The Flash S6 + S7 (first 3 eps) review: It embraces Barry's positivity, but has some missteps

Marcus Goh
·Contributor
·7 min read
Iris (Candace Patton) and Barry (Grant Gustin) in The Flash. (PHOTO: Warner TV)
Iris (Candace Patton) and Barry (Grant Gustin) in The Flash. (PHOTO: Warner TV)

Channel: Warner TV (Starhub Ch 515; Singtel Ch 306)
Airs: Wednesdays, 9pm
Length: 41-45 minutes
Episodes: 22 (19 in Season 6, 3 in Season 7)
Cast: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Tom Cavanagh, Jesse L. Martin, Hartley Sawyer, Danielle Nicolet, Efrat Dor, Kayla Compton, Brandon McKnight, Sendil Ramamurthy, Victoria Park, and Patrick Sobongui.

Rating: 3 and half out of 5 stars

This review contains spoilers for Season 6 and the first three episodes of Season 7.

Due to COVID-19, the first three episodes of Season 7 were actually going to be the last three episodes of Season 6, wrapping up the story arcs in that season. To be fair to the intent of the writers, this review of Season 6 also includes the first three episodes of Season 7. The combination of Season 6 and the first three episodes of Season 7 will be referred to as Season 6+ for the rest of the article.

Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) in The Flash. (PHOTO: Warner TV)
Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) in The Flash. (PHOTO: Warner TV)

After the bubbly and spirited fifth season of The Flash, Season 6+ seemed to be a little bit more morose thanks to the premise of its two major story arcs. However, it did manage to expand and build upon The Flash lore by going with storylines that go beyond the comic books. While breaking up the season into two story arcs made the stories tighter, it also felt somewhat repetitive when it reused plot beats from earlier seasons.

Season 6+ is broken up into two story arcs, called "Graphic Novels". The first Graphic Novel, titled Blood and Truth, consists of the first nine episodes and sees the Flash and his friends battling the rise of blood-controlling supervillain Bloodwork. The second Graphic Novel, titled Reflection and Lies, consists of episodes 10 to 19 of Season 6, and Season 7's first three episodes. It reveals the existence of the Mirrorverse and its cruel mistress, Mirror Monarch.

The season began with the introduction of two new characters — Chester P. Runk (Brandon McKnight) and Allegra Garcia (Kayla Compton) who showed promise initially but just... petered out into exposition mouthpieces. Chester P. Runk was a tech guy on a show that already had two tech guys — Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and whatever version of Wells (Tom Cavanagh) happened to be around that season. Plus, he felt like a poor man's version of Arrow's Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum)... so you could see how Chester P. Runk was a rather redundant character.

The original Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) is back in The Flash. (PHOTO: Warner TV)
The original Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) is back in The Flash. (PHOTO: Warner TV)

Allegra had some mystery to her and it was cute pairing her with Cisco's girlfriend Kamilla Huang (Victoria Park) for an episode or two. But the duo ended up hogging the spotlight for multiple episodes in the first arc, when we were far more interested in seeing how Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) would deal with her Killer Frost personality. Too much focus on new characters who hadn't earned their place in our hearts yet was one of the flaws of this season, especially when it seemed to come at the expense of favourites like Caitlin and Cisco, whom we didn't see much of.

However, not all the new characters were terrible. Eva McCulloch (Efrat Dor), the Mirror Monarch, was the big bad of the second arc. Her descent and character arc were quite intriguing to follow. She wasn't the typical megalomaniac of previous seasons' big bads, which made her more refreshing to watch. She was quite a good villain to helm the second half of the season, and she (thankfully) wasn't a rehash of Mirror Master. Maybe it's because the first story arc's forgettable big bad, Bloodwork (Sendhil Ramamurthy), filled the the season's quota of power-hungry megalomaniacs.

Cecile (Danielle Nicolet) and Joe (Jesse L. Martin) in The Flash. (PHOTO: Warner TV)
Cecile (Danielle Nicolet) and Joe (Jesse L. Martin) in The Flash. (PHOTO: Warner TV)

The second half of the season was much tighter, since there was a clear theme — Barry and Iris' relationship — that underscored the stories. Admittedly, it was a little cheesy to eventually have love save the day. But it focused on what made The Flash different from many other superhero shows out there. Like Supergirl, The Flash has a central character who's by nature one of the more optimistic and happy protagonists around on television. By playing to its strengths, like in Season 5, The Flash reminded us just why we like its hero so much. So when it's his personality that is a key factor in his eventual triumph at the end, it's a little corny but very fitting.

The second story arc also expanded on the lore behind the Flash by giving us interesting new plotlines about the Speed Force, where it is no longer as omnipotent as it once was, but capable of death as well. It was a little odd to see them glossing over an "artificial Speed Force", given how far beyond them it seemed in the first few seasons. But it was an unexpected twist that proved to be both interesting but familiar to long time fans of the series.

But, the second story arc also repeated the same beats in previous season. Another version of Wells bites the dust? Yeah, we saw that with Season 2's H.R. and Season 4's Harry, and when it happens with Season 6+'s Nash... his death has no impact, because we know that yet another version of him will pop up (even if there's no more Multiverse left). And lo and behold, that literally happens in the same episode. Then we have Iris' life being jeopardised? Well, that happened with Season 3 and Savitar, and it arguably happens to her fairly regularly given that she's the wife of the Flash, after all.

Chester (Brandon McKnight), Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), Allegra (Kayla Compton) and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) in The Flash. (PHOTO: Warner TV)
Chester (Brandon McKnight), Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), Allegra (Kayla Compton) and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) in The Flash. (PHOTO: Warner TV)

Also, the first half of the season was clearly building towards the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, but it overdid the hype for the crossover. Every episode, we were reminded that Barry was going to die in the Crisis — except that as viewers, you know that the main character of a series won't be killed off for no good reason. It felt repetitive to have us be reminded of the Crisis so often, and combined with the overexposure of the new characters, the first Graphic Novel wasn't great.

There's also the odd dangling plot thread regarding Ralph Dibny (Hartley Sawyer) and Sue Dearbon (Natalie Dreyfuss). With Dibny's actor being fired between Seasons 6 and 7, it meant that their storyline was not properly wrapped up. Fortunately, the writers managed to find a way to have Ralph appear without Hartley to give some closure, but it still felt like a waste not to have seen their story arc continue... so that we'd eventually see them married, like they do in the comics.

Barry (Grant Gustin) wonders if Iris (Candace Patton) will wake up in The Flash. (PHOTO: Warner TV)
Barry (Grant Gustin) wonders if Iris (Candace Patton) will wake up in The Flash. (PHOTO: Warner TV)

But The Flash has reached a point where it has so much lore and history that it gave us plenty of wonderful gems this season. Grodd and Barry teamed up (you read that right) into a combined version of the two, we found out Amunet and Goldface were... dating, we got to see Breacher one more time and Cynthia's storyline was tied up for Cisco, and we get another appearance of Rag Doll (always appreciated, always creepy!). It managed to give us so many delightful episodic stories, while still managing to weave a series arc for many of the major characters.

On the whole, Season 6+ was one of the better seasons of The Flash, having embraced the inherent positivity of Barry Allen and expanding on what had come before in the series. It did have some missteps with its over-enthusiasm in using its shiny new characters and repeating similar stories from previous seasons. But overall, it's a promising finish that sets up Team Flash to start in a good place for the next Graphic Novel of Season 7.

Read also:

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