“Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of “The Flash.” To catch up on previous coverage, click here.
“You’re not the Arrow. That’s not the hero you are.”
As the first season of The Flash has progressed, much time has been spent comparing it to its counterpart, Arrow, and for good reason. Both derived from the same showrunners, both are from the same comic book universe, and they’re both crossed in and out of one another’s series when convenient. However, what’s made The Flash so enjoyable from the get-go has been how excited Barry was to be a hero, how genuinely good he is and the tone of the show adopting a lighter setting compared to Arrow. It’s this reason that makes Barry’s excursion over to grayer areas more interesting. He’s not enlisting Captain Cold’s help because he thinks it’s the good thing to do or the right thing to do; he’s doing it because he believes it’s the only thing he can do to save the lives he believes he’s helped endangered. He acts recklessly because he’s put into a desperate situation, and it’s good to see our hero stumble and make mistakes. He’s young and he’s new to this. Taking away the flaws and missteps would simply render him uninteresting. Despite his powers, he’s human and it’s what makes his deal with Captain Cold and then the Golden Glider make sense as a viewer. Sure, Joe is obviously the voice of reason, but how is Barry supposed to see reason when the Man in Yellow is taunting him, always–as he puts it–a thousand steps ahead.
Also, any excuse for Wentworth Miller to show up onscreen as Captain Cold once again is a treat, and Miller continues to rival Carlos Valdes as the season’s secret weapon. He gets the tone, he chews it up, and he makes the character his own.
The problem in the second to last episode of the season is a doozy. The team discovers that not only has Wells been hiding Eddie right in front of them underneath Star Labs, he’s also been rebuilding the accelerator for nefarious purposes no doubt. This would wipe out all of the meta-humans they’ve been illegally keeping there and must strike up a plan to remove them. The plan is to transport them to Oliver’s island of baddies but need a way to clear a path to get them to the Argus drop-off point. Joe speaks to a Defense Attorney who gives a refreshingly, resounding no, and Barry can’t get in touch with Oliver. Barry gets desperate and reaches out to Cold, using him as backup in case anything goes array. To make the deal, Barry must destroy any trace of Cold in the police files. Much to Joe’s chagrin, he goes along with the plan, believing he’s locked in an ally.
He was of course wrong.
Captain Cold betrays him because it’s in his nature, and by saving the meta-humans, they now owe him. Goodbye Snart, I think I’ll miss you most of all. (Until the spin-off of course.)
Off in B plot land, Iris is yet again jilted of any real screen-time as she deals with Eddie, who’s calling off their relationship. It’s a sad scene, but it’s one that leaves no loose ends. I wish I could have seen more of it rather than getting a brief sequence that seemed oddly inserted into the middle of a climbing action piece.
Barry meanwhile is dealing with the fallout of being double crossed by Captain Cold as Joe gives him his pep talk. Barry talks about how he’d seen Oliver fight and do what he believes is right despite the consequences and it simply didn’t work for him. The Flash isn’t meant to be a character who manipulates or wrongs; he’s joyful and enthusiastic and most importantly, good, which makes the tragedy he’s endured all the more affecting. Oliver’s growth is to reconcile who is now with who he was in his past and what the makes him while Barry’s is to take his pain, face it and come out the other end the same good person he was before.
Well’s shows up in the episode’s closing minutes to taunt the Star Labs team and we get our All Star team up we’ve seen so much of in the promos.
For like five minutes.
By the end of this week’s penultimate episode of The Flash, there was a part of me thinking “that’s it?”
Granted, that’s a ridiculous thought considering just how much the show managed to squeeze into the hour. For the most part the episode is wall-to-wall plot developments and action, hardly giving the characters a moment to breathe; as should be the case with the threat they’re up against. It’s just that the ending team up between the Arrow, Firestorm and the Flash was so cool that I wish we had gotten more time dedicated to it. Equally annoying was just how fast it was over between the three of them and Wells. Sure, three against one is going to put Barry on a steadier setting but no part of me believes that Wells would be contained so easily. I’m hoping (assuming) that he will play a larger part in the season’s finale next week but given Tom Cavanagh’s performance at the end of the episode that was equal parts cunning, delighted and eerie I would have liked to see more of it.
I can’t believe we only have one episode left!
This has been a great run so far, and the show has built itself up to a degree that even at the end of a strong episode such as this that puts every player in place, amps up the stakes and shakes up expectations, I still wished for more. The show continues to surprise me, and I can’t wait to see what it has planned for its last hour.