With the end of Arrow season 2 and the team-up of characters to fight the mirakuru soldiers I had a taste of an aspect I enjoyed so much about the ‘Young Justice’ animated series–the fighting together and the interplay, even if it wasn’t as fun as it could have been. I’m pretty new to these superhero worlds and I was unsure what to expect of The Flash as a character, but I was hopeful that he would be a good superhero to team-up and contrast with the Arrow crew, and it would be a series that would build the shared world.
I wasn’t disappointed. I’ve read views that The Flash is a little cheesy, and I think that’s fair. It has a lighter feel, but you know what? I don’t mind. It is a nice contrasting compliment to the gritty DC world that Arrow has given us. Superhero shows can’t and shouldn’t all be angst. Yeah, yeah, ‘with great power comes great responsibility’–but it can also be fun! He runs REALLY fricking fast. How cool is that. No more bus moaning for me. Even Arrow found his inner geek to appreciate that power. It says something of the creators that they have managed to deliver a different feeling world–they have plenty of daylight shooting for a start which is an instantly noticeable difference, and the crew are mainly younger and have that flippant exuberant youth vibe going for them and the humour, which usually is just Felicity’s domain in Arrow. The big plus for me is that episodes aren’t bogged down with flash-back scenes as the Arrow episodes often are.
The first episode did a nice job of establishing a hook for Barry Allen’s character. Perhaps more so than with Arrow. The young Oliver Queen was a douche, after all. Allen, being a victim, and suffering the loss of his mother is much more relatable straight out of the gate and does a nice job of setting up the overarching mystery for the season–or further. It does have a formulaic villain of the week format, but it’s a superhero show and that’s what I want and we should really expect–even with any relationship and character drama that occurs around it.
It may be formulaic, but it broke some tropes within it’s first half season–the secret identity side of The Flash is pretty much dispensed with (I didn’t expect Detective West to learn of his abilities in the first episode), which is ironic as he actually has a decent identity concealing costume and voice concealing ability. Barry’s secret love for Iris is out in the open between them too, and that’s something you could expect to be drawn out over the first couple of seasons. I was also surprised at Wells being revealed as–unless there’s a twist coming–the villain of the piece and potentially the murderer of Allen’s mother. Arrow gave us bad guys close to home, but there seemed to be a wider pool of characters to draw from for Arrow. Wells is the pivotal character for the S.T.A.R labs team and for him to potentially be the big bad means there could be some big changes for the crew and the comfy set-up is bound to be shaken. Whereas Arrow seems to play the long game in character development, The Flash could have a much more fluid pace in what is fed to the audience.
Caitlin and Cisco don’t seem to be characters in their own right at the moment and tend to just serve the plot, but Caitlin looks like she’s going to get a flammable-presumed-dead-fiance plot (yeah, that old trope… lol). I wonder if he might know some of Wells’ secrets? I’m betting he does. Iris is also underserved. I hope she’s not going to be the Laurel of the show and end up being the emotional punch bag. We’re only half-way in, but considering that each episode has a full runtime to develop the characters as it doesn’t have Arrow’s flashbacks it would have been nice to give these three more to work with. I think this makes the series feel a little shallow. Oh, and speaking of things being overlooked… Who the hell is looking after all those meta humans in the basement? I mean, do they cook for them? How do they get the food to them? That does seem to be something they’ve glossed over a little bit as though we’re not meant to think too hard about it…
The crossover episode was the highlight–and I don’t think that is a negative for The Flash. It actually established the Flash’s superhero credentials, planted him firmly in the same world and did a lot for Barry’s character. I know that we saw an extreme negative reaction from Barry regarding his love for Iris and his resentment for her boyfriend, Detective Thawne, really come to the fore, rather than having Barry just being a bit wet and letting Iris go her own way. It also showed how dangerous the Flash could be if he wasn’t the selfless hero and abused his powers for his own wants and gains. Not that we needed much of that with the Yellow Flash on a killing dash. It did give Felicity another superhero rebuff though, which sucked, but good for her in getting all the hot hero attention. Her work day is much easier on the eye than mine will ever be.
It feels there’s plenty to look forward to in the return of The Flash, West knowing something is up with Wells, the threat the Yellow Flash has made against Wells, and the inevitable(?) revelation of Wells’ not being the man that Cisco, Caitlin and Barry should have put their faith in, and that Wells could well have killed Barry’s mother. Which is going to be traumatic. If that’s the case, then Barry needs to take Wells alive and get a confession from him to save his father… Something tells me that’s not going to be so easy. I’m also not entirely sure things are as they seem. After all, Wells’ hidden lair and the finale had some timey-wimey stuff going on–nothing like time-travel to complicate things!
What have you thought of season 1 so far? It’s not back on the box in the UK yet, so no spoilers please!