The CW show ‘The Flash’ has been a roaring success in the two seasons it has aired to date, and with season three set to arrive in September/October, we should be getting a glimpse of the new season at the International Comic-Con: San Diego in July. Now there has been a tremendous amount of focus on major plot points for next season. With people speculating on the next ‘big bad’ and what the impact of the [SPOILERS] [SPOILERS][SPOILERS], the obvious nod to the ‘Flashpoint’ comic line at the end of the season two finale. Realistically, the actual outcome is purely based on the extent to which the producers want to play with the Flashpoint storyline; they could wipe the whole slate clean or they could only make minor changes. Nevertheless, given my hatred for extensive use of time travel and changing histories in TV shows and movies, I am going to assume that the entire history of the TV universe that CW has created will not be totally undermined and we are going to have some continuity and only minor changes will be made in order to grant greater flexibility in the writing stages for the coming season in all of CW’s projects. With this in mind I’m going to share some of the greatest ideas that the show has or has not already introduced and how they could play a role in the coming season.
My first, and most obvious point, is closely linked to the major topic of who will act as the main villain of the season, but what of all the other villains that CW has developed, As some have proven to be somewhat just as interesting as the heroes that catch them? Many have predicted that one of either Mirror Master, Gorilla Grodd or Captain Cold will end up being the main villain of the piece. Of these three, Mirror Master would be the most obvious choice to me. He is a much loved, and integral, enemy of the Flash and he has not been introduced thus far. Unfortunately, though there is a complexity to the character, as they would likely have to introduce some form of ‘Mirror Universe’ in which the character operates. This could well be too tough for fans to follow and lead to a loss in the long term interest for the season itself; but would still definitely be my choice as it actually grants some creative flexibility and acts well as a long term plot line; speed does not matter if you cannot reach where Mirror Master escapes off too!
Aside from Mirror Master I am more excited to see how the other more minor characters are going to be developed and reintroduced as there are several major players still on the loose. Will Gorilla Grodd return? Will he be more advanced than ever! Weather Wizard is still out there and one of the major villains in Flash’s rogue gallery. Golden Glider currently amounts to little more than a brief demonstration of a gun that Cisco Ramone made for her. She, in particular, has far more to her character than just a colour, especially since the New 52 reboot, although I would not recommend they follow that path too closely, she is still a character with so much potential which is virtually untapped. Plus, if we assume Captain Cold is not [SPOILERS] [SPOILERS][SPOILERS] dead because of Flashpoint, he is another member of the Rogues that has an incredible history against the Flash and has definitely proved a fan favourite. However, given that there has been a reboot, or “prequel”, to the ‘Prison Break’ show starring Wentworth Miller, time constraints may prove to be a factor for the role the character can play. Then again his demise could spark a sinister side to his sister and provide the grounds for her to seek retribution for those who caught him and sent him off.
I also don’t just want these characters to make their returns to the show but instead take the fight to the Flash, develop personal vendettas against him or members of his team and come up with elaborate ways to “take him down”, whatever that may mean. We have not seen anybody try to discover and/or reveal the identity of the Flash, maybe even one of Barry’s allies could try to do that and we can see how he responds to betrayal. We have seen some people unintentionally ruin his reputation, so he has to win it back; we have been here but it could be a made into a more significant storyline. How about a rival hero? Rival speedster hero too? One who is willing to work in public, with authority and accountability? Can Barry carry on when he is not needed, does he still define himself by his powers. This could be an early theme in the season if, following the Flashpoint storyline, he does not have his powers but has his family and friends, yet he questions whether another hero can keep the city safe in the same way he was? What about some psychological warfare? Attack him in a way that makes him question what heroism is, is it protection from outside influence and danger but if you inadvertently bring danger upon yourself or accept the risk to your person, is then a hero taking away a person’s freedom or autonomy to make mistakes? Make him question not whether a decision is right but whether a decision needs to be made at all, like for example if another particle accelerator is made and Barry knows the dangers of it going wrong, but this time is not designed to go wrong, should he seek to prevent potential ground-breaking discoveries in medicine and physics because of an ‘if’? Make it more a battle of motives than just a battle of fists, elevate the stories higher, there is a lot of symbolism through episode plots and it is a very reliable and enjoyable format but shows can increase their longevity once they start offering greater questions of ethics to the audience.
So that’s enough about bad guys but what about some of the good guy storylines? Where will the romance between Barry and Iris go? It’s a cliché that the hero has his damsel, even more so in ‘Arrow’ as Oliver Queen seems to have a new love interest every 4-5 episodes. ‘The Flash’ has been largely independent of that format by developing a long term love interest with fleeting ‘moments’ with other female characters, but nothing as intense as love and devotion that Arrow falls back on so regularly. There is a major weakness with it in that once the hero has her, where do they go from here? The interest is in the chase. The audience assumes its ‘happily ever after’ from this point out and that chapter is closed. Going back on themselves is quite tiring for the audience, and then seeing the protagonist pursue another love interest never quite feels as genuine as the journey they experienced in his previous endeavour in romance. They could develop her by changing her character into someone who takes more risks because she knows Barry will be there to catch her. Barry could disagree and then question who she really is as a person, can he still see her the same way, is he being burdened by this change? They could also incorporate her into a better part of the team. Information gathering in both Arrow, Flash and Supergirl has always been raced through; everything is online and hacked. Maybe through her journalism she could develop some investigative skills, participate in more elaborate plans to obtain information rather than just a more direct approach. She has been little more than an object of attraction in its purest and most innocent form, but she can be more than that and contribute a lot more to stories and develop her own arc and Barry’s as they can develop alongside one another.
What about friendly speedsters? With Wally West and Jesse Wells we were teased the possibility of Kid Flash and Jesse Quick but neither has come to fruition and I am certain that one of these, or both, will obtain super speed and play a heroic role in the occasional episode or a three/four episode arc. I personally, do not believe that a ‘side-kick’ or team of speedsters will work as well as a team of archers, or otherwise, works for the Green Arrow, but it would be great fun and a tremendous nod to the comics if they can incorporate it somehow. What about the concept of Wally West being tested? Professor Zoom/Reverse Flash always believed that the old Wally West (The Flash Wally West) would never be the hero that Barry Allen was because he had never experienced suffering. This would be a twisted, although difficult to explain and convince audiences of, concept as a motive for a villain to torture a Kid Flash Wally West and develop his character and his relationships with Barry Allen and Team Flash. Putting aside friendly speedsters, what about Cisco Ramone and his powers? He is apparently incredibly powerful and we got a glimpse of some new skills in his confrontation with Black Siren from Earth 2. This is an obvious arc that needs to be developed right now! However, I have always enjoyed Cisco as the ‘uber nerd’ that helps with the technological within the support team, so I would enjoy seeing him discover his powers but be fearful of them and deny any use of them, possibly through some form of accidental damage or line he cannot cross.
These are all some quite major, and obvious, points for where the story can develop and some interesting ideas as to how they can develop, what about some less obvious ones? The Flash has the slogan “I am the fastest man alive”, and they have played on this when he is not as fast as his, then, current nemesis. Why can’t they take this one step further? What about the fastest man ‘dead or alive’? Most people saw the tease of the Black Flash, the grim-reaper of speedsters, which is what Zoom/Hunter Zolomon turned into as he was being torn apart by the time-wraiths. However, it is quite a major story arc in the comics when the Flash outruns the concept of death itself so this could be on the cards. The actual usage of death in the Flash has been far different to that of Arrow, where it has been a means to an end, but in the Flash it has been far more significant and quite loose on its permanence. Why can’t a form of Necromancy or death/zombie/after life, become a concept that presents another challenge. Black Flash is here, Zoom is dead, the Reverse Flash is dead, Trajectory is dead, what if he had to outrun all of them! A Scene where he is pursued by all the speedsters he has defeated would be outrageously epic and the most climactic of endings to either an episode or a season, so to introduce that Barry Allen is the fastest man ‘dead or alive’ would be a great play on the catchphrase of the character but also introduce some epic stories and visuals.
Finally, what about that treadmill? It hasn’t been used for anything other than tests or to witness Barry going flying off of it in quite spectacular fashion. However, there is a new element being introduced into the CW television series…Supergirl. Now Barry travelled between dimensions to meet Supergirl once…accidentally, but since Supergirl is seemingly going to be a more concrete part of the Flash/Arrow universe the treadmill comes into play here. The Flash has always been associated with a treadmill; a cosmic treadmill, which is just as epic as it sounds. It can be used for several things but creating a bridge or passage between dimensions is certainly one of them; see Injustice: Gods Among Us video game for an idea. This treadmill which team flash has in their lab is surely going to be fitted to allow reliable access between dimensions so that Supergirl, and others including villains I hope, can travel back and forth between worlds. The Flash/Arrowverse could be about to get a whole lot bigger and cooler thanks to modifying Barry’s treadmill to a cosmic level. Bring it on!
So there is still so much potential in the Arrow/Flash/Supergirl universe or Arrowverse, I believe it is called, and the Flash could well be the key to unlocking it all. The Flash also has some of the best villains and the opportunity to develop some incredible heroes. I hope they can introduce some new concepts and try to elevate the story to a new level by introducing some greater, or at least more varied and more personal, motives. I am also hoping for some more cheeky references to the rest of the DC universe, but even without, I cannot wait for the next season of…The Flash! This is just my opinion, but what do you think? What villains do you want coming into next season? Is Captain Cold going to remain dead? Are you happy with a Flashpoint storyline? What other aspects are yet unexplored that you want to see made on the small screen? Let me know you opinion because heroism could be just a matter of perspective?