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The Flash - Into The Speed Foce - Review: "Melodrama for the sake of it"

It seems like The Flash just can’t get up. This is the 5th episode in a row I generally disliked: now, it’s on the better end of the streak of bad episodes The Flash has given me, but once again I find myself disappointed. It was going ok, but there were part of the episodes that just clearly didn’t work, and once again, the fix was so, so easy and yet the writers dropped the ball completely. I have lost hope that the show will get better: I think the way The Flash is playing right now is simply not for me, and as such, I think it’s very likely that I’ll drop at the end of the season (a decision I may carry to Supergirl, which I’m having a hard time enjoying this backhalf as well, and Legends if it follows this trend).

So let’s break it down: let’s start with what didn’t work so this review doesn’t end in such a negative note as it did last week.
Jessie Quick: you are supposed to be smart, you have seen what happens when people go solo, so why, why must you make stupid decisions? I mean, theoretically, I understand, she is beyond pissed and with good reason, but she has seen more than enough time where doing things of your own lead you, she should have at least considered asking the team to aid her to take down Savitar, or at least, you know, impair him in some way.

I don’t like to see this show going in circles: one week, a character is lead by emotions to make a mistakes, says sorry, lesson learnt, and the next week someone else does the exact same thing. Barry, Cisco, Caitlin, Joe, Iris and Wally, all have done this: they let the emotions overtake them and do stuff on their own consequences be damned. And now Jessie. It’s getting very old, I’m sick tired of this trope: the mistake could have been going after Savitar right away, but at least do it as a team, prove me that you have learnt something for god’s sake!

In the end Jessie does end up needing HR’s help, which was a surprising turn as he was the one to figure out that Savitar was vulnerable. As good as a turn of events that was, it was clouded by the fact that Jessie essentially followed the exact same path as every other character in the show and it played with the same consequences. To me, it’s like I was watching a repeat of The Flash and I was wasting my time. It sucked too much screen time that it dropped the whole grade all the way to the “Cs”.

But what really, really pissed me off, was that last scene in which Iris was willing to marry Barry and he says they should take a break. From someone who recently went into a break with his boyfriend (and luckily we figured our stuff out and we are back together, happily) I just couldn’t believe how sloppily this was written and executed, and I’m burnt off the whole WestAllen drama. Seriously, I can’t take it anymore: one week they are ok, then Iris says no, then Barry says no, then they are angsty, then they are back together and repeat. No, I’m 100% done with it. I can’t take it anymore, it’s running in circles, to the point where it is infuraiting.

Writers, if you want Barry and Iris to be together, let them be. If not, then just go ahead and break them apart, but don’t create drama for drama sake. The break Barry proposed was ridiculous: when me and my boyfriend went into a break it was so we could own deal with our shortcomings and come back stronger, but here they go into a break because Barry is taking the wrong lesson from the speed force: he has to deal with the consequences of his actions, but they don’t mean breaking off from who you love and push them away, it means be ready to deal with that future that’s to come.

I just hate it when shows uses metaphysical entities as a way to meddle with relationships: it makes them look silly. Relationships should be all about of where you stand emotionally and how you work as a couple; reasons to stay together, take a break or break up should be rooted in characters traits, flaws and dynamics, but instead The Flash has decided to create drama out of thin air just because. That’s sloppy writing: what happens to Barry and Iris should be dictated by their dynamics as a couple and not because Barry makes a (bad) interpretation of what a metaphysical entity says. And if you want the universe to meddle with a couple, try to make it compelling, here it just falls flat.

The show has taught Barry that he can’t deal with stuff alone, and the speed force was trying to tell him that he should take responsibility for his actions and change the future by facing it instead of escaping it, but never did they say he had to go through it alone, and this “time off” strikes me just as doing that, pushing Iris away so he can deal with this alone, which goes against everything the show has taught Barry in these 3 seasons. It’s just far too much to ask to your audience to leave behind what the show taught the main character just to create problems on a couple who, otherwise, don’t have those problems: their break comes from plot demands rather than actual characterization, and that’s just terrible. I know they’ll be back together sooner rather than later and that makes this development even more terribly written.

Now my few problems with the speed force trip: I just wish that when the speed force told Barry “that’s why we let you (create FlashPoint)” they just wouldn’t have, that the would have taken Barry for a time out and tell him “ok, if you do this, everything will be terrible”. Like, seriously, last season when it ended with the creation of FlashPoint, I was super excited, and now I’m like “why did it ever have to happen?”, I think it’s the worst thing that could have happened to the show.

But moving on, I also don’t like Jay Garrick sacrificing himself for Wally: it’s not a bad idea, it’s not that it’s terribly written, it’s just that I would take Jay any day over Wally West, at least the Wally West on this show (the Young Justice version still remains close to my heart) and it makes me worried about the emo/angst route he seems to be heading now, which makes me believe he’ll make more mistakes and be even more annoying than ever before. The Flash writers have done this character 0 justice and the actor, sadly, has not been able to compensate the same way Grant Gustin is able to pull off likeable even when Barry is woefully written.

Aside from that, the trip to the speed force was cool, and probably the best the show has done since episode 11. It was cool seeing Eddie, Ronnie and Snart all back, even if they were as manifestations of the speed force to try to pull Barry’s head out of his ass (which only partially works, as I discussed earlier), and the fight scene with black Flash was really well executed. I like how they are essentially teaching Barry that he has to come to terms with what he has done and fight on, do his job; in essence, he has speed for a reason and he shouldn’t back away from it. Sadly, it seems Barry didn’t take the full lesson.

On the other spectrum of things I liked was HR: I think he had a solid episode, for what it is worth. Sadly, it got clogged in the middle of the catastrophe that Jessie’s storyline was. I like how he was looking out for her, and she calling him out on not being her father was an actual good moment for both characters, and he had a moment on the sun when he helped her damage Savitar. I think HR has the bragging rights during this episode.

Considering how Jessie was mishandled in this episode, I’m happy she is going away to Earth 3, and for the right reasons: it doesn’t have a Flash. Earth 2 has Harrison Wells, so they’ll manage, but with Jay out of commission, it’s time for Miss Flash to head out and save the day somewhere else. And hopefully come back with improved storylines (I never felt her romance with Wally either).

Everything else: “meh”. I suppose Joe’s talk with Iris was cute, but it wasn’t the best pep talk Joe has given, it was very by the numbers saying “follow your heart”, but I’ll take it. I was very much indifferent to it, just like I was with pretty much the rest of the stuff going on.

In the end, I have lost hope that The Flash will ever be truly good again. I think the writers may have some genuinely good ideas, but I don’t trust their ability to execute them anymore, because they carry them out regardless of how it affects the character, and so drama isn’t carried by the character’s baggage, but plot convenience, and I don’t think I’m up for it, not anymore.

So, I think it’s very likely that, unless I’m proven wrong with the following streak of episodes, I will drop The Flash at the end of this season, a decision I may carry over to Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow (which may be a bit unfair, given how much I enjoy that show), and it’s that I think I’ll need a break from DCTV, and this break is not caused by metaphysical entities telling me so, but rather because I want to look for shows that truly engage me, and it seems the DCTV universe is just failing very hard on that. But hey, at least Young Justice Season 3 should be great, right? Right?

Anyway, I’ll continue reviewing the show for the rest of the season. I honestly hope I don’t bum you guys/gals too much with the negatives. I just want to be honest with how it feels to watch the show now: I think some people still enjoy it and love it and that’s great, but what I try to say here is where I see The Flash dropping the ball for me (and me only) and what I think it could do to be better. I hope I see it being better soon and that I continue on watching (and reviewing in season 4), but if I truly don’t enjoy the show anymore, you guys deserve someone who still loves it and calls out the flaws, but who is also able to see the good on it. For me, it’s getting harder and harder to pinpoint the positives, so if it continues, I’ll step down.

Thank you so much for following and discussing these reviews: we may agree or disagree, but I’m happy you guys are reading these reviews all the same. Really, thank you.

Grade: C+