‘The Flash’ Review
By far, the series in the Berlanti-verse that is far closest to the DC world is The Flash. It’s always been one of the more light-hearted of the series, which is why its abrupt shift into darker territory in the final episodes of Season 2, when Barry’s father, who he spent his adult life trying to get out of prison, was murdered by Zoom. Emotionally devastated, even after defeating Zoom, the Flash used his speed to go back in time and stop his mother’s murder. Having done so, he created an alternate timeline known (as in the comics) as ‘Flashpoint’, but after trying to live a normal life with his parents, things slowly began to unravel, and he let his mother get murdered, restoring the original timeline.
Or so he thought. Instead, he has created an alternate world where things are closer but not quite the way they had been before. For starters, there’s a new CSI working alongside Barry back at the Central City PD, who specializes solely in metahuman based cases. And this guy doesn’t like or trust Barry. (Tom Felton uses the smarm that he perfected for years as Draco Malfoy to create a person the viewer doesn’t fully trust. Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) is still dealing with problems in his family — his newly discovered son Wally (who was a speedster in Flashpoint) has been trying to find out if he has yet become a metahuman based on what happened last season, and Iris is no longer as close to her father as she was in the previous timeline. Barry and Iris have finally found their way to each other, but as is almost always the case in Berlanti DC, romance is always the hardest thing to manage.
Things aren’t nearly the same at Star Labs, either. Cisco is dealing with fallout from the previous timeline in which Barry let his younger brother die, something that has somewhat cooled their relationship. Caitlin seems to be about the same, but now she has developed some metahuman powers of her own. Anyone who remembers what happened in Earth-2, and her stint as Killer Frost, has a good reason to worry. And just to add to all the fun, Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanaugh, still prickly and brilliant as always) has returned to reveal that his daughter Jessie, who he spent much of Season 2 trying to rescue has become a speedster herself. To say he’s not happy at the level at what Barr has done is an understatement. On top of all this, there’s a new metahuman villain calling himself only Dr. Alchemy, who seems determined to restore previous people with their powers again.
Trying to keep on top of the world of Flash is always the most complicated of all the series — there are time travel stories, paradoxes, parallel worlds and now alternate realities. But it’s also the most fun of the series on the CW, because the characters aren’t nearly as broken as they are in the rest of the worlds that Berlanti has created. Love is perhaps the biggest part of this world — that and forming a family, even if they’re not related by blood. This is one of the most entertaining series on TV period, even if, like me, you have only the most casual of understandings of the DC world. If you do, then this series is even more fun.
My score: 4.5 stars.