The first half of The Flash season 3 has been, well, less than thrilling. The Flashpoint universe was hyped up to the point where many viewers expected that to span several episodes, yet it was over within the first 40 minutes of the premiere without a satisfying conclusion. After a disappointing season 2, The Flash needs to improve its writing drastically, or the series may not be around as long as originally intended.
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More Intriguing and Challenging “Villains of the Week”
Despite the overarching Big Bad story, The Flash tends to have several lesser villains each week, and compared to season 1, these villains have been seriously lacking. They’re no challenge for Barry anymore; he’s been the Flash for so long that he knows everything he could possibly do to take these people down, yet he continuously makes the same mistakes.
If he’s not learning, why should we be patient with him? These villains need to challenge him in a way that they haven’t before, and put up an actual fight. The last interesting villain of the week was Black Siren AKA Laurel Lance from Earth-2, who actually almost stopped Barry.
Deeper Exploration into the Big Bad Villain
Zoom, or Jay Garrick/Hunter Zoloman, failed as a villain because nobody really cared about his story. Compared to Eobard Thawne in season 1, Zoom just seemed like a carbon copy in many ways. He infiltrated the team, made them trust him and then revealed he wasn’t who he had said he was and he was really after Barry’s speed. From that description alone, would anyone have been able to tell whether the focus was on Reverse Flash or Zoom?
Dr. Alchemy was believed to be the villain, but he’s just another puppet in the form of Julian (Tom Felton). Savitar, who calls himself the God of speed, is the one trying to destroy Barry, and he’s infinitely faster. How did he get to be this way? If we’re spending 23 episodes waiting for him to be taken down, we need more than just one episode of backstory.
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More Heroic Team-Ups
Now that Wally has gotten his speed, and so has Jesse, there are three speedsters on Team Flash, which also means that the writing for the villains has to be stepped up. Paired with Vibe, and hopefully Killer Frost soon, there are too many heroes on this team for them not to be used adequately. Keeping up the same story of season 1 as if Barry held all the power isn’t going to work anymore. Not to mention that with the network trying to boost its ratings, the crossovers between series may continue more frequently.
Deeper Personal Consequences to Flashpoint
When Barry changed the timeline, he changed a lot. Not only in his own life, but he’s ultimately responsible for the death of Cisco’s brother and for Caitlin getting her powers. The mid-season finale also revealed that Iris will die in the future, whereas in the other timeline, she wrote an article in 2024 that proved she lived on.
Understandably, these issues have caused rifts between the characters, but they’ve slowly grown back together. Even so, they’re heavy changes to the lives of Barry’s friends. Where are the moments of Cisco crying at his brother’s grave considering changing the timeline himself to fix this mistake? Where are the moments of Caitlin (not as Killer Frost) so overcome with anger that she now has to live with this growing force inside of her because Barry decided he could change whatever he wanted? When Iris finds out that she’s destined for death, how will Joe, Wally and Iris deal with Barry and his selfish choices? Family only goes so far. There are many consequences to what Barry did, and ignoring those to focus on how he feels about it isn’t good enough.
Develop Iris West
Iris cannot escape the “complex” story of the love interest. Despite her overwhelming love for Barry, she’s a journalist, and in a city rife with villains and heroes, it’s important to explore that part of her life too. Her relationship with the Flash could have consequences on her work, especially if Barry did something damaging to the city unintentionally, and seeing the impact of that on her career would help viewers to better understand how Iris has grown. She’s not just Wally’s sister, Barry’s girlfriend or Joe’s daughter, she’s a character in her own right.
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Contain Killer Frost
Caitlin’s powers have been one of the only highlights of the season so far, yet after season 3 episode 7, she’s wearing power-dampening cuffs and ignoring the waging war inside of her. There has to be a way that Caitlin can control these powers; sure, the Killer Frost on Earth-2 was pure evil, but we also don’t know what happened in her life to make her so. That Caitlin didn’t lose Ronnie before getting her powers, so that wasn’t what caused her heart to grow cold. Despite the fact that these powers are badass, Caitlin has always been one of the most boring characters on The Flash and these finally give her something to do other than yell at the men inside of Star Labs.
Barry Needs to Quit Putting Everything on His Shoulders
We get enough of this on Arrow with Oliver Queen who refuses to let his team help him with the burden he feels trying to save the city. Barry’s goofy personality should let him rely on his friends and family for the support he needs to face the inevitable; yet, repeatedly, he goes off on his own acting like it’s his sole responsibility to save Central City and the world. Not only do some of his friends have powers, but they’re all his inner strength. Especially Iris.
What are your thoughts on The Flash season 3? Has the story lived up to expectations, or is the season falling flat as too many heroes and villains are introduced, and the writers try to maintain a shocking story? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
The Flash returns Tuesday, January 24 at 8/7c on The CW. Stay up to date by liking our Flash Facebook page!
(Image courtesy of The CW)
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV