Flash is on hiatus this week (which is kind of odd because the notion of the fastest man in the world stopping seems kind of weird) but I thought I would take the time to kind of reflect on this season of the Flash, which in case you don’t know, I thoroughly enjoy. I’m a Flash fan, of the comic and yes, even of the old campy 90’s show (the star of which, John Wesley Shipp, appears as the current incarnation of the Flash’s father). I enjoyed the first season greatly, and it got off to a great start, with minimal throw-away one off episodes and a mysterious and compelling story arc. This season has honed the relationships that seemed weak, farcical or forced and has a tighter, more streamlined feel. The writing and plot progression feels perfectly paced and interesting to watch. I guess I could sum in it up with a word the Flash himself embodies: Movement.
Everything is moving. And not in a wasteful way. For instance, right before the hiatus, King Shark, arguably one of the most laughable Flash villains that could possibly appear in a TV show (Note: they used the Jaws theme and the font from the movie title to promo this episode, thus pre-empting eye rolling and owning their own campiness), escaped containment after being captured earlier this season and attacked Joe West’s (Barry Allen’s adopted father and police detective) as he, his daughter Iris (Barry’s can-never-be-realized love interest) as they were having dinner with Wally West (Joe’s long lost biological son who surfaced this season and as readers know, eventually becomes the Flash in the comics).
Now they could have had King Shark attack a bank or the lab that created him, but they didn’t do something so easy. They had him go after Flash’s loved ones at home, since he knows the Flash’s identity, and this served to move the plot forward by creating a barrier between Wally and Barry just as everyone was starting to get along. Wally was upset that Barry seemingly ran and hid from King Shark even though we know he showed up as Flash to save the day. This drives a wedge between Wally and our expectations of what he is to become (he even admits, as he describes his love for illegal street racing, that going fast is when he is really happy) because it distances him from Barry, Iris and Joe over the secret they all must keep about Barry’s true nature. This moves the plot forward, making the family dynamic more interesting, and getting us closer to how Wally (right now the weakest character on the show both in writing and acting in my opinion) might eventually get his speed. Is he going to spy on Barry, find something out and try to become a speedster? It gets the gears turning.
King Shark (whose CGI job is the worst on the show so far, but hey, it’s a freaking man-shark) is also the latest in a line of villains sent by this season’s big bad, Zoom, from Earth 2 (Earth’s parallel where everyone has a doppelganger, a plot device that has been expertly used over the course of this season), and we finally get a big reveal in this episode. Jay Garrick, the Flash from Earth 2, is killed by Zoom, who has now removed his mask and revealed himself to be…Jay Garrick! (Cue requisite thunderclap and villainous laugh). But, then does that mean he is the Jay Garrick from Earth 1? Another Earth? Is he a clone? Lots of questions to be answered.
Jay’s death hits Caitlin hard, as this is her second love interest to be killed, and Cisco (freshly returned from Earth 2 after facing his and Caitlin’s evil twins and learning more of the nature of his own precognitive powers) fears her bitterness and anger will transform her into her Earth 2 incarnation, Killer Frost. But even though he moves forward in learning about his own powers, instead of hiding his concerns for Caitlin, which he could have done for episode after episode and bored us all to death, confronts her right away and she tell him she just needs time to grieve and that she is no danger of turning evil. Now, she still could into Killer Frost (fingers crossed), but at least the issue of Caitlin’s sadness is addressed and not left to boringly fester for weeks ahead. See? Movement.
And then there is the Flash himself, who after a string of setbacks against metahumans, facing the weakness of his own doppelganger, losing Jay to Zoom and confronting his family over his experiences in Earth 2, finally picks up the pieces in a win against King Shark and closing all the portals to Earth 2 and is ready to move on past his perceived weakness, survivor guilt with Jay, and the confusion over his personal life that arose out of seeing how things might have played out for him in his experience on Earth 2. Though sometimes his whining could drone on during the season, he finally owns himself once again, and is ready to move forward. Movement.
Harrison Wells (Earth 2 version and possibly my favorite character on the show) is also ready to move. He has his daughter back from Zoom, which was his only goal at first, but now something else in him has opened. Since all the portals are closed and he has his family, he can finally be free to move forward and focus on being the man he needs himself to be. Now whether that man is good morally remains to be seen, and in the interest of my own entertainment I hope he still has a mean streak and some devious-ness to him, but at least within his own moral universe he is not consumed by recapturing his daughter at all times. And now that she is on team Flash, she could be a very interesting addition to the ensemble.
I’ve been very impressed with this season of the show and look forward to its return. I’m sure that those weeks will pass by in flash. (Had to do it.)