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How We’d Fix: ‘The Flash’

Welcome to a new regular column, How We’d Fix. This is where we discuss how to improve characters, shows or franchises that just need a few tweaks to get back to being one of our favorites. First up, The Flash.

We need to start by saying that we still love The Flash a lot. We just need it to resemble the show we remember.  

From the moment he burst on the scene in the Arrow episode The Scientist, Barry Allen has been a cornerstone of The CW’s Arrowverse.

As a contrast to Arrow’s darker, grittier tone, The Flash was lighter, funnier and less sad in general.

Of course, Barry and his friends had growing pains as they learned to become crime fighters, but overall it was a charming companion to Arrow.

Attack on Central City

Grant Gustin as Barry Allen and Candice Patton as Iris West in The Flash.

However, recently The Flash has lost its spark.

Barry’s bad decision making, repetitive villains and depressing storylines have led some fans to question where their beloved Team Flash is.

The heartbreaking season one finale featured Barry learning that he couldn’t change the circumstances around his mother’s death. It was a high point for the show.

Since then The Flash has gotten progressively more depressing, featuring Barry repeatedly experiencing the murders of those closest to him.

Flashpoint set the tone for a disappointing third season.

Season three brought Savitar, who was going to kill Iris in the future, so the season constantly focused on the threat of her death, showing it over and over again.

marlize-the thinker

Kim Engelbrecht as Marlize DeVoe/The Mechanic and Neil Sandilands as Clifford DeVoe/The Thinker in The Flash.

With fans complaining that the season and the show overall had become too depressing, producers said that season four would see the characters getting back to being the supportive, fun-loving superheroes we fell in love with.

Cut to this season’s big bad Clifford DeVoe/The Thinker framing Barry for murder, sending him to prison and killing several metahumans.

When exactly is that return to fun going to kick in?

Not only has the team continually lost to DeVoe, they pushed Wally so far to the background, he left town and joined the Legends. He was replaced by the endlessly annoying Ralph Dibny/The Elongated Man.

After all that, we still don’t know what DeVoe’s motives are, so it’s very hard to be invested in his storyline. It doesn’t help matters that his wife Marlize/The Mechanic is a much more interesting character that viewers would much prefer to spend more time with.

It’s time to talk about getting back to basics in season five.

Throughout the series’ run, there have been several rogues who didn’t get their due or were poorly used. If the storyline of season five revolved around Rogue War, that would allow the writers to bring back popular rogues and create new ones.

Imagine a war that engulfs Central City, with Team Flash caught in the middle.

Family of Rogues

Grant Gustin as Barry and Jesse L. Martin as Joe in The Flash.

Also, jettison all the unimportant supporting characters and focus on the original Team Flash. Barry, Iris, Cisco, Caitlin, and Joe are who the fans want to see stories about. While we’re on the subject, Arrow needs to do the same thing.

Seriously, does anyone care that Ralph is in danger?

And for the love of God, bring back Ronnie so Caitlin can be happy again.

What the series excelled at in season one, was the balance it struck between the emotional moments and hilarious fun. The writers need to find that tone again.

Somewhere between season one and Flashpoint, the show became predictable and occasionally unwatchable. We love The Flash and want it to be appointment viewing again and not a chore because we watch all the other Arrowverse series.   

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