the Flash season 3 review

Well I finally caught up on the latest season via Netflix.

For awhile I was keeping up reviews on all the comic book shows, up until last year when 3 of them had the same trope in each show – which was probably a sign of them all being run by the same team and that team getting overworked and stuck in a rut.  Well enough time has passed I was finally able to fully watch Flash season 3 from start to finish.

Overview: Eh, still not as great as S1 but maybe better than S2.

SPOILERS AHEAD

Let’s start with the bad.

“Approve of me daddy!”

DAMMIT can we get some OTHER kind of conflict in this show?  This is what drove me off earlier in the year.  I’m starting to wonder what kind of relationship the show runners have with their parents because this just keeps. popping. up!  There should be a team of writers on this show – let somebody else craft a unique conflict already!

And what gets me even more is that the fathers were always portrayed as in the wrong.  Because when we have a show that wanks off constantly about comic book and its own continuity, emotional continuity is apparently too hard.  Let’s take the two instances in order.  First, we have Jesse Quick who conflicts with her father TWICE this season.  First in relation to being a hero, then later in relation to staying on another world.  At no point that I noticed did anybody ever bother pointing out that Harry Wells just spent the last YEAR with his daughter in captivity and threatened.  Which makes it pretty damn reasonable for him to want to keep her close and safe.  Yet nobody ever offers something like, “Hey if you let her train, she’ll be harder to kidnap.”

Second we have Joe and Wally West.  This time Wally tosses off a “you didn’t treat Barry like this!” argument in their fight.  Meanwhile Joe doesn’t point out that in the two years since Barry became a superhero, A LOT HAS HAPPENED.  Including attempts on the lives of him and his family, on Barry, and the outright death of other heroes. (anybody remember Ronnie?)  No, instead he’s just seen as repressing Wally instead of pointing out that experiences have changed his mind.

The villain didn’t make a long of sense even by comic book logic.  Flashpoint is somehow responsible for Savitar’s existence but he’s a time remnent made to stop Savitar.  Things might have worked out better had Savitar been Wally West from Flashpoint or maybe a Barry Allen that was left behind with all the timeline shenanigans.  Or what if he was a Barry that kept trying to remake the timeline and went crazy from the effort?  Anyway, then he crystallized the Speed Force into a thing that makes metahumans?  Other speedsters would make sense but shadow and magnet powers?  Appearing as dead loved ones?  None of this follows even token logic.

In fact the line “the more you time travel the less the rules apply” just kind of cements that now the show isn’t going to have any tension.  What the Flash can and can’t do that episode is just totally up to the writers – which is bad for speculative fiction, writers shouldn’t show their hand that much.  Unless the show turns it around in the next season, I doubt it will make it past 5 total.

The musical episode was also very “meh.”  I mean if you want to honor superheroes, have them put on a song and dance show to save an orphanage.  That’s some classic golden and silver age wackiness right there, not a magical mind musical.

The good?

Tom Felton was the stand out star of this season and almost single-handly saves it.  Not only did he do a good job acting, but the writers actually gave him an excellent arc.  His character was just so well done and I loved that they didn’t give him a cliche “Flash saves him and he sees the light” kind of turning point.  Instead they have the Flash keep him from making a mistake and Tom is grateful!  He doesn’t come completely around but softens a bit.  Then even when he joins up with the heroes to save the day his personality still clashes with them.  Again, a great lesson that we rarely see in film and TV – sometimes people just don’t mesh and that doesn’t make anybody evil.  I especially liked his romantic arc with Caitlin Snow.

I sort of like Caitlin’s arc even if her dual personality didn’t always quite make sense.  At least they finally let Danielle dress in some hot outfits (pun intended – this Killer Frost was much more smashing than the previous ones we’d seen).

I liked that much like Cisco, the show let HR Wells grow on you.  Also that the solution to the villain this season was the most “useless” member of the team outwitting him instead of just more “running really fast.”  I know they kind of did that in S1 but this was much better executed.  Especially since apparently Eddie’s S1 sacrifice has now been undone – and that revelation would have had more impact if we didn’t see Reverse-Flash in S2.

I liked that we got to see more of Jay though I still wish John Wesley Shipp was on the show more as a mentor figure.  Everybody else continues to do stellar acting jobs with only Wally sometimes being a little grating.  I’m hoping they give him more time to shine next season.

The villain’s word play was brilliant and a delight to watch unfold.

We got to see Ape City and watch a gorilla brawl.

All in all there were lots of great little moments to the season, it just still had a problem congealing into a whole.  Better on the whole than S2, but still not reaching that high the show started out on.

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