Our second CW Superhero season review is here! Thanks to all of those who checked out the Supergirl Review (even though I was quite negative about the show!). Now we move on from National City and if I remember correctly from the crossover episodes, Earth 38, to Earth 1 Central City. How did Team Flash do this year? Season 2 was pretty good if at times very similar to the first season so let’s talk about how Barry screwed with time.
Again from here on out there will be MASSIVE SPOILERS for the entire season! You have been warned!
I’m going to start with the negatives. First and foremost, Flashpoint was over way too quickly. Just in case you weren’t aware, and if so go watch the bloody show before reading further, at the end of the season 2 Barry went back in time and saved his mother from the Reverse Flash. Season 3 picks up back in the present day but very different, both of Barry’s parents are alive, he only has a passing relationship with Iris and Joe West, Wally West is Kid Flash and overall, Barry is happy. Things quickly unravel for him as he starts losing his memory of the previous timeline. This forces him to reset the timeline by allowing Eobard Thawne to kill his mother again. Harsh but understandable.
Within a couple of episodes the Flashpoint timeline has been chucked out! Returning to the present Barry discovers it has been subtly changed by his time meddling but I would have liked to have had him living in Flashpoint for a lot longer, maybe fighting some villains (other than the rubbish evil speedster the Rival), seeing alternate versions of his Rogue’s gallery or something! But no, we had to make do with smaller effects of Flashpoint bleeding over into the current timeline. A new bad guy named Dr Alchemy is restoring the powers of people who were Metas in Flashpoint, Cisco’s brother is now dead, Caitlin has Killer Frost powers and John Diggle has a son now instead of a daughter. There were some nice easter eggs in flashpoint however, especially Barry’s home phone with very familiar names on speed dial!
The next issue I have is the main villain. After we learn Dr Alchemy is just a pawn, we are introduced to yet another evil speedster, this one calling himself Savitar, the God of Speed!! That’s three seasons and three speedsters as the main villains. Is it just me or does this scream of writers panic? Dr Alchemy was at least interesting, a mysterious masked man with the ability to grant people powers and shoot lasers using a really cool rock. Savitar was just meh. I will admit the reveal of Savitar’s identity was pretty good, even if the explanation was somewhat ridiculous. However, his plan was the perfect example of the show having an idea but also having to fill a 23 episode season with content when the main arc would only take a couple of episodes. Again, just in case you didn’t know, Barry accidentally travels to the future and sees Savitar kill Iris. Barry’s mission to prevent this forms the basis of the second half of the season. If Savitar was a good villain, he would have just killed Iris as soon as he arrived. Instead we had to sit through countless episodes, first waiting for him to released from the Speedforce, then seemingly just hanging around the city while Team Flash deal with their personal issues and other secondary arcs until the final two episodes of the season!!! Savitar kills Iris (not really) in the penultimate episode and Team Flash triumph in the finale!!! I understand the reasoning behind wanting a full season but most of the show this year was filler, and not even that good.
My last main gripe with the show is technical. Firstly, I would like to say I am aware it is a fictional show, I am aware it’s all made up and you are expected to suspend disbelief by quite some margin. Secondly, I am being very picky when I complain about this, it’s something I always do with shows/films that involve time travel but here we go. The show does not deal with temporal paradoxes properly. You can all groan now and tune out if you want to but it is something that I always get annoyed at. They tried their best with Flashpoint so I’ll give them some credit but the main problem is with the defeat of Savitar. We first have to explain who Savitar is, here we go; Savitar is a time remnant that Barry creates in the future to defeat Savitar after Iris dies. All other time remnants are defeated except this one. Team Flash shun this remnant as he is not their Barry Allen. This causes him to become resentful and he goes insane. The time remnant decides to ruin Barry’s life (for some reason) and travels back in time to start the myth of Savitar, the God of Speed and becomes the same. His plan is to kill Iris so that Barry will be forced to create time remnants to defeat Savitar and so the circle continues. It is difficult to get your head around and I’m sure I’ve butchered the explanation but it’s the best I can do.
The problem is, when Iris kills future Barry and he disappears from existence, it changes this cycle completely;
Barry no longer creates time remnants to help defeat Savitar as he is already dead, there is no time remnant to go back in time and become Savitar, there is no Savitar to create Dr Alchemy, hence there will be no Dr Alchemy to grant Wally West speed powers! None of the other Flashpoint Metas would have powers either, and after a while (because in the Arrowverse, changes to the timeline need time to become permanent), all of Team Flash and the wider world would forget that Savitar ever existed! So why does Wally still have his powers?!?!?!?! *Breathe Dave* Okay, time paradox rant over!
Onto some positives. First and foremost Tom Cavanagh is amazing. There are not many actors that could play the same character but in four totally different ways but each of them being interesting characters in their own way. We have seen evil genius Harrison Wells, nice genius Harrison Wells, Earth-2 prickly Harry Wells and now Genius Fraud but instantly loveable Earth-19 HR. Each character is very different but each is played perfectly, I can’t wait to see what Tom does next season! Will we get a female Harriet Wells played by Tom? Who knows! HR was the real hero of this season!
Even though he should no longer have them, I love that Wally has speed and has officially become Kid Flash. Ever since he joined the show in season 2 I’ve been waiting for him to claim his speedster mantle and was so annoyed he didn’t get powers by the end of the season. Keiynan Lonsdale plays Wally really well with a mixture of youthful exuberance and teenage rebellion. His excitement when developing his powers was enthralling to watch, as was his sadness when almost every time he went out to help he got knocked down or hurt. He’s not a great speedster!!! I love seeing him team up with Barry but he really needs to keep that hair under control! His suit shows off his ever growing hairline! Hopefully with how the season ended we will be seeing a lot of Kid Flash at the start of season 4.
My favourite episode of the whole season is when Barry tried to rescue Wally from the speedforce prison. I love a good returning dead character and this episode had three of them! As well John Wesley Shipp’s Jay Garrick helping Barry out, we see speedforce manifestations in the form of Eddie Thawne, Ronnie Raymond and Leonard Snart, each trying to persuade Barry to leave Wally alone. Oh and the Black Flash too!!! This episode also showed that Barry is willing to do anything to save the ones he loves, including condemning Jay Garrick to an eternity of hell inside the speedforce. Barry was a dick this season and a hypocrite, as Cisco says he’s willing to change the past to save his own family but not others!
The crossover episode was really fun, it wasn’t a great episode, we had to wait for the Arrow part to get that, but seeing the CW Superheroes team up ready to fight. Barry worked great as one of the most powerful members of the team and though it wasn’t good for the character, it was good to see everyone challenge him over his timeline meddling and then eventually trust him to do what is right.
As with all CW shows I loved the easter eggs and references to other shows, films and the comics. Seeing the Accelerated Man, the Return of Gorilla Grodd, Caitlin going full Killer Frost (even though she didn’t actually kill anyone), seeing Killer Frost vs Vibe was amazing!!!!! The finale was pretty good too, mainly because we got to see a speedster fight involving four speedsters and the effects weren’t even that bad! The show is getting better with making the speed effects actually look believable!
I do have to round out this season review with some more complaints, or rather annoying niggles that I can’t let lie;
Why is Caitlin the only Meta-human whose powers turn her evil?
The Supergirl/Flash musical crossover was cringeworthy in so many ways, and very quickly undid a couple of story points on both shows that had been working for several episodes.
Barry’s singing proposal was the most uncomfortable I have ever been watching a show, so cringey.
Some of the minor villains were very poor. A living Shadow, The Rival, Magenta, Plunder to name but a few.
Some of the visual effects were very weak, especially the Gorilla City episodes.
There were too many minor love stories were empty and boring, Joe and Cecil, Caitlin and Julian, HR and Tracy Brand. I wasn’t interested in any of them!
Barry is the ultimate dick when he leaves his newly saved fiance and his friends behind, surrendering himself to the speedforce.
I’m going to have to stop myself there because I could go on forever. That, I guess, is one success the show has, it makes people talk about it. You know what they say, even bad publicity is good publicity, is that what they say? I messed that up didn’t I? Dammit Barry!
The Flash is declining in quality. It has moments of greatness and is really entertaining on occasion but I’m worried it is going through the same issues Arrow had in season 3 and 4, character fatigue. The show needs to find a way to make Barry and his relationships interesting again. Like Supergirl, the supporting cast had to prop up most of the scenes, when it was Tom Cavanagh I didn’t mind but it can’t keep happening if the show wants to improve. So last question, how long do you think Barry will be tapped in the speedforce next season? One episode? Two? Less than 10 minutes? I guess we’ll have to wait and see!
The Flash gets 6 Beans on the Geekstalk