[Season Two finale spoilers]
I no longer want to watch The Flash after tonight’s finale. This is not to point blame on the episode, but on what has consistently been a season of missteps and Barry acting like a spoiled child who refuses to listen to others.
When The Flash first premiered I was hooked. Here was a superhero trying to learn his powers while facing an enemy who also sought to teach him. Harrison Wells/Eobard Thawne were Season One and Tom Cavanagh delivered in each episode. This was one of the few cases where my knowledge of comic books betrayed me, for I was convinced Eddie was the Reverse-Flash.
Then Season Two started, and The Flash ran out of ideas. The storyline is exactly the same as Season One. A mystery speedster shows up, who wants Barry to get faster so his speed can be harnessed. This speedster also happens to be someone hiding in plain sight and building trust with the team. I would have bailed a lot sooner if not for the return of Harrison Wells, who seems to be the only voice of reason. Joe can have his moments, but Wells is the one who attempts to ground the characters.
But lets focus on Barry, the real reason the show went off track. Barry cannot act on logic, only emotion and ego. These traits betray his identity as a hero. Because he is the Flash he believes he is always right. He will not take the time to slow down and think about his decisions and refuses to listen to advice from others. He did not hesitate to hand his speed over to Zoom and decides to monologue (fatal flaw of many super-villains) when he finally has Zoom trapped. He is also trigger happy on the time-travel button, though he knows there can be negative consequences. So far he has been lucky with what changes, but his luck may have run out.
In “The Runaway Dinosaur” we see Barry come to terms with his mother’s death but the finale undoes any character growth and reverts Barry to a spoiled child, who will sacrifice the universe for his mother. Many of us may agree with the choice Barry made, but heroes know you cannot save everyone.
In the comics, when Barry saves his mother we are introduced to Flashpoint, a universe on the brink of destruction. This Barry Allen normally acted selflessly, and in a moment of weakness decided to allow himself one win and in doing so destroyed everything. He seldom time traveled and did not fully understand the ramifications his actions would cause. To fix the timeline he had to assure his mother was killed, a decision not many could make. The television Barry always acts selfishly, so saving his mother, especially after his talk with the Speed Force (who is apparently god), is the act of spoiled child who should know better. In Season One he made the tough choice by allowing her to die, which makes this choice now shocking. He still has a family who loves him and can finally be together with Iris, but unless he has the perfect life he won’t be happy.
I respect when shows give us characters we can relate to, who fail and get back up, who make mistakes and learn from them. Barry never learns. This inability to learn makes him more a villain than a hero.
Maybe going Flashpoint in Season Three will fix things, because he will finally see the extreme negative consequences of his actions and learn to be the hero his comic counterpart is.