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‘The Flash’ review: Highs and Lows of Season 5

We rate performances in various categories as The Flash hits half a decade.

5 years of The Flash. Can you believe it? The show quickly became one of the CW’s most acclaimed and remains a popular favourite after all this time.

Season 5 revisited themes of family that made the show so lovable back when it first began. Nora’s attempt to save Barry reminded us of Barry’s mission to vindicate his own father, and even save his mother. Elsewhere, Caitlin and Cisco supported each other through their own individual relationship problems, Sherloque and Ralph found their places within the team, and Iris reconciled with her future daughter. Oh, and Joe and Cecile were always that power couple in the background.

That said, I think most people would still laud season 1 as the show’s greatest. Where did this season go wrong? Here’s a look at what worked and what didn’t for The Flash season 5.

Relationships

Highs

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WestAllen. Duh. This was a bumpy season for Barry and Iris. They couldn’t indulge in romance and found themselves at opposing ends a lot. But I think it is important that they fought and disagreed. By sticking out together, they reaffirmed the strength of their relationship. It wasn’t a very romantic season, but it was a mature one.

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On the platonic side of things, KillerVibe was killing it week after week. For a while I thought they might become an actual couple, and I wouldn’t have minded. Caitlin and Cisco have been coworkers and friends since before the particle accelerator incident. Like WestAllen, they had their disagreements, but always found a compromise. They supported each other through thick and thin and gave many heartwarming moments.

Lows

I guess there were more important things going on, but the season really skirted over the development of some couples, namely Cisco/Kamilla and Sherloque/E-1 Renee.

The Return of Reverse Flash (and other old baddies)

Highs

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I wonder if Eobard Thawne’s presence on this show will ever wear off. Arguably The Flash‘s most complex character, the scheming speedster played everyone once again. Caring for Nora and Cisco as if they were his children didn’t stop him from manipulating them, putting a dark twist on the family theme.

Another villain whose return I enjoyed was Norvok, Amunet’s (former?) snake-eyed henchman. He became sort of an anti-hero during his brief reprise, and I appreciated his backstory of how doing good turned him into the twisted creature he is.

Lows

A handful of smaller villains re-appeared, and were generally forgettable. I hadn’t thought about bee girl is ages. Peekaboo was there…somewhere. Weather Wizard had that failed reunion with his daughter Joss the Weather Witch, who I’ll touch on later.

New Villains

Highs

Well, Cicada was a hit or miss. Orlin paralleled Barry as a father figure, and reminded us of the collateral damage that comes from big superhero battles. He had a solid origin story, going from a bum to a proper guardian for Grace. I liked the plot twist that Grace took up the Cicada mantle in the future. But…

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Lows

Both versions of Cicada had, for lack of better word, odd performances. They spoke like hoarse zombies and I’m not quite sure what that achieved.

I was left unsatisfied with many of the new meta-of-the-weeks. Ragdoll was fantastically creepy and might have been a high if he hadn’t been coasting on the season’s strongest episode and if the show had given him a proper motivation. Weather Witch almost had an interesting arc with Silver Ghost but never amounted to that, and her performance was hammy. It almost felt like they suddenly dropped whatever plot had been going on, and came up with a shoddy explanation for Silver Ghost’s absence when Joss returned to join the New Rogues.

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Character Development

Highs

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Ralph was a pleasant surprise. Though I didn’t hate him last season, I can admit that his character was crude. He was like an annoyance that everyone was forced to work with, and who wasn’t thrilled by the arrangement himself. This season saw a real turnaround for him. He contributed a lot of crucial detective work to the team, made an effort to educate himself, and was always there whenever someone (the writers) needed an extra pair of hands and/or emotional support. And he served as a source of humour while at it.

Lows

This might have to do with the actor’s availability, but Cisco’s “do I want to be Vibe or not?” arc progressed in fits and starts. I wasn’t entirely convinced by some of his reasoning and ultimately am apathetic to his decision.

Other noteworthy moments:

  • Captain Singh. What is it about him that makes him so cool? I hope his promotion doesn’t mean we won’t see more of him.
  • This year’s CGI fest: King Shark vs Gorilla Grodd. I liked King Shark’s part in that episode, not sure what Grodd was doing there though.
  • I’ve already talked about WestAllen, but can we talk about their SOULMATE ENERGY during the crossover? No matter what earth or universe or timeline or reality they are in, they always find each other.

Do you agree with our The Flash review? Was something you think should have been a high? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter!

All The Flash recaps are stored in our own PF time vault, the Flash Zone.

(featured image: the CW)

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Ellen Ng

Ellen is a student, writer, professional daydreamer etc. Most likely to be found with green tea, but coffee has been an option as of late. Currently superhero-watching.

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