The time has come, and the Arrowverse has never looked better.
The Flash Season 5 Episode 1 has finally aired, and it’s official: Barry Allen and Co. have rediscovered their sweet spot and reclaimed their name as the best superhero show The CW has to offer.
The Flash Season 3 and The Flash Season 4 were never necessarily bad television, but if we're honest, each season respectively had their share of errors and disappointments, which took the series for a turn that wasn’t exactly embraced by the majority of its viewers.
Season three went dark, as Barry spent almost the entirety of 22 episodes figuring out the all too obvious identity of (yet another speedster big bad) Savatar, and The Flash Season 4, while it did attempt to get back to its roots with a more lighthearted nature and a non-speedster villain, did so in a way that felt dumbed down for the audience.
Also, there was way, way too little Cisco.
Luckily, with Todd Helbing newly at the helm as showrunner, The Flash Season 5 Episode 1 gets everything right back on track to where it belongs.
The premiere is almost a reboot of sorts, with the refreshing addition of Nora Allen (Jessica Parker Kennedy) as Barry and Iris’ daughter from the future and what seems like an actual promising and solid storyline for Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost (something we’ve waited way too long to see).
There is also another non-speedster villain with a fresh perspective on the meta world of Central City.
The Flash has always been at it’s finest when it’s able to match its quick-witted and snappy character dialogue with its exciting plot-driven arcs. Cisco has always been at the helm of this balance, providing the audience with as many laughs as gasps throughout an episode, no matter how dramatic or intense.
Yet with the introduction of Nora Allen, we have another character who's able to keep us smiling. With her upbeat, brutally honest and fairly hilarious personality, she seems to give the show the burst of energy it needed.
Cisco, of course, is still around and better than ever. Whether he’s drunk, hungover, sober or nursing a broken heart, he’s always there to deliver some of the wittiest dialogue I’ve seen on my TV in a while. But adding Nora into the mix only makes the episode, and Team Flash in general, shine even brighter.
That’s not to say our original Team isn’t also pulling their weight in this season premiere.
I have waited a long time to see a cohesive and decent backstory for Caitlin Snow. I have quietly bitten my tongue while I’ve watched her storyline get thrown to the wayside.
Anticipated with each new season is Caitlin getting some of the meat and potatoes that goes beyond fixing other people’s ailments or sporadically turning into Killer Frost.
And it seems like this year, I’m finally getting my wish.
Killer Frost has always been an intriguing, albeit mysterious character, but the way she came about has also been very thinly explained, as are most things when it comes to Caitlin Snow. But it seems like the powers that be are finally ready to reveal how it all happened.
Between finding out her father faked his death to discovering that she’s somehow been a meta since she was a young girl, Snow’s storyline could potentially end up being one of the strongest of the season.
If the writers allot enough time to delve into her development, it won’t only be enjoyable to see Caitlin’s history, but unbelievably satisfying to watch her grow into the complex and dynamic character who after four seasons, she should already be.
My only worry within the Caitlin storyline is Ralph’s involvement and connection to it.
Ralph was not my favorite addition to Team Flash, as I found his jokes to be more slapstick humor than actually funny, and his purpose in the group to be a type of band-aid over what the writers thought they were missing in The Flash Season 3.
His dialogue was most definitely an improvement over last season, and I found myself laughing out loud a few times over his ignorance towards time travel and the concept of the multiverse (or “many-verse”, as he would call it).
However, The Flash tends to enjoy forcing Caitlin Snow into flimsy romantic storylines with any male newcomer she shares more than three minutes of screen time with, and Ralph is the last person I’d want to see her dating.
Once upon a time, my young Snowbarry heart was set on a Caitlin/Barry romantic pairing, but the development of perfection that is the West-Allen ship killed that for me seasons ago.
Since then, I’ve been on board with the potential romance of her and Cisco- two characters who deeply love and care for one another and have pretty undeniable chemistry, especially in the big dramatic moments of the show.
Plus they have a history, a foundation, something many of the relationships don’t tend to have on The Flash.
Will I get my wish? Probably not. But please, Flash writers room, anyone but Ralph.
Speaking of 'ships, this review wouldn’t be complete without my confession of undying love and support for West-Allen.
In a time where TV shows are notorious for rushing characters into thinly developed relationships just to immediately break them up before we can even get attached, it is unbelievably uplifting to see them blossom from best friends to lovers to husband and wife, and now to parents.
The premiere was wall to wall packed with fantastic scenes for each of the show's characters, but one of my favorites had to be Iris comforting Barry about Nora coming into their lives and assuring him they would get their happy ending.
Of course, as soon as she said that I knew something terrible was going to tear them apart (again), but, it’s a real treat to watch them on screen, together. They indeed are The Flash.
What wasn’t a treat to watch, was Barry choosing to lie to Iris, and I can only hope that the secret of his disappearance comes out sooner rather than later.
West-Allen has shown so much growth throughout the years, for Barry to revert to hiding things to soften the blow is something we’ve seen done more than once on this show, and there’s plenty of drama to go around without it.
By keeping this secret from Iris, and the rest of Team Flash in general, so many of the lessons learned from season past go flying out the window (alternate timelines, anyone?)
Let's see everyone working together.
If there was one thing the premiere lacked, it was the introduction of the seasons official big bad.
Although with the way the episode was framed, continuing right from The Flash Season 4 Episode 23 and the reveal of Nora as Barry’s daughter, it would have been too jam-packed to get into the gritty details of the season.
I am a huge proponent for taking one’s time telling a story, especially when you have 23 episodes to do so, and a premiere always does best when it begins the season on an upbeat.
Still, the tag at the end of the episode has me highly anticipating the audience's meeting of Cicada (played by Chris Klein).
There’s nothing about this choice for the antagonist that doesn’t have me excited. Not only do we have another non-speedster in our midst, but if his backstory is anything like the comics, we may be in for the most dynamic and exciting big bad the show has ever seen.
Plus, Chris Klein playing a villain? That’s something I would pay to see, any day.
Overall, the premiere far exceeded my expectations. It gave potentially fantastic arcs to almost all of its characters, foreshadowed a unique and original antagonist I can’t wait to see more of and introduced the worlds most perfectly cast daughter for Iris and Barry.
If we can manage to sidestep any more alternate timeline shenanigans, keep the clever dialogue alive and keep pushing the characters forward as complex individuals, it’s looking like we’ve got one heck of a season on our hands. Oh, and please, give us more Cisco?
The Suit: I couldn’t write a review without mentioning the suit, but unfortunately I won’t be praising it too much.
I do like the addition of the ring and how similar the suit looks to its comic book counterpart, but seeing the contrast of Barry wearing the old and new suit in the same episode made me realize how much I loved the older versions on him. Sorry not sorry on this one, folks.
Iris West: As happy as I am to see Caitlin Snow getting the storylines she deserves; I was disappointed we didn’t see journalist Iris.
I was thrilled when she jumped back behind the computer last season to restart her writing career, and I thoroughly hope that isn’t forgotten during The Flash Season 5. We need strong leading women proving they can do it all up on our screens, even without superpowers.
I didn’t know how much I needed a drunk Cisco in my life until I had a drunk Cisco in my life.
It was nice to see Wally back with the gang, and I hope to see him there again, but I think his presence is ultimately better used on Legends of Tomorrow.
I never thought I’d say this but, I felt the absence of Wells. The Earth 2 Wells, of course. It was a lovely nod to have Barry repeat his speech to Nora on the airplane, but it still felt like the team was missing someone crucial.
- I really hope Cecile keeps her powers!
You guys have to tell me what you think! I'll be with you all season here on TV Fanatic talking all about The Flash, and I can't wait to get to into discussions with you.
Share your thoughts on the premiere below!!
And if you missed the episode be sure to watch The Flash online right here on TV Fanatic.
Kat Pettibone is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.