CW’s The Flash: A Decline in Quality

Guest Article by Aleana Khoshaba.

The CW’s most viewed show, The Flash, was renewed for a sixth season earlier this year, but what’s the future looking like for the Flash as far as seventh one? This might sound like I’m bashing the show, but it shows how much I love this Scarlet Speedster.

From plot holes that make no sense, to a lack of an entertaining storyline, this season of The Flash has been rather disappointing. And don’t even get me started on all the breaks the show has taken—I mean, come on now, the show comes on for two weeks, and then it’s on a break for a month. It’s hard to keep an audience when you’re continuously not on the air.  Although it’s been a disappointing season, it’s still on my television on Tuesdays whenever it does air, but I can’t say this will continue after this season of the show.

The Flash — “The Flash & The Furious”

Now, let’s talk about previous seasons of The Flash. The first season was spectacular, and I periodically rewatch it on Netflix. The first season starred Flash’s iconic villain Professor Zoom, aka Reverse Flash. Reverse Flash had disguised himself as Harrison Wells, a genius in the community. Since the pilot of season one, Harrison Wells had been using Barry. In Barry’s point of view, Wells was his mentor, his hero. But in reality, Reverse Flash had been planning a way to ruin Barry’s life. After all, the Flash and Reverse Flash have been enemies for centuries. Season one was filled unanticipated moments, episode after episode. The suspense, the shocking moments, continued all season long. We were introduced to Barry Allen, his team, and the story on how he became the Flash. After the finale, you’re just left thinking I can’t wait to see how they’re going to top this season. They set the expectations so high for the rest of the series.

Then, in season two, the big bad was Zoom, who was another speedster from Earth-2 trying to conquer the multiverse. In season two, we are first introduced to the multiverse in the CW’s Arrowverse. Seasons two’s villain was hiding under team Flash’s nose the whole time, so it was a jaw dropper when that was revealed. Both of those seasons were the best in my personal opinion.

Now, let’s fast forward to season five, and The Flash has gone down a path that I cannot follow. It’s filled with different storylines that don’t make sense, and tons of filler episodes that have literally no meaning to the show except to delay the main story line. This season our culprit is Cicada, who was hit with metal shrapnel that came off a satellite filled with dark matter when it came hurling toward Central City causing massive damage. The satellite itself has the relevance of being a victim of the fight between Flash and last season’s villain Deveo.

The Flash

There are many times where Cicada could have been defeated, but due to poor writing it didn’t happen. The perception the writers have given the audience of Cicada, is a villain who should have been defeated in the first four episodes at the very most. The villain of a show is supposed to intrigue you, to make you want to know more about the character and the havoc that they’ll wreak on everyone. For me nothing was intriguing—the villain didn’t even have much dialogue on the show. Cicada’s grunting in every scene he’s in, and the wide-eyed, teeth-clenched same look have been seeing all season is overused.

Also, in this season of The Flash, we are introduced to Nora Allen, otherwise known as her alter ego, XS. She is the daughter of Barry Allen and Iris Wests who’s traveled from the future. We come to find out that Nora traveled from the future to spend time with her dad Barry and get to know him. In the time that Nora comes from, Barry went missing when she was a young child, so she never got to know her dad. So, with the guidance of her dad’s archenemy Reverse Flash, she was capable of traveling back in time to attempt to defeat Cicada, and get to know her dad.

This character’s existence on the show makes no sense. And here is a key example of how her continuous appearance is pointless: in past seasons of The Flash we were introduced to Time Wraiths. Basically, a Time Wraith is a guardian of the timeline. When someone, specifically a speedster, travels in time too often, a time wraith will come after them to erase them from existence. So far in this season, Nora has spent months in a timeline where she doesn’t belong and has traveled between the future and present multiple times. Yet, a wraith has not come after her. But in episode 5×8: What’s Past is Prolonged, Barry and Nora travel into the past to each of the first three seasons, and a time wraith came after them. So why hasn’t a time wraith come for Nora multiple times this season since she’s in a time where she doesn’t belong? She should have Marty Mcfly’d herself out of the timeline by now.

(*SPOILER ALERT*) Another disappointing aspect of the show came recently when Cicada’s niece arrived just to kill off our main villain for the past 17 episodes. It took Team Flash 17 episodes to come so close to defeating him, but it took his niece only one episode? It feels like the showrunners thought to themselves, “Hey, Cicada isn’t well liked by the fanbase right now, what should we do? Let’s bring in another villain with only five more episodes left.”  This is yet another example of poor writing.  

The CW has announced that The Flash will have new showrunners for the sixth season, but I’m not sold that new showrunners will save the show. They have a brilliant cast of actors and actresses, it’s just the writing that falls short. In the latest episode, Time Bomb, The Flash hit the lowest ratings they’ve seen at 1.6 million. Some of the Arrows’ previous rating has been considerably lower than 1.6 million, but it’s uncharted territory for The Flash. Ratings also dropped during this year’s crossover event. Every year the CW does a 3-day crossover event for their big superhero shows The Flash, Supergirl, and Arrow. Arrow received 2.6 million views, Supergirl received 2.17 million views, and The Flash was dead last at only 1.83 million views.

Episode 18 of The Flash will air tonight. With the show having 22 episodes a season, we are only left with 5 episodes. With that being said, am I supposed to feel excited for a finale? Will the season five finale be thw final episode of the Flash to many fans or will they blow us away next season?