I’d like to talk about The Flash TV show. Some people have asked what I’ve meant in the past about how the show breaks its own rules and falls foul of its own plotting. At times it’s seemed to me like that show is its own worst enemy. I guess I should clarify those statements, and this seems like as good a time and place to do so.
Early on in this first season of The Flash we saw Barry Allen explaining how fast he was to Felicity Smoak, and proving this by running to the top of a building and back. By the time he was done, his shoes were smoking from the friction. That makes sense.
However, since then we’ve seen him run in his civilian clothes and his shoes haven’t smoked at all. Maybe I’m nit-picking, but that’s bad continuity and breaking its own rules.
They also said, correctly, that because of his hyper-metabolism he needs to eat on a regular basis, and eat a lot. Cisco said that he’d designed some high-energy protein bars for Barry, which also makes sense. But when was the last time we saw him actually binge on food? Call me old-fashioned, and maybe it’s because I remember so many scenes in the old show where he’d polish off a dozen pizzas or an entire box of cereal from a giant bowl in seconds, but you just don’t see this covered in the new show.
Even though they said that he should be eating a lot.
How about Barry not really spending much time at work, or being completely clueless most of the time even though he’s a scientist? Last time I checked, he seems to spend most of his time delegating his day job work to his good buddies at STAR Labs rather than doing it himself in his forensic lab, and they have to figure out some basic scientific solutions to his problems rather than him doing this himself.
Actually, there are quite a few things that don’t make sense. Despite his speed, he seems to take quite a beating in fights, and rather than acting in the blink of an eye to arrest a villain he allows them enough time to unleash their plans.
Look at the episode All-Star Team Up, a show where he actually didn’t team up with visiting hero The Atom at all.
Barry knows who the Bug-Eyed Bandit is, and finds her easily. She’s at her computer console which allows her to control some robotic killer bees. Does he arrest her quickly, or incapacitate her? No, he just stood there and let her push some buttons. He knows that lives at at stake, but doesn’t act immediately. That’s not good storytelling or drama, it’s just dumb.
And say, for the record why did the Bug-Eyed Bandit go to one of her target’s office and talk to one of her robotic bees, when they were controlled by a computer back at her lair? And if all they had to do to stop the bees was cover them in water, why did it take The Flash and The Atom to win when anybody with a garden hose or a bucket of water could have done the job? Why not lure them into a building and then activate the fire sprinklers?
Or even, since Felicity Smoak hacked the Bug-Eyed Bandit’s computer to take control of the bees… why did she only switch off the ones attacking The Flash and not the ones attacking her boyfriend, The Atom?!
See what I mean? Dumb, and bad plotting.
I like this show. It’s really grown on me. I’ve had issues with it at times though, and sometimes the writing and plots have been a real problem. When an episode like All-Star Team Up airs, it seems like it’s not only back-pedalling but is doing more harm than good.
The excuse “but it’s a comic book show, so don’t expect realism anyway” just doesn’t cut it. I don’t want every show to be grim and gritty – what some mistakenly believe is realism – I’m just hoping that the show follows its own rules, fills those plot holes and gets a little smarter. That isn’t much to ask.
But like I said, I like this show. When it’s worked it’s really worked. The overall story arc is smart and fascinating and I hope it doesn’t drop the ball on that. With nostalgia I forget that it took the original Flash TV show a while to find its feet too, and that some of those episodes were really weak. I’ve been impatient with the new show, but I’ve also seen it at its best. As a fan of the comic books, I know how brilliant it can be.
The Flash show deserves to be at its best. The fans deserve its best too. Ignoring its faults won’t make it its best though, so don’t think I’m knocking it needlessly. The Flash shouldn’t run away from its problems, it should face them square on and sort them out instead of ignoring them.
After all, that’s what heroes are supposed to do. Isn’t it?