Fourth Flash Season generally suceeds

PHOTO COURTESY OF CREATIVE COMMONS.

By Ben Dross, Staff Writer

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“The Flash” came running back onto screens Oct. 13 with a wild season four premiere, but is still stumbling over some speed bumps as it tries to transition from a rocky season three.

 

Keeping in routine with previous seasons, “The Flash” opened four months after the season three finale. That being said, most of the first episode is dedicated to exploring the new dynamic between most of the characters in the wake of the departure of many characters in the season 3 finale. It is probably best to go through each episode by character, instead of chronologically, explaining what’s new and if it will be a good fit for audiences as the Flash tries to rebound from last years’ disappointment.

 

The episode opens with Iris West (Candice Patton) delivering the opening monologue, instead of our friend the Flash himself, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin). Iris has taken over as the lead in Barry’s absence, managing Barry’s former sidekicks Wally West aka Kid Flash (Keiyan Lonsdale) and Cisco Ramon aka Vibe (Carlos Valdes). This episode reminds many viewers  Iris West’s difficult character last season, and it is not looking like this will change.

 

Iris West, now Barry’s fiance,  has gone absolutely crazy following Barry’s disappearance. She has become stricken with grief and is taking it out on others. She even refuses to accept Barry’s inevitable return, as he comes back from his hiatus twenty minutes into the episode. Her character is impulsive, stubborn, and downright rude to her friends. Team Flash is supposed to be a balance, with everyone helping out Barry, not Iris. Iris is  so prominently featured that it weighs down the rest of what was overall a successful premiere.

 

The supporting cast holds up well. Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) is still an expertly-crafted character. He’s getting his confidence back, as evidenced by his new girlfriend moving in with him. He’s beginning to move on from the loss of his wife and trusting others. The man still serves as a great father and advice giver to Barry, Wally, and Iris. His monologue about faith was well delivered and will serve as a central theme for season four. The way that the Flash will overcome his demons this season will be by following Joe’s advice about faith, and putting his faith in his fellow teammates.

 

Wally West is looking right again. After a traumatic and dark season three story line for Wally, he gets a brighter future in season four. He’s confident, funny, and determined to become a hero this season. He does not get lost and overwhelmed anymore when dealing with tough decisions and foes. He fought two super villains in this episode, both without struggling. He even donned Barry’s costume in the beginning, a good comic callback to when he was the Flash of the comic book world. As viewers, we can only hope that  there will be more of Kid Flash the super sidekick and less of sad, melodramatic Wally this season.

 

Cisco and Caitlin Snow aka Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker) are back. One is returning to his roots, and the other is blazing a new trail. These character developments were both awesome moves by The Flash’s writers. Cisco was a funny geek in the shows’ beginning, but got caught up in some drama in season three. In this episode, he made plenty of pop culture references and comic book references to intrigue the audience. He’s always good for a laugh and a fan favorite. Caitlin, on the other hand, was struggling as a “goody two shoes”. After her transformation into a villain last season, Killer Frost found the sweet spot on Tuesday as an anti-hero, walking the line between good and bad. She helped Team Flash, while getting aggresive. Hopefully, we see her walk this line all season long.

 

Finally, the Flash himself is back. He returned from his service to the speed force, and he claims to be stronger than ever. He thinks five times faster, and has run faster than anyone before, earning the title of the fastest man alive in this episode. The episode did not really focus on Barry, and more set up his supporting cast. That’s ok, however, as the show will obviously feature him more prominently in the next 25 episodes.

 

Briefly, the plot is worth mentioning. While the plot was too Iris centric, with the Flash relying on her for everything in this episode, and supporting characters being scolded by her, that was the only real drawback. In the end, there was lots of action as multiple super villains were featured and we saw Wally, Barry, Cisco, Caitlin, and Joe fight crime. It’s rare to get that much action in one episode, and it was sorely missed by loyal viewers.

 

All in all, it is exciting to have the Flash back on the air. The show looks poised to learn from its over-dramatic season three and build off of its action-packed season four premiere.