It sure as hell has been a dramatic third season for the speedster hero, Barry Allen, but the season finale goes over the top to prove yet again, that the Flash is the most heroic hero of all heroes.
Let’s get a quick overview.
“The Flash”: Storylines and characters in Season 3
Season three has really taken up some interest with its second half, introducing new characters to Team Flash and building up Savitar as the ultimate villain who is set on destroying the Flash by killing the love of his life – Iris. This particular target is in itself already dramatic, making every episode a chapter of the “How to Save Iris Guide”. The few excurses to for instance Gorilla or musical worlds (Read my review of the crossover episode with Supergirl!) added diverse adventures to the rather basic main plot, but what probably stood out the most throughout the third season were the characters.
Aside from Barry’s constant complaining and Iris’s trying to stay positive, the secondary characters gained more and more importance and depth. Take for instance Caitlin: Her fear of becoming Killer Frost was not new, especially as we already got to see her deal with this problem. But embracing her dark side and realizing step by step that she was neither Dear Good Old Caitlin, nor Monster Frostie, mirrors the recent trend of establishing a “grey-zone” for not-villains and not-heroes.
Then, after three seasons, Cisco finally got a “real” romantic storyline with Gypsy which brought some lightness into the rather intensive episodes. Also, seeing his friendship with Caitlin in jeopardy, it was interesting to witness his inner conflict with identifying himself as a hero and understanding what it means – though he appears to still not have decided whether he wants to stay “regular” or enter the heroic realm (perhaps, the writers are waiting for an O.K. to made a spin-off-Cisco-centered-series, who knows?).
A really nice change was brought by H.R. and, during the last couple of episodes, his relationship to Tracy: As a character who does not really fulfill all the criteria for being part of Team Flash, he actually showed that he constitued exactly the puzzle piece the Team had lacked – humanism. And having a few humans around all those multiplying speedsters sure was no bad thing.
“The Flash”: A rather numb Season Finale?
The character developments which were built up throughout the third season then culminated into the season finale. Starting with the end of the previous episode, we get to see the reveal that has been rumored: [Attention: Spoilers ahead!] H.R. took the place of Iris because it was his fault in the first place that Savitar found her, meaning that Iris got to live while H.R. died. For such a likeable, rounded-up character to die – it sure was not very dramatic. Team Flash moved on pretty quick from his sacrifice, nearly taking it for granted. This ignorance is probably what makes Team Flash sometimes paradoxical: On the one hand, they pretend to always make the right choice and be there for one another; on the other hand, it is totally okay and natural for someone to not just talk about it all the time, but really die for someone else. But of course – Team Flash had to deal with Savitar first.
This however was the beginning of the end: The action died from one second to the next like a candle being blown out. Suddenly, it was all about being nice and forgiving, trying to convince SOMEONE WHO WAS READY TO KILL THE LOVE OF HIS WIFE that it’s okay and in truth he’s a good guy. Of course, this way the writers avoided to repeat another big Flash-versus-Villain-fight…or did they? Because finally, it all did lead to the final battle including the little twist of Iris being actually the one killing Savitar (which explains why she had the gun in the penultimate episode).
Now, the only problem which the writers probably encountered was: Mmh, we still have ten minutes to go – what do we have up our sleeves to fill this screen time? That was probably the moment when they came up with the idea that Cisco’s solution had not been a permanent one and that the speed force always requires a speedster to fill the place. And lucky enough: We have a volunteering candidate!
Digging into the realm of absurdity, the last sequence of the episode not only ruins the finale, but even lowers the quality of the series itself. Barry seems glad to sacrifice himself and his future to be the Speed Force’s prisoner – with a big smile on his face, he says his goodbyes to everyone, gives a quick kiss to Iris and tells her to just “live her life” (Yeah, that is what a woman really wants to hear in those kind of moments…) and enters with Mummy Dearest the speed force. His explanation: Now, he can finally redempt his mistake of having created Flash Point.
Well, Congratulations: Barry Allen is The Most Remorseful Hero Ever. After everyone has been telling you along the season that it is okay and that you are forgiven, you still cannot forgive yourself? Does it mean anything to you that viewers sacrificed dozens of minutes of their time to listen to your complaints and excuses? Just grin and take the first chance you get to prove how much of a hero you really are.
Final Review of “The Flash”
While The Flash’s third season featured interesting and challenging character developments for the secondary characters, the rather numb finale did not include enough action and ended in such a excessively dramatic way that it dug into the absurd. With so many superhero-shows on TV, it is obvious that every series tries to set itself apart with distinctive features of its hero. But in this case, “The Flash” deceives loyal viewers by attempting to ascent its hero to another level of heroism – which instead only leads to doubt in what way “The Flash” still classifies as a true superhero-series.
My tip for you ducklings: If you insist on watching the finale, go on, I won’t stop you. But at least the finale does not make it difficult to wait a few months until the fourth season makes its debut – on the contrary, it rather makes you think of spending your time on your own life, love, family and future. Well done, “The Flash”!