Season nine of The Flash airs this Wednesday. The description for the first episode of this season says that “Barry and Iris relive the same day over and over again.” It should say that Barry, Iris, and Doug relive the same day repeatedly because I’m playing this episode on repeat. Why? The trailer confirms that this is the last season of Grant Gustin’s iteration of Central City’s greatest hero.
Thank you, Barry A. It’s been a wild ride (except for season seven, which was weaker than a Jitter’s coffee). I look forward to a limited documentary series covering Barry and the rest of Team Flash’s last dance and their dynasty. Until then, let’s briefly look back (without altering the timeline) and remember how we got to the Flash’s final run.
The Flash’s Origin
When Barry was a child, a mysterious flash of light murdered his mother. Of course, no one believed this, and Barry’s father went to prison for her murder. Unsurprisingly, Barry decided to become a crime scene investigator when he grew up.
Years after her murder, S.T.A.R. Labs’s particle accelerator exploded, causing a lightning storm. Red lightning struck Barry and gave Barry superspeed based on scientific principles I don’t understand.
Though Iris pushed for the name “The Streak” in her news articles, Barry became The Flash and began fighting crime and capturing metahumans.
The Best Big Bads
The big bad in season one was Eobard Thawne disguised as Barry’s mentor, Harrison Wells. We learned that Thawne was the flashes of light that killed Barry’s mother to cause a tragedy so severe that Barry would never become the Flash. This raised an interesting dilemma for Barry. If you could run backward in time to save your mother from being murdered, would you? Barry held off on doing so for now.
Season two introduced Zoom from a parallel universe, who was obsessed with being the fastest person alive. Zoom proved to be a worthy foe and killed Barry’s father. This put the Flash in a dark place and, against his better judgment, pushed him to alter the past by saving his mother.
The Flash learned his lesson in season three – be careful when messing with the timeline, or you might create a flashpoint. By altering the past, Barry created a new villain named Savitar, who turned out to be an evil Barry from a different timeline.
The big bad in season four was Clifford DeVoe, the Thinker. It took Team Flash’s best efforts to overcome this mad scientist, but they got it done.
Season five was the last elite season of The Flash. Barry and Iris’s speedster daughter, Nora, traveled back in time from the future. Unfortunately, Barry disappeared before Nora spent meaningful time with her father, so she time-traveled to help her parents defeat the big bad who got away, Cicada. Just like her father, Nora learned the consequences of the timeline the hard way.
After Season Five
After season five, The Flash got wonky. Bloodwork just wasn’t a cool villain in season six. I’m not even going to address season seven and whatever the rest of the mirror dimension plotline was. Honestly, once Cisco left the team, so did my heart. I like Chester P. Runk, but he’ll never be Cisco. I sort of like Allegra, but I also wouldn’t be mad if her screen time when down by 200%. Even the quality of Wells’s characters declined after season five.
The Flash got back on track last season. I thought the five-part Armageddon Arrowverse crossover event to start the season was entertaining. After that, The Flash gave me exactly what I needed – time travel chaos, fights against Thawne, interacting with your children from the future, etc.
There’s too much that happened over the last nine seasons to recap in detail. But the best part about The Flash is that it’s both complicated and uncomplicated. You can choose to follow it closely and understand all the science and working parts, or you can choose to mindlessly follow the action and cheesy jokes. I fall somewhere in the middle.
I’m hopeful that The Flash’s final season doesn’t let me down (like season seven). I’ll be writing about it each week to let you know either way. I hope you’ll check it out.