My name is Christoph Staffl. And I may not be the fastest man alive. Therefore, my mother wasn’t killed when I was a child. My father did not go to prison for not murdering her. Then an accident happened, and I broke my arm at 11 years old. To the outside world I am an ordinary student, but not so secretly I use my knowledge of pop culture to write articles and find others like me. And one day, I’ll make a living out of it and work in my pajamas. I am a writer.

Since the words “lightning gave me abs?” came out of Barry’s mouth in the first episode of The Flash, I want to be struck by lightning as well. You know, just to be sure it doesn’t work.

Anyway, Barry had his first appearance in Arrow Season 2 and instantly became a fan favorite. Grant Gustin is such a great actor and impersonates the different aspects of Barry Allen perfectly. Be it the funny, quirky parts, the uncomfortable, shy moments, or the action-packed, physical engagements – he can do it all. The Flash is the perfect counterpart to Arrow in regards to a TV show. Star City and the stories of Oliver Queen mostly take place during the night. They are dark and gritty. Central City and the adventures of Barry Allen happen during the day. Team Flash has fun with what they do.

You can see the differences of the characters in their secret identities as well. Not just literally by looking at their costumes (dark green vs. bright red), but the trust they put into their friends. In The Flash, a couple of people instantly know who Barry really is. Which is important because right from the beginning, this is a team effort. Oliver started his endeavor alone.

Talking about trust: let’s get straight to the characters. Especially Joe West – my all time favorite of the show (besides Wells, Harry, and HR). He is such a warm, kind, caring, strong, engaged, intelligent, good, gentle, and understanding father(figure) for both of his kids; all the other characters fade in comparison. Just take the scenes between him and Barry, where they talk about their past, and what they have been through. Every time it gets me. Every time I have tears in my eyes. It works because those scenes are not overly dramatic or full of clichés. They are simple but effective. The actors deliver those emotions perfectly – every beat hits.

Did you ever ask yourself how the villains, heroes, and teams (or the Arrow-Cave – why not The Quiver???) get their names? Well, in the world of Barry Allen and his friends, Cisco is responsible for that. It’s a creative way of establishing those nicknames and makes for a couple of funny scenes. Especially when they interact with Team Arrow. But Cisco and Caitlin, of course, can do a lot more than just name things. They heal, care for, and support everyone on the show. And they build cool stuff. Everyone, friends and sometimes foes are treated with the vast resources of S.T.A.R. Labs.

By the way: how do they still have money to do all of their stuff? Was Harrison Wells aka Eobard Thawne rich? Do they have his money? And the most important question: how do the prisoners in the confinements go to the toilet? When do they eat and drink? How does this work? If you have any answers to those questions, please let me know.

To be honest, I don’t know what to think of Iris. She is a great character. Goes against her supervisors and follows “the streak.” She does a lot to reach her dreams, she is a strong character and a great addition to the team. But I don’t buy the marriage with Barry. The chemistry is not always there. Take the last season for example. Did you really believe that she is in any kind of real danger? Oh, spoilers ahead!

I mean, after Savitar stabs her in the last episode I was really shocked. I thought: “F…! They did it!” But then it is HR who sacrificed himself to save her. After three seasons it would be great to lose someone of the main cast. And I mean really kill. No time traveling mumbo-jumbo to bring her or him back. Finish someone off. Just to remind the audience that there are stakes here. Dangers to overcome. Not just empty threats.

At the end of the third season, Barry walks into the Speed Force, because there has to be a prisoner there. But he naturally comes back. The show is called The Flash. Send someone else in. But not Barry. He is coming back! There is no way around that.

However, I like the villains. They may all have been Speedsters so far (at least the main villains), but everyone had a nice little twist to his agenda and cool costumes. Even the mystery about their real identity worked well. Be it Savitar or Zoom or the Reverse-Flash. And speaking of the Reverse-Flash: isn’t it great that we get a new version of Harrison Wells with each season?! I think that’s a great idea and brings something fresh to every new storyline. Who is your favorite? My first place would be Harry from Earth-2, Dr. Wells of the first Season (never forget the words: “Run, Barry, run” in his excellent whispery voice), and finally HR from Earth-19.

This is also an excellent opportunity to talk about time travel. A few months ago I finally began with Doctor Who Season 5. So far I have watched everything with Matt Smith (the best Doctor) and Peter Capaldi. This series redefined everything I knew about the way one can handle time travel in a TV show or in entertainment in general. I mean, it gets confusing and complicated, but you still think you kind of get it. If you then take the things Barry does… well, there are two things. First, compared to Doctor Who, it’s child’s play. Second: god damn, he is irresponsible as shit. No rules apply for the Flash.

And the worst thing is there are no real consequences. Even Flashpoint. A few things here and there, but overall – Barry got away with it. Besides the situation with the little villain. You know, Savitar. One of the best worst moments of Flashpoint was when Barry told Diggle he had a son and not a daughter. This was dramatic, and you could feel the disrespect of Diggle. Barry killed his son. I am very thankful that we got this scene because there have to be consequences. Uncomfortable consequences that can be felt throughout all the shows. And that moment was it.

Some things I said in this article could be taken the wrong way. Like I hate the show. But that is not the case. I love The Flash. It’s a great show with a lot of geeky moments. For example, as John Wesley Shipp put on the Flash costume. I never saw his incarnation of the Flash, but even I could feel the gravitas of the situation. What it meant and how awesome it was.

Sometimes we have to be harsh with the things we love the most. As I said in a previous article, critique can be a useful thing. When it is communicated in a particular kind of way. I love The Flash, and I don’t want to miss it in my weekly schedule. I am looking forward to the next season and what they have planned for the future. Especially the upcoming crossover event.

Christoph Staffl

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