Part one of my incredibly belated review of Season One of CW’s The Flash can be found here. If you haven’t read it, go, and catch up with my thoughts, as I have not with the show. If you are even further behind than I am, read no further because I think the moratorium on spoilers is well over at this point.
The Villains: It’s well-known that The Flash has one of the best rogue’s galleries in comics. (The actual best is a topic worthy of great analysis and discussion, of course, but his guys are at least IN the discussion.) And by the end of Season One, you’ve encountered most of the big ones. Sure, Captain Boomerang is merely hinted at, and we’ve yet to see the Mirror Master, but otherwise a solid core of villains is represented in Captain Cold, Heatwave, Golden Glider, Weather Wizard, Gorilla Grodd, Pied Piper and of course, The Reverse Flash.
I was generally impressed by the portrayals of all of the villains we’ve seen so far – they feel appropriately updated and modern while overall retaining the essence of the characters. Wentworth Miller’s Captain Cold is perhaps a bit too refined for my tastes – I tend to think of Leonard as a pretty down to earth, blue collar guy and I just don’t get that feeling from Miller – but it’s a small complaint compared to what the show gets right. Len is the man with a plan and a code of honor, albeit a twisted one. Heatwave has a disturbing obsession with fire that gets in the way even of his own greed. The motion capture for Grodd is quite good, and he is impressively large and intimidating.
The origins of the villains are largely changed, but this is in line with the changes made to Barry’s origin, and they serve the larger plotline. Nearly everyone’s powers stem from Harrison Wells’ particle accelerator experiments, whether directly, like the Weather Wizard and Peek-a-boo, or indirectly, like Cold, whose gun was created in direct response to the potential threat from Barry, or The Pied Piper, whose hearing was enhanced by the explosion, but whose powers stem from the technology he’s created to dull the sound. This thread of the accelerator and Harrison’s misdeeds serve as a good method for putting Barry into conflict with villains, and also explain why such a large number of them have made little Central City their base of operations.
One thing I’ve always appreciated about Flash’s villains is the way they work together. Just like Barry (or Wally, in the comics) has a team, so do the Rogues. The seed of the group is there in season one, but I’m looking forward to season two, when it all will hopefully come together.
Storylines: Back in the 90’s, I was a fan of The X-Files. However, I really only ever liked the “monster of the week” stories, in which Mulder and Scully fought some random mutant or alien who was never to be seen again after the episode ended. Anything hinting at the larger story and conspiracy bored me to tears. The Flash uses a similar format, but manages to keep me interested in the entire plot. I really wanted to know who the Reverse Flash was, and why he killed Barry’s mother. The terrible secrets that everyone is keeping actually made sense in the larger context of the story. Granted, it isn’t a terribly deep – we could argue that The X-Files was aiming for something grander that went over my head – but I enjoy the balance of “watch Barry run fast and punch stuff” with “what the heck is really going on here?” My hope for season two is that even in the absence of a mentor in the Speed Force, Barry will continue to explore what his powers can do beyond simply doing everything faster than everyone else. My favorite thing about The Flash is his creativity, and I think the show has room to explore it more.
Without spoiling the plot, how has season two lived up to your expectations? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Happy holidays, if you celebrate, and happy almost 2016 if you don’t! I’ll see you all next year.