I need to have a little disclaimer before I get started. The Flash is hands down my favorite superhero ever. This means two things. One, no matter how good or bad the show is, I would watch it anyway. Second, it makes me hyper critical of the show. So even though I would watch the show no matter the quality, I am not afraid to point out what they do wrong. Fair warning, there are a few mild spoilers below.
With that out of the way lets get into. The Flash premiered this last fall after a pilot style intro in Arrow. This was possibly the perfect way to start the show. Simply because he wasn’t introduced to us a as a superhero. He was the nerdy CSI who had a sweet spot for Felicity. This way, by the time he puts on the suit we already liked the character. Unlike Oliver Queen in Arrow who was pretty much introduced to us as a vigilante. That became his whole identity. It created this one-dimensional character that took about a whole season to gain some depth. With Barry Allen, we already knew him. He was a character before he was a hero, which just became another dimension to the character.
We’ll get back to the fastest man alive in a second. Because the other factor that helped this show hit the ground running is its supporting cast. The three additional members of Team Flash, Cisco, Caitlyn Snow, and Harrison Wells help to expand the perspectives we get. Something that again was done later in Arrow that helped the show increase in quality. Cisco resonates with the geeky/nerdy side of Barry Allen and acts as the audiences surrogate. Every time he “creates” the names of the villains is just another little nod to the fans. Caitlyn on the other hand helps to show Barry’s age. Being a young professional and what that looks like in today’s world. Basically, these two characters help show the two major aspects of Barry in a none super hero role. Not too mention when all three of these characters actually get together, we get a pretty unique look at what actually being a superhero could be like. Not too mention Iris West and her father. They both are iconic from the comics and are Barry’s family. They serve as a reminder not only of the tragic death of his mother but that family goes beyond blood.
Now Harrison Wells does something else for our Scarlet Speedster. He provides a look at what Barry could be. It is still unclear whether Wells falls on the side of the angels or not. However, it is pretty clear that Wells is in it for himself and using his powers for his benefit only. Barry on the other hand views his powers a gift for others. Sure he’ll use it to unpack or change a little faster than normal, but relatively these things are pretty harmless.
Hold on, we’re going to switch gears and do some good ol’fashioned speculation. We know that Wells is a Reverse Flash. Historically, there have been two. The first was Eobard Thawne, a man from the future who gained access to the Speed Force. The other is Hunter Zolomon who gained time manipulation powers that simulated super speed. Without getting too much into, there is enough evidence to support Wells as either evil speedster.
My bet is that he is Eobard Thawne. Whether the other RF is Zolomon or Wells pulling off some kind of time travel trickery is anybodies guess. Honestly it doesn’t matter because Wells has information about the future. Not only that but information that seems to point to pretty significant point in Flash’s history. There is a lot more to speculate on but that’s not the point of this piece.
That brings us to our next point. Flash has a very colorful rogues gallery one that I would argue is stranger than most. Instead of trying to update these characters or make them more grim, they fully embrace them. Particularly Captain Cold and Heatwave. The show fully embraces the corniness of these characters while still making them believably sinister. This however is nothing compared to when they will introduce Grodd. Grodd is one of Flash’s arch-nemesis and one of his more….weird characters. Simply put, Grodd is also known as Gorilla Grodd. He is a hyper-intelligent, talking, psychic gorilla bent on world domination. The fact that the show runners went with him in the first season is incredible. I mean, once Grodd comes into the picture there isn’t a villain that you couldn’t pull off.
Before we get to our final point, lets get back to Barry Allen. Grant Gustin is possibly just about as perfect for the role as you can get. He easily brings this authenticity that you would expect from someone who loves the Flash. Now, I don’t know if he was a fan before hand but it seems that he was. The Flash, the character, at his heart just want’s to help people. Whether its a villain or not, he wants to use his powers to help others. He’s not on some mission to better the world or exact vengeance, he simply wants to use his powers to the benefit of others. Grant Gustin is able to represent this in spades. Again, as I said earlier I believe this is partly due to how we were introduced to Barry Allen. We saw him as a character first. Someone that we liked. Those feelings get transferred to his time as a The Flash. All I am trying to say is that Grant Gustin does an excellent job of representing at least what I believe to be truest version of the Flash.
Which brings us to our final point. The Flash show-runners have flung themselves into the Flash history in order to bring us the show that we need. They could of tried to go dark and gritty like Arrow but they didn’t. The Flash, for me, has always been a versatile hero. A hero that one minute will tie robbers shoelaces together to stop them to sacrificing himself to save the multiverse (that’s a whole other can of worms). He is equal parts fun and serious. His show encapsulates that to a tee. One moment he will be riding high and the next minute he will be brought crashing down. Those extremes can’t really be brought into other superhero shows. Mostly because they are too focused on being serious and dark. The Flash embraces the absurdity of the heroes world so that we can experience new moments of humanity.