I was happy to see there was a new episode of The Flash this week (for some reason I thought it started next week) because although it has its flaws, the superhero show is extremely consistent and fun to watch. One thing I have noticed is the show has been going away from the “villain-of-the-week” motif or at least putting less emphasis on it which may seem like a good thing but it isn’t quite working out yet.
This week, for example, had Plunder (Stephen Huszar), a serial bank robber with a fancy gun. He didn’t pose much of a threat and Team Flash handled him pretty easily with some extra help from Kid Flash. We knew Wally was going to get “called-up” eventually and it was nice to see it happen sooner rather than later. In his attempt to alter the timeline and save Iris from Savitar, Barry had Wally capture Plunder and take the glory. However, this brings me to my biggest complaint. With the focus shifting from random villains to the season-long story arc, you would think things would start to escalate. But instead, Barry’s constant problems with time travel are becoming just as repetitive and predictable. We saw it in season two and now it has taken up the entirety of season three and at this point, it’s starting to seem lazy.
How many times has time travel been used in movies and television? And, how many of those times are characters forced to wrestle with the idea of whether it’s smart to change things to potentially help themselves in the present? At some point that story gets old and it would be nice to see some creativity. The worst part is there is really only two possible outcomes for the season at this point. Either Team Flash can alter events and change the future, or Barry will be forced to speed things out with Savitar to save Iris. Neither of those screams exciting to me.
However, just because the larger story isn’t very exciting at this point, doesn’t mean individual episodes aren’t appealing. The main reason for this is the great chemistry Team Flash has amongst each other. Between Barry and Wally, Cisco and H.R., and Julian and the whole team, this week saw relationships continue to grow. One of my favorite parts of the episode revolved around H.R. trying to open a STAR Labs museum fit with a holographic Cisco. I loved seeing Cisco finally give in to one of H.R.’s wacky ideas and embrace him for who he is. Similarly, Julian is now a member of Team Flash and even made an appearance at Barry and Iris’s housewarming party. Part of me, however, still doesn’t trust him but that could just be from Tom Felton’s villainous past. And even Barry made a right decision for once by telling Iris about her potential future sooner rather than later. Is this finally a sign of growth from Barry?
After a month of waiting, I expected The Flash to come out of its winter break with more of a bang. This week did end on a cliffhanger that saw a mysterious woman come through a portal carrying a picture of H.R. so it will be interesting to see where that leads. And while the story might be a bit stale right now, The Flash is still very entertaining and one of the best superhero shows out there right now. And who knows, I could be totally wrong about the direction the story is headed which would make for a pleasant and entertaining surprise.