The Flash: Legacy
May 15, 2019 5:43 PM - Season 5, Episode 22 - Subscribe

 
I shouldn't be posting (still on deadline) but I'm just so frustrated. Cisco is a complete idiot! While there is a huge number of reasons why his choice to depower himself was a stupid one, the most obvious is that he has enemies. Enemies who know who he is. If any of them escape from prison/come back from the future/hop over from a different earth/get mind controlled/etc. and decide to go after Cisco, he has no way of defending himself. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Yes, I know there are rumours that that the actor who portrays him is thinking of leaving the show, but there are better ways to send a character off than that.

On the bright side, maybe Ralph will finally get a chance to meet Sue Dearborn next season. Then the two of them can fall in love, leave Central City and and go star in their own show. I think we can use a modern, superhero update of the Thin Man/Hart to Hart formula.
posted by sardonyx at 7:05 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


I have a lot of thoughts about this:

- I do not believe this show will ever get any better.

In retrospect, S1 feels like a lucky break rather than something they can return to. Cicada/Cicada 2.0 are more in their long procession of boring invincible bad guys.

Part of what made S1 Thawne fun is that he was not invincible. He and Barry were reasonably evenly matched even at the height of his power, and he had developed an emotional attachment to the team that he didn't have before.

Since then, we've had Zoom, who is Thawne minus the nuance or vulnerability - he wanted the same thing, (steal Barry's speed), but there's nothing else going on there. Personality and motivation are totally cardboard, and he is so much more powerful than Barry that their conflicts are a joke.

We've had Savitar, who would have been interesting for maybe 3-6 episodes, but was stretched over a whole fucking season.

We've had the Thinker, who was downright depressing to watch, full of informed brilliance shilling dumb, no good plots.

And now we've had Cicada, who was - like Savitar - maybe interesting on paper, but only for a mini-arc, not a whole season.

It is apparent to me that they don't really know how to craft a good bad guy, and that S1 was pretty much down to Cavanaugh and the formula not being played out yet.

- ARGH VIBE

sardonyx just covered what I wanted to say there. He could've left the show with his powers intact, or (worst case), been a casualty of Grace or Thawne in the finale. Him taking the cure is the exact least sensible or believable sendoff I can think of.

(I've read Amber. In his shoes, I'd be looking for that one perfect world where I was king already...)

- I have come to loathe Barry Allen.

Barry never learns. Barry never gets better. The show is constantly shilling what a hero he is, when he is... okay, not a monster, but most definitely a selfish jerk. I suppose there are many people who would handle his powers much worse than he does, but he's still an asshole who creates most of his own problems and enemies.

This is a danger with any protagonist - stuff needs to happen, they're a major driver of stuff, so bad writing will hit them harder than most of the characters in a work. But it's a danger that's totally come to pass on The Flash, and having Nora around brought it to the fore much more than usual.

- The police stuff is wearying.

This is small, and perhaps colored by how, er, colored I myself am, but all the stuff about 'the police station is a safe place' during the tail end of the Grace storyline just raised my fucking hackles. I like Jesse Martin, but that was a very uncomfortable watch on that level.

... I could go on, but I dunno. I haven't been hate-watching The Flash these past four years. I'd characterize it more as hope-watching: I loved S1. Still do. I really enjoy some elements here: I'd watch Tom Cavanaugh do pretty much anything. I love Killer Frost, (and Panabaker did a great job with directing too - she'd better have a future, she's great). The show turned both Cisco and Ralph from awful joke characters to really great ones, giving me reason to believe someone behind the scenes knew what they were doing.

I have held out hope the whole thing would come together again for a long time, but I just don't see it anymore. This season was a step up from S4, but not in a way that makes me believe they can do much better than this.
posted by mordax at 7:23 PM on May 15 [5 favorites]


On the bright side, maybe Ralph will finally get a chance to meet Sue Dearborn next season.

I take it you saw the name on the file Ralph was holding?
posted by plastic_animals at 7:44 PM on May 15


Yup, I noticed the file. I've been hoping for Sue to show up since Ralph first appeared, because they really are a great couple and work best together. (Unlike the Barry and Iris "we are the Flash" nonsense this show keeps trying to give us.)

I'm glad they finally gave Singh the credit of not being an idiot. It's about time.

I agree with you completely, mordax. I think we've all been watching the show the same way--hoping that it would be able to capture the lighting-in-a-bottle magic that made the first season work so well. We're not hate watching. We're watching with hope that it can achieve the heights it hit in the first season. I sadly suspect it's never going to happen, largely because of the issues you pointed out regarding boring villains and Barry's Barryness.

I also suspect most of us will be here (at least in part) next season, if only to watch the Crisis crossover. With Arrow ending, with Flash in the shape it's in, and with the quality of Supergirl also in decline, it's feeling like this is the end of the Arrowverse, despite Legends being wildly entertaining and Batwoman getting ready to launch.
posted by sardonyx at 9:57 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]


Cisco is a complete idiot! While there is a huge number of reasons why his choice to depower himself was a stupid one, the most obvious is that he has enemies.

I mean, aside from all the reasons against, there aren't really any strong reasons for. At this point Cisco finally has pretty solid control over his powers. He's not accidentally opening portals to other worlds every time he gets upset or anything, so if he wants to not be Vibe anymore he could just....not vibe. And quit the team. (Which it seems like he's planning to do anyhow.) There was, up until last episode, at least an entire mob's worth of metahumans in Central City who were neither superheroes nor supervillains, they just kind of did their thing and lived their quiet normal lives and he could just...be one of those, if he wanted to. Unless he's worried Team Flash would constantly be dragging him out of retirement for one last score villain, in which case this whole plot would land a lot better if they actually showed that happening first.

But the whole cure storyline has been pretty badly thought out, mainly because, like just about every single plot since Season 2 on, the writers are completely focused on where they want to go and will write any amount of nonsense, handwavey garbage and mischaracterizations as long as it moves things in the direction they've decided they want to go. It is basically everything that is wrong with plot-driven writing, dialed up to 11. Plus, Barry does feel completely stunted growth-wise and fairly unlikeable as a character at this point, and IMO that too is mostly a consequence of that same plot-first, characters-last-if-at-all writing style.

And yet! I like all the actors on this show. And damned if they don't give it everything they've got even when the plot is requiring them to be stupid, or wildly inconsistent from one episode to the next, or whatever. (Tom Cavanagh phones it in occasionally but he's generally good enough to get away with it. It was really obvious to me in this episode though how much more interested he was in playing Reverse Flash again than the Sherloque character.) They just need better writing, desperately.

I agree with mordax though, I think at this point it's hard to imagine at this point that the writers will suddenly show dramatic improvement. I'll hang in there the one more season, I guess. After all, I never would've expected Legends' miraculous turnaround and now it's become by far my favorite one of these. Maybe next season being (possibly) the last will cause the writers to abandon some of their terrible habits and formulas. [Step 1: abandon the single season-long villain. Even aside from their apparent inability to write long-term villains that aren't awful chores, having a season-long villain casts a constant layer of gloom over everything. In Season 1 and in the crossovers, when he gets to actually have fun and be cheerful, Barry Allen is vastly more likeable.]

There were a few great things in this episode though, one was Singh casually dropping that he's known Barry is the Flash for who knows how long already, and the second was Cisco's girlfriend being like "Oh I read comic books, I know how the secret-identity-reveal convo goes, we're good." I don't think it's a coincidence that both of these favorite moments of mine were about characters casually disposing of worn-out tropes of the superhero genre and being, y'know, intelligent instead.
posted by mstokes650 at 10:34 PM on May 15 [5 favorites]


You know you have watched too much TV when your first thought on Cisco's inconclusive good-bye scene is "Oh, they're still negotiating with Carlos Valdes on returning next season".

Anyway, I pretty much enjoyed this season even though I agree with everyone's criticisms. Cicada was definitely flawed, and not helped by Chris Stein's odd performance, and easily defeatable had someone on Team Flash stopped to think for a moment, but was a great improvement over the Thinker.

Making Barry less stupid and self-centered would go a long way in improving the show. Having to talk him down from his rash decisions every other episode gets old in a hurry. It does make me wonder if the writers have forgotten that Barry, someone who has not been shown to have any engineering or programming skills, is supposed to invent Gideon.
posted by plastic_animals at 10:55 AM on May 16 [3 favorites]


Same for me, I also enjoy the show despite its flaws. I think the actors make up most of that enjoyment because by now they can wear the characters really well, like an old favorite shoe, and they get miles out of the nuances of even the worst dialogs.

Like I said before though, the thing that annoys me the most is the inconsistent stuff with time traveling. Sure, I'll grant that being tapped into the negative speed force means you're not affected by timeline changes, same as the time language (also they never explained why that language is timeline proof). However, everything around you should be affected. Which means that as soon as that dagger disappeared in the past, in the future Thawne never gets trapped by it. If he's not in prison for Nora to easily talk to, how would Nora be manipulated into defeating Cicada in the past? Then the dagger would not disappear?

Legends of Tomorrow got around such paradoxes by straight up not letting it happen, like when John tried to kick his own dad in the crotch. The power of time literally would knock him back. That should've been the same result when the mirror gun's blast was about to hit the dagger.

My other gripe is with how Cisco is leaving the show. Yes, he doesn't want powers, sure, whatever, I'm not going to force someone to feel differently. But why would that mean that he would leave the team? He was their gadgets and science guy before he even got powers! In fact, Caitlin should've reminded him of that during that scene! I would've totally bought it if he just goes "hey, I met someone amazing, I don't like having these powers, and I just wanna go live a normal life and stop fighting bad guys." Would there be some resentment? Sure. But I would understand that. Also, no long goodbyes with his best bud Barry? What gives?

Aside from those issue I mostly enjoyed the finale. I especially loved the scene of the non-speedsters taking on Thawne, that was great!
posted by numaner at 1:40 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


I’ve really struggled with this show and haven’t bothered to watch any of this season (or the last two and half seasons of arrow, or a large chunk of this season of supergirl).

I get that there’s (apparently) a target audience but they all end up devolving into soap-operas-for-teenagers. Which, honestly, makes the whole lets’s marry off the foster siblings pretty damned extra-gross.

Barry has to be one of the windy-est, un-selfaware, emotional developmentally delayed characters anywhere in pop culture. Even without the terrible writing, weak season structure and excruciating villains this Barry makes the whole show pretty unwatchable.

And the DC’verse in general seems to find it easier to travel through time and dimensions than to simply head down the highway to the next town over. No wonder The City is the atomic unit of shits-given in all of the (non Legends) shows.

It’s been fun (ish) picking out bits of vancouver and the LMR I recognize but I just don’t think I can watch any of these execrable productions any further. Too bad; I had fond memories of The Flash in particular as a kid but DC isn’t bringing much of anything to a screen near me worth watching.

Thanks for the recap; it saved wondering if it was ever going to be worth catching up.
posted by mce at 6:03 PM on May 16


The writing has usually not been very great on the show. That's just how it's going to be. They can't really do any villains besides Wells/Thawne. They like to write Barry as a well meaning, kinda blind doofus. I watch the show because as was already said above, "And yet! I like all the actors on this show. And damned if they don't give it everything they've got even when the plot is requiring them to be stupid, or wildly inconsistent from one episode to the next, or whatever. That sells it for me, or at least I haven't gotten fed up enough with the show to quit it yet. I think Arrow is the worst of the lot because the writing's similarly not great but also, I don't super care about most of the actors on that show since most of them are so dour. I wouldn't feel particularly sad or missing out on anything if Cop Black Canary or Hoss or... I dunno, whoever died or left. The only one I do feel sad about on that show is now out, so...feh. At least I like to watch these people even if the plots are kinda dumb.

"the writers are completely focused on where they want to go and will write any amount of nonsense, handwavey garbage and mischaracterizations as long as it moves things in the direction they've decided they want to go."

That's pretty much all shows, especially GoT apparently.

I hate that Cisco got rid of his powers but it's so clearly an issue of the actor having lost interest in the show (when people just disappear from episodes and nobody even bothers to say why, it's a bad sign) and trying to get the hell out the door that you just have to throw up your hands and go "I give up." It's a dumb move for the character, especially when his girlfriend was fine with it. It could be a plotline for screwing them when the Crisis comes, but I doubt they will have the opportunity to go there. I'm just surprised there hasn't been any formal announcement that Carlos Valdes is out of the show already given the show's evidence and the rumor mill.

I also liked that Singh figured it out and Kamilla was all "oh, sure, I know how the tropes go, people usually take a while to reveal that they have superpowers, that's cool."

I really liked Nora and thought she did an excellent job. I'm sad at her demise (though uh...why do people remember her and her stuff is still around if she's wiped from the timeline?) but it works for the plot, at least to kick off the Crisis being sooner, I guess.

Given all the shit I've heard about the fridging of Sue Dibny in the comics, should I be depressed that she's going to be brought onto the show?
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:41 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]


They've already killed off one of Ralph's girlfriends, they had better not even think of harming a hair on Sue's head.
posted by sardonyx at 11:04 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]


I mean, aside from all the reasons against, there aren't really any strong reasons for. At this point Cisco finally has pretty solid control over his powers. He's not accidentally opening portals to other worlds every time he gets upset or anything, so if he wants to not be Vibe anymore he could just....not vibe.

As usual, if the writers cared to set stuff like this up they could have. Hell, they could have been only a tiny bit less lazy and dropped in a line a la I'd just like to be able to drink my coffee in Jitters without having to sit through vibes of all the people who used the mug before me. There's that aspect of his powers that would totally suuuuuuck if it wasn't controllable. The Dead Zone tv series had a fairly funny sequence, fairly late in its run IIRC, about how uncomfortable this sort of power could make your love life. They could justify it. They just can't be arsed to.

I've dropped in and out of the season and I'm not finding that I regret that decision beyond some curiousity about how they handled the whole Killer Frost come and go. Perhaps now that it's on Netflix I'll just FF the boring (ie, Barry & Nora & Iris) bits and watch that.
posted by phearlez at 10:30 AM on May 29


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