Flashback with me to Season 5, will you?
Full disclosure, The Flash has always been my favorite series of the amazing television phenomenon known as The Arrowverse. Don’t get me wrong, the first two seasons of Arrow were perfection and Legends of Tomorrow is an incredibly close second, but The Flash has always been number one in my heart, and Season 5 is no exception.
The Flash is a show that has always been unashamed of being from a comic book, with zany stories about time travel, alternate universes, dark matter, and superpowered beings all held together with delightful pseudo-scientific theories because it is what it is and you will be okay with it.
Of course, it never hurts that the far-fetched stories are anchored by one of the best ensemble casts out there, a group of insanely talented individuals who never fail to bring humor, heart and/or pathos to each line.
I mean, I’ve lost track of how many different versions of Harrison Wells/Eobard Thawne that Tom Cavanagh has played at this point, and I love each character he creates, bad French accent or not.
Season 5 was a busy season for the show, with the introduction of Nora, Barry and Iris’ daughter from the future, yet another big bad villain, this time being played by the sensitive jock from American Pie, yet another Harrison Wells from yet another alternate universe, and the return of the legendary Wells/Thawne from the first season.
…oh, and did I mention that there’s a Crisis a-brewin’?
After half a decade of teasing us with a newspaper headline, the Arrowverse is finally blessing us with an adaptation of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the comic book event to end all comic book events. Psycho Pirate made a few brief appearances in the big crossover this year (hilariously skipped by the Legends of Tomorrow crew) and it is OFFICIAL.
I don’t even care that Supergirl already jumped the gun on showing the iconic image created by George Perez, I’m ready to go, locked and loaded.
That being typed…
Season 5 of The Flash had a slew of memorable moments, plot twists, Barry/Ollie quips, flashbacks, future backs, more John Stewart teases and what I assume was a character inspired by Nix Uotan from Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis.
With such a HUGE year of plot threads that will hopefully be unraveled in Season 6, you would think that my favorite moment from Season 5 would be tied into the upcoming crossover to end all crossovers, right?
I mean, since Arrow only has a ten-episode final season coming up, I can only assume that the show will end with the crossover, right?
Well, that is all fine and dandy, but my favorite moment from Season 5 of The Flash lies within one of the quieter moments of the show, and Grant Gustin isn’t even in the scene.
Ralph Dibny drops a bomb on “Time Bomb”
In episode 17 of Season 5, titled “Time Bomb,” Cisco and the ever-hilarious Ralph Dibny are having one of their patented hilarious conversations that can only spawn from people that come from two different worlds. Cisco is having one of his many Season 5 worry sessions about his powers and how they are ruining his life as a regular Joe (not Iris and Barry’s Joe, just a guy named Joe).
Ralph has just asked Cisco how long he can keep his superhero life separate from his dating-a-photographer life and drives the point home with a story about his past. After his dad left his mom, she started dating a man named Craig, who was a tax accountant and a freelance bull rider.
Like Cisco, Craig had two lives that were kept completely separated from each other, which “tore him up…more than those bulls ever did,” according to Dibny. The television adaptation of Ralph that ends up really being an amalgamation of Elongated and Elastic Man elaborates that the moral of the story is that if he keeps both worlds separate, a part of him will always be “turned off” and he will never be fully himself anywhere.
Great message, right? But who cares, each episode of The Flash has seventeen lessons like this per episode, that’s not even the good part.
Dibny brings the story home, telling Cisco that “if Craig hadn’t been crushed to death by that huge filing cabinet, I know he’d feel the same way.”
Let that last quote sink in for a minute.
Craig was an accountant and a bull rider who was crushed to death by a filing cabinet.
Not a bull.
A filing cabinet.
The profession that you would think would be the dangerous one didn’t kill Craig, it was the safe desk job that did him in.
Ralph Dibny just told a three-sentence story that was tragically sad and hilarious at the same time. This is a joke that most standup comedians would kill to claim to have written, not to mention deliver it with the expert pacing of actor Hartley Sawyer.
Ralph really needs Sue to brighten up his Season 6
I would watch an entire episode of The Flash dedicated to the story behind Craig the accountant/bull rider, a man killed crunching the numbers instead of living life eight seconds at a time like a Vin Diesel from Texas. The fact that this brilliant story was just a throwaway gag that I and maybe three other people paid attention to just makes it that much better.
It’s clever moments like these that make The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow stand out from all of the comic book adaptations on the silver screen, small screen, streaming screen, phone screen, et cetera.
We live in a time where Netflix, Hulu, FreeForm, and other streaming platforms I’ve never even heard of yet are churning out moving pictures inspired by the fruit young kids used to pluck from the spinner racks in mom and pop drug stores.
And to be honest, all of the Arrowverse shows are starting to blur together, with Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, Black Lightning, and the future Batwoman series spilling into my Roku. I can hardly keep up with these shows, they usually just end up being on in the background while I’m playing Dr. Mario World or typing stories.
There is a lot of content out there, and like the comic book movies before them, the comic book shows need to find ways to distinguish themselves from another, ways that don’t involve Diggle and Oliver fighting over a secret he kept, Barry fighting another speedster as the big villain, or all the other tropes these delightful series tend to lean on to fill 22-23 shows that are 45 minutes long.
And it is moments like Ralph’s hilarious yet heartfelt story he told Cisco that keep me interested in the shows that all end with “Greg, move your head.”
Well, this moment and an amazingly choreographed CGI fight between King Shark and Gorilla Grodd, but that’s a story for another day. Let us know in the comments what you thought about The Flash Season 5!
Husband, parent, writer, emcee, cassette tape collector