by Matthew Thompson
I’ve found myself woefully behind on television this Fall, but as things wind down for various holiday breaks over the next month I plan to check in on a number of shows’ seasons so far. First up are The Flash and Arrow. Spoilers for their current seasons to follow!
I love alternate universes. Those that know me well are aware they feature prominently in some of my favorite TV series. My cursory knowledge of DC comics meant I knew this was a possible direction for The Flash to head and I’m very happy it did. I did not however know what a potential alternate universe would look like on the show and I must say Earth-2 looks pretty cool. As alternate universes are wont to do, we get the fun of seeing differences between these two Earths. And seeing different versions of familiar characters. And it is pretty neat how well something like Jay Garrick’s helmet fits into the general look and feel of Earth-2. I only wish we got to spend a bit more time over there than we have so far.
Going into Season 2, I wondered how they would fill the hole left by the Reverse-Flash who was just fantastic as the main villain in the first season. While sending random goons at The Flash may be a slightly contrived way to help fill in the show’s procedural elements, I do feel Zoom has shown himself to be an appropriately intimidating villainous presence especially after he punked Barry so hard in “Enter Zoom.” Between his actions in that episode and his look, he feels rather scary and I look forward to seeing where the show takes his character as the season progresses.
Otherwise it has been more of the The Flash this season. The dialogue still makes my eyes roll up into my head often. There are some subplots I can’t seem to muster any care for. The cheese remains thickly applied all over. But The Flash’s tone makes it all kind of fun in a way that its brooding sibling series Arrow can’t always pull off. Enjoying the season quite a bit so far.
A few more things:
- Sometimes this season both The Flash and Arrow feel as much an origins story for Legends of Tomorrow as they do new seasons of The Flash and Arrow.
- Captain Cold never ceases to amuse me. He was great again this season.
- I’ve enjoyed seeing more of Cisco’s Vibe powers.
- Robert Queen is the Green Arrow on Earth-2. I’m not sure if this is ripped straight from the comics, but I like neat little details like this in alternate universes.
The third season of Arrow was a disappointment. I think one thing it really succeeded at was turning Thea from one of the weakest characters in the show into one of my favorites. Seeing her in the field helping more this season has been fun. I really liked her gung-ho attitude in the season’s opening mission and her fight into the elevator in the latest episode is one of the highlights of Season 4 for me. She is still dealing with the aftereffects of the Lazarus Pit, but I like seeing her be a bigger part of the team this year.
The season in general feels like a step up from last year as well. I think the addition of mysticism is interesting. I like Neil McDonough though I don’t yet find Darhk nearly as charismatic as Manu Bennett’s Slade Wilson or John Barrowman’s Malcolm Merlyn who I think helped propelled the first two seasons to greater heights (particularly Slade in Season 2). The fact that Ollie is dealing with Darhk on two fronts – as a foe of the Green Arrow and a problem for his Mayoral campaign – is a cool idea and one that could payoff more going forward.
One thing that isn’t working is the flashbacks. They honestly feel like a waste of screen time at this point. I understand they may have to keep them going long enough to show Ollie’s full journey back home, but where they were once a boon for the show they are now an anchor. I thought maybe going off the island last season in them might help freshen things up, but I was wrong. And the return to the island this year has been a total snoozefest. They could probably do for including these more sparingly and spending more time on the current-day plot. That or do something worthwhile with them. Right now they are boring the hell out of me.
Other than that it has been a pretty solid season. I didn’t love some of the tension between characters early in the season either (Oliver and Diggle for instance), but a lot of that seems to be resolved. Otherwise I think I have trouble not comparing it to what it was in Season 2 or even what The Flash is doing now which is just better.
A few more things:
- Seeing Parker Young (Suburgatory, Enlisted) not playing a total goofball character is weird.
- I only watched a couple of episodes of Constantine, but I really liked Matt Ryan’s performance as the lead character. I think it was pretty neat to bring him in for a guest spot here, but he felt extremely shoehorned into the flashback scenes.
- Diggle’s helmet still looks ridiculous.
I hope to be back with a few more posts like this one soon covering more series from the Fall season. Thanks for reading!