Under most circumstances, season finales of shows like The CW’s pride and joy “The Flash” garner speculation and theories from fans in the weeks leading up to the episode. However, the superhero drama’s second season finale was disappointingly predictable, and — unlike our scarlet speedster — we could definitely see the twists coming a mile away.
Overall, the entirety of the second season of “The Flash” was copied and pasted directly from the first — from start to finish. Eobard Thawne (Tom Cavanagh, “400 Days”), or the Reverse Flash, is replaced by the psychotic speed demon Zoom (Teddy Sears, “Masters of Sex”). The only distinction lies in deception. Whereas the first season baited the audience in suspense to test the true loyalties of Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh, “400 Days”), Zoom’s lust for the Flash’s speed is apparent from the beginning. Throughout the season, Zoom’s identity is a well-kept secret. Sear’s dual performance of innocent friend-turned-vengeful-foe is striking, and one of the better highlights of the season, second only to Iris’s (Candice Patton, “The Guest”) personal growth since the show’s early beginnings. This year, she seems to have come into her own, no longer dependent on Barry (Grant Gustin, “Glee”) nor her father (Jesse L. Martin, “Rent”) as a crutch.
Alongside Iris’s most recent character development, Barry himself has certainly been through the proverbial blender of emotional torment this season. After losing his father (John Wesley Shipp — “The Flash”) as a result of Zoom’s will to break Barry’s hero complex — he’s left completely broken and tormented by the actions that led to Henry’s demise. However, this has also left Barry with nothing to lose, and we see a Gustin performance of steel resolve juxtaposed to waterworks that highlights the ability of “The Flash” to work both as a drama and a superhero action flick.
After Zoom’s defeat, fans of the “Westallen” relationship are appeased by a thrilling kiss between Barry and Iris that is aesthetically highlighted by lighting and smartly-placed camera angles after the couple exchanges their “I will wait for you” vows. Their relationship is something “The Flash”’s executives have gotten just right over the years. They have indulged viewers, but they’ve also taken their time in building the romance, something that was rushed in similar stories on The CW’s “Arrow,” ultimately leading to disappointment among fans following the decision. Then again, none of this matters, as Barry promptly runs back in time to save his mother, Nora Allen (Michelle Harrison, “Elegy”), before her death at the Reverse Flash’s hands. What this means for shows that “The Flash” has impacted — such as “Arrow” and “Supergirl” — is something we can only imagine. However, the outcome will certainly be catastrophic for the Multiverse.
Season two, although acclaimed for its development of the main cast, copied the premise of its first season beat for beat. Zoom pretends to be a force to aid The Flash’s cause but winds up the enemy, kills Barry’s remaining parental figure and faces his ultimate defeat. But doesn’t this sound a little too familiar to the archetype villain they faced in season one? Pretty exact, actually. So, if “The Flash” wants to preserve any semblance of originality, then the third season should consider steering clear of speedster villains. Instead of doing what they know works, the producers should consider taking risks with new villains, which can hopefully be accomplished now that “Supergirl” has been acquired by The CW and will, quite literally, open up a new universe of possibilities for the show. Also, I’m sick of the word “speedster” — did I mention that?