When viewers last saw Barry Allen, in The Flash's Season 3 finale, the heroic speedster voluntarily chose to enter the Speed Force, restoring its balance and halting the path of destruction it was wreaking across Central City. Barry's selfless actions may have saved the city, but they also deprived it of its protector and left his friends and loved ones distraught. Photographs and information about the upcoming Season 4 reveal the hardly surprising news that Barry will somehow manage to escape his captivity. But how, and what does this mean for the upcoming season?
As The Flash enters its fourth season, we take a step back and wonder if it's run off course or if the show has what it takes to go the distance. With that in mind, we run down things that fans would love to see happen when we return to Central City, and which elements of the show we think should never be seen again.
Since it debuted in 2014, The Flash has been one of the most consistently enjoyable superhero shows, not only onThe CWm but on all of television. But while Season 3 was by no means a disaster, it contained some elements that divided fans. To their credit, the producers of the show seem well aware of this, and recent comments suggest that the show will return to the optimistic mix of light and dark that it does so well.
One of the great joys of the early years of the show was that it wasn't afraid to go against the trend of the grim and conflicted hero. Grant Gustin's Barry Allen was someone who had suffered tremendous loss in his life, yet he still retained an optimistic spirit and a hero's heart. Barry's slow spiral throughout Season 3, alienating those closest to him as he obsessed about a tragic future, was a drastic departure from the norm, and one that became rather wearing over the course of the series. Taking note of the mixed reception from fans, executive producer Andrew Kreisberg has promised that Season 4 will act as something of a restart for the character and his world, delving into "more comedy and more fun, and more brightness and more excitement."
Another topic that has been a bone of contention among fans is the nature of the main villains that Barry has gone up against in each season. The Reverse Flash in Season 1, Professor Zoom in Season 2, and Savitar in Season 3 were all evil speedsters, every one of them seemingly faster and more powerful than Barry. While individually impressive, the succession of speedster villains threatened to generate a sense of contempt among the audience, so it's encouraging that the show has declared that Season 4 is stepping back from speedster villains. Instead, we'll see Barry and the team up against the threat of Clifford Devoe, the supervillain known as The Thinker, giving Barry the chance to exercise his formidable wits as well as his leg muscles.
With these encouraging signs for our favorite scarlet speedster, what else do we want to see in Season 4? One thing that would be interesting to explore is the wider world of the show. While Team Flash is a tight-knit unit, this means that characters unaware of Barry's secret, or those who don't join Team Flash tend to be kept on the periphery of the story, or written out altogether. Linda Park and Patty Spivot both vanished before their potential could be fully explored, for example, and we've yet to see a real focus on Barry's life away from STAR Labs. Secret-identity problems can be cliche if handled poorly, but if approached from various angles, they fulfill a valuable narrative purpose in a superhero show.