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The Flash Season 3 – What went wrong?

  • May 29, 2017

This season was all about Barry not giving into his dark side. We ended up with a lot of Barry not doing stuff. Too many situations came down to Barry not giving in and taking the easy way out of an impossible situation. Each of these weighed him down more and more.

There were attempts throughout to make lighten things up, but over and over, these plot points ended up being one-step-forward-two-steps-back.

Even the big mid-season crossover between the shows played into this. The Legends of Tomorrow team found a recording from Future Barry Allen telling them not to trust Barry Allen, throwing Team Flash’s trust of Allen into question. What was supposed to be an exciting crossover was dragged down by the Tears of Barry Allen.

Even Arrow managed to, with all its darkness, still be more positive than Flash.

And then despite all of the time Barry spent suffering for his actions at the beginning of the season, we didn’t actually get any catharsis for all this darkness. With Savitar defeated, Barry and Iris sat down on the couch, only to have the Speed Force itself launch an all-out attack on the city because Barry still needed to be punished harder. The season ends with Barry stepping into the Speed Force, supposedly taking his medicine, to save the world with his sacrifice.

And again, these are stakes the show cannot make good on.

Barry Allen and Grant Gustin are the star of the show, literally. The Flash can’t survive for very long without the Flash. Kid Flash and Jesse Quick are not substitutes for him in terms of character or the ability to carry the show, even if the characters can do what Flash can do. Where Flashpoint was setting up a potential season of fun that it ended up not being able to make good on, this season finale cliffhanger is setting up consequences that it’s going to have to roll back in just a few months when the show starts. These are shackles with no weight, no lock.

The only characters that really went anywhere new were H.R. Wells and Caitlin Snow.

H.R. started out as a goofball. The character loves drama and excitement and flourish. Though he was initially annoying, he found a working place within the team that made him a character that both we and the other characters on the show could appreciate and accept. When he jumped in the way of Savitar’s blade, I felt it. It was the perfect way for that character to go out. A noble, heroic sacrifice right in front of everyone. It was a total payoff to everything he’d done throughout the season. It was theatrical, deceptive, and beautiful.

Caitlin had a similar sort of evil hanging over her that Barry did, but instead of wondering if she would give in, we were allowed to wonder if she would be able to climb back out of it. The character is just enough of a main cast member and just enough of a side character that we had no way to know what the story would do with her. Would she be taken by her powers? Would she return to the team and the status quo? Neither, actually. This was one of the high points of the finale.

Instead of forcing the cure on her, Cisco gave her the option, and while she didn’t take the cure, she did take the option itself. Knowing she didn’t have to be Killer Frost showed Caitlin that she could be who she wanted. She embraced her abilities and decided, instead of either of the obvious options, to just be herself, and figure out what herself was going to be. Finally, Caitlin Snow got a character arc that was about her from end to end, and it finished off in a way that stayed true to that.

The Flash has a lot of work to do in season 4.

The writers need to stop betraying Barry. They’ve promised season 4 won’t be about another speedster, but it could be too late at this point. They need to stop putting up stakes they can’t make good on. They need to stop putting the members of his team at risk and instead put him in danger. It never feels like Barry is in danger. The continual use of his friends and family as hostages feels cheap, and it gets exhausting. The writers need to use the show’s cast of characters as a source of strength, not betrayal and heartbreak.

And most importantly, they need to dry Barry’s face off. No more tears.


Article source: https://www.technobuffalo.com/2017/05/29/flash-season-3-review/

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