Flash Season Three Falls Short of Expectations



A scene from Season Three of The Flash, which loyal fans felt fell short of the hype from previous seasons.

By Ben Dross, Staff Writer

Season three of The Flash struggled to find its identity at times, falling short of lofty expectations from seasons prior. However, it showed flashes of greatness, giving hope it can rebound in season four.


The Flash opted for a complete rewrite of its characters, by kicking off the season with a dramatic twist. Travelling back nearly two decades to save his mother, Barry Allen aka The Flash (Grant Gustin) set off a series of events that permanently changed time. Included in these changes was the creation of season three’s newest villain, Savitar (Grant Gustin), a discarded duplicate of the Flash himself. The whole season focused on correcting mistakes Barry had created through his actions, such as Savitar and other things he broke when changing time.


While an interesting concept, it sucked some life out of the show. The Flash and the characters on the show are known for being traditionally bright. The plots of seasons one and two, while having tough moments, were usually hopeful and fun. Season three diverged from this path, offering a more dark, dialogue-driven drama over an action packed drama with a comedic silver lining. While bold and executed decently, it was not good enough to win over fans expecting a more vibrant viewing experience.


This was shown predominantly through Barry. Normally an optimistic golden boy, the show frequently drove him to the brink of insanity and lead him to wallow in self pity. Knowing his fiancee Iris West (Candice Patton) was going to die frequently pushed Barry to make dark choices. He almost killed and sacrificed his morals to try and save her, more than once. All the normal action was replaced by second guessing and slow dialogue. The show had many opportunities to give Barry and the team small victories or exemplify hope and they never did.


Another problem this season was the show being plagued, once again, by poor acting and poorly written characters. Everyone on the show was excited to see Wally West (Keiyan Lonsdale) take up the mantle of Kid Flash this season. However, his rendition of the character was awful. Wally is supposed to be witty, charming, and fearless. He’s commonly known to DC fans as a comedic release valve for the Teen Titans or in his later years, the Justice League. In every other major media Wally has appeared in, he’s embodied that spirit. Instead, we got a hot-headed, over-emotional, super serious, watered-down version of Wally West. He frequently doubted himself, constantly worried himself with the opinion of others, and always had to rely on Barry for help. Rarely did Wally do anything on his own. His character was wasted and lacked energy this season.


Other weak acting performances included those of Candice Patton and Danielle Panabaker, who played Caitlin Snow aka Killer Frost. While they did a good job of switching up Caitlin’s story, she still failed to fill what could have been a promising storyline, as she spent most of the season fending off her own mind, which was turning her into a super villain. Maybe in season four she will do better, but based on the past three seasons, I would not hold my breath.


It was not all bad for The Flash in season three, however. The addition of Julian Albert (Tom Felton) to Team Flash was a great move. He was well written, with a compelling redemption story offering the limited hope the show needed more of. HR, the newest role taken on by the talented Tom Cavanaugh, served as an exhaust for tension between cast members, quickly pulling entertainment out of gloomy moments. I would not be surprised to find out Cavanaugh ad-libed every one of his lines, as you never knew where his character was going to go next. Joe West (Jesse Martin) continued to be a fan favorite, even getting his own special story line this season, as we saw him finally overcome the death of his wife. Jay Garrick (John Wesley Shipp) and Gypsy (Jessica Camacho) had awesome cameos that frequently set the team in the right direction when the season got off track. Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdez) got off to a rocky start in season three, but quickly returned to the bright, funny, sidekick that the show needed.
Despite a lack of overall result, I do applaud The Flash for heading in a new direction. By throwing in new plot devices and attempting to conjure up new villains for the team to face, they kept the show fresh. Hopefully they continue to do this in season four, but find their identity as the light, hopeful action adventure they are supposed to be.