The Flash

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After showcasing the heroes of Central City fighting without their friend, “The Flash Reborn” mainly deals with Cisco‘s (Carlos Valdes) plan to pull Barry (Grant Gustin) out of the Speed Force and get the show back to something resembling the status quo by the end of the season premiere. It takes most of the episode, but Barry is back in action just in time to save Iris (Candice Patton) from a Samuriod… even if his return isn’t without it’s issues. While I appreciate the idea that Iris putting herself in danger is the shock necessary to push Barry out of his Speed Force fugue state, the episode races through the important moment later in the running time than necessary in order to get Barry back among his friends just in time for the credits to roll.

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IF THE FLASH WAS HONEST

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the-flash-season-3-blu-rayWhile the Third Season of The Flash feels a bit too familiar with the introduction of yet another evil speedster, the show does provide several memorable moments including a dark turn for Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), the death of a major character, a musical crossover episode featuring Supergirl (Melissa Benoist), and the shake-up of The Flash’s world following his Flashpoint adventure. There are a few clunkers here, but when it’s good The Flash can be awfully good.

Other highlights include a fun Christmas episode, characters dealing with the complexity of what Savitar is, a trip into the future, the season finale, meta-humans altered by Doctor Alchemy to match characters from the Flashpoint reality, Jesse Quick racing into action, the Invasion crossover, the two-part return of Grodd, the introduction of Gypsy (Jessica Camacho), and the first appearance of a classic Flash villain.

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Framed for murder by the Ninth Circle, Oliver Queen hits the road to prove his innocence. This leaves Seattle in the capable hands of Ollie’s friends. Taking its name from Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams’ famous run (minus the social commentary), part one of “Hard Traveling Hero” catches up to Green Arrow on the road where his investigation crosses paths with another member of the Justice League: the Flash.

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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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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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