Comic series have taken television by storm, and one of the most popular is The Flash on The CW. Speedster Barry Allen offered a lighter and happier brand of superhero than had been available on the small screen prior to the series' premiere in 2014, and the ratings have set and broken records for the relatively diminutive CW. Season 2 upped the ante on all fronts, ranging from breaking Barry's back to killing Barry's dad to sending Barry back in time to kick off the Flashpoint time paradox.
The great thing about The Flash is that it's really, really good when it's good. Unfortunately, there were some trends in Seasons 1 and 2 that were really, really not that good, and they need to change before Season 3 kicks off this fall. Keep reading for a look at eight things that need to change for the third season of The Flash.
Enough With The Speedsters
The Flash is fundamentally about a speedster, so of course the show is going to need to find villains and partners who can actually keep up with Barry in order to challenge him. That said, The Flash has introduced kind of a lot of speedsters other than Barry as of the end of Season 2. Both of his supervillains so far have been speedsters. One of his villains of the week was a speedster. Henry Allen's Earth 3 doppelganger is a speedster. Flarrow-verse newcomer Supergirl has superspeed, and two of the new Season 2 characters are comic speedsters. There are plenty of other superpowers that can be introduced to threaten and/or help Barry without The Flash resorting to superspeed once more. Wally West and Jesse Quick can stay at normal speed for now.
Running Fast Shouldn't Solve Everything
Barry's superhero name is The Flash because he uses his superspeed to do good and save the day in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, The Flash has fallen into a formula in which "Run really fast and save the day!" is basically the solution in every episode. The Season 2 finale literally culminated in a race between our hero and his super evil nemesis. Barry has shown that there are plenty of ways to use his speed in more creative ways than just running really fast, and The Flash needs to get more creative with the climaxes on a weekly basis to keep the speedster premise fresh and exciting. "Run really fast and save the day!" can't sustain a good show for more than a couple of seasons, and it's time to mix things up more often with how Barry uses his speed.
Central City Shouldn't Always Support The Flash
Part of the appeal of The Flash is that it's a lighter version of a superhero in an age filled with grim and gritty comic adaptations. The sun shines in Central City while an adoring public cheers for The Flash and Barry has a team of pals who almost always support him in his decisions. The problem with that is that Barry sometimes makes terrible decisions that should not be enabled. The finale of Season 1 had all of the good guys except for Henry be totally cool with Barry changing all of their histories in order to save his mom. Going rogue to mess with the timeline to save his mom in the Season 2 finale is the least heroic and most selfish thing that Barry has ever done, and The Flash needs to make the point that it was really not okay.
Limit The Use Of Time Travel
The Flash introduced time travel into The CW's DC universe. Now, with Legends of Tomorrow revolving around jaunting through timelinse, the time travel should be left off of The Flash as much as possible. Barry's use of it in the 2015 Flarrow crossover made sense - and was technically an accident - but his trip to a previous timeline to replace his past self and interact with his pals was handled too recklessly for anybody who has ever seen a time travel movie or an episode of Doctor Who. Now that Barry has set off Flashpoint, the show needs to call it quits on time travel for a while. If Flashpoint doesn't teach Barry a lesson about not messing with time unless absolutely, positively, 100% necessary, nothing will. Besides, The Flash has parallel worlds and metahumans to play with. Leave the time travel to Legends of Tomorrow.
Stop Killing All The Bad Guys
One of the biggest differences between Flash Season 1 and Arrow Season 1 was that Barry never killed. In fact, Barry was uncomfortable with the fact that Oliver had killed and Joe called Oliver "a crazy person" and deemed him a bad influence for all the killing circa Season 1. In Season 2, Barry and Team Flash were finding ways to kill metahumans without batting an eyelash. It was all well and good to permanently remove the uncontainable and worst of the worst from the population, but some of Barry's enemies du jour were just plain old criminals who did not deserve death as anything but a last resort. Barry's determination to kill Zoom would've felt more alarming if he hadn't been killing throughout Season 2. What's point in having a metahuman prison if Team Flash isn't going to go the extra mile not to exterminate everything?
Make WestAllen About Love, Not Just Destiny
The romance between Iris and Barry has been a plot point ever since Barry turned up on Arrow, and it seems pretty clear at this point that The Flash intends to follow through on their love story. The problem with their love story is that it's always been about their past as pals, their possible futures as shown by Gideon, and - as of Season 2 - what their doppelgangers have gotten up to over on Earth 2. The two characters clearly do love each other, but Season 3 needs to add a greater element of desire rather than relying on a sense of destiny. A relationship unfolding for Barry and Iris based on different versions of Barry and Iris being married elsewhere is not going to incite the kind of epic romance that a superhero series deserves.
Character Deaths Need To Feel Important Again
Dead doesn't always mean gone on The Flash. The show likes to find loopholes to bring versions of characters back. Ronnie Raymond, Francine West, and Jay Garrick/Hunter Zolomon came back from presumed deaths. Cisco's death never happened because Barry changed history. Earth 2 Harrison Wells made the jump to Earth 1 shortly after Team Flash lost the man they knew as Harrison Wells. A version of Henry Allen popped up only a single episode after Barry's dad was murdered. The show got to kill off Joe on Earth 2 without losing Barry's Joe. The Flash needs to stop frequently using time travel and parallel worlds to bring back characters or versions of characters if death is going to have impact on the show. Barry racing back in time to save his mom would've felt like more of a "HOLY CRAP, BARRY!" moment if it hadn't been done before.
The Flash Needs Better Crimefighting Perspective
Barry is usually pretty good about using his powers to save lives, but he's not always very good at keeping perspective as a crimefighter. The Flash gave up his superpowers to a supervillain who was already terrorizing the people of two different Earths because Barry wanted to save Wally West. The tragedies enacted on the public by Zoom were far more numerous than the tragedy of losing Wally would have been. Yes, Barry's a superhero who was always going to save the hostage, and both Oliver Queen and Rip Hunter have chosen the needs of the few over the needs of the many on Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow, but The Flash needs to show Barry really considering his options before making his grand gestures.