Title: The Flash: “A Flash of the Lightning” Review
Release Date: October 15th, 2019
Network: The CW
Genre: Superhero, Drama, Action
Over the past few seasons, the biggest issue surrounding The Flash has been its boring formulaic structure. So far, it seems that season 6 wants to move away from that.
Now, don’t get me wrong, “A Flash of the Lightning” featured the same formulaic episode we’d expect from The Flash. Barry encounters a problem, loses hope, has a heart-to-heart with someone on his team, and then he’s able to overcome his fears. That’s exactly what happened this week. But, there’s something added to it.
The dreaded “hallway scenes” and Barry pep-talks feel somewhat earned so far this season. It helps that there are also fewer hallway talks too. I’m not sure if that’s because Crisis is coming and I want these characters to be concerned about it or the overall story is just better. All I know is, The Flash, for the first time in a long time, feels completely refreshed.
So, last week The Monitor abruptly interrupted Barry and Iris to be a buzzkill. Barry has to die for billions to survive “Crisis on Infinite Earths”. This has been a storyline 5 years in the making and season 6 has handled it tremendously with the weight it deserves. Now, we as the audience know that The Flash will go on past the crossover and that Barry will somehow scrape by post-Crisis. But, our characters don’t. No pun intended, but they’re entering the endgame of their timeline. I appreciate that Barry and Iris treated it as such.
I also appreciated seeing that Barry just couldn’t cheat his way through the test, run to the future, and find some loop-hole to get him out of his “destiny”. It opened up the door for Barry to become the Arrowverse’s Doctor Strange (we’ll get to that in a second) by visiting his friend over on Earth-3, Jay Garrick.
Seeing John Wesley Shipp’s Jay Garrick is always a win but my heart absolutely dropped when Jay’s wife, Joan, walked into the room. That’s because Joan is a doppelganger of Barry’s mom, adding on to what has to be the most depressing hero origin story in DC Comics. Seriously, can’t this guy catch a break?
These two hook Barry up to a device that allows him to travel to the future but things go wrong (because of course, they do) and Barry sees a billion timelines of the Crisis. And the only timeline everyone survives, Barry dies. That sounds really familiar. Aside from the blatant Doctor Strange storyline rip-off, I really like this role for Barry going into Crisis. Especially if he starts to remember more things as the crossover goes on.
However, this episode was more about Barry accepting that this is his fate and learning that he shouldn’t give up just because he may die in Crisis. His talk with Joe and the latter’s speech about their duty to protect people was brilliantly well done in illustrating this point. That is mainly due to a fantastic performance from Jesse L. Martin, who was sorely missed from the majority of season 5. Overall, I’m not sure how much more The Flash will delve into Crisis before the crossover but I’m excited to find out.
Cecile’s storyline was a roller-coaster of highs and lows. It started out great, hit a boring low during her hallway talk with Joe, and it hit its peak with a nice little twist on the villain of the week. Our baddie of the week, Ultra Violet, wasn’t very developed as a character, other than the pretty cool Mortal Kombat cosplay costume. But I think we’ll get that development later in the season when we learn more about the secret government organization who took her. On a quick tangent, that’s another thing The Flash season 6 is doing so well. The season is developing compelling arcs in the background that it will implement later in the year. Last week, we had the Godspeed mystery and this week we have a secret organization taking metas.
Cecile moving away from her DA position feels like a no-brainer considering her ability. With her powers, she’s far more useful on the other side of the bench defending people. I’ve always liked this character so hopefully her arc this season ends up being an entertaining one.
The same goes for Killer Frost, who I’m excited to see at the forefront of things this season instead of Caitlin. It’s not that I dislike Caitlin, it’s just that Killer Frost has a ton of potential as a character herself and it’ll be interesting to see that explored this season. Her story this week was mostly played for laughs with her horrendous drawing and Cisco’s one-liners being the most memorable moments. Still, I’m excited to see where the show takes the character going forward.
I’m not sure where the show is going with Bloodwork though. Like I said last week, Sendhil Ramamurthy is so good at playing a sympathetic character and that should catapult Bloodwork to being one of the most compelling villains the show has had for some time. Right now, I’m not even sure he’s the bad guy, especially after that ending.
Verdict: The Flash season 6 continues to be more story, less filler and that’s led to a much better product on Tuesday nights. Barry’s look into Crisis was enthralling while Killer Frost’s storyline brought a little levity to the episode. The only complaint to be made this week is Cecile’s story but that’s just because the arc really dragged on for a bit around the mid-way point of the episode.
- Barry's trip to the future and his arc throughout the episode
- Not mentioned in the review but Barry FINALLY created Gideon
- Jesse L. Martin's performance
- Jay Garrick
- Killer Frost and Cisco's conversation about Frost's art was hilarious
- The Flash season 6 continues to develop compelling storylines in the background
- Cecile's storyline dragged on a little too long
- They totally ripped off Doctor Strange's arc in Infinity War