DC Comics’ The Flash: season one recap

Posted on 20 May 2015
By Aubrey Reynolds
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The Flash thundered through an excellent, enjoyable and most importantly fun first season, which drew to a close with a genuinely emotional episode.

In the series finale Fast Enough, the stakes were high, with Barry’s sense of family being tested and the nature of heroism and selflessness questioned.

Starting with the now standard introductory voice over, but this time re-recorded in a much more sombre tone, Barry walks to confront the finally captured Reverse Flash/Eobard Thawne.

Was this Thawne’s plan all along last week (he seems to get everything he wants from this point on)? Face to face with the man who killed his other this is the first of a number of emotional conversations Barry has throughout the episode.

When Thawne tells Barry he trained him and helped him to be the hero he is today, because he needed Barry to be fast, you can see the hurt in Barry’s face. When the reverse Flash says he is proud of Barry, this is one father figure the eponymous hero does not want.

This first season’s main arc has always been about “What type of Hero will The Flash be?”; he’s tried to save everything and everyone and spread himself too thin; he’s tried and failed at being a badass vigilante like fellow TV hero The Arrow, who he shares a Universe with.

Flash also tried to be selfless and heroic whilst rigidly sticking to a core purpose – to discover who killed his mum and free/exonerate his father.

Now, this core modus operandi of the show is tested. Barry is told that he can not only free his father, he can save his mother. He can rewrite history and make it so that she was never killed. He can have the life he always dreamed of. But should he?

What the episode does brilliantly is set up the stakes that this decision will have; not only does Thawne’s plan (for The Flash to run at Mach 2 in the particle accelerator at another single particle, creating a wormhole because – Comicbook Science!) put Barry’s life in danger (“I’m thinking bug against windscreen” as Joe puts it) and not only does it potentially put everyone else in physical danger (Barry will have 1.52 minutes to save his mum, any time over that and the wormhole becomes unstable and will destroy, well, everything) it also creates the possibility that everything post his mum dying will be changed.

An alternate timeline will be created, one where Barry is raised by his mum and his dad. One where he is not seen by Iris as a step-brother, but a potential lover.

But also one where Barry is not raised by Joe. Where he may never meet Caitlin and Cisco. Possibly a future where he’s not even the Flash.

Torn with this decision, Barry turns to Joe (who, in a hugely touching character moment, tells Barry he has to go for it, essentially wiping out their Father/son connection), his incarcerated father (John Wesley Shipp in another brilliant father/son scene), who again, selflessly tells Barry not to risk it, despite the choice potentially giving him years of freedom back) and Iris. Through these series of conversation’s, and Barry’s inability to decide, the series hits upon some great dramatic and emotional moments.

It’s the genuinely touching self-sacrifice of everyone around Barry, urging him to save his mum at their own cost that makes this finale such an effective episode. The group all tell Barry that it’s time for him to be self-serving and save himself.

The key to the success of this show has been this group of characters and how they have become a team and even a family.

Their comedic, romantic and moving interactions has made the sometimes silly and definitely at times over plotted episodes worthwhile. It’s in Barry, Cisco, Caitlin and Harrison Welles that the show has made memorable and likeable heroes.

This episode also does a great job of elevating Eddie, traditionally a easily dismissed and clichéd trope of this type of show (the boyfriend of the girl the hero likes). From last week’s quiet resignation to losing Iris and standing aside to let Barry and Iris be together, to this week’s embracing of his destiny and heroic sacrifice, Eddie, proves to be the real hero of this finale.

After Barry chooses not to save his mother, instead sharing with her an emotional goodbye as she passes away, he preserves the timeline and returns to stop the Reverse Flash. Enraged, the Reverse Flash threatens to kill not only Barry but everyone he cares about.

And it’s then that he is finally stopped. Not by the Flash. Or Firestorm. Or even Arrow in a guest appearance (like last week). But by his own great, great grandfather Eddie. Eddie shoots himself and, in dying, prevents his ancestor from ever being born. Finally defeated, the Reverse Flash disintegrates out of existence as Eddie dies.

But all is not okay; the singularity comes back and threatens the city (universe?) again? Is this a cause of what Eddie did (changing the timeline) or of Barry travelling through time? Either way the show leaves on the cliffhanger of Barry facing the toughest test ever in trying to stop a black hole!

Other little points – Jay Garrick the Earth 2 Flash’s winged helmet flies through the time stream setting up possible Earth 2 heroes from here on in;

Both Caitlin and Cisco are teased to become their comic book counterpart heroic/villain characters –

Barry sees Caitlin as Killer Frost as he travels through the speed force and Cisco is told by Thawne that the reason he remembers being killed in an alternate, now defunct timeline, is because Cisco was affected by the same particle accelerator accident that created The Flash and is, himself, a metahuman (in the comics Cisco is known as Vibe);

Eddie, before his moment of huge, self-sacrifice, decided to take on pre-destiny and chase Iris. How will Eddie’s death affect Iris and her and Barry’s relationship?

Caitilin and Ronnie finally get married, with Ronnie informing her that he is finally able to control being Firestorm. But as the Legends of Tomorrow trailer showed us, Firestorm is joining Captain Cold, White Canary etc to go and fight Vandall Savage throughout time, so how does this affect the newly-weds? Also actor Robbie Amell is not listed in the cast for that show, so does he meet an unfortunate end?

Speaking of the Legends, The Reverse Flash name dropped time traveller Rip Hunter when congratulating Cisco on his building of the time orb and Clara Renee’s Hawkgirl was officially introduced to the shared world in a reaction shot to the black hole anomaly (alongside soon to be team mate Captain Cold).

Overall The Flash has been a highly enjoyable first series. The show has done a fantastic job of balancing it’s longer story arc with its individual episodes and despite the inevitable fluctuation in quality across 23 hours, the show has been entertaining and most importantly fun.

The best part of this show is the brevity and wit that the show has, the fact that despite dealing with dark moments and, none more so than the series finale, big emotional beats, it actually is a fun superhero show which plays up and honours the ridiculousness (Gorilla Grodd!) of its comic book origins.

Aubrey is part of our Heroes For Sale comics team, so stay tuned to Purple Revolver for more comics news and our Heroes For Sale YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/channel/UC5YONM6rmBSTl2nGwaTg-qw) where you will find lots more in depth comics news and reviews and our Bay TV interview with former Spider-Man writer and editor Tim Quinn.