The Flash

the-flash-finish-line

Immediately following Savitar killing Iris (Candice Patton), the Third Season finale opens with a big twist, and it won’t be the episode’s last. The good news for Team Flash is that Iris is alive and Savitar’s plan has failed. The good news for the show is a tremendous weight has been lifted off of Barry‘s (Grant Gustin) shoulders and we see a more hopeful and less brooding version of the character throughout the episode, even in the face of an emotional sacrifice to close out the episode. There’s a calm to Barry we haven’t seen in quite some time which serves both the character and the season finale well. Let’s hope this continues in to next season.

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the-flash-infante-street

Despite Barry Allen‘s (Grant Gustin) initial belief that he could rewrite the future he glimpsed months ago, much of the Third Season of The Flash has had a hopeless vibe (so to speak). “Infantino Street” is the inevitable conclusion of these events. The day of Iris‘ (Candice Patton) death finally arrives, and despite bringing in Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) for a theft inside A.R.G.U.S., the existence of the speed bazooka, and Barry refusing to learn too much about his friend’s plan to stop Savitar, he episode never sells us on the idea that Iris has any chance of walking out alive. Because of this the episode’s final scene is anti-climactic, especially after giving us the return of both Captain Cold and King Shark before seemingly going through the motions concerning the fate of Barry’s fiance.

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the-flash-cause-and-effect

“Cause and Effect” offers an explanation for last week’s reveal that Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) is Savitar. It turns out he is and he isn’t. The Barry inside the Savitar armor is a remnant, a speed duplicate left over from one of the Flash’s fights against Savitar years from now. I still think there were more interesting options for the villain’s true identity, but this at least adds some context to the reveal and help explain how a version of Barry (a flawed duplicate created during a time of hopelessness) might become a super-villain.

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the-flash-i-know-who-you-are

In an episode primarily focused on Team Flash trying to keep Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker) from killing the scientist (Anne Dudek) who will one day create a way to trap Savitar in the Speed Force, “I Know Who Are” also delivers the long-awaited reveal of the identity of the season’s big bad. It’s somewhat less impressive than intended. Over the months since the character’s initial appearance there have been many theories about just who is under that armor and what his true motivations are. I never liked the theory of Savitar being an older version of Barry (Grant Gustin) where other more interesting options were available. However, that seems what we’re stuck with. Of course by with the big reveal the show does open a major plot hole. If Barry truly wants to keep his love safe from harm he can make the same sacrifice Eddie made back in the show’s First Season making it impossible for an older version of himself to kill Iris (Candice Patton).

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batman-2015-21-reverse

It’s been almost a years since DC Rebirth #1 relaunched the DCU, retconned a big chunk of the New 52 as the work of a super-villain, and teased a connection behind the entire chain of events to one of the best comic series ever written. Since then DC’s been pretty quiet on the subject for the most part, at least until now. It seems it’s time for the Dark Knight Detective and the Scarlet Speedster to search for the truth.

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the-flash-abra-kadabra

As expected after last week’s musical crossover, The Flash falls back into the Savitar storyline. Thankfully, rather than just having the heroes pound their heads against a wall as they have since the character’s reveal, the episode does offer the first appearance of another classic Flash villain in Abra Kadabra (David Dastmalchian). While perhaps not quite as wacky the original Silver Age comic version, this futuristic villain is a welcome change from the glut of speedsters the show seems intent on trotting out (and softens the drop-off from the season’s best episode to business as usual). A time-traveler from the 64th Century, Abra Kadabra has technology so advanced it appears as magic to those of us stuck in the 21st Century. Of course, it helps that the man puts on a show with his antics that further plays into the act.

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the-flash-duet

“Duet” made me angry. Not because the musical episode failed to impress. No, the episode infuriated me because this is what I want from both Supergirl and The Flash and somehow you just know the writers of both shows will ignore all that works here as each show gets stuck back in the grim and grittiness of its current storylines. “Duet” is what I want both shows to be: bright, fun, energetic, and hopeful. This shouldn’t be a standout. This should be the bar both shows attempt to reach every single week. This year Supergirl has been more successful than The Flash in the regard, but both have struggled juggling darker themes and unnecessarily convoluted relationship drama getting in the way of the fun. I’m not saying never get serious, but embrace more zany hopeful storylines so that when you do need to take a serious moment it will have all the more impact (as opposed to episodes of moping or acting like a dick for weeks at a time to those who love and rely on you).

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the-flash-into-the-speed-force-1

“Into the Speed Force” feels like one of those episodes we should learn something from… but I’m not sure exactly what that’s supposed to be. While the episode works well enough on its own I’m also a disheartened by the show’s stubbornness to continue to run from Barry (Grant Gustin) as a hopeful hero and continue down a more lonely path. Like him or not, since getting his speed Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) has been able to embody the exuberance Barry used to enjoy as the Flash (before he became a dick to everyone he loves). The conclusion of the episode seems to be to put Barry on the path to being a better speedster, but the show might be better served if it concentrated on making him a better man.

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the-wrath-of-savitar

Following the two-parter featuring Grodd and his army of apes, The Flash falls back into some bad habits I had hoped were behind the series this season. The return of Savitar means the return of dickish Barry (Grant Gustin). After somehow viewing the scene of the future without Barry and his memories, Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) blurting out a questionable conclusion puts Barry and Iris (Candice Patton) back three steps from last week’s engagement. And the team’s insensitive use of Julian (Tom Felton) puts strain on his burgeoning relationship with Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker). Oh, and Caitlin reveals she’s put everyone’s lives in danger for weeks by hiding a powerful relic in the lab. Seriously, did Grodd mindfuck these people while I wasn’t looking because they are all pretty much acting like bad (and dumb) examples of themselves for the entire episode.

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the-flash-attack-on-central-city-1

Barry‘s (Grant Gustin) joy at stopping Grodd (David Sobolov) and preventing an ape attack on Central City is short-lived as the follow-up to last week’s “Attack on Gorilla City” brings Grodd and his army of gorillas to Earth-1. Mind-controlling Gypsy (Jessica Camacho), Grodd is able to bring his entire army over (and somehow hide a large group of armor-covered apes from prying eyes for nearly the entire episode). Fearful both of an attack on the city he’s not sure they can stop, and more of Iris‘ (Candice Patton) future coming true, Barry considers the possibility of putting Grodd down, for good.

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