Season three of The Flash was such a downer that honestly I lost interest in things halfway through with all the constant character fighting over Flashpoint stuff and the umpteenth speedster villain that turns out to be one of the group. I actually ended up watching other things and never actually finished watching the rest of The Flash’s season. All summer long though the producers and writers mentioned that they knew that they had gone too dark, that season four was supposed to recapture some of the fun and lightness of past seasons. So here we are, ready for me to give it another shot.
Even with a dour cloud hanging overhead from the last finale, “The Flash Reborn“ did the trick.
That’s not to say that it’s a bundle of happy joy joy in the first parts of the episode. While the opening scenes with Vibe, Kid Flash and Joe West taking down the teleporting villain Peek-A-Boo were pretty awesome visually, right away the episode showed off that not everything was okay with the team. Iris West had lost all faith that Barry would return and was focused fully on work, snapping at others for wanting to spend time to try and get Barry back when a Samurai shows up demanding the return of Flash or the city will be destroyed.
This is the second of the Arrowverse shows in a row, after Supergirl’s premiere, with characters brooding and upset about things the only difference being instead of just talking about how one of their members is upset, team Flash (also known as Team Vibe and Team Kid Flash) did something to try and fix it. Barry Allen is back rather rapidly in the episode as Cisco, Wally, Joe and the returned Caitlin ignore Iris and work to get him back out of the speed force.
What made the episode work is that this is season four of a show and the friendships and relationships are so deep and well developed that even though most of the episode is talking and feelings and dealing with a broken version of Barry being back, it just clicks. The struggles of the characters all make sense, they lost something and they want it back and want things back to the way they were, and you feel for them. Even though Iris lost faith and snapped at the others, it wasn’t in a way that made her wrong or others dislike her. With her love for Barry, it made sense that she was afraid to try and bring him back just in case it proved to be a failure and she actually could not get him back. She didn’t want to lose the faith.
That being said, the series really needs to stop doing these huge dramatic season finales that promise some epic story the next season, only for the story to be resolved pretty easily or quickly. Last season it was the fact that the season two setup for Flashpoint only lasted one episode before it was just mostly done, with some spillover. There was some room this time around for the series to play with being lighter but maybe have Barry not return for two or three episodes, with Wally filling in and trying to get better. Cause right now while Wally brings a lot to the series, there is likely only so long a man in college can go around being called Kid Flash and just being second behind Barry all the time. Another way to avoid this is for season four just don’t go so big for the finale if the plan isn’t to actually delve deep in to the effects upon a return. Just a thought.
On the villain side of things, the android Samurai actually worked pretty well in this episode. It held its own against the team up till the faster than normal Flash made his big return in the end and the whole speed and windmills scene was pretty awesome to behold. It all tied into the stinger of the episode which introduced the season’s big bad Clifford DeVoe aka The Thinker the first non-speedster big bad which instantly proves the season will finally be different. For once Barry won’t have to work to be faster than some evil speedster. Instead he has to out think a villain which is a new dynamic.
I’m glad to be back on board with Team Flash. After the dark slog of things in season three, season four is already proving to be a breath of fresh air. Sometimes shows need to hit a bit of a reset button partway through their run to sort of put things back in place that fans love and let go of some things that just didn’t work. The Flash was supposed to be the bright shiny cousin of the mostly darker Arrow, and for awhile there Oliver Queen’s darker vibes seemed to be infecting Central City. That is over now. If producers are serious about a brighter more fun season, I say bring it on.
Score: 9 out of 10