They’ve done it again! The writing team at the Flash have managed to throw us into a state of shock. Shock? Shock may be a bit of an exaggeration, but one of this show’s greatest attributes is throwing us unexpected curveballs. None more shocking the last year with Cisco’s sudden “death” at the hands of Harrison Wells still sends goosebumps. This year so far has not been a surprise fest like last year. I’ve enjoyed the twists and turns this year, but they weren’t entirely unpredictable.
However, this Tuesday’s show held me in rapt attention. From the appearance of Jay Garrick and the introduction of the idea of an alternate earth doppelgangers, a looming question has been in my mind—who is Jay’s doppelganger? Now, it has been revealed….he is Hunter Zolomon. Now, for you non-comic book nerds: Hunter Zolomon is Zoom. This raises all sorts of interesting complications for the show. What does this mean for Caitlin and Jay?Is this just a set up for next year? If they follow the comic book, then one of Barry’s greatest enemies is alternate version of one of his greatest allies. This has many interesting implications for our gang.
The show’s greatest strength is placing emotional connection at the heart of the action. I am a dire hard action/sci-fi fan, but action movies/tv fall flat if there is no emotional connection embedded in the storyline. The West family drama which is initially seemed contrived still helps to ground the show in a sense of normalcy. Contrived in this sense, I was expecting for the show to come up with a really interesting way to introduce the Wally West character: Francine(Iris and Wally’s mom) had to leave the family because she was a secret agent for the Russians. I was looking for more of a comic bookish logic. To make her a drug addict, took me out of this imaginary world. It was lazy writing to me. I forgave the writers though. What has been interesting about this has been seeing them slowly putting this family back together.
We’re still unsure of Wally at this point and how he will fit into team Flash. It’s important that Barry and Wally have a strong connection. I am really interested to see how that grows. Will it be contentious? Will there be a battle for Joe’s attention? Sibling Rivalry? Will they hit it off immediately? From a writing perspective, it would be much more interesting to have tension between the two. How awesome will it be to have the Flash and Kid Flash at odds?
The other hardcore storyline was seeing the Reverse Flash again. So, there was no way that we could not not see him again. Last year, the writers did the viewer a great solid when they introduced the real Eobard Thawne, portrayed by Matthew Letscher, not the Harrison Wells Reverse Flash. We got to see him as he is–in the full glory of his wickedness. This set us up for this episode which gave the implausible notion that he still exists after he was vaporized at the end of last season. The show used some slight of hand logic by saying that he was kept alive by the Speed Force and that the events of last season are a foregone conclusion. That I liked. I am a person who believes in destiny, so it appealed to that sensibility in me.
Letscher’s performance is so different from Tom Cavanaugh’s performance. This is so exciting because this is a different Reverse Flash. Cavanaugh had a conflicted relationship with Barry. He hated him and admired him at the same time. This Reverse Flash still is filled with contempt. He also has no idea of Barry’s true identity yet, so it is interesting to watch him put together pieces. I find myself more interested in seeing him come back then Zoom. Oh by the way, how cool was it to see Barry kick Reverse Flash’s behind.
The cool thing about this whole show is that is never afraid of being gushy, never afraid of being too comic bookish, or outlandish. At the heart of this show they have kept the basic tenets of any good mythology, any good comic: our heroes can never truly be happy.