The Flash So Far

(Image courtesy of The CW)

If you tuned in last night to catch a new episode of CW’s The Flash you would have been thoroughly disappointed because the show won’t return from it’s hiatus until January 24th of next year. The good news is that if you haven’t been following along this gives you some time to catch up on the 9 episodes of season 3 that have aired so far. If you are caught up and need a refresher, these are some of the major points that have happened this season as well as some ideas about what we might see going forward.

Flashpoint

In the season 2 finale Barry Allen decided to go back in time to stop Reverse Flash from killing his mother, resulting in…Flashpoint. For those unfamiliar with the story, Flashpoint is a 2011 DC Comics story by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert that takes place in an alternate timeline. In it, Barry Allen wakes up in an alternate timeline thinking Reverse Flash has altered the timeline. In order to stop the impending war between Aquaman and Wonder Woman, Barry convinces Batman (Thomas Wayne) to help him recreate the accident that granted him access to The Speedforce and allowed him to become The Flash. Of course the storyline is far more complex than this and if you want to fully understand it you can read the comic books or watch the animated film Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox.

The season 3 premiere follows through on that storyline with an episode loosely based on Flashpoint with some change made. The main ideas stay the same in terms of Barry saving his mother and creating an alternate timeline but certain things would be too difficult to adapt for television. The main takeaways are:

-Both of Barry’s parents are alive but this means that he is estranged from the West family because he never went to live with them after his mother was killed and his father was sent to prison for her murder.

-“Team Flash” doesn’t exist. Instead of helping Barry take down meta-humans, Caitlin and Cisco are a pediatric ophthalmologist and self-centred billionaire respectively

-The most interesting change during Flashpoint is that Wally West is The Flash and he has been the one keeping Central City safe.

While many people were disappointed that Flashpoint itself only lasted one episode it is understandable why. Not only does The Flash operate on a TV budget, making the possibility of a full scale war unlikely, but it also operates outside of the DC Cinematic Universe (DCEU) meaning the show most likely not permitted by Warner Bros. to use characters like Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg etc. The fact that they were allowed to use Superman this season on Supergirl is surprising enough. Despite the fact that Flashpoint itself was over after the premiere, the ramifications were felt throughout these first 9 episodes of The Flash and the other 3 DC shows. The ramifications include:

-One of the biggest changes was that Cisco’s brother Dante is dead when Barry returns from Flashpoint. This revelation causes substantial friction between Barry and Cisco but they are eventually able to repair their friendship

-At the end of episode 2 it is revealed that Dr. Caitlin Snow now possesses the powers that transform her into the comic book villain Killer Frost. The majority of Caitlin’s arc so far this season has centred around her coming to terms with her powers, culminating in episode 7, “Killer Frost”

-Team Flash. Fans of Wally West have been waiting for him to gain access to the Speed Force ever since he was introduced in the winter finale last year. While it took a while for his powers to appear he has since received a suit of his very own, and become Kid Flash. This comes after Jesse Wells was revealed as the speedster Jesse Quick earlier in the season.

Villains

Doctor Alchemy

Alchemy, voiced spectacularly by Tobin Bell from the Saw franchise, was revealed as a villain and made his presence felt immediately. The greatest power that Alchemy has is his ability to restore the powers of any meta-human that existed in Flashpoint and this not only creates multiple problems for The Flash, but is also the way that Wally gets his powers.

In the mid-season finale it is revealed that Julian Albert,forensic scientist and Barry’s arch-rival at the CCPD, is in fact Alchemy but only because he has been possessed by Savitar.

Savitar

Savitar, the God of speed, is the real villain for this season and he is by far the fastest speedster we have ever seen on the show. He’s so fast that non-speedsters can’t even see him when he is standing still. While not much is known about Savitar at this point, we do know that he is extremely powerful and ruthless. In the mid-season finale Barry is able to throw the stone that controls him into the Speed Force, but ends up sending himself 5 months into the future where he sees Savitar murder Iris. It is also revealed that he is able to possess Julian in order to force him to become Alchemy.

Other notable villains include The Rival, Magenta, Mirror Master, Top, Killer Frost, and Shade.

Favourite Moment 

I’ve had a great time watching this first chunk of episodes and If I had to pick a favourite moment it would be the speech that Jay Garrick gives Barry in episode 2. After Barry attempts to go back in time to stop himself from saving his mother (time travel is confusing isn’t it?) Jay Garrick pulls him out of the Speed Force and lectures him on the dangers of time travel and what it means to be a hero.

The 4 part crossover with Supergirl, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow deserves an honourable mention because co-ordinating that must have been no easy task and it was a joy to watch all the characters interact with each other

What is your favourite moment of season 3 so far? Who do you think Savitar is? How excited are you for The Flash to return in January?

Tweet me your thoughts @_JaredClarkson 

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Excitement For DCEU Disappearing In a “Flash”

My name is Jay Garrick and your (cinematic) world is in danger.

Fans that were excited to watch The Scarlett Speedster in a solo film may have to wait a little bit longer after The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Director Rick Famuyiwa has left the project over “creative differences. Warner Bros. will have to movie quickly to replace Famuyiwa or else risk having to push the March 2018 release date back. A commitment for Ezra Miller in July could mean we don’t see The Flash For another two years.

Famuyiwa, who replaced the original director Seth Grahame-Smith in June, had overseen numerous aspects of pre-production including the casting of Kiersey Clemons as Iris West and Billy Crudup as Barry’s father Henry Allen. The fact that Warner Bros. will soon be hiring their 3rd director for the film indicates a growing problem in the DCEU. At what point does Warner Bros. hire a director and let them execute their vision for the film rather than getting into arguments over creative differences?

Problems during pre-production are nothing knew for Warner Bros. or the DCEU. After the theatrical cut of BatmanvSuperman was critically panned it came out that Zack Snyder had a different vision for the film which is how we ended up with the 3 hour Ultimate Cut. Say what you want about the Ultimate Cut, I still think it is a deeply flawed film that fixes some problems and creates new ones, but at the end of the day that is the film that Zack Snyder set out to make. If you as a studio don’t believe in the vision of your director then you shouldn’t have hired them in the first place. The fact that a big budget film got released at all with the script and editing problems is one thing but don’t insult your fanbase by releasing an extended version as a way to make up for the poor product that appeared in theatres. Just do it right the first time.

They obviously didn’t learn their lesson because just months later they released the critically panned Suicide Squad and the problems behind the scenes are legendary. The film was rushed from the start with the script being completed in just 6 weeks and after the poor reception to BvS the studio wanted to make a lighter film that clashed with director David Ayer’s vision. So they reportedly hired another company to make their own cut of the film to go along with Ayer’s cut.

That’s right.

The final cut was an attempt at making the two edits work cohesively and they do not. It’s embarrassing that we two films this year in the DCEU and both of them suffer from virtually no cohesive story, and problems with editing/pacing.

It’s no wonder that the movie was a convoluted mess that suffered immensely from a multitude of other issues. Jared Leto ended up with maybe 10 minutes of screen time after the trailers made it look like Joker would be an essential part of the plot. I came out of the theatre thinking he shouldn’t have even been in the film because he was irrelevant to the plot. It just ended up being a waste of a character (which Suicide Squad is guilty of on more than one occasion).

Add to all that the fact that next summer’s Wonder Woman film had to replace a director due to creative differences and their is evidence of a disturbing trend at Warner Bros. Creative differences happen in film and it’s not uncommon for directors or actors/actresses to leave projects for certain reasons. But when almost all of your films are struggling with the same issues it might be time to push pause and figure out why this keeps happening.

The DCEU was rushed from the beginning. People get upset when you compare it to the Marvel Cinematic Universe but they set the bar for what these movies should be. We should have gotten solo films for all of the major Justice League members before they came together. The Justice League film will be introducing us to Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg, all while trying to reintroduce Superman into the film, tell a good story, and give us a tease of what the solo films may look like. That’s far too much this early on the universe. Fans have shown an appetite for these characters and if you made an Aquaman movie people would line up to go see it just like they did for Iron Man and Captain America. People love these characters and want to see them on the big screen but they want still want the movies to be good. So far Warner Bros. has not delivered. Disney is getting set to release Doctor Strange this week (early reviews have been quite positive) while Warner Bros. are just sitting in the corner trying to figure out what they’re doing wrong.

At least we’ll always have The Flash on TV. What a great show.

Are you scared for the future of the DCEU? Are you nervous? Do you not care at all? Follow me on Twitter @_JaredClarkson