Mid-Season Reflections on The Flash

28 Dec

Stewart here…

(Spoilers for the season so far follow…)

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For those of you following my A&V Stimuli blog, you probably know I’ve been recapping Flash over there. But not to unintentionally leave you loyal NerdLush readers out of the loop, I thought it’d be fun to discuss my thoughts on the show so far here. Like my previous SHIELD post, let’s look at the good and bad that has come out of the last nine episodes. First, the good:

The Flash has fun. Unlike sister show Arrow, the Flash here is a hero who enjoys what he can do, and isn’t afraid to show off doing it. And keep in mind, this is all while dealing with some dark stuff, like his mom being killed by a mystery speedster, and his dad going to jail for the crime. And that enthusiasm Barry has in being a hero makes for a more lively and fun superhero show as a result. Considering all the mopey protagonists on TV right now (superhero shows especially these days), Barry’s a breath of fresh air.

The misfits of science. While the STAR Labs team of Dr. Wells, Caitlin, and Cisco weren’t my favorite part of the pilot episode, the episodes since have made them a welcome part of things. Sure this does fall into Oliver Queen having a good support team, but the Misfits, as I call them, come up organically and faster than Arrow developed its core group. And already, we’re seeing some nice differences between Team Flash and Team Arrow, with Wells being way more duplicitous than we’ve been lead to believe (and possibly the killer of Barry’s mom?) and our other two docs having troubles of their own (Caitlin’s not dead but changed fiancé, Cisco’s pet project of a ice gun to stop the Flash if he ever went bad). And as their workplace is next to a makeshift superjail, things look interesting for the docs going into the rest of the season.

The West clan. Speaking of normals, Joe and Iris West are fun grounding for The Flash’s high-speed exploits. Barry being a surrogate son for Joe is a wonderful card for the show to play (certainly one of the less dysfunctional mentor/student relationships on TV), and his crush on Iris (and her crush on Barry’s alter ego) adds some romantic tension to things. Now with Joe being intimately locked into finding that evil yellow Flash and Iris being aware of Barry’s feelings (while still dating her dad’s partner), things are looking good for more drama with Barry’s surrogate family.

It's the Whizzer!

It’s the Whizzer!

Villains. Arrow was a little resistant in going in with all out comic book villains early on, but The Flash jumped into the deep end of that pool from episode one. While there have been some interesting villains in the early episodes (the multiple man), now the villains are getting really interesting, like “Captain Cold” (and the promise of the Flash’s fabled Rogues gallery coming to life very soon) and the mysterious evil Reverse Flash taking us out of 2014. Although the villains have been one of the more hit or miss parts of the season, it hasn’t been such a heavy miss that I’m worried on this point at all.

Comic Book Easter Eggs Galore! Boy, The Flash also took a jump into the deep end of another pool: referencing the comic universe of which it came from. Besides the villains, its almost a fun game to see how many classic comic references pop up in every game. It’s to be expected in a show based on a character like this that there will some references, but Flash goes further than any comic book TV show out there. I mean, what Flash fan didn’t wig out thinking that one day we may get Gorilla Grodd in a future episode?

Remember that other Flash show? You would think the TV powers that be would just avoid mentioning or paying homage to the 90’s TV show (or at least refer to it in jest) in this new incarnation, but that hasn’t been the case. With TV’s original Flash playing Barry’s wrongfully imprisoned dad and Tina McGee as…well, Tina McGee (kind of), there are some tributes to one of the first superhero shows. And hey, another noteworthy character from that show is rumored to be stopping by with a few tricks of his own….hint hint…

And now, the small amount of bad:

We Can Leave Team Arrow Behind (For Now). While it made sense for Flash to be as connected as it was to Arrow starting out, I’m starting to feel the need to cut loose of visitors from Starling City for the time being. Yes, that connectivity between both shows lead to one of my favorite TV crossover events in ages, but I’m hoping this is done sparingly for now. The Flash has done well establishing its own kind of identity and mood from the show it spun-off from, and right now, is going to be just fine (not just ratings-wise) on its own.

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The Flash saves pedestrians, but don’t trust him to deliver your pizza. Seriously, he’s got a super-metabolism. That he doesn’t look like a blurry Jabba the Hutt is a miracle unto itself.

So, what do you think about The Flash, readers? Looking forward to its return this January? What is really going on with that yellow blur? Drop a comment or two below…

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