In the classic Mel Brooks Star Wars parody, Space Balls, the villain Dark Helmet utters this line, “Evil will always triumph because good is dumb.” No hero, or group of heroes, better fits that insult than those at the heart of The Flash.
“Attack on Gorilla City” is the most recent example of Team Flash getting themselves in hot water by blindly trusting in the goodness of a militaristic super gorilla city. This is far from the only time that Barry has been his own worst enemy on The Flash. Barry’s trusting nature causes more problems for him than any villain has, and while that can be frustrating at times it is not necessarily a bad avenue for The Flash to explore.
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Part of the Growing-up Process
Though Barry is in his third year of being the Fastest Man Alive, he is much more a work in progress than other heroes on the CW’s super slate. Oliver tells us every episode of Arrow he spent five years in hell before becoming the Green Arrow. Kara Danvers might have just donned the mantle of Supergirl but she came to Earth to protect her cousin Superman and lived with her powers for over a decade. Barry doesn’t have that same level of experience.
Barry often acts before thinking. It might be annoying to some but it actually fits nicely into his speed powers. The Flash is a show about growing up, not only as a hero, but as a person. Barry literally just moved out of his childhood home in season 3. Barry’s naivete is part of what makes The Flash special. It’s a journey, and Barry and the other heroes are just starting out.
The Flash should continue having Barry, and Team Flash, make mistakes. Barry, Cisco and Caitlin should never become so callous that they automatically distrust everyone. While it is fine to be skeptical and wary, Team Flash’s relatively light nature is what makes The Flash work. The Flash is an optimistic look at superheroes and Barry turning into a more hard-boiled, mistrusting (but smarter) hero would change that fact. Scraping your knees is part of learning to ride a bike as much as being a trusting fool is part of becoming a superhero.
Fool Me Once, Fool Me Twice … Fool Me a Hundred Times
There is a difference between being optimistic and moronic, however. Barry trusting in Gorilla Grodd in “Attack on the Gorilla City” wasn’t that foolish. It was bad but compared to some other actions it was relatively minor. The problem with Team Flash’s naivete isn’t that they make mistakes. The issue is that The Flash doesn’t always allow Barry and the team to learn from their mistakes.
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The Flash has reached way over the limit when it comes to Barry learning the consequences of time travel. Barry learned in season 1 the dangers that come with messing with time when he inadvertently time traveled. Since that moment The Flash has had Barry willingly go back in time only for him to screw things up more and more. Team Flash has let new members into their circle of trust nearly every season only to find out that they are either evil or have some other hidden agenda. The Flash should never make the audience feel superior to or smarter than the characters. Every time that the team makes a mistake that they have made countless times before The Flash flirts with the audience writing them off as morons.
This shouldn’t just apply to one character. Barry should never intentionally time travel again but neither should Wally. Wally has the same powers as Barry and he should recognize the same consequences. Cisco whining about Barry changing time to save his brother, when Barry did the same to save his family, was unbearable in the beginning of the season 3. Caitlin hiding her transformation into Killer Frost for the first half of season 3 was idiotic given the character’s history. Caitlin has watched so many of her friends keep secrets needlessly and it has never worked for them.
When one member of Team Flash falters they all end up looking bad and they should pick themselves up from their collective mistakes. The Flash is a show about heroes who are a work-in-progress but that should mean there is some actual progress.
But what do you think? Are the Team Flash’s constant mistakes a huge problem for the show? Do they add to the show as long as the characters grow and learn? Has too much time passed and they should be screwing up way less?
The Flash season 3 airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW. Want more news? Like our Flash Facebook page!
(Images courtesy of The CW)