The Flash: 6.02 A Flash of Lightning
Season six is officially two for two. Okay, so A Flash of Lightning certainly wasn’t without flaws, but when you take into account the dramatic change in tone, the heavier focus on comedic timing and amount of well executed story, it deserves its praise. It was never going to be easy to replicate the feeling of elation we got last week as Barry launched himself into a black hole while Queen’s ‘Flash’ played out in the background, but the attention to characters more than made up for it.
This instalment’s biggest problem - and equally its saving grace - was the story but more specifically the amount of it, as it bombarded audiences with more material than perhaps necessary. Past seasons have faced difficulty in the consistency of its villains, and seemingly falling into that trap, this episode sets up too much too soon. Aside from the further teases of Dr Ramsey’s new abilities, it runs the standard villain of the week setup while teasing an organisation that presumably trains Metas into ninja spies. It’s good but would be better to see one solid villain path, at least up until the crisis crossover.
Overstuffing the episode means the writing tends to take a hit, causing more substantial storylines to be overlooked and not be given the attention they deserve. Barry’s refusal to believe the Monitor’s warning of impending doom and seeking counsel from his old Earth-3 pal being one of them. While that specific arc was fulfilling, there were times when it felt rushed and as if more could be told. John Wesley Shipp’s Jay Garrick is always a welcome addition; add to that his partner, played by Joan Williams, the doppelganger of Barry’s late mother, and the emotional tension was palpable. But it simply didn’t boost the family dynamic as expected which was disappointing.
Last week saw Barry learn that The Flash has to die in order to save the world. The continuation of this here is done well, and while it feels very reminiscent of the season three storyline where the team attempts to prevent a known future disaster, the writers have managed to find a refreshing way to tell it. Barry and Iris’ chemistry is increased tenfold, which is thanks to his more philosophical approaches to solving the problem, after discovering the consequences involved in attempting to rewrite his own fate.
Previous seasons have had several arcs take place within a single episode, making the team feel segregated and distant, so it’s uplifting to see that while this episode does the same, the team still feels bonded. On top of allowing the entire ensemble cast to shine, the writers have finally found a way to give Cecile a more meaningful role, rather than simply using her powers for unnecessary comedic relief. The change up of powers, with her now only being able to detect feelings, have certainly made this easier, and her desire to become a DA for Metas nicely incorporates a political element that’s not been used thus far.
The main source of humour and signature silliness this week came from Killer Frost who was attempting to make friends and get in touch with her artistic side. While the effort being put into Caitlin and her alter ego is admirable and the performances and comedic elements executed brilliantly, it had little purpose and could’ve been left out for a less serious episode. It is, however, appreciated that the series needs to maintain its sense of humour as it’s what makes The Flash stand out in the Arrowverse.
A Flash of Lightning has helped to establish the positive progression of this season so far. It may not be as flamboyant or action packed as its predecessor but it still stands out by being different and thinking outside the box. It has a lot to do in the lead-up to the crisis crossover and frankly it’s doing an excellent job. You can’t expect all storylines to work but so long as the momentum is continuously built and it holds firm, it will undoubtedly restore some of The Flash’s missing sparkle.