CW’s The Flash just finished up its second season along with the other DC TV shows including Arrow and Legends of Tomrrow. Out of all these shows, The Flash is by far the most fun to watch because, in my opinion, it properly balances the lighthearted nature of the character with the drama that superheroes face. I immediately find myself thinking about how The Flash is my favorite of the DCTV shows, but then I stop and wonder if my being a fan of the character and comics gets in the way, because I always get caught up in the fan service the include and ignore the flaws until the next day. The Flash has had two really great seasons, they have been fun and exciting, but that doesn’t take away from the flaws or weak writing, which is why I hope to see some things change going into the third season.
Spoilers about comics and the show, so if you don’t want to know the possible fate of certain characters, don’t read on
This second season brought a lot of new elements to the show that will hopefully have some great long-term impact. Wally, despite starting out pretty stale and poorly written, has grown on me and become a decent character who I’m hoping continues to get better. The Velocity formulas were introduced and it seems like Jesse Quick will eventually turn into the speedster that she is in the comics which is exciting because we are seeing some elements of the Flash family being built up into the show. We also got to see a significantly sized down version of the Infinite Crisis story during his battle with Zoom, which was pretty cool visually. On top of this, the death of Zoom by the Speedforce creates the Black Flash, who looked phenomenal and presumably will make a return at some point in the future. There are a lot of great things to come that should be the basis of more rich plot lines depending on where the writers decide to take things and these are also elements that make the Flash such a great character with great stories, the balance of sci-fi and reality.
The second season ends in a similar fashion to the first season with Barry running back in time to the moment of his mother’s death, but, this time he saves her. When I was watching the first season finale live I was shaking my girlfriend while repetitively saying FLASHPOINT, FLASHPOINT, FLASHPOINT. Yet, we actually ended up watching Barry go against his emotions and let everything happen how it should be. While I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be getting the television show’s take on one of the greatest stories, I was actually super impressed that the character was able to be so mature and wise about things. I actually was really happy with the decision they made. During the finale of season two, we see how shaken Barry truly is and how big of a tole the hero role is taking on him. He continues to watch the people closest to him die or be hurt, he keeps getting betrayed by those closest to him, and, to him, it feels like despite everything he accomplishes, it comes at too great a cost to feel like he’s actually having an impact.
They chose to end season two with the set up for Flashpoint. Once again we watch the same scene play out again; however, this time Barry isn’t thinking rationally and he is operating off of complete emotion. He saves his mother leaving us with the question, what type of a butterfly effect will this have on the present day? All of these things are a Flash fan and comic lover’s dreams come true. With the DCMU being a complete mystery right now it’s unbelievable to see all of these great classic DC elements get the recognition they deserve, and I love The Flash for giving us that, but eventually I stop and wonder, does all of this outweigh the flawed continuity and repetitive plot points?
It’s the second season in a row where the show’s villain has been an enemy speedster who takes on a false identity to dupe team Flash into thinking they have a friend, but are really a foe. Jay wasn’t that great of a character and I honestly couldn’t stand Teddy Sears until he started getting to play a villain, which he pulled off much more convincingly. Zoom was built up to be this big threat but there were just so many times that either him or Flash could have ended things. My biggest problem was when they had Cisco vibe a trapped Zoom on Earth 2; by this point they knew that Jay was dying from the failed Velocity formulas and they had sealed up all of the breaches leaving him left for dead. He wasn’t shown doing anything to really force Barry to come after him or re-open the connection between Earth’s. At the end of the season Zoom also wouldn’t necessarily have to race Barry, but only charge up the machine by running around it twice the amount. It’s plot points like those that become too hard to ignore after a while and also just seem like lazy writing.
Despite stumbles along the way, it doesn’t mean The Flash lacks any good or extremely well done ideas either. The moments Barry shares with his three father figures always feel extremely meaningful and I love his connection with all of those characters. Barry’s interactions with those characters are usually when we see how human and level headed he is as a person. This is sort of why the end of the season bugged me, because it seems like Barry has just thrown everything he’s learned on his journey out the window and let himself become consumed by his emotions. He decides to save his mother without taking into consideration the repercussions that it could cause. I understand that Barry is tired of losing people, but I think his actions are pretty selfish, especially considering what he has gained this season. Barry gets a non-evil Wells figure back into his life, he actually develops a relationship with Wally by season’s end and Iris even wants to start a relationship with him, which should be icing on the cake. The naive and impulsive decision seems so out of character and is another recycled plot idea.
The Flash had a strong second season and I have no doubts that I will love the third season just as much. Flashpoint is an amazing story and idea that will be another amazing thing to watch on live television. I am really hoping they stretch out the new reality for the entire first half of the season and think that would be interesting to watch. All I would hope to see from The Flash is more originality going forward. They do so well by bringing important classic comic elements to life that are vital to the character, but I just want it to be different. I would love to see them do a full on Gorilla Grodd Planet of the Apes attempt or a focus on the Rogues working together, just something that will change things up. I hope that Berlanti and co. aren’t getting stretched too thin having to focus on four shows at once, but we’ll find out the truth behind that this Fall.
How did you feel about The Flash season 2 overall? Let me know, I’d love to discuss it!