A review of the Flash Season Four Finale

I sat through 21 episodes for THIS shit?

What a bitterly disappointing ending for a fair-to-good season…

Season Four had wonderful potential – the big bad was finally not another omnipotent-he-is-always-one-step-ahead-of-us speedster (he was an omnipotent-he-is-always-one-step-ahead-of-us genius), a whole new rogue’s gallery was forming, and the highlight – the introduction of the Elongated Man!

Hartley Sawyer was perfectly case – he even LOOKED like Ralph!

But the rest of the season just shows the severe limitations of the “Big Bad”-style.

I’ve complained about this style recently and called for its elimination in the DC-CW shows. The last three seasons of Arrow show the style at its worst. But it wasn’t until the last episode of Season Four of the Flash that it finally dawned on me why.

Yes, the Big Bad makes for tedium and repetition (“Hoping this is their chance to stop (insert name of Big Bad) once and for all …” seems to begin the synopsis for 3/4ths of Arrow’s IMDB’s Episode Lists …) but that is only a symptom. The disease is thus:

Nothing. Happens. Until. The last. episode.

Nothing.

No plot progression. No sense of advancement.

The Big Bad Style is interesting and thrilling when you first watch it. But the plot devise has been used in sixteen seasons between the four DC-CW shows, as well as Agents of Shield, Gotham, etc.

Maybe it’s me, maybe these shows are better while binge-watching. I doubt it. I suspect the Big Bad syndrome is even worse – seeing the heroes defeated not once per week but four times in an afternoon – “is this a rerun, did I hit the repeat button?”

Again it goes back to the main problem: “We’ll stop him this time!” “At last! I … oh. Episode 17, nope, you have five more to go before THAT happens.” Until then …

…nothing…

Arrow tried for a different take this season by killing off their Big Bad – revealing that the actual Big Bad was lurking in the background. But then it was back to the “We’ll stop him this time/this will work it HAS to!” …

Meet the new (Big Bad) boss, same as the old (Big bad) boss.

Flash should be better than this. They do done-in-one shows, they do not only character development, but character advancement! The heroes are likeable. The actors playing them fit the roles perfectly – the chemistry of the cast is obvious!

So how do we fix this? Get rid of the Big Boss. Or at least stay away from him or her for more than one episode at a time. Do two- three- or four-part arcs with other villains. Grodd, perhaps, or a more powerful non-Flash villain: Kanjar Ro, the Shadow Thief or Felix Faust.

For gosh sakes, introduce the Green Lantern Corp!

“We can’t, it might conflict with the DC Cinematic Universe!”

Ignore the DCCU; they certainly are ignoring YOU…

***

I think my souring began with the resolution of the mid-season cliff-hanger “The Trial of the Flash” and I never had a chance to recover. For several episodes Flash did not escape from his cell or allow other shenanigans. “If I cannot get out legitimately, I don’t want to do it.” So how does he get released and found innocent of murder?

Illegitimately.

Ralph disguised himself as DeVoe. How can you kill a man who is still alive? Granted DeVoe WAS alive, but it was a fraud on the court. At least Arrow, pulling similar shenanigans some months later, used it against a corrupt system. Here the judge/jury was legit.

The means do not justify the ends. Barry Allen would be the FIRST to tell us that! His reaction to how his team sprung him was conveniently ignored.

Plus, at the final hearing DeVoe’s “widow” was present, but the District Attorney was NOT?! I know this isn’t Law and Order, but STILL…

It was the nadir of the series, in my opinion.

Until this season’s finale…

***

The season finale had its moments – the introduction of Barry & Iris’ daughter from the future, the birth of Joe & Cecile’s daughter (yes, thse are spoilers, who cares? It was a crappy show), even the Thinker’s reference to himself as the “Big Bad” made me laugh.

But the rest of it?

Synopsis: with technobabble that would make the writers of Star Trek Voyager get erections, Barry put his physical self into DeVoe’s mind. This is done with the help of DeVoe’s wife who finally turns to the good side after a 20-episode build-up.

Flash finds Ralph “alive” (an why not the rest of his new Rogue’s Gallery?) and they fight off an infinite number of Thinkers in Matrix-like fashion.  Devoe is finally destroyed because Ralph’s physical body leaves the Thinker’s mind. Of course, why hadn’t anyone thought of THAT …

But, thanks to Holographic Resurrection, the Thinker appears again to menace our heroes! His wife finally defeats him by reaching around the chair and unplugging him.

Yes, they unplugged him.

By now I’d unplugged the Tivo.

***

I love the Flash, I do. I love the charactersl I love the cast.

But I swear to god if this keeps up next year I’m rooting for the bad guy.

And start watching NCIS. Abby Scuito or no Abby Scuito.

Copyright 2018 Michael Curry

***

About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

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2 thoughts on “A review of the Flash Season Four Finale

    • Godspeed has been bandied around a lot! Maybe! Here is a GREAT response from the Facebook post of this blog: ” Liked the villain, a great JSA bad guy in his hard-to-defeat modern incarnation. But yes, not enough story with the Bus Metas to qualify for actual side-adventures to the Big Bad. They could so easily do the ‘X-Files’ formula: Ongoing plot is ALIENS! But in the meantime, agents have to go on other cases (most of which were wildly better than the Alien Conspiracy). Stand-alone adventures NOT dealing with extraterrestrials. Or even non-stand alone ones, but 3 parters or 2 parters, or follow ups when previous opponents or allies returned for a second round. And then the occasional Big Bad Alien Plot moving along episodes. The stand-alone episodes Flash and Ralph take on a new threat from Grodd. Earth Two long-time enemy of the Jay Garrick Flash, The Shade, crosses over to test the mettle of this other Flash (this one could be terribly cool). A new Rogues Gallery forms (or perhaps is Jay’s Rogues, led by Shade…Turtle, Fiddler, Rose & Thorn, Ragdoll, and Changeling) and has plans for putting down the Flash for once and all. Bring in Star Sapphire(s) from Earth One and Two, followed by Green Lantern Alan Scott. No problem then with the whole GL Corps. A Ragdoll Halloween episode, no matter which Earth he was from, could be very unnerving. Give us some Dr. Light. Some enemies from other CW shows. Bring in the Forgotten Villains. Bring back the TV version of Suicide Squad…the audience will understand that they are no more the DCCU version than Tom Welling’s Clark Kent is young Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman who is Henry Cavill’s DCCU Superman.”

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