Monday, August 27, 2018

TV on DVD Review: The Flash - Season 4

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Mostly enjoyable season of a fun show
Cons: Plot slows down in the middle of the season
The Bottom Line:
Facing a new foe
Barry must out think, out run
Mostly good season

“Do You Remember Back in the Day When We Wouldn’t Calmly Consider a Stone Statue Our Prime Suspect?”  “No, I Actually Don’t.”

After three seasons with another speedster being the big bad on The Flash, I was thrilled when they announced that in season four, Barry Allan and the rest of his friends would be facing The Thinker.  A high-speed chess game sounds like fun, right?  While it was mostly enjoyable, there were some issues with the season.

Of course, before anything can happen, first, we have to get Barry Allan (Grant Gustin) out of the speed force, where he went at the end of last season.  Fortunately, Cisco (Carlos Valdes) has just the plan for that, and it works.  Unfortunately, it creates its own side effects, a bus full of new people with meta powers.

While Barry deals with those, he also prepares for his wedding to Iris (Candice Patton), Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) continues to deal with her Killer Frost other half, and Joe (Jesse L. Martin) and his girlfriend Cecile (Danielle Nicolet) make a surprising announcement.

But it’s those new bus metas who prove to be more than they appear.  It turns out they are part of the plans that Clifford DeVoe (Neil Sandilands), aka The Thinker, has for the world.  But what is he up to?  And can Barry figure out how to stop walking into his traps?

The season started out well, dealing with the fallout from last season’s cliffhanger ending and introducing us to DeVoe.  It’s somewhere around the middle of the season where I felt they got stuck in a rut and were vamping until it was actually time for the big showdown.  Mind you, the episodes were still enjoyable, but I got a little frustrated since I wanted the story to move forward.

Yes, Tom Cavanagh is still around as Harrison Wells.  The Earth 2 version is brought back this year, and I enjoyed seeing him again.  So far, he’s been my favorite version of Wells.

We do get some cast shake ups this season.  I will only mention additions since the others would be a spoiler.  I was sad early in the season to learn that Katee Sackhoff was going to be playing a recurring character.  Fortunately, they wrote the character to minimize her bad acting, and she wasn’t in that many episodes.  More important to the story of the season was Hartley Sawyer as Ralph Dibny.  When we first met this PI, I didn’t care for him at all, but I really loved the character development he got, so by the end of the season, I really cared for his character.

Of course, the regular cast get their own arcs this season, and I loved seeing what was next for all of them.  They know their characters by this point, and their acting, whether it calls for comedy or character, completely fits the script.

And there is a wide range over the course of the season.  There are some fantastic stand-alone episodes.  One early in the season finds Barry dealing with a new suit with hilarious results.  There is another brilliant episode that takes place in less time than it takes for an episode to air.  Even the familiar superhero trope where Iris winds up with Barry’s powers rises above the cliché.

The special effects continue to impress, especially given the time and budget required for a weekly TV show.

Even though I wanted to fast forward the plot in the middle of the season, overall season 4 of The Flash is still entertaining television.  Fans will enjoy watching Barry save the day just in the nick of time.

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