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This time of year tends to bring some pretty phenomenal episodes of television, as networks pull out all the stops to keep viewers invested over the winter hiatus. The midseason finale of The CW’s The Flash saw some huge twists and turns, but the number of viewers who tuned in was much lower than usual. In fact, The Flash hit a Season 2 low in the ratings with “Running To Stand Still.”
The midseason finale pulled in just a 1.2 rating in the coveted 18–49 demographic. In addition, Deadline reports that The Flash dropped 14% from the previous week’s numbers to hit last night's big low.
While news of a ratings low is certainly a bummer for Flash fans, a 1.2/4 in the 18 – 49 demographic is still huge for a network as small as The CW. That The Flash hit a low in the midseason finale isn’t great, but it's also not a cause for great alarm. The Flash may have slowed down, but the slower numbers don't necessarily indicate that the show is on a downward trajectory.
There are plenty of reasons why The Flash might have stumbled in the ratings for its midseason finale that do not spell doom and gloom for the future of the show. Last week’s episode was the first half of the much-touted crossover between The Flash and sister series Arrow, which no doubt brought some regular Arrow viewers over for Team Flash’s visit to Star City. Although the crossover ratings were not among the season's highest and did not quite equal those of last year’s crossover, they did see an 11% boost from the numbers for the previous episode. The Flash saw a dip following the Flarrow crossover, but that’s more of a reflection of the popularity of Flarrow than sudden overall disinterest in The Flash.
It is a shame that more did not tune in for “Running to Stand Still,” however. The midseason finale managed to touch on just about every single plot that has been developing in Season 2. The villains in particular were fantastic. Mark Hamill’s Trickster was as delightfully terrifying in this appearance as in his first, and Captain Cold’s reluctant defection to the side of the good guys was a solid way to end his Flash arc before sending him off to spinoff Legends of Tomorrow. The Weather Wizard certainly deserved a day of mayhem after his villainous scheme last year was foiled by time travel.
On the character front, Iris getting some attention as she came clean to her father about his secret son was pretty great. Not only did it prove that at least one Flash character learned a lesson about keeping secrets, but it also brought Wally West onto the scene.
The season low for The Flash was certainly a disappointment, but it also could have been a fluke. We’ll just have to tune in when the show returns for midseason premiere season in 2016 to see what the midseason finale meant for the rest of Season 2.