Movie Reviews

The Flash Season 8 Has Utterly Failed Its Most Important Character

Warning: This post contains spoilers for The Flash season 8.

The Flash season 8 has had its fair share of ups and downs, but its most damaging trait is that it has failed the most important character in the entire series. For the last two seasons, The Flash has included a handful of storylines, including the introduction of Bart Allen, Barry and Iris’ son from the future, and the return of Reverse-Flash.

The Flash season 8 began with such promise. There was a mystery regarding whether or not Joe West was dead and Barry Allen had to face Despero, an alien from another planet, as well as Reverse-Flash. Crucially, The Flash had to contend with a team who, at the time, believed there was something wrong with Barry rather than work to understand what was wrong. It was compelling stuff for the titular character, who was forced into situations he would never have dreamed up and had never faced before. As a character who has been through a lot over the years, “Armageddon” was refreshing because it ultimately cut off The Flash from his family and friends, leaving him to improvise. It also challenged him at the same time.

Related: The Flash: How Powerful The Arrowverse’s Barry Allen Is In Each Season

However, the remainder of The Flash season 8 has lost sight of its most important character, with the Arrowverse series sidelining Barry Allen himself. While the majority of Team Flash’s members get ample screen time, Barry does not have a storyline of his own. In most of the episodes following “Armageddon,” the Scarlet Speedster is standing around S.T.A.R. Labs, contributing only occasionally, but being largely passive. He’s barely shown at his job as a CSI and has been mostly removed from Iris’ time sickness storyline as well, which would have given him more to do. Barry worries, thinks, and worries some more, but he isn’t actively involved in anything outside of what his team is doing.

He has had to figure out what’s behind the Black Flame meta, which has transformed into Deathstorm, but it wasn’t a storyline he was personally connected to. Neither was any of the grief he might have felt being close to the Black Flame, an odd thing considering The Flash season 8 brought up Barry’s lingering pain over Henry Allen’s death. What’s more, The Flash isn’t seen around the city very much anymore, either. Typically, each episode would see him fighting metahumans, but Barry hasn’t used his powers very much in the second half of season 8. On the occasions Barry does anything, it doesn’t carry the same spark that it has in earlier seasons, as though the soul and inspiration for The Flash has been depleted.

It’s almost as if the writers don’t really know what to do with the superhero anymore despite him being the main character of the Arrowverse series. Barry is being overshadowed by many of the new characters who shouldn’t be as important as he is. In many ways, Barry feels like a supporting character on his own show and it doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. It’s clear the focus of The Flash has shifted to accommodate other characters, including Chester and Allegra, but that shouldn’t mean Barry gets the short end of the stick as a result.

Next: The Flash’s Deathstorm Plan Has A Glaring Arrowverse Plot Hole

The Flash airs Wednesdays at 8pm ET on The CW.

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