Television shows are a dime a dozen, but programs with good writing seem to be few and far between. Perchance that’s why The CW’s hit new series The Flash is garnering such critical acclaim. As someone who grew up dutifully reading comic books and religiously watching superhero cartoons, The Flash has become appointment television for me. Friends and family know not to call me on Tuesday nights during the show. Even my grad school professor is privy to the fact that I’m leaving class 30 minutes early so I can make it home in time to see Flash zip past my high definition flat screen to take down the villain of the week.
The Flash has become appointment television. tweet
However, it’s not the action or the special effects or the colorful rogue’s gallery that keeps me hooked – although I’m definitely enjoying Wentworth Miller as the felonious Captain Cold and Tom Cavanaugh as the malevolent Reverse Flash. Quite the reverse (pun intended), I am a fan of the warm, fuzzy father-son moments between Grant Gustin’s Flash/Barry Allen and Jesse L. Martin’s Detective Joe West. Ya’ll, those scenes get me every single time.
Dedicated Flash scholars and aficionados are fully aware that Detective Joe West doesn’t exist in the comic books. A new creation for the television series, West steps in as the father figure for Barry after his dad is carted off to jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Gustin, a capable young actor, plays Barry as kindhearted and sensitive, essentially a younger version of Christopher Reeve’s Superman in my opinion. There are times where Barry tries to see the good in his super-powered foes only to be shocked at how corrupt some of them truly are. I suppose that tends to happen when a giant particle accelerator explodes and leaves thieves and crooks with superhuman abilities. At any rate, Barry is often comforted by Joe, whether it be advice about girls, guidance on how to take down a villain, or a simple display of fatherly affection in a warm embrace and shoulder for Barry to cry on, which I think is just awesome. I’m man enough to admit that I’ll be damned if I don’t get teary eyed. Does anyone have a Kleenex?
It seems to be an accepted fact among writers that superhero movies and television shows need to be dark and brooding. Just take a look at The Dark Knight trilogy. While I definitely enjoyed what director Christopher Nolan did with the franchise, it seemed to lack heart. I mean seriously, did Bruce Wayne have a soul? That’s debatable. This same dark and brooding rule also applies to Fox’s Gotham, NBC’s Constantine and The CW’s Arrow, the show from which The Flash was spun off. The fact that The Flash is upbeat, unclouded and has these wonderful moments between Joe and Barry automatically set it apart from other superhero programs and that’s a good thing. I think it shows that Barry is human and that he does indeed care for those around him. This civilizes him and makes him relatable.
Every good superhero needs a confidante and guide. tweet
Yes, at times, I do think Barry can be a little annoying pining for Iris, played by the talented and very beautiful Candice Patton, when she’s clearly stuck on Detective Eddie Thawne. Additionally, I did get annoyed at Barry blatantly disregarding the advice from Dr. Wells on the dangers of talking to people after having altered a timeline. I suppose he can’t be perfect. Nevertheless, that’s where Detective Joe West steps in. Every good superhero needs a confidante and guide. Batman has Alfred. Spider-Man had Uncle Ben. In my humble opinion, the writers created the perfect mentor in Joe and the producers couldn’t have gone with a better actor. Martin has experience playing a cop from his days on Law & Order and is an accomplished Broadway star as well, and Gustin is able to keep up perfectly.
With just four episodes left, The Flash is undoubtedly firing on all cylinders. Things are leading up to a heart pounding finale and I am stoked! While there is sure to be non-stop action and episodes crammed with excitement, I do hope we see at least one more shared scene between Martin and Gustin if time allows for it.
Heck, I’ll even settle for it being as quick as a flash.