Since October last year, this has been coming, the end of one of the best shows on television in the last five years. Something that a lot of people hoped would be great, but doubted would actually get to that stage. But CW’s The Flash beat pretty much every expectation that fans had of it. It breezed by, changed the landscape, and maintained one hell of a consistency week after week. Sure, there were the occasional silly things such as the Bug-Eyed Bandit and what not, but by and large, and for me at least, The Flash was so much better of a show than Arrow, and I don’t say that lightly.
In episodes 21 through 23 (“Grodd Lives“, “Rogue Air“, and, “Fast Enough“), we see some of the most incredible moments of the show as yet. The first of those is pretty obvious. Gorilla Grodd was hinted at as being a villain on the show since the pilot and much of my fascination with the show was because of that expectation, which this episode met in a really great way and did justice to one of my favourite villains from the DC verse. The second switched things around a bit when Barry got Snart and his gang involved in his fight against Harrison Wells, with some truly tragic results, but which also solidified his moralities. And then, and then we have the finale from last night, which was beyond incredible. I had such huge expectations from the finale, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. It was what fans needed and deserved after a season’s worth of trust and promise.
Note: This review contains some major spoilers for all three episodes, though I’ll try to keep things simple for the finale.
Two episodes back The Flash finally addressed the question of whether Barry would get to time travel or not when he accidentally went back in time for about a day, and then ended up repeating that day (to a degree). The writers also did well in addressing the notion of what happens when you time travel, how you do it, and what the consequences can be. Of course, the time travel was important in more ways than one since in the “repeat” events unfolded in a manner conducive to Dr. Wells not killing Cisco, so that was a thumbs-up in my eyes. Some of the other things though, well, they really didn’t sit well with me.
And the two most recent episodes, “Tricksters” and “All Star Team Up” haven’t really done much to address those issues. If anything, things have kind of gotten worse, at least as far as Iris and her relationship with everyone is concerned. In last week’s episode we saw the amazing Mark Hamill return to the franchise as the Trickster, though now aged and past his prime when the CCPD gets him to consult on a case that ties into his legacy. Suffice to say, it was an explosive episode in the way that only an episode with the Trickster can be. And in this week’s episode, we saw yet another crossover with Arrow when Ray Palmer and Felicity arrive in Central City to consult with the STAR Labs team on Ray’s suit, and all sorts of hilarious shenanigans follow, including one of the most… well, weird villains the show has had to date.
The Flash last week ended on a pretty exciting note: Barry doing some real time travel finally, amid a whole host of other complications for the scarlet speedster that leave him in some of the most complicated situations of his life as a superhero. With all that happened in last week’s episode, what I wanted out of the episode this week was to go big and go explosive because it is a pretty big freaking moment for everyone involved on the show, and the trip getting there was certainly one to talk about and go home to.
In this week’s episode, “Rogue Time“, we have the consequences of Barry time-traveling as he did. Like I said, it was a pretty big moment, with him going back in time almost an entire day, and this episode lays out just what that is going to cost him in the long run. For one, though Cisco doesn’t die in the “new” day, and Barry is able to ensure that Mark Mardon is caught well in time, the Rogues are back in town and they make life hell for Barry. And all the complications of time travel mean that it is not just Barry’s superhero life that is affected, but also is his personal life, especially his relationships to two other characters.
Note: This review contains some major spoilers about this episode.
There haven’t been any “Comics Picks of the Week” articles for a while, and the major reason for that is because I’ve just been too caught up with other stuff and I just can’t be… well bothered. It just takes too much out of my time to keep these titles going, especially when Wednesdays also see me trying to get through two TV shows and doing reviews for them. Though, that situation has kind of abated now.
Anyway, this week’s surprise hits were Batman: Arkham Knight #2 and Gotham Central Book 1 from DC. It was a relatively small week for me since I didn’t read all that many new titles and most of those were middling. Ongoing greats were Django/Zorro #4, John Carter: Warlord of Mars #4, Fantastic Four #643 , Inhuman #12, Aquaman #39 , Catwoman #39 , and He-Man: The Eternity War #3 among others .
About 10 days ago, news hit the web that CW had finally gone ahead and renewed The Flash for a second season, and to go along with that we also learned that Arrow had been renewed for a fourth season. Phenomenal stuff. With all the new records that The Flash has set and with all the continuous positive buzz it has generated since the start, this was inevitable, but it is also great to see that the higher-ups also fully believe in the show. And well they should, because the first nine episodes were an awesome rollercoaster ride and the mid-season finale was totally awesome, by any metric you care to measure it by.
It is time for the mid-season premiere though, and Revenge of the Rogues has all the right feels for an episode that brings back a previous villain, and also introduces a new one, while also moving several other stories forward simultaneously and setting up yet more surprises for future episodes. In the wake of learning about the Man In The Yellow Suit, Barry has been working himself hard to up his abilities, to run faster, move faster, think faster. The Reverse-Flash showed him up again and again, and for their next confrontation, Barry wants to be ready. But when Captain Cold returns, this time with his friend and partner Heat Wave in tow, that’s when the show takes a huge step up to show that Barry Allen is every bit the same kind of guy we saw in the first episode, and that despite everything he has seen and done since his transformation, there are things about him that haven’t changed.
Drawing parallels between Smallville and The Flash is quite inevitable. Both shows have focused on some of DC’s most iconic characters, and they’ve done it in a way that often stays true to the spirit of the comics, though Smallville tended to play a lot with how the characters and events could be turned to fit in the mentality of a show that was about Clark Kent as a teenager in high school and later on, before he ever became Superman. Though only four episodes in as of this week, The Flash has not disappointed me at all with its promise of bringing Barry Allen and his incredibly rogues gallery and that’s what the new episode is really all about.
One of the coolest things to happen in the lead-up to The Flash was the casting of Wentworth Miller as Captain Cold aka Leonard Snart. He is one of Barry’s most iconic villains and has enjoyed a certain resurgent notoriety in recent years thanks to DC’s New 52 reboot, which brought him and his gang, the Rogues, together again. This week’s “Going Rogue” is the origin story of Leonard Snart’s transformation into Captain Cold and it is, by far, the best episode of the show in the entire month it has been on air. With a guest spot by Arrow‘s Felicity Smoak, Going Rogue was an amazing episode that sets up a lot of future stories and also provides for some great character moments.