October is here and with it comes the long-awaited season debuts for The CW’s DC superhero shows. Kicking off the premieres this year is The Flash, speeding into its fifth season after a bit of a slog of a fourth season that saw a big bad that should have been kept to fewer episodes dragged out way too long.
Thankfully season five mostly moves past all the slog of season four, besides dealing with the cliffhanger ending and a few other holdover things, but in one case it moves way too quickly past the previous season. One thing that personally seemed to be almost a waste of time last season was the framed murder Barry in prison storyline that was way too easily overturned by having Elongated Man/Ralph Dibny impersonate the ‘dead’ Thinker/Clifford Devoe. Because of all that, Barry lost his job. A job that apparently he was just handed back in the first few moments of the premiere as if there was never this whole prison stint and a dead body of a man that suddenly appeared again and then disappeared. There is moving on and then there is just sweeping stuff under the rug for the sake of doing so.
Overall the premiere was a nice breath of fresh air after the last season, helped along by the burst of positive energy supplied by Jessica Parker Kennedy as Nora West-Allen/XS. While her being back in the past could have been a drag with them trying to imply that she just happened to get stuck and kept bumbling with slip-ups, instead the writers/producers wisely tied her presence back to something we saw in season one. The mysterious news article that spoke about the Flash being lost because of a crisis event in 2024. Turns out that Barry never returns after that disappearance meaning Nora grows up without her father, having no memories of him outside of what she learns about him in the future Flash Museum.
Barry and Nora keeping that secret from the team, letting them still think she is there somewhat on accident, of course, will bite them all in the ass later. Especially after Wally drops the knowledge about soft and fixed events in time that can and can’t be messed with respectively and Flash going missing probably is a big-time fixed point. Fingers crossed there is now Flashpoint 2.0 in the coming season.
Despite being listed as a done in one villain by Nora (with her future knowledge), Gridlock (that mask…ouch eesh) is just another in a long line the last few seasons of some very underwhelming Flash villains. Too many villains that are not the big bad or are the huge top tier Flash villains end up just being stuck in this pattern on the show. They appear at the start, take down team Flash for a moment, cause more ruckus, then are easily smacked down in the final act of the episode. Really hoping to see some more solid villains in the upcoming episodes as these pushover types are somewhat tiresome. Though the stinger at the end with Chris Klein’s Cicada debuting seems to prove that the Metahumans are going to be in for a rough time this season since the new villain apparently wants them all dead. Here’s hoping he’s not as dragged out of a villain as the last few on the show.
Already the show seems to be planning out quite a few things for the season to come, mostly only teasing at some of them. Everything from the possibility of Caitlin’s father (who we learned last season might have something to do with Killer Frost) still being alive after a faked death to more of Nora’s future and where Team Flash is headed. The fact that Nora spoke of Cisco and Caitlin by their real names rather than something like “Uncle Cisco/Aunt Caitlin” doesn’t seem to bode well for where they will be in her time. Neither does the fact that Wally left in the episode to go back to the Legends of Tomorrow yet all the promo materials and word from the writers is that he’s not back on the show cause actor Keiynan Lonsdale is retiring from the role to move on to other things. Could the death of a speedster be far off?
For a premiere episode, a lot happens but not a lot happens at the same time. Nora’s presence, rightfully, takes up a huge chunk and the stories of the rest of the cast don’t really move anywhere as we’re left hanging as to where the team as a whole will be going from here. While all the characters are great, too big of a cast has hurt this show at times and it could very well do with a slimming down since they have to keep coming up with more and more ways that simple level villains can outsmart or get away from this formidable team in order to stretch the threat out all episode. Hopefully, there is less of that and more focus on problems that are just slightly too big for them, especially with a crisis on the way.
The parade of super suits was kind of fun, calling back to the past especially since some of them were from specific moments like the Killer Shark related suit. Nora finally giving Barry the ring suit (holy crap that is awesome to finally see) was great and the suit looked funky somewhat in promo images but looked pretty good once it was on screen and especially in motion. What a great addition. Cicada appears to be intriguing as a villain but the small snippet is too little to tell if he’ll be as effective as Thinker was at first or as boring as Thinker was in the second half of season four.
Score: 8 out of 10