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The Flash Discussion Post

Last night was the season finale of The Flash. I’ve enjoyed this show a lot, in part for its sense of fun, its wholehearted embrace of comic book tropes, the relationship between Barry and Joe, and of course, Tom Cavanagh.

At the same time, the writing has sometimes been a bit clunky, and the overall track record with female characters is rather poor. (With that said, things improved greatly for Iris’ character in the last few episodes.)

HERE THERE BE SPOILERS

Flash Helmet

I was disappointed in the penultimate episode last week. The whole “enlist Captain Cold’s help to move the metahumans” storyline was…dumb. Just dumb. If you can gas the prisoners to knock them unconscious, can’t you set up an IV to keep them unconscious long enough to get them to the Secret Island? (I’m glad they finally addressed the whole Secret Prison thing, though!)

This was one of many problems … but then we got the showdown we’ve been waiting for between the Reverse Flash and The Flash. Plus Green Arrow and Firestorm. There were a few questionable parts in that battle as well, but some good moments too, and it was really damn satisfying to see the Reverse Flash get taken out. Even though you’re wondering the whole time if getting captured was all part of the plan.

And that brings us to the finale. Barry can go back in time and save his mother, and send Eobard Thawne Back to the Future. But at what cost?

Much of the episode was surprisingly quiet as Barry anguishes over an impossible question. He reaches out to Joe, to his father, to Iris … whether or not you agree with his decision to go back in time, you felt his struggle to find the right answer. And then to have future-Flash tell him no … to see Barry hold himself back, and then that conversation with his dying mother?

Right in the feels

And while I’m looking at a pic of Tom Cavanagh, can we get a round of applause for this man’s acting chops? I loved his portrayal of Harrison Wells/Eobard Thawne/Reverse Flash this season. I loved the charisma he brought to the role of such a brilliant and sociopathic supervillain. You know he can’t be trusted, and you know when he’s talking about how fond he’s become of everyone, how he loves them, he’ll still kill them in a heartbeat if he has to. It leaves me wondering if the character actually believes he cares about these people?

But then when Barry comes back and busts up the time machine, it’s full-bore kill-em-all Reverse Flash, and he’s still too fast and experienced for Barry to beat him.

And so Eddie shoots himself. I’d wondered if that was where they were going from the moment they revealed Eddie to be Eobard’s ancestor, and I’m disappointed it came to pass. I’m wondering why Eddie didn’t just shoot the Reverse Flash while he was preoccupied with beating the crap out of Barry. (“Because he’s fast enough to catch or dodge bullets.” “Except he didn’t catch or dodge an arrow in the last episode.” “Shut up.”)

I still thought it was a good ending. Not a great one, maybe, but good. Eddie seemed to be at peace, which was nice to see.

And then the random singularity of paradoxical WTF shows up, and Barry decides to run into it and try to counter a freaking black hole by running in the opposite direction like it’s an oversized tornado, and my suspension of disbelief throws up its hands in disgust. Because no. Just no. I’m going to pretend the show ended a minute or so earlier.

Other thoughts:

  • Lots of nice Easter Eggs, particularly in the wormhole. (It’s worth slowing it down to see the different shots.)
  • They’ve certainly opened up a lot of possibilities for season two, haven’t they.
  • “So long and thanks for all the fish!” :-)
  • Cisco is officially a metahuman. Cool!

What did you think?

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
axsister
May. 20th, 2015 06:39 pm (UTC)
I had issues with paradox (to be fair I almost always do). If Eddie shooting himself erases Eobard from existence, wouldn't it also have erased his actions and the ramifications and then hey he didn't even need to shoot himself and wait a minute, what's going on here? I actually have a harder time with this question than the tornado black hole, maybe because I was too busy squawking to pay attention at that point.

And let's not talk about the poor consistency of what the speedsters can and cannot outrun. I'm not sure there's been an episode yet that hasn't made someone in our household yell, "BUT YOU'RE THE FLASH!!!" It's best to not think too hard I guess.

My favorite line was "it's our wedding day". Nice touch of depth to the characters of two men who shared a body for so long.
jimhines
May. 20th, 2015 07:12 pm (UTC)
I liked the wedding scene, both for the moment of quiet warmth (even though you know it's all going to go to hell, because it's a TV show), and for the Firestorm-related lines :-)
(Deleted comment)
neotoma
May. 20th, 2015 09:07 pm (UTC)
Eddie shooting himself might lead to a oscillating timeline that keeps looping between state A and state B and can't resolve because you have time travel paradoxes that feed into each other.

But yes, this leave everything open to resetting all the way back to 15 years ago and thus real!Harrison Wells might be alive next season, and Eddie himself too.
mt_yvr
May. 20th, 2015 06:52 pm (UTC)
Erasing Eddie leading to erasing Eobard works for me. Here's the plot that I'd use to wrap up this ending in a way that makes sense:

It takes a moment for time to assert itself. In that time everyone goes outside to see Barry hit the black hole. While IN / NEAR the black hole Barry is immune once more to the change in time. As it collapses due to never having been made, he's dropped into the new present.

Where his dad is still in prison, he was still raised by Joe. He still has his powers. But now no one at ALL knows. Which clears out all the weird crap that happened with the characters and love triangles and so on.

The only reason he obviously keeps his powers is cuz, well, that's the name of the show and I want him to... Otherwise, sure, it's lacking the whole causality thing but since Cisco can remember things from alternate timelines it points to the possibility of events in other timelines that did/didn't happen having effects in subjective-present.

Or...that's what I'm sticking with until the new season comes out.

Edited at 2015-05-20 06:53 pm (UTC)
jimhines
May. 20th, 2015 07:13 pm (UTC)
I could see that working. It basically gives them the option to reset the world however they'd like ... though I imagine they'll still want to keep it more-or-less in line with their other shows.
mt_yvr
May. 20th, 2015 07:48 pm (UTC)
I imagine it'd leave them to write a more mature Flash that is more aware of his abilities and the consequences of actions. It would mean his learning phase has no direct impact on the world so he'd show up as a more competent superhero without ever having anyone have to see him learn some basic things about his powers.

It'd also give them a chance to develop the Cisco ability set as I suspect it'd still be in play in the new timeline. Which would then also give them a chance to develop origin stories for people like Firestorm that weren't quite so tragic (as time tends to push events back to how they were so I expect a lot of the same things would happen eventually) as Barry could shepherd people into their powers. And there's a lot to be done/enjoy about Caitlin being brought in to the fold and re-setting up a lab for her and Ronnie and Cisco.

Edited at 2015-05-20 07:48 pm (UTC)
a4nightblade
May. 20th, 2015 07:52 pm (UTC)
Loved the finale. Really enjoyed Dr wells as an antagonist throughout the show. :) (though what happened to his gorrila friend?)

I've been a bit behind on Arrow but this sure puts Oliver Queen's situation in perspective compared to what Barry is facing now. :P
(Deleted comment)
jimhines
May. 20th, 2015 10:24 pm (UTC)
You also see Grood in the very end of that episode, post-train, when he's climbing a building and leaping around, no worse for wear.
(Deleted comment)
neotoma
May. 20th, 2015 09:16 pm (UTC)
I did like all the easter eggs they included -- Jay Garrick's helmet is certainly a big old macguffin for next season, we had a glimpse at the end of the actress who I think is the one playing Hawkgirl, we had a mention of Rip Hunter, setting up for DC's Legends of Tomorrow, which will let me watch Arthur Darvill play a time traveler again, so that's good.

And really, I loved that Barry decided that this life he had was good and that he wanted to keep it. It wasn't what I expected him to choose.
jimhines
May. 20th, 2015 10:24 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure how much of that was Barry's choice and how much was seeing the older Barry hold up a hand and shake his head, telling him not to do it. Either way, I think it worked, and made for an incredibly powerful scene.
littlemissnovel
May. 21st, 2015 12:18 am (UTC)
I actually enjoyed the finale, I think it was done better than the Arrow season finale.

Although, I admit I cried when I saw what happened in the end. And I can't wait to see what's in store for season 2.

(I do have to wonder if Flashpoint will happen on the show.)
seldonp38
May. 21st, 2015 02:30 am (UTC)
I actually managed to enjoy "THE FLASH" a lot more than "AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D." this past season . . . which is a surprised to me. I became a fan of the Marvel show last year, but was very disappointed by this season's weak writing. On the other hand, I was surprised by how the writing for "THE FLASH" improved during its freshman season. Yes, it started out rather unimpressive. And even when it improved, there were still moments of questionable writing. However, I hope that unlike "S.H.I.E.L.D.", it will not come crashing down during its sophomore season.


What problems did you have with the female characters? I didn't have any problems with them.


By the way, has anyone considered the possibility that the real Harrison Welles might end up being responsible for Barry remaining the Flash? After all, he should still be alive now that Edouard Thawne no longer exists.

Edited at 2015-05-21 02:33 am (UTC)
axsister
May. 21st, 2015 05:43 pm (UTC)
they made it clear in the episode where we saw Thawne assume Wells's life that Wells was always supposed to be responsible for Barry becoming the Flash, that the accident that Thawne/Wells created was simply jumped up on the timeline from the original Wells only accident, (I don't remember, but it was by six or seven years.)
jimhines
May. 22nd, 2015 12:44 pm (UTC)
Both Caitlin and Iris seemed underwritten compared to the rest of the cast. Iris in particular often seemed to exist only as a love interest for Barry, and didn't have as much agency in the stories as I would have liked. Especially with how pretty much everyone else in the show knew Barry's secret, but they kept Iris in the dark, which effectively sidelined her for a lot of story stuff. The moment they brought her in on things, I thought her character improved immensely; I just wish they'd done it sooner.

As for Caitlin, she often seems to get less screentime/stuff to do than Cisco, where I'd prefer them to be equals.
seldonp38
May. 22nd, 2015 05:30 pm (UTC)
Sorry, I disagree with you. Especially since the series also focused on Iris' relationship with Eddie and her career as a journalist. Also, the series managed to focus on Caitlin and Cisco as a tech team, along with Caitlin's relationship with Ronnie Whatshisname.

Also, Barry, Joe and Eddie's attempt to keep Iris in the dark played a major role in her relationship with all three throughout the season. And when she did find out, her anger was marvelous to see . . . at least for me.

The series is about Barry . . . period. But I find it hard to accept your feelings about Iris and Caitlin.

Unless you wanted both Iris and Caitlin to be action figures as well. Did you?

Edited at 2015-05-22 05:33 pm (UTC)
jimhines
May. 22nd, 2015 05:40 pm (UTC)
You're welcome to disagree. And I'm afraid I don't even know how to respond to your impression that I want Iris and Caitlin to be action figures.
jonhansen
May. 21st, 2015 07:18 pm (UTC)
While I appreciated the simple logic of Eddie shooting himself to end the threat of Thawne, I couldn't help but think he could've done the same thing if he'd just gone and gotten a vasectomy.
khedron
May. 21st, 2015 11:48 pm (UTC)
Harder to do that in the accelerator ring. ;-) And if this _didn't_ reset time, save Barry's mother that night 15 years ago, etc., then we have NO IDEA what the rules for time manipulation are here, and it could very well be that past events (like Wells killing everyone but Eddie in Star Labs) can't be undone "after the fact".

I'm with the io9 guy here:
But all those time travel questions? Whatever. Virtually any time travel story is going to raise these kind of impossibilities, especially in The Flash, where the science isn’t so much fast and loose as it is “decorative.” The Flash has always succeeded for me with its fearless willingness to put the most comic book-y of comic book stories n TV screens — the Reverse-Flash, Grodd, all these time travel shenanigans to name but a few — and as I’ve always said, I’m willing to suspend any amount of disbelief as long as I’m being entertained, and The Flash is usually entertaining as hell.
seldonp38
May. 22nd, 2015 05:34 pm (UTC)
So . . . all Eddie had to do was wait for Thawne to kill the others. Right? And he can reverse time with a vasectomy.
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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