The last few episodes of Flash and Arrow have seen quite a lot happening for our heroes and villains, alike. With both shows taking a break this week, its time to take a look at everything that has occurred, and what we might expect to see going forward. (Obviously, massive spoilers for both shows follow within.)
While we’ve been following our heroes’ tumultuous journeys these past few weeks, its really the villains who have taken center stage. From friends standing as enemies to revisiting a classic icon, and from Ra’s al Ghul bringing his League of Assassins to Star City to the reveal of Zoom’s true identity, the villains have given us a lot to talk about, so lets jump right in.
Easily, the biggest note of interest is the Reverse Flash. Yes, Harrison Wells was revealed to be the yellow speedster a while ago, but three weeks ago we were finally given knowledge of his true identity… Eobard Thawne, aka Professor Zoom, a villainous mastermind from the 25th century. Of course, then time found itself altered, and thus his personal reveal to another character was nullified, but we still knew who he was, and last week, we were shown how he came to lose his connection to the Speed Force, and how he placed himself as a world renowned physicist in our modern age.
Stealing the identity of the physicist upon causing an accident to kill him and his wife, Thawne used future technology to physically restructure his own body to resemble Wells. But this opened a huge question. Before all this happened, he and Barry had raced back in time and fought over Barry’s mother, as seen in the pilot. Barry rushed his younger self away to safety, and Thawne killed Barry’s mother before running away. But this was all before Thawne changed himself to Wells, as he was physically different, so many fan assumptions have been tossed on their head. The whole season seemed to be leading up to a big confrontation between Barry and Wells that would race into the past of the pilot, but now we know that the Thawne we know as Wells already experienced that 15 years ago, and our Barry is not yet to that point. Specifically, the Flash in the past had a different outfit. See, he was sporting the classic white backed bolt rather than red backed bolt he’s had all season. Furthermore, that was a Barry who was in conflict with a Thawne 15 years younger than the one he currently knows, and thus has yet to meet that younger Zoom. This all throws the future of this season very much in question, as we are obviously still racing towards a confrontation between Thawne and Barry, its just clearly not the one we were expecting.
On to a less confusing set of circumstances, last week also saw the return of a classic Flash villain in his first appearance of the series (yes, you read that right). Mark Hamill reprised his role of the Trickster from the old Flash TV series, a role that pre-dated his legendary voice work as the Joker, bringing his unmatched brand of mischief to our new show, and while his story may have been largely unimportant, it did serve as a fun bit of fan service, and even gave us a fantastic line reversal from Star Wars. Of course, to thwart his plot, Barry did have to learn how to move fast enough on a molecular level to pass through solid objects, so that lends some importance to the proceedings.
As for the future of the show, it is sure to continue its trend of awesome villains, especially as we near our first real confrontation with Gorilla Grodd, as well as the return of General Eiling, which I am quite pleased about, as I’ve mentioned my enjoyment of Clancy Brown’s work before. And then there’s the whole tease that Eddie Thawne, Eobard’s distant relative from our time, may also become something of a villain himself, even though he was seemingly vindicated when Wells was brought forward as the Reverse Flash, but its too soon to tell.
Moving on to Arrow, can I just say that Matt Nable is fantastic? I’ve said before that following someone as phenomenal as Liam Neeson in a role is no small task, and that Nable is doing a fine job, but I’d almost dare say he’s doing a better job than Neeson did. Of course, I’m sure much of this is due to Arrow bringing us a much more realized and accurate adaptation of Ra’s al Ghul than Batman Begins did, but still. More than anything else this season, I’ve been impressed with his take of the Demon’s Head.
Now, actor praise aside, Ra’s has really brought forth a threat into Ollie’s life that over shadows everything else he has faced before, and really feels like it may be bigger than anything else he could face in the future. Having refused the Demon to become his Heir, Ollie unwittingly brought upon his city the scorn of the entire League of Assassins, as Ra’s and his lackeys have made it their duty to tarnish the Arrow’s reputation by painting him a murderer once again, and beating him down until he has no place else to turn but to them.
Now, this plot line actually bugs me a little. Not because it isn’t good, interesting, or exciting… but because it doesn’t belong to Ollie. Its a great story, and its being told well, but the whole Heir to the Demon storyline is one that is truly rooted in Batman’s history. Yeah, Green Arrow has had his fair share of dealing with the League of Assassins, and his arch nemesis, Merlyn, was an assassin with the League, but this season has turned itself into a rather well known Batman story, and I can’t see how that is a good thing. The show already gets flack for being too Batman-esque, an argument that had been easily tossed aside by the more knowledgeable fans of the character, but it is now quite justified. I guess I just wish the writers had opted to take the Assassins story in a different direction, but I digress.
Meanwhile, Ray Palmer has completed his Atom suit and taken it out into action against Ollie. Yes, even other heroes are sitting in villain roles right now, as the plans Ra’s set in motion managed to fool even many of them, and so our first scene with the Atom in action was him attempting to take down Ollie and Roy, before coming to the knowledge that Ollie was, in fact, being set up. And you know, as much as I like the Atom suit, and Brandon Routh’s take on Ray Palmer, I can’t help but think his suit is way more Iron Man than Atom. Its really quite distracting, especially now that he’s targeting his own spinoff series, and I’m just not sure how I feel about it. I mean, yeah, the Atom is kind of a wonky character, but it just doesn’t seem like the right move to turn him into this much of an Iron Man. I truly hope the angle on this changes soon, but I honestly don’t expect it to.
At any rate, the future of Arrow does seem promising. As negative as some of my thoughts here may seem, it is still an excellent show, and I am quite enjoying it with every new episode. Sometimes I think I’m just too close to the source material, so after the awe wears off, I start to pick it apart. Its almost becoming like the Green Lantern movie in that aspect, I suppose.
Wait, did I just insult Arrow? It’s worth noting that regardless of the truth of that statement, Arrow is still one of the best shows on television today. Its right up on that list just behind Game of Thrones, for me, as is the Flash. And with more crossover episodes coming soon, we’re all surely in for a treat, so I probably shouldn’t be complaining too much, it’s just how I feel about it… but what do you think? Am I being too harsh with my observations here, or would you agree with my assessment?
Let me know in the comments below, and lets discuss your thoughts.