By Jeremy Carden
Let me start off by saying that I am a fan of CW’s The Flash series. However, Season 4 has gotten a lot of complaints from fans. Season 3 had a knack for stirring up the fanbase because of how long it took for them to reveal to identity of Savitar.
Season 4 has been a bag of trail mix for most viewers, and that is the nicest way that I could describe this season. From Iris leading Team Flash and using the phrase “WE are The Flash” to their being too many cooks in the kitchen (referring to the number of metas on Team Flash that it seems ridiculous that they couldn’t easily overcome any meta-of-the-week threat that comes their way in a matter of minutes), I have seen a new complaint every Tuesday that a new episodes airs.
The sad part about this routine is that most of the complaints this season are valid. For this post, I want to focus on one character rather than most of the problems littered throughout this season.
Barry Allen is the victim of my latest “rant” when it comes to The Flash!
True, a lot of fans will often complain about Barry’s speed being highly inconsistent or how he should be beyond any speedster at this point after being trapped in the Speed Force between Seasons 3 and 4.
However, I am not here to talk about The Flash and his powers. I want to focus on Barry Allen the person.
If you ask me, I am not even sure if the writers even know what to do with Barry this season. In a lot of ways, he seems to be more of an obstacle than a help to Team Flash.
Yes, I have been hard on Iris West-Allen from the start of this season. However, I cannot sit here and not act like Barry hasn’t been causing trouble within the team.
I think that it was made clear even during the opening episodes of this season that there would be a parallel between the relationships of Barry/Iris and The Thinker/Mechanic.
Each episode we see Devoe and Barry acting very cold, calculating and distant to those around them. However, we see the difference in their lifestyles because Barry has a support system comprised of friends and family that are not afraid to tell him that he is wrong (which has been quite a lot this season). Devoe has his wife to be that support for him, but he does not choose to listen to her even when she is 100% correct about something.
To be honest, I think we saw this side of Barry back in Season 3 after seeing the possible future of Iris being killed by Savitar. Not that I would want anyone to go through this punishment, but I suggest going back and watching a few episodes during the second half of that season.
There were plenty of times when Barry was a complete asshole (especially to Wally) because his main objective was keeping Iris safe at all cost; even at the expense of his team.
To be honest, he really reminded me of Rip Hunter from Legends of Tomorrow. His mission stands above everything and everyone else. It doesn’t matter who he must throw under the bus to achieve his goal. Heck, Rip almost got Jefferson killed near the end of Legends Season 1 when they were on their way back to the Vanishing Point with Vandal Savage in the holding cell.
What really annoys me about Barry is the fact that the writers have really been driving home the point that he would make a terrible team leader.
Is this being done just to support their reasoning for making Iris the leader in his absence?
Honestly, we saw that Barry was not the greatest teacher for speedsters back in Season 3. He wasn’t talking his time when teaching Jesse in the early episodes of that season, and he was rushing Wally because he wanted him to be the one to save Iris from Savitar.
Remember when he froze at the control panel when Iris was trapped under a piece of debris while trying to put out a fire after gaining Barry’s speed? Another example of him being an incompetent teacher to other speedsters.
In Season 4, I feel like he is dumbed down just for the sake of the story. Yes, the comic book version of Barry is very intelligent and can think incredibly fast. I understand that the CW version of Barry is not at that level yet. I am not even sure if he will ever reach that level of skill on the show because any problem that Central City faces would only need Barry and not Team Flash.
However, that does not mean that the writers need to diminish his intelligence so much that he is next to useless.
In previous seasons, we have seen Barry made decisions based on his emotions alone. This has led to some very big mistakes that have cost Barry, Team Flash and the city (sometimes even more than just Central City) a lot. Flashpoint is obviously the biggest consequence of his choices, but there are more that are scattered throughout this series.
One of the biggest things about Barry that has annoyed me this season is that he has a serious lack of patience for anyone who decides to not go with the plan that he comes up with. This is very relevant to his partnership with Ralph this season.
Yes, I will admit that he was not the nicest hero to ever join Team Flash. The episode with him making nonstop jokes to substitute for his fear was very annoying. For some reason Barry has been written to have a very short fuse this season. Especially when it comes to anyone challenging his authority.
It really rubbed me the wrong way to see Barry like this. In the most recent episode, he is trying to mend the cracks in Cisco’s relationship with Gypsy. Was I the only one that thought about Boy Meets World during this episode?
For anyone born in the 90s, you should know this show well just as the younger generation grew up with Girl Meets World.
Cory Matthews had a knack for sticking his nose in places that it did not belong. He would always try to help put his best friend Shawn back together with his girlfriend Angela whenever they were having relationship troubles.
Yes, it was annoying to see how Cory acted. However, his motives were to help his friends for the sake of helping his friends.
In Barry’s case, he was only pushing Cisco and Gypsy back together because the team was holding on by a thread. Basically, Barry wanted the relationship to heal as soon as possible just so Cisco could get his head in the game because The Thinker is still out there as a major threat.
How much would you want to bet that if Barry was going through a rough patch with Iris that he would be mopping around like someone shot his puppy? You know he would not want to be pushed back into the lab or his home to talk with Iris in the same fashion that he literally pushed Gypsy from Jitters to S.T.A.R. Labs!
It makes my head spin to see how the writers are making Barry act like such a jerk this season!
Again, I see that they are trying to demonstrate how Devoe and Barry can act like they are the same person. Both are driven when it comes to accomplishing a goal, and that can make them isolate those around them. What separates them is that Barry (sometimes) listens to the people around him when they call him out for his nonsense.
Some of my favorites scenes this season were when Ralph would challenge Barry because he had some legitimate points. I remember when he called out Barry for being so fast, but still allowing their target to escape because he was too worried about bystanders getting caught in the crossfire. However, the episode wrote it so Ralph was wrong and realized where Barry was coming from.
The one fight these two had that I really couldn’t stand was Barry refusing to listen to Ralph about how they should improvise in order to stop The Thinker.
If you ask me, thinking outside of the box seems to be the most effective way of countering Devoe because he claims to have thought about every possible outcome that Barry and the others could think of.
Barry did it once and it worked! Remember when Barry was trapped in Devoe’s pocket dimension? He was inside of that cage that no meta abilities could escape from. Did he escape? Not really…
To trick Devoe into thinking he had escaped, The Flash vibrated his body at such a high speed that it appeared as if he was invisible. This made Devoe deactivate the cage and Barry ran out of there!
How did he accomplish this? By thinking outside of the box! If it worked at such a critical moment for him, why was he so against it when it comes to Ralph?
I could continue this post, but I think this is a good stopping point. What do you think about Season 4 Barry Allen? Do you feel the same way I feel about his character?
Keep in mind that I did not even mention the Speed Force language that he was writing everywhere in Episode 1. It seemed like the story forgot about that plot point as quickly as Barry did by the end of the episode!
Though we did see “Coffee shop girl” writing similar symbols in her journal…
I hope that the writers can turn things around by the end of this season and improve on the writing in Season 5.
HAHN Facebook Group:
HAHN Facebook Page: