Written by: Mathew ‘JJ’ Simoes
The Flash’s third season struggled through most of it’s run, but managed to end on a strong note with an intriguing cliff-hanger. The season four premiere picks up six months later and begins with the adventures of Team Flash, sans the Flash, but eventually brings Barry back into the fold just in time to save the day. Was the episode any good? Not really.
The episode opens with Team Flash taking out one of the more amusing Rogues. The banter was great, with Kid Flash and Vibe being a natural team (and hopefully the stars of a future episode). Iris being in the control room gave her an expanded role on the show, as short lived as it was, and Joe’s presence is always a plus. It also gave a peak at what Team Flash would be like without Barry. Frankly they can do a pretty bang up job. Following this great opening the episode shifted focus to the characters dealing with life, post Barry going into the speed force. The scenes with Joe and Iris were especially powerful, with both actors doing outstanding work.
The episode starts to go down hill when the high tech samurai warrior (for lack of a better name) challenges the Flash to a fight. Rather than make an episode about Team Flash trying to defeat a powerful foe without Barry, pushing them to reach new heights, the writers decide to bring Barry back halfway through the episode. His return felt rushed, and unearned. The team rescued him so easily it’s difficult to believe that they couldn’t do this sometime in the previous six months. When Barry did come back, he was babbling incoherently and damaged by hit time in the speed force. This served as the episode’s main source of tension, but like Barry’s absence was wrapped up far to quickly and easily.
The villain for this week sounds cool on paper, being a high tech samurai and all, but the episode didn’t do much with the concept. The problem is samurai’s role in the episode is to get Team Flash to bring Barry out of the speed force, and to establish the season’s main villain. After the samurai’s defeat, it’s revealed to be a robot constructed by new season baddie the Thinker, so there isn’t much there is terms of character. It’s a shame really, as the robot samurai was an interesting concept and fit the world of Flash well. The episode didn’t even offer up a climactic fight sequence, with the samurai quickly being dispatched by the returned Barry. Not much is revealed about the Thinker, but he’s not a speedster so I’m happy. That being said, his appearance at the end felt a little rushed. I know the series took some heat for Savitar’s slow reveal, but don’t go to the extreme to course correct. Take some time to introduce your new main villain, not a lot of time, but take some.
Despite some pacing issues and a lack-luster villain, the relationships between the main cast manages to carry the episode. Between their concern over Barry and witty banter during missions, Team Flash’s dynamic makes any weak episode of this series enjoyable. Caitlin ended the last season with a balance between her Killer Frost persona and Caitlin Snow. The season 3 premiere however suggests the opposite, as the episode’s end revealed there are two different personalities fighting for the same body. I won’t judge this too much considering it’s still early in the season, but for now it seems like the series is moving backwards with her character arc. All that being said, it is nice to see Caitlin re-join the team, and the scene with her using Captain Cold’s gun (may he rest in peace) was awesome.
A few more things of note:
- The new Flash suit is great and a much needed improvement.
- Seeing Wally suit up as the Flash was a fun moment for those who grew up with Wally as the scarlet speedster in the comics.
- I never get tried of Killer Frost’s ice based puns.
Despite some solid character work and an interesting villain concept, this episode falters due it’s rushed pace and unearned story development.
Rough score: 5.6/10
What did you think of The Flash’s season premiere? Leave a comment in… well the comments section.