- Olivia Cheng as Linda Park
- Jennifer Cheon as Paramedic #1
- Gigi Jackman as Bank Teller
- Dee Jay Jackson as Laundry Guy
- Matt Kelly as Coroner
- Jennifer Kitchen as Female Dispatcher
- Nelson Leis as Scraggly Witness
- Dagan Nish as Junkie
- Adele Noronha as Nurse #1
- Troy Rudolph as Paramedic #2
- Eli Shapera as Bully #1
- George Klimovich as Bully #3
- Logan Williams as Young Barry Allen
- Brendon Zub as Kyle
- In a deleted scene taking place toward the end of the episode, Barry flashes back to later on the night of his mother's death. In the flashback, Joe has brought Barry to the West house, Barry tells Iris that his father did not kill his mother, and Iris says she believes him. Footage from this scene was later reused in "" when Barry was traveling through the Speed Force and "" when the timeline was reset from Flashpoint, retroactively making the scene canon.
- Originally, the 20th episode of the second season of would act as a backdoor pilot to ; however, after seeing Barry Allen's introductory episodes, "" and "", the CW ordered a full pilot.
- The episode's name was in much dispute. Originally it was marketed as simply "Pilot", as most pilot episodes are; however, closer to its airdate, it was marketed under the title "City of Heroes", one shared with the second season premiere of . However, after its airing, The CW finally confirmed that it was in fact simply titled "Pilot" as originally mentioned; as to why it was promoted with the other title is unknown.
- In a deleted scene, Barry explains to Joe that the reason why he was late was because he was in Starling City, where he heard rumors of a man who can bend steel with his bare hands, a likely reference to Superman. In the episode, "", Cyrus Gold is the person who could bend metal. Joe recalls Barry leaving to go to Amnesty Bay, to see a man who talks to fish, a possible reference to Aquaman.
- Nora Allen's death is similar to her death in the comic, The Flash: Rebirth, in which Henry Allen is blamed for the murder, when in fact Professor Zoom (referenced as "the man in yellow" amongst the blur) was the perpetrator, which is later confirmed by the season's end.
- Iris calls the particle accelerator an "atom smasher". They have been previously known as such, however in the comics Atom Smasher is also a size-changing superhero. Ironically the Earth-2 version of Al Rothstein/Atom-Smasher would later appear in season 2.
- Science Showcase is likely a reference to Showcase #4, which had the first appearance of Barry Allen and will come in "".
- Barry tests his newly found super-speed at an abandoned Ferris Air Testing Facility site. In the DC comics, Ferris Air employs test pilot Hal Jordan, better known as Green Lantern, who is also one of Barry's closest superhero friends.
- On Barry's wall, one of the articles on his mother's murder is written by Evan Gibson, an ally of Green Arrow in the comics.
- Evan Gibson's article on Barry's father's trial mentions him being questioned by the 52nd police precinct.
- If one looks closely, Evan Gibson is also the one who writes the article in the future newspaper regarding the Flash going missing in crisis. However, by episode 20 (""), Iris West-Allen is the one who writes the article.
- The laundry van which Barry crashes in to is named Gambi Cleaners, a reference to Paul Gambi, a tailor who in the comics designs many of the Rogues' costumes.
- Cisco wears two shirts, one with the Intellivision video game Astrosmash on it, and another with rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock on it, the latter a game made popular by The Big Bang Theory.
- At the end of the episode, the newspaper from the future shows Wayne Tech and Queen Inc., referencing Bruce Wayne, otherwise known as Batman.
- Wells' 2024 newspaper states that The Flash will "disappear in a Crisis". This may be a reference alluding to Crisis on Infinite Earths, where Barry sacrificed himself using his speed to save the multiverse. But it was later revealed that Barry and Eobard were fighting and disappeared time-traveling.
- The first bit of the episode takes place during and immediately following the second season episode, "", while the rest of it takes place concurrently with the third season episode, "".
- During the initial flashback, a 2007 Chrysler Pacifica is seen, despite it being set 14 years prior to 2014, in 2000.
- In the episode, "", Barry calls Felicity immediately prior to the particle accelerator malfunction and lightning strike; in this episode, he makes no such phone call.
- In the same Arrow episode, we see that Barry spent his entire day in Starling City before being struck by lightning, and only just made it back in time to see the particle accelerator turn on. However, in this episode, we see that Barry spent his entire day in Central City before being struck.
- In this episode only, the layout of S.T.A.R. Labs is slightly different: the area where the Flash suit would go in subsequent episodes is where the entrance to the corridor is in this episode. Also, the entrance to the corridor in subsequent episodes seems to be a workstation in this episode, similar to Cisco's workshop.
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