Warning! The following contains spoilers from The Flash Seasons 1-7. Read at your own risk!
Grant Gustin has played The Flash's Barry Allen for seven seasons on The CW, and he'll soon do so for another season. Such a long tenure on television is something worthy of celebration, so it's high time we recognize Gustin's Barry Allen as one of the best characters on television.
Sure, The Flash is no Superman or Batman, but what he lacks in being fearsome or literally indestructible, he makes up for in plenty of other ways. The following are a few of the many reasons why Barry is one of television's greatest characters and one that will absolutely be missed whenever The Flash finally decides to end.
Barry Is An Unshakably Good Character
Heroes and villains are different in a lot of ways, but they do often share the experience of a tragic event re-shaping the course of their lives. For Barry Allen, he lost his mother, who was killed in cold blood by his future rival Reverse-Flash, and his father was wrongfully imprisoned for the crime. Barry Allen had every reason to scowl and be cynical of the world from that moment on, but through some miracle, did the opposite.
Probably about the most wonderful and frustrating aspect about Grant Gustin's Barry Allen is that he's an unshakably good person. He's not one for vengeance, nor is he ever someone to resort to extreme measures without at least trying to appeal to his fellow man. I know I personally wouldn't have had the restraint not to kill Savitar despite the fact he had a high probability of killing Iris ("Finish Line"). On one hand Barry's constant insistence on being a good guy to a fault frustrates me, but I also have to respect it at the same time.
He's The Kind Of Guy That Runs Across The World For Food
Grant Gustin's Barry Allen may be super nice and capable of godly levels of forgiveness, but he has his vices. It's not at all a rare thing for Barry to sprint across town for some ultra-fast food, or even to another continent. Of course, it's easy to be a foodie when you're one of the fastest men alive and can make it just about anywhere in a reasonable amount of time.
The Flash doesn't highlight the fact Barry does this too often, but I love it when it does. It shows that while being a hero is serious business, he's not so tightly wound he can't pop over to Italy for some authentic pasta. Plus, he's more than willing to do the same for friends, which speaks again to his kindness. I may not be able to match Barry's kindness and willingness to forgive, but I would certainly be zooming all over the world for the finest food so it makes it enjoyable for me to know he's not a total robot.
He’s Slowly Become A Better Hero As The Series Has Progressed
If you've been watching The Flash since the start, then you'd know the frustrating trope fans had to endure the first three seasons. Barry Allen was the "fastest man alive" until he wasn't, and would just get destroyed until he was suddenly able to find the speed to overcome his enemy. It was a schtick that got old quick for me, but luckily The Flash changed things up right before fans started to really complain.
Barry learned to defeat villains where speed wasn't a factor, and while Season 7 may have taken that to the most extreme when he defeated several villains using the power of feelings, I can also appreciate that he's no longer being outrun when he's the fastest person alive. I may not love how things transpired in the latest season, but I can appreciate The Flash trying something new.
He’s A Great Husband And Loyal Friend
If you've seen The Flash, I don't think there's any denying that Grant Gustin's Barry Allen is a loyal friend and a great husband. He's formed lifelong friends with the core characters of "Team Flash" and the one-off characters we've met along the way, and he's even won over the respect of a few villains over the years. Like, who would've guessed he and Captain Cold would eventually become buddies when they first met?
And while I question the dynamic of Iris and Barry being raised together as children only to become lovers, I can appreciate he's a great husband to her. He even managed to arrange a vow renewal after all the chaos that occurred in Season 7, which may have been the most impressive bit of the season. He's certainly a better husband than many DC heroes, though Tyler Hoechlin's Superman may give him a run for his money.
He Has The Ability To Save People In Multiple Other Cities, But Doesn't
Remember earlier how I talked about how Barry Allen likes to run around the nation for food? Another thing he does is exclusively protect Central City and really doesn't pop up in other cities to save the day. Sure, he's traveled to Star City a time or two and Gotham City, but again, he could literally run anywhere in a short amount of time and stop a lot more crime than he does.
I think about this a lot, and wonder why that is. After all, he's a great guy, and we've seen others like Superman readily jump into action to help as many people as he can far and wide. Perhaps Barry isn't quite the guy we think he is? I don't have an answer obviously, but the possibilities keep me in on the show when perhaps things aren't as spicy as usual.
He’s A Great Team Player
Barry Allen has a solid track record as a hero, but there are countless times he would've been deader than a doornail had he not had the support of Team Flash. Barry is not at all shy about sharing that fact either, and someone who is always willing to share credit with whoever is there to help save the day.
Rightfully so, because characters like Vibe, Killer Frost, and every iteration of Harrison Wells under the sun have played a vital part in keeping Central City safe. It takes a great hero to admit he needs help, and personally speaking, I'm never a fan of anyone who tries to steal all the credit for a team effort. Few are, which may be why Barry Allen is so well-liked by fans of the Arrowverse.
The Flash Season 7 just wrapped up on The CW, but Season 8 is on the way. Keep an eye out for when it may return with our 2021 fall TV schedule, and check out some of the other great shows headed to television later in 2021. For a look at what's happening with the movie for The Flash, read up on the upcoming DC movies here.
Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.
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