The Flash’s sixth season is … extremely muddled. The first half is all hype for Crisis on Infinite Earths, but based on something we all knew wouldn’t happen. The second half then starts off strong but then pulls out the “our hero loses his powers!” cliché and stretches it out across multiple episodes. Throw in the non-ending that sadly happened due to a certain pandemic and it’s not a best season ever constructed… Let’s take a look anyway!
Barry and Iris are still coming to terms with the erasure of their daughter from the future, but when a certain major crisis looms over their heads earlier than expected, its looking like Nora isn’t the only one who’s going to vanish…
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
As you can see, Mr. Ramamurthy is clearly playing a good guy in this series…
There were some good episodes and moments spread across the season, though I’ll admit far fewer than most previous. As per usual Grant Gustin is still a fine Barry Allen / Flash, even if the material in this season is nearly entirely downbeat, not giving him any chance to be the fun superhero. In fact Candice Patton as Iris, Carlos Valdes as Cisco, Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow / Killer Frost and Jesse L. Martin as Joe West are all still fine actors who play their roles well, it’s just there wasn’t much here in the writing. I still wanted to point out they’re not at fault.
Tom Cavanagh as Nash Wells adds another string to his Wells resume, playing a dashing Indiana Jones type who ends up destroying countless universes and yet still feels more guilty about a girl he failed to save in his own universe. He plays “cool but actually pathetic” really well, anyway… *Sigh* and I’ll say it, Hartley Sawyer is still great in the role of Elongated Man / Ralph Dibny, and the introduction of his future wife Sue (Natalie Dreyfuss) into the mix makes things more frustrating that his old attempts as “shock humour” have come back and cost him his job. I mean, I’m not saying I wanted a scene in a future season where she’s raped by Dr. Light, but a downplayed version of Identity Crisis would’ve been fun. Now everything’s up in the air… You’d think after the whole James Gunn thing that he would have gone straight to his old posts and deleted them, or realised that shock humour only works in a stand-up routine if you build up to it and generally get across its part of an act… Oh well…
As for the two villains, Sendhil Ramamurthy as Ramsey Rosso / Bloodwork was good fun, the old “I was just trying to cure disease and save people, but now I’ve turned all evil due to my experiments” plot works well, and towards the end Sendhil knows how to properly egg it up to super-cheesy levels, which is always fun. As for the second half of the season, we get Efrat Dor as Eva McCulloch, a new version of Mirror Master who has been stuck in a “Mirrorverse” since the original particle explosion that started the whole season off. She pulls Iris into it and creates several Mirror Clones before finally managing to escape towards the end of the season. She’s fine, a little more plain and reserved than Rosso, but it works and I’m interested in how she’s eventually taken down in the next season (that was probably supposed to be this season…)
“I don’t want you to die, Barry!” “Well Iris… I clearly won’t, let’s face it.”
I think it was Season 3, the first one I covered for this site, that I was down on because it was so downbeat and dour. Well… this was no different! The Pre-Crisis episodes were all “Barry is going to die in the Crisis, it’s definitely going to happen! Let’s all cry and have big emotional moments because Grant Gustin won’t be in the series come 2020!” despite the fact that EVERYONE watching knew this wasn’t going to be the case, and so it was just full of me tapping my fingers on the side of my chair while people have emotional moments that will soon mean nothing. Which is exactly what happened, and in fact the pay off was so swiftly hand-waved in the actual cross-over it makes things look even more stupid, retrospectively.
Then the Post-Crisis episodes begin and we immediately get conflicting messages as certain scenes have characters appear with major differences and its all about “I can’t handle not knowing all the differences that have happened!” and then they’re followed up by “Oh it’s Amunet Black, we last saw her doing this and that hasn’t been even slightly changed” or “Grodd? But he’s in this Argus facility because of this that happened last season and luckily this has stayed exactly the same!” Pick one or the other, surely…
My main gripe about these episodes though is we have that dull cliché of our lead protagonist losing his powers, and so we almost immediately get dour and sad Barry, followed by the him finding out his wife is stuck in a Mirrorverse which leads to soppy and emotional Barry, followed by more angry and sad Barry. All the while we’re told he’s all but lost his speed and yet in several scenes, even in the last episode, he’s able to call on enough speed to save people, making the whole boring plot point not even being done properly! As I’ve said before, this show worked for me because it was the one that did more traditional Superhero stuff, with a more upbeat vibe and some super-powered action, this season was all Arrow-style gloom and drama. I guess someone has to pick up where that show left off?
“Wait a minute, who just said they want to cut someone’s tits off?” “It was a joke, Nash… Jeez…”
Oh and in case you were wondering, Katee Sackhoff still can’t do a English accent to save her life as Amunet Black, and the Gordd episode was alright, we at least seemingly have the more intelligent and somewhat-friendly to The Flash version of Grodd now. We also got super-cringey scenes of Killer Frost trying to act like a normal woman and being “coached” by Ralph, Frost then in turn trying to help Allegra Garcia (Kayla Compton) go on a date. Allegra, for the record, is a rather plain new member of Team Flash who if it weren’t for the fact she is the doppelganger of the girl Nash Wells lost she’d have very little interesting going on.
Speaking of new members of Team Flash, we also have Cisco’s girlfriend Kamilla Hwang (Victoria Park) who is almost literally just Mona from Legends of Tomorrow in the plain nice girlfriend type to the point where I wonder if they hired similar looking actresses for a laugh, but without the addition of turning into a rampaging beast (a.k.a. less interesting) and we also get a brief glimpse of what it would be like if new character Chester P. Runk (Brandon McKnight) replaced Cisco as the nerdy member of the team, and boy… that would not be fun. He’s so generically nerdy, so full of “in phrases” and just a big old stereotype that he drove me NUTS.
In case you’re wondering, Barry loses his powers because he “killed the Speed Force” by gaining a power boost from The Spectre during Crisis, with the Spectre energy corrupting it. This led to not only Wally West ( Keiynan Lonsdale) returning, saying he’s all peaceful and serene and then giving Barry an earful for killing the force (without getting any more details) but also led to the return of old faithful: Eobard Thawne (in Wells body) who still has access to his Negative Speed Force, but wasn’t able to gain control of Nash Wells’ body in time to harness it. These returning elements sit somewhere in the middle for me, not good, not bad, they just sort of… happened in the middle of the season and it was… fine.
It’s time for her big pay off! … Next season.
Season 6 of The Flash was disappointing to me. Some of it isn’t their fault, particularly the hanging plot threads (which is why I didn’t mention them!) but for the most part they doubled down on the angsty drama and decided to put Barry through the ringer two or three times in different ways to make absolutely sure that a lot of a sense of fun the show used to have is dead and buried. Throw in dull or cringey new characters and frankly the show’s future isn’t exactly looking super bright right now…