Flash: “Cause and Effect”

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Jim’s Thoughts           

When I talk about team Flash making their own problems, I usually mean to reference their tendency to withhold information from one another. This week’s episode offered a different take on that. They deleted Barry’s memories.

“Amnesia” episodes are pretty formulaic. We’ve all seen them. They’re usually found in sitcoms or soap operas, and there isn’t a lot of new ground to cover. For Flash, this felt like a stalling tactic, something to keep everyone in a holding pattern and fill out an extra episode.

Romance was the order of the day again, and it was done as poorly as I’ve come to expect. Barry and Iris had their 50 First Dates moments. The only remotely interesting component of this was seeing Barry unburdened by his life as Flash and his past, that is having seen his parents murdered. Instead of focusing on that, we got a lot of Barry, not remembering anything at all, but falling in love with Iris inside of a day.

Speaking of falling in love in a day, HR’s pursuit of romance was nonstop cringeworthy. It also made no sense given that he’s interfering with the development of the speed force trap the team needs.

The moments with Cisco and Caitlin could have taken more focus, and they probably should have. That “I don’t love you” moment with Julian couldn’t carry any weight. How could he love her? Seriously, I’m beating a dead horse, I know, but love takes longer than toasting a Pop-tart. I don’t buy their “love.”

At this point, I’ve lost faith in the show. I don’t think it’s a slump, and I’m just sticking it out for the rest of the season.

Kyle’s Take

Jim covered the specific issues in this week’s Flash “Cause and Effect.” I’ll pepper some of this week’s episode as I discuss why I’ve lost faith in the show. I’m not speaking for Jim. He may have a very different list. There are several problems with Flash as the seasons have progressed. I’ll try to hit on most of them (this is not a complete list) as quickly as possible.

A) Each season’s a different twist on the same story and each time the show tells the story, it makes less sense.

The first season had Eobard Thawne in a Harrison Wells suit. A faster, evil Thawne groomed Barry to help himself get back to his time—still the series’ best use of time-travel.

The second season had an even faster and eviler villain Zoom, who happened to be on Team Flash masquerading as Jay Garrick. Zoom wanted Barry’s speed so he could be the fastest man in all creation. That’s okay, I guess.

The third season has an even faster-mcfastest and eviler-mcevilest villain Savitar. Savitar is Other Barry. He wants to kill Iris so First Barry will make Other Barry. “The rules don’t apply to me,” Other Barry said on this week’s episode. You can say that again, Other Barry.

B) Harrison Wells’s existence on Team Flash serves less purpose with each passing season, and HR’s love interest isn’t the biggest reason he ceases to work as a character.

In season one, Wells was Barry’s nemesis Reverse-Flash. Tom Cavanaugh’s performance in season one is one of the best things ever seen on The CW. Remember that scene when Wells spewed hate at an unconscious Barry and in the next moment, he smiles at Team Flash? Chills. Season one Thawne was an evil bastard but I begrudgingly liked him.

The second season was Wells 2.0. He was an okay twist on the character. I didn’t mind Wells as a curmudgeonly hero.

This season, HR is a non-genius version of the character whose job is comic relief because everyone else in the cast has no joy.

I like Cavanaugh, but this isn’t the Wells fans love. In fact, Cavanaugh wasn’t even Wells in season one. He was Thawne. It’s okay to kill off a character, especially since you can have too many.

C) Too many characters

I think there are 10 active members of Team Flash (Barry, Cisco, Joe, Iris, Caitlin, Julian, HR, Wells 2.0, Wally, and Jesse) with numerous alternative members. There are at least four speedster heroes and that’s a huge problem for Barry. Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen is a nice guy but the most interesting thing about him is that he’s “The Fastest Man Alive.”

Only, he’s not the fastest man alive. Remember Thawne, Zoom, and this season’s Savitar? Add any other speedsters and Barry loses his uniqueness. And ten characters on a weekly show is five or six too many.

Most members of Team Flash stand around the computer. They’re nothing but talking heads.

D) Baris gives Olicity a run for its money

Barry and Iris’s relationship is creepy. I’ve said it before, they’re brother and sister. Ew.

But let’s take it further than that. They have no chemistry. Jim and I have said that before, too, but the lack of chemistry adds to the fact that they’re siblings. Ew ew.

They also have nothing in common. Remember that date Barry and Iris had? They had nothing to talk about.

Then, there’s the fact that Iris is nothing but Barry’s fiancée. She used to have a job as a reporter at one point. I didn’t buy the storyline that much but at least she was something other than Barry’s squeeze. Iris used to have ambition. For proclaiming they’re a progressive network, The CW has done Iris a disservice with her graduating with a Mrs.

E) What’s up with all the secrets

I could tell you my secret, but I’ll have to kill you. Enough with the lying.

Yes. Superheroes have secret identities but the reason they should tell their loved ones their secret is that the only tension Flash has is someone lying to someone else about their identity. Why not have characters disagree on a fundamental level? There are plenty of comic book examples where folks butt heads due to ideological differences. Green Arrow and Green Lantern come to mind.

F) The show isn’t fun anymore

If anything, this week’s “Cause and Effect” showed a Barry excited about his powers. He even smiled once or twice. Who knew Barry could smile?

Jim makes fun of it, but the musical crossover “Duet” did the same thing for Cisco. When was the last time Cisco was any fun? He’s more at home this season wearing a ripped, My Chemical Romance t-shirt, playing douchebag acoustic guitar, and singing, “My shirt shows off my flab. I have a rash on my elbow.” Cisco sings that song often. He calls it “Meh, Vibe.”

And that’s where I’m at with Flash. I’m getting strong meh vibes.

Thanks for reading.

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