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THE FLASH Season 4 Premiere Review

By on October 11, 2017

The Flash — “The Flash Reborn” — Image Number: FLA401a_0269b.jpg — Pictured: Keiynan Lonsdale as Kid Flash and Carlos Valdes as Vibe — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2017 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

“THE FLASH REBORN”

BY JUSTIN CARTER

 

It’s safe to say that the last season or two of The Flash have been bogged down in several respects. However, in the lead up to the fourth season premiere, The Flash’s executive producers promised this season would mark the return to the more lighthearted antics of season one, with a first episode serving as a soft reboot appropriately titled “The Flash Reborn.” In DC Comics, the concept of being reborn and rebirth has led to much needed changes (see their current output of comics, for examples), so it’s appropriate the new season should begin on that aspirational note.

In the six months since Barry went to Speed Force Jail, Iris has taken charge of the team as mission coordinator, while Joe, Cisco, and Wally do the physical work. It’s a welcome change, given that Iris’ lack of anything substantial to do that been a problem on the show in previous seasons. However, Iris steadfast commitment to her new role proves to have its drawbacks, if not creatively than narratively, as it’s the only thing she’s focused on now. Grieving for Barry (i.e. accepting his loss and moving on) has never once entered her mind, and she’s dead set on him never leaving the Speed Force. All things considered though, Iris and the team are doing pretty well.  But that all changes when a dude in samurai armor shows up demanding that Flash specifically show up or the city falls. (Not even Wally, dressed up in Barry’s old costume, can fool the Samurai.)

Fortunately, Cisco has been working on a way to bring Barry back from the Speed Force without destroying the whole world in the process. With Caitlin’s help, they manage to create a genetic device that can tag out for Barry, and by shooting it into the Speed Force, they manage to successfully bring him back. It’s actually quite surprising how fast the show brings the whole team back by the half hour mark. It’s easy to imagine this playing across two or three episodes, a la previous seasons’ inconsistent plot pacing. However, that it’s over fairly quickly is something that works in the episode’s favor.

Bringing Barry back turns out to be the easier part of the gig, because once he shows up in Central City naked and dazed (not the reality show), that’s where things get complicated. The last half year for the real world equates to basically eternity in Speed Force time, leaving him spouting off nonsense, drawing even more nonsense on walls, and the occasional line from previous episodes. All it takes is Iris giving herself up to the Samurai for him to break out of his mental break and come back at full speed. There’s definitely no way we won’t get more Speed Force madness by the end of the season, but it’s an effective way to bring our title hero back.

Of course, the biggest change to the new season is our new Big Bad, because he’s not a speedster this time around, but a super-intelligent baddie called The Thinker, here apparently reimagined as a guy hooked up to a techno-chair. It’s perhaps the most welcome change, and will surely justify many an appearance from the more obscure DC villains.

Overall, “Flash Reborn” is an alright premiere. Its breezy pace is welcome, but it doesn’t entirely have the punch that other season premieres have had. And in all fairness, it’s best to have expectations dialed back, since the last two seasons had solid premieres and then petered off. Not so much a rebirth for the Scarlet Speedster as it is a second wind then, but an enjoyable one.

Additional Notes

  • I know I sort of breezed over Caitlin’s return, but that’s because it’s something that’s clearly set up as a stepping stone for future problems. She seems to be in control of her Killer Frost persona, but she’s also apparently working for someone named Amunet at the place she bartends at, so that control probably comes with strings attached.
  • Side note: Caitlin’s brief turn as Killer Frost was ruined by some bad dialogue. “You wouldn’t like me when I’m frosty.”
  • I’m with Cisco, Team Kid Flash doesn’t have the same ring to it.
  • Wally’s indignant “I can do things!” felt like the show quietly admitting that sometimes they aren’t sure what to do with the kid, either.
  • Speaking of Wally, he has a very short cameo in the premiere for Legends of Tomorrow where he teams up with Steel (Nick Zano, for those not watching) and that scene left me wanting more team ups between those two. They had some good chemistry.
  • I have been waiting for years for the show to bring back Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face,” and I was delighted to hear Cisco bring it back in the hopes of restoring Barry to his full self.  
  • I knew the Thinker was going to ominously state “I’m thinking.” at the end, at it was as perfect as I hoped.

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