Most The Flash reviews came out months ago, but who watches TV anymore? The show’s latest season recently hit Netflix and I obviously had to binge it. Here’s another look for all of you Netflixers.
Caution! Caution! Spoilers ahead!
The conclusion of the Scarlett Speedster’s third season was the definition of bittersweet. Barry Allen, the Flash, had finally defeated Savitar, the god of speed, and defied the future by saving his beloved Iris West in the process. But as quickly as the sighs of relief left our mouths, Barry was taken from us, forced to return to Speed Force in place of the now freed Jay Garrick. The Flash, through his tears (and mine), said his goodbyes, anointed Wally West as the new Flash, and joined his “mother,” Nora, in his new prison.
The Flash’s writers made us wait five WHOLE months to find out exactly what happened to our favorite speedster. Now that the latest season has been added to the popular streaming service, Netflix, us hardcore Flash fans have the opportunity to partake in our annual re-watch binge. If you haven’t watched The Flash and you’re a fan of superheroes, dude, escape the rock you’ve been living under and ask one of your friends for their account’s password.
Without Barry the show doesn’t have its legs, because he’s the Flash, get it? Cisco, Joe, Wally, and newly appointed team leader Iris are struggling without Barry. Thankfully they (and we) don’t have to wait long for his return.
This season is great, but the way the team brings Barry out of the Speed Force is lazily written. Cisco uses his Speed Force Bazooka to shoot a rubber ball that contains trace amounts of Barry’s DNA into the Speed Force to trick it into letting Barry out. I realize that the show is based on a man who can literally run back in time, but come on guys, that’s just unrealistic. Thankfully, it’s one of the only gripes I have.
Barry’s completely mental when he returns from the Speed Force, obsessed with writing strange symbols on every surface he can get his hands on. In true Barry-and-Iris fashion, Iris purposely gets herself kidnapped to snap her fiancé out of his craze. It works and the Flash is back and faster than ever!
If you’re a fan of comic books and the Flash this season’s big bad is even more exciting. Clifford DeVoe, or the Thinker, first appeared in All-Flash #12 and was created by Gardner Fox and E. E. Hibbard in 1943. He’s basically an old incredibly intelligent, incredibly cranky, professor who believes that technology is cancer upon humanity. Using that big brain Thinker creates a “thinking cap,” and with the help of the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator explosion (the same one that created the Flash), he amplifies his intelligence exponentially.
DeVoe is an incredible supervillain and plays much like Barry’s first nemesis Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash. DeVoe’s infinite intellect turns out to be just about as much as Barry and the team can handle. His ability to foresee every possible outcome and strategize accordingly creates a sense of hopelessness among the good guys that you can feel.
The Flash takes on metahumans with awe-inspiring powers all the time, but they pale in comparison to Thinker. Throughout the season DeVoe is able to steal the powers from a dozen metas created by Barry’s re-entry from the Speed Force.
So the team is basically up against a guy who can read minds, shrink and enlarge objects on a whim, amplify the gravitational pull on anything he wants, shatter rock with his voice alone, create an aura of bad luck wherever he goes, morph his body into any shape or person, and jump in and out of portals he creates to different dimensions. Oh, and DeVoe’s body becomes indestructible after he murders the newest member of Team Flash, Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man. On top of all of that, DeVoe’s incomprehensible intelligence allows him to maximize each power in ways that their original owners were never even aware of.
It’s a mouthful, but there’s a sense of what Barry’s up against this time. DeVoe ain’t your typical bad guy.
The season is filled with character development and the type of growth that makes you fall in love with these comic book-reboots. Barry and Iris learn how to work together after his six-month hiatus and finally get married! Joe and his girlfriend Cecile have a child, Cisco and Gypsy decide to go their separate ways, and Caitlyn learns to love her kick-ass alter-ego Killer Frost. Even Harry and his daughter Jesse Quick have a heart-to-heart about the deceased Mrs. Wells after Barry nearly saves them from death by nuke.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about Elongated man’s addition to the team at first, but Dibny grows on you. He starts off obnoxious, selfish, and un-heroic, but when Thinker abducts his body I realized that I was going to miss him. He returns in the last episode so we’ll get more Dibny one-liners and button-up shirts.
One side-plot that drove fans absolutely crazy was Barry’s stint as a convict. Thinker frames Barry for his murder after transferring his mind to a Meta named Dominic Lanse and Barry ends up in jail. This leads to four straight episodes of a wishy-washy, “how long will the Flash stay in his jail cell,” storyline that gets stale fast. Barry ending up in the same cell that his wrongly convicted father did was touching though.
The Flash learned how to be The Flash this season. While he ultimately still relies on his friends to help him save the day, as most superheroes do, the time he spent in the Speed Force turned him into the powerful guardian of Central City we’ve been waiting for. The team mentions that six-months in the Speed Force could be equivalent to hundreds of years in real time, so it makes sense. Part of that is the addition of a couple awesome new powers, like Flashtime, which gives him the ability to temporarily freeze time and disperse his speed to non-speedsters.
Season four leaves us with another huge cliffhanger. In the closing scenes, the strange woman who pops up a couple of times throughout the season reveals that she is, in fact, Barry and Iris’ daughter, Nora and that she’s messed up big time. We’ve all become familiar with how dangerous time-travel is for speedsters, but I hope that this isn’t Flashpoint Paradox all over again.
As a kid I used to use all of my allowances on comic books, binge-reading as many as I could get my hands on, dreaming for a day that I could watch what I was reading on a television screen. Netflix has given us the ability to watch hours and hours of our favorite superheroes and expanded a once nerd-saturated market to a form of mainstream entertainment. Seriously, if you haven’t given the Flash, the Arrow, or Legends of Tomorrow a chance, what are you waiting for?
Picture Credit: TvLine