Monday, December 26, 2016

Midseason Review: The Flash

Let's just start with something simple: I would really like to enjoy The Flash. I really would. But they make this so hard, it's insane.

For the entire calendar year of 2016, Season 2 and 3 on The Flash had more to do with whiny angsty soap opera crying about crap that's easily fixed, or that people have no control over, or JUST. PLAIN. STUPID. CRAP.

You thought that it was a joke yesterday when I said that I fast forwarded through fifteen minutes out of every Supergirl episodes. The Flash is also a problem when it comes to this.  And it drives me crazy.

In fact, one of my biggest problems with Season 3 has been how little they're focusing on the villain of the week, and trying to focus on a primary villain for the season.

Except that some of the times they actually do try to make a villain du jour is ... half-hearted, at best, and a train wreck at worst.

And what is my problem?

Let me introduce you to Richard Swift, aka: The Shade.

I am such a fan of the James Robinson Starman comic, which had, as a side character, a Flash villain called The Shade.

He looks like, well, this.

Yes, with those specs, he looks like hipster Jack the Ripper. But his powers really are from Hell. No, not from a reactor, not from lightning strikes, but from sacrificing over a hundred lives (I think over 300, but I could be mistaken). His powers are essentially demonic in nature. He would call creatures from the shadows that look like the demons of Ghost. I'm relatively certain that he could have taken out the Flash -- any of them -- except he was too busy having fun. He was generally amoral, immortal, and had more than enough money on his own.

And the Shade was cultured. He quoted Len Deighton novels and Igmar Bergman films, and was friends with Dickens and Wilde and Hans Christian Anderson.

He. Was. Awesome.

And after I saw Stargirl on Legends of Tomorrow, my first thought was "Can I get the Shade now on Flash? Pretty please?"

And then, I see an episode title in the listings called: Shade.


I got .... nothing.

Really, nothing.

This is what I got. This is the best image my google-fu can come up with.

He wasn't The Shade, just "Shade." He didn't call up shadow constructs, he turned into a shadow golem. He didn't have a name. He didn't have any dialogue. He didn't have motivation. In fact, I'm not even entirely certain why he killed the victim in the opening, and I really hope to God it wasn't just for money, because he could turn into a shadow and walk into banks if he wanted to AND WHY AM I PUTTING UP WITH THIS CRAP? WHERE IS JAMES ROBINSON?

Hell, so much of the episode dealt with the year-long arc, I'm trying to figure out why they even bothered with an enemy du jour in the first place. And to grossly, painfully, and deliberately use a character who was so freaking awesome for the near decade of Starman comics ... this really pissed me off.

And that's only ONE element of this that pisses me off.

This season started with a highly disorienting Flashpoint alternate timeline, which was then reversed. Honestly, I can't tell you why messing with time released this year's enemy, even though I'm certain they've mentioned it at least once. Then they brought out an enemy so obvious, HE'S PLAYED BY DRACO MALFOY.  I mean, seriously. Might as well have "Villain" tattooed on his forehead. And for some reason, Caitlin Snow is manifesting Killer Frost powers ... why? How? When did this happen? No idea. Never explained. Why do her powers turn her evil? No idea. Never explained.

So far, the best elements of this season involved their Christmas episode, which actually explained something .... and the crossover episode.

This is another one I might have totally given up on. I haven't decided yet. Though, honestly, there's nothing else on Tuesday night in that time slot except for NCIS. So, maybe. But I doubt it. There have been 9 episodes this season, and it feels like there may have been 4 episodes worth of content going on here. They should really and truly stop it.

And the first person who tells me that Agents of Suck is good this season, no, I don't want a Ghost Rider TV show. Thanks.

Here. Here's something way more interesting, and a crap ton less angsty and whiny than any single episode this year.


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