What’s Next for CW’s The Flash & the Extended TV Universe?

24 May

vlcsnap-2016-05-24-23h23m50s260By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

*Spoiler Alert!

Out of all the DC extended universe properties that are playing on television right now, The Flash is on top. Season one dealt with a quiet threat when Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) is not who he appears to be. Neither is Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears), the Flash from a parallel universe, at the start of season two. After many pauses in the broadcasting schedule of the series, one after episode seven “Gorilla Warfare,” another two episodes following (Christmas always causes hiccups in the television network’s scheduling front) and yet another in February, I wished I had The Flash’s ability to perform time jumps. Following this series requires an exercise in patience.

For many fans, they were rewarded in the finale where our Earth-1 Flash is being driven to the dark side. Zoom, this season’s greatest threat, goads our hero to kill. He wants Barry Allen to succumb to the hate and anger within, much like how Darth Vader wanted his son to turn to the Dark Side of the Force so both can rule the galaxy as father and son. I would not be surprised if down the road we see a return of this character (revealed to be Hunter Zolomon in “Versus Zoom”) but from a different dimension (Earth-5?) where he is the father of Barry. Until then, I do not think Zolomon’s fate is completely sealed. The Time Wraiths make an appearance to literally spirit him away to a fate during the episode’s climatic moments. His soul is sucked away like these wraiths are Dementors from Harry Potter, and what remains hints at a possible direction — where the Blackest Night series is alluded to. In the comics, Nekron is Death incarnate and his goal is to reanimate dead heroes in order to have them help void all emotion from the universe. The Black Flash, in a different story arc, is the Grim Reaper. He takes the souls of Speedsters away.

When considering the big fight and reveals made in this finale episode, series creators Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg are not ready to go down that route just yet. Even though parallels have been made throughout the series about how these alternate Earth’s version of the heroes are polar opposites, there are other conflicts that could take place to define season three.

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Zoom’s intent on destroying all the alternate dimensions definitely sets up the future for this show. He steals a magnetar from Mercury Labs so he can destroy them. Just how can a force of cosmic nature be created in a lab is typical comic book material, but I digress. However, to activate its magnetic resonance requires two Speedsters doing funky quantum field level stuff to give it the power to rip the universe apart.

While killing Barry’s father in front of him is just a start to this scheme, just how much affection this sophomore hero has for his family cause Allen to do the unthinkable: to hit the reset button. His entire life has been defined by one cruel event, the death of his mother. His father gets wrongly accused and from there on, as any viewer knows in the show’s introduction, Barry works hard to be the fastest man alive — but for what? After saving both his biological parents from the destiny, the after effects will eventually become noticeable. The results, as explained in the sister show Legends of Tomorrow, will slowly manifest and eventually settle in like concrete; no matter how hard Flash tries to change it again, he can’t. The ramifications include the loss of his power, wiping the timeline of past events that occurred and erasing the relationships previously established.

By some miracle known as the great crossover between all four shows — Arrow, Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow — maybe what’s been altered can get undone. Season Three will feature its own version of the Flashpoint Paradox arc from the comics. The future Barry is going to return to may result in a rapid interest by former Time Master (now self-appointed protector) Rip Hunter to save the Earth (again). I’m thinking Flash and Legends of Tomorrow will have more crossover scenarios because of the devastation Barry caused. When young Allen is messing with time on this scale, other time and dimension sensitive individuals are going to notice.

I doubt the Thanagarians will care over what Earth’s meta population is doing to the planet but if they are aware of what the magnetar can do, they will be wanting to pay a visit to Earth sooner than later to steal it away! I do believe Cisco aka Vibe will be the only character to notice the changes. Only he and Barry are the wiser to what’s happened along with those who returned to Earth-2. The real Jay Garrick, Wells and Jesse return to Earth-2 in order to find a way to send this original model back to his dimension, Earth-3.

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This episode, although great, is a head spinner. Lots of material is being tossed at viewers. The last ten or so minutes is designed to show the tailspin Barry is reeling in. Some of it is easy to soak up, but for fans of John Wesley Shipp (myself included), I do not want to see him leave the show. I was worried to see Henry killed by Zoom, with Barry only reacting in anguish. Not even the fastest man alive can think of leaping at his nemesis to push the assassin away instead of standing there, reacting like a deer in headlights. I can accept that Barry had no clue in how Zoom would kill his father, but after watching him kill a time remnant of himself (an alternate Zoom), I thought: well, you should have known!

To find out that the man in the iron mask is the Garrick from another dimension (Earth-3) and is played by Shipp is my dream come true. Although I had hoped the original show would be part of the canon somehow and we see Shipp put back on the costume, to see him in any iteration of the Flash costume shows he’s here to stay. Although I do not expect to see him back immediately, I’m sure he will be important to help restore the timeline back to what it was.

The future of this series will no doubt take a bit of a dark spin. In the comics, the new timeline was not any better. Damien Darhk may well be the mayor of Starling “Star” City and his reach include Central when Barry returns to his “present.” The Arrow’s fight may well be even more difficult as a result of Barry’s messing with the timeline. By saving his mother, a butterfly effect will no doubt take place. Part of season three should spend time looking at the changes that have occurred. The departure of Wells will be brief and the cracks in time Cisco has been talking about might be revealed as a result of Barry’s messing with time instead of Zoom’s!

My only concern is how Barry’s actions will mess with the other programs. With this year’s series coming to a close for their respective seasons, the fallout will not be seen until late October. Can anyone wait that long?

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