The Flash Season 3 is firmly in the rear view mirror and fans are eagerly looking forward to Season 4 which drops on October 10 this year. And though this past season was okay it was a clear drop in quality from the previous two seasons.
So what exactly went wrong and what are some of the speed bumps the creative team should avoid for the upcoming season? I am so glad you asked. With a SPOILER ALERT for everything up to finale here are the four things that went wrong with Season 3 of The Flash:
#1 The Emo Transformer Big Bad
So it has been confirmed by executive producer Andrew Kreisberg that the fourth season big bad will not be a speedster and that is very good news. After Reverse Flash and Zoom we did NOT need a third speedster for the main villain but unfortunately we got stuck with Savitar/Evil Time Remnant Barry. They took too long to reveal Savitar so he did not get to do much other than run around in his Transformer-esque suit. And most fans had theorised his identity already so the big twist fell flat. Seriously, the only other character it could have been was Joe’s girlfriend. Now THAT would have been a twist!
It has been over a month since the Season 3 finale and I still don’t understand exactly how Savitar came to be because the time travel logistics and explanation made little to no sense. An evil time remnant version of Barry could have worked if they had simplified his origin – like he “died” and was trapped in the Speed Force – and revealed him earlier so we could better explore the dynamic between him and the real Barry rather than rushing it in a handful of episodes. And speaking of villains other than Gorilla Grodd and Killer Frost things were a bit meh last season. Let’s hope they up their game generally in terms of baddies for Season 4.
#2 How the Wests were lost
The announcement that Wally West would become Kid Flash in Season 3 was one met with excitement and anticipation. We got a first look at his suit and we salivated. What? Only me? Well fine!
And while Keiynan Lonsdale did indeed become Kid Flash he never really did anything. He would basically suit up, run in and get knocked out or knock someone out. He was competing with regular Flash for screen time and the original was always given the greater focus. Wally being Kid Flash was more of a plot point than a study in interesting character development. And not once did we get to see him do something really awesome. Let us hope that with Barry (temporarily) trapped in the Speed Force that old Wally will finally get a chance to shine.
And speaking of Wests let us talk about his lovely sister Iris, a character that was done a disservice in Season 3. Her relationship with Barry was saccharine, fairy tale perfect and did not feel real. Actual couples fight and have conflict, and have other issues besides predictions of murder by alleged speed gods. The writers focused so little on her reporter job that the audience pretty much forgot she did anything other than make googly eyes at Barry and look sad at Star Labs. In the previous two seasons Iris had spunk and agency and was feisty. In Season 3 she was a love interest/plot point. I read that Iris would have a “leadership role” in Season 4 so let us hope we get back more of the Iris of old.
#3 Team Flash got too damn big
With Barry, Cisco, Caitlyn, Iris, Joe, Wally and Wells Team Flash has always been a relatively big group. In Season 3 we traded Wells for the comedic HR which was fine. But then we added Barry’s curmudgeonly co-worker Julian Albert just to give Caitlyn ANOTHER love interest and physicist Tracy Brand to give HR a love interest. The character of Julian was just meh and whatever he did felt shoe horned in. Brand felt like a walking plot device that the audience could never get attached to.
They tried to balance this large assortment of characters but some of those plates just fell and broke. And because of these unnecessary additions we had less time to spend with the core group. So for Season 4 let us keep the team streamlined so we can have quality over quantity.
#4 Lighten up man!
You remember the Season 3 episode “Cause and Effect” when Barry loses his memory and becomes a breezy, carefree kind of guy. Iris remarked that she missed that happy go lucky version of Barry and you know what Iris? We do too! Barry, one of the lighter heroes in the CW Arrowverse, was such a downer this season. From beating up himself over Flashpoint to worrying about Iris dying, the dude barely could barely crack a smile. Watching him episode by episode was just depressing and a slog. This more serious tone even infected other characters as well and Cisco, the quip master, was not his usual comedic self. When you are finding more humour in the darker sister show Arrow you know that something is very wrong.
I am all for drama and exploring human tragedy but you need to balance things out. We need to laugh as much as we cry, shout for excitement as much as we ponder deeper messages. For the most part The Flash Season 3 was not the light, fun show with hints of darkness that we enjoyed for the previous two seasons. One can only hope that for Season 4 they lighten things up and we can all have some Flash fun again.
So do you agree with my assessment of the problems with The Flash Season 3 or am I just talking loco? Feel free to comment and/or berate below.
For my review of The Flash Season 2 finale you can click here.