Before I start, I want to clarify that I’ve only watched The Flash and Supergirl, while loosely following Legends of Tomorrow and Arrow. I have yet to watch Black Lightning, not because I’m racist, God forbid, but I haven’t had the time. I think I’ll be binging on the first season in September before the other shows return in October. To be honest, I’m sure I’ll find the lack of a procedural format or villains of the week in the new show will be a huge improvement from the other shows.
Also, this series of posts contain SPOILERS.
I know The Flash is the second show in the Arrowverse, but it was the first CW DCTV show I started watching (because I loved Grant Gustin in Glee)
In the beginning…(a recap of The Flash seasons 1-3)
I LOVED season 1. The teases about Harrison Wells, the Reverse Flash reveal, the WestAllen chemistry, Barry’s CSI skills, the comedic timing, the SnowBarry moments, the emotional scenes with Mr. and Mrs. Allen…
I don’t remember what made me get restless with The Flash. Looking back, season 2 wasn’t too bad, even if the big bad was another speedster and a mentor figure who was secretly plotting against Barry. I was also getting tired of waiting for WestAllen to happen. The tension was getting less and less exciting without any real obstacles (I didn’t like Patty very much, honestly), so I was relieved when they had that beautiful kiss in the season finale.
Season 3, though, was BAD. Like, it wasn’t bad enough to make me quit the show (😳…Tom Felton as Julian was what made me stay) because the final reveal of Savitar made for some very good themes, albeit they were all half-baked. As someone familiar with the entertainment industry and its workings, I knew that they couldn’t afford to have both Barry and an unmasked Savitar together on screen for too many episodes. But still, they stalled that reveal for too long, especially with all those filler episodes (not including the musical episode and mini Glee-union, which I loved) and their handling of Caitlin’s transformation to Killer Frost.
Seriously, a split personality? It turns out that it may actually be a brilliant idea, seeing that Killer Frost has existed since Caitlin’s childhood, but I didn’t know that during Season 3.
And then, there’s their handling of Flashpoint in ONE EPISODE. I should have known they couldn’t beat that amazing animated Flashpoint movie in the DCAU. But still, in only one episode…and Flash didn’t even get a message from Robert Queen for Oliver. Though that wouldn’t beat Thomas Wayne’s storyline in the comics and animated movie, it still could have been a great moment.
The Flash Season 4 Returned to Its Roots…Kinda
Then finally, Season 4… it was an improvement from Season 3, at least. Barry and Iris finally had their wedding, Killer Frost made more sense, and the big bad wasn’t a speedster. BUT, the writers stalled in revealing the Thinker’s motive and failed to develop an intriguing dynamic between Thinker and Flash. While I didn’t want Thinker to be another mentor figure, enemies can play a mentor role, too, by helping heroes grow (for those of you who know classic K-Dramas, I’m thinking of Mishil and Deokman’s dynamic in Great Queen Seondeok – example scene).
My biggest problem, though, was that Season 4 was trying too hard to become “light” again. While being light is better than the utter darkness of season 3, it was still hard to reconcile the campiness with the Thinker killing EVERY. BUS. META. By the end of the season, all except Ralph [who is slowly growing on me] were dead. And then there’s Amunet being a metahuman trafficker, and she’s never called out for being a literal slaver. The show did a better job maintaining Captain Cold’s criminal status than with taking Amunet’s crimes seriously.
Finally, Barry’s trial was the worst I’ve ever seen on TV. I could think of several defenses for Barry, but the so-called brilliant lawyer, Cecile, couldn’t use any of them for some reason? They should have trapped Marlize with the photos of her and Brainstorm after her testimony to discredit her. They should have questioned why Clifford Devoe was going to meet Barry when Clifford had requested a restraining order against Barry. They should have used Barry’s cell phone as evidence that he received a security alert. They should have done an autopsy on Clifford, and if Marlize refused an autopsy, demand to know why she refused, etc. And, trials are NEVER that fast in the U.S. Obviously, Barry didn’t receive due process this season.
I know I sound frustrated, but, honestly, I still love the show and its amazing cast. And this year’s crossover was the best ever, and I’m wondering how the screenwriters will beat it next season (though Batwoman’s entrance is a good start). The wedding, the wedding crash, Overgirl kissing Dark Arrow, Tommy Merlyn, Earth-X, the high stakes…it was all amazing, except the tragic death of Professor Stein.
I mentioned I’ve slowly warmed up to Ralph Dibny, but I wasn’t against his introduction to the show or anything like that. I was just growing tired of the Flash introducing jerk characters only for them to disappear. Thankfully, Hartley Sawyer’s Ralph is here to stay, though I only wish that the screenwriters could better utilize his detective skills (or Barry’s CSI skills for that matter). And hopefully, the show-makers fulfill their promise in introducing his love interest, Sue Dearbon.
Despite all its flaws, the season had a solid finale, and I am eager to see what happens next. I loved how Season 4 teased the mystery girl (I knew she was Barry’s daughter, but that doesn’t answer WHY she’s there) in a similar way to how they teased Eobard-Wells’s nefarious secrets. And with her reveal as Nora Allen, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the Flash family (and Killer Frost) next season. I hope it includes some WestAllen babies.
Take a look at the released Season 5 SDCC promo here.