So The Flashs’ debut season has coame to an end, the CWs’ highest rated premiere and one of the CWs’ most entertaining shows to date, season 1 has been a thrilling ride from start to finish, giving an iconic DC hero a great starting point, spinning off from Arrow showing how he got his powers, how he lives his day to day life. How he gets used to his powers and learns how to manage his new life as The Flash and how he helps to save his city, fighting against a batch of meta-humans, people changed into super powered beings by ‘Dr Harrison Wells’, particle accelerator experiment, who we know to be Eobard Thawne, but didn’t know from the start.
The whole running mystery over Wells and the guessing game as to who he really was and to who the Reverse Flash was, was fantastic, the driving force of the whole season with Barry remembering two Flashes’ the night his mother died, with his father being the prime suspect and locked up for his mothers murder. And Tom Cavanagh really delivered this season, he was trustworthy, dodgy, slightly menacing but someone you can believe and he was just great as Wells/Thawne, on par with Grant Gustin as Barry in my opinion, they’re the two MVPs’ of the show but on the show ironically Wells has always had the upper hand.
First of all – themes and tone, The Flash is excellently balanced between light and dark with a great roster of characters, comic relief but of course darker moments with Barrys’ mom being murdered, the lives of ordinary people changed forever by the particle accelerator ‘accident’ and so on. But the show is generally lighter tone and it’s a welcome, I don’t want to say break because I enjoy Arrow and don’t need a break from it but it’s a nice alternative to Arrows’ generally bleak, gritty portrayal. Characters play a big part in this, Grant as The Flash is fantastic, he epitomizes how you would imagine Barry Allen starting out as The Flash to be, he’s a bit insecure, slightly awkward but ultimately a very moral and good person and he plays off really with the also main characters, Cisco, Caitlin, Joe West, Iris West and Eddie Thawne.
Eobard Thawne was also a big part of Barrys’ life and was a big influence for him of course, before the revelation, the other characters are really portrayed well and the meta-human of the week feel to a lot of the season worked for me, it was fun and enjoyable to see Barry try and fail, learning new things to do with his powers. And while that set up did feel a bit predictable, it was fun to watch, things got better as the season went on and the 2nd half of the season strayed away from the procedural formula, introducing time travel, setting up long term villains.revealing who the Reverse Flash was and setting up the inevitable conclusion for that story arc. The villains are a big part of the show and for every not so great meta-human villain, you have the big hitters in Grodd, Leonard Snart/Captain Cold, his sister, Heatwave and of course Reverse Flash and Wentworth Miller steals the show as Captain Cold for me, bringing a theatric but very fun performance and he’s a great villain in general.
The villains in part helped to make The Flash great as a show but to also literally make the Flash better and stronger as a hero, as did Eobard Thawne, driving along the plot but also driving him to be better and some notable villains that were quite fun to watch were Mark Hamill as the Trickster and the new Trickster, Eddies’ childhood bully, Metroplex and Grodd. And now onto relationships, also a big part of the story, Barrys’ and Iris’ relationship is complicated, with Barry having a thing for her but with Iris being with Eddy, it’s a classic tale of unrequited love but it was fun to watch, though I did want Barry to just move on and get with someone else. Which he did… but not for long, Iris and Eddies’ relationship is also complicated, with the future and Eobard being involved so yeah, love doesn’t exactly prevail in season 1 but it played its’ part.
Barrys’ relationships with others was a central sort of theme to it all, with Joe West, his adopted father who essentially raised him in the absence of his mother and father, leading to him becoming so close with Iris, he plays off really well with Joe and it’s not all smiles for them either, with them being at each other a few times through the season. Barry and his fathers relationship as well is important with Barry wanting to clear his fathers’ name and get him out of prison, while Barry an Eobard Thawne/Wells relationship is also important, it’s interesting to compare the three connections as Barry looked up to and was influenced by all three men. They all helped him become a better Flash as time went on but he also openly defied all of them at some point which was important in the context of Barry becoming a man, making decisions for himself and acting in a way he saw as morally right, even if it went against other peoples’ principles.
The Flash is a very fast paced show, no pun intended but it did burn through meta-humans and Barry learning his new abilities, a criticism of the season I’ve seen online as people think the show introduced major villains way too quickly and just went through plot arcs too quickly but the Wells/Reverse Flash plot was a season long plot in the end and somewhat concluded in the finale. And I don’t think criticizing a debut season for being too eventful is fair, the show is finding its’ audience and seeing what works and has to quickly get viewers used to the main characters and the setting, so things need to happen fairly quickly and we know characters like Grodd, Captain Cold, Heatwave and Firestorm will be back in the future anyway.
Where the show goes from now is interesting though, with that finale, Eddie seeming to die and Eobard being wiped from existence, the wormhole opens a whole swathe of opportunities for time travel and a load of new characters related to The Flash, as well as other Flashes. Though we’ll have to wait and see if the show wants to introduce other Flashes yet, we could see them as normal characters, though seeing the Jay Garrick (original Flash) referenced was cool, as was seeing a glimpse of Caitlyn as Killer Frost, the finale was a great emotional payoff and a great send off to an equally satisfying and entertaining overall season.