The Flash Season Six: Success is Erased

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Flash Season 6 Bluray

2020 was meant to be the biggest year ever for CW's THE FLASH. From the very first episode when viewers got teased with that headline from the future, we knew the series was building toward the legendary "Crisis on Infinite Earths" story -- a story which, in comics, rebuilt the entire DC Universe from scratch at the cost of the lives of The Flash and Supergirl. And while it seemed unlikely that the showrunners were going to sacrifice two of their titular characters for the sake of telling the story, expectations among fans were nonetheless high.

A good portion of this sixth season of THE FLASH is about the lead-up to the Crisis that they all know is coming, thanks to the advance warnings from The Monitor after last year's "Elseworld's" crossover (which gave us a huge hint that Psycho Pirate would be involved, and then dropped the character completely). From the season opener, Flash (Grant Gustin) has been trying to prepare his team on how to deal with being a hero in his absence, setting up Cisco (Carlos Valdes) to be the team leader and helping Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) put her frosty alter-ego on a less "killer" path. And as all this led up to the mid-season crossover episode, that was fine.

And then it all started to come apart, both internally and externally. The aftermath of the Crisis resulted in the death of the Speed Force, the magical mysterious place from which all speedsters draw their power. This reviewer has always contended that the Speed Force was an unnecessary and problematic kludge ever since it was introduced in the comics: the original comic book origin of Barry Allen becoming The Flash was fine the way it was. With the Speed Force dying, and Flash now wearing a metahuman step-counter wristwatch to measure his remaining residual speed, it's up to Team Flash to build their own Speed Force, taking a cue from the way the Reverse-Flash, Eobard Thawne had built his own in the future. And they'd probably have finished it by the end of the season if production hadn't been cut short due to COVID-19.

As the team works on this special project, Iris West-Allen (Candice Patton) continues her work as an investigative reporter, having propelled her blog, the Central City Citizen, into a leading source of news. Her work brings her into contact with the believed-dead Eva McCulloch (Efrat Dor), who has actually been trapped within a mirror dimension for years. Replacing Iris with a mirror-duplicate, as well as creating similar dopplegangers for Allegra (Kayla Compton) and David Singh (Patrick Sabongui), Eva plots revenge on her husband, Joseph Carver (Eric Nenninger), who left her for dead in that dimension while he hired a group of light-based super-villains to steal equipment for him.

Lost in all of this mess of storytelling is the advent of Bloodwork, aka Dr. Ramsey Rosso (Sendhil Ramamurthy), who seeks a cure to death itself, which turns him into what should have been this season's "big bad."

The season did have some bright spots in it. Episode 5, "Kiss Kiss Breach Breach" was a nice Cisco-centric story involving a murder-mystery on Earth-2 with Breacher (Danny Trejo). However, even this episode just drove home to the pondering fans how lazy the overall writing had gotten. With Cisco's powers gone and Breacher's declining with age, they were nonetheless able to travel between worlds because their unique abilities could be duplicated by technology. The writers also missed a golden opportunity here to truly ramp up the tension for the upcoming Crisis. Earth 2 was shown to be destroyed by the oncoming antimatter wave over in ARROW about this time. Breacher's exit at the end of the episode could have shown him getting wiped out with his universe in front of Cisco's eyes, and truly have made an impact with the viewers as well.

Two of the better episodes of this season are bittersweet now, in retrospect. "License to Elongate" and "A Girl Named Sue" continued the story of Ralph Dibny (Hartley Sawyer) and his ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Sue Dearbon (Natalie Dreyfuss). These episodes had a lot of style, panache, action and humor, and displayed the potential at being yet another CW spinoff show focused on the Elongated Man and his super-spy wife with a sort of HART TO HART vibe. Unfortunately, Sawyer was cut from the series after the season wrapped, a victim of rampant cancel culture and twitter mining. I expect he'll be mentioned in passing in the opener of season seven as being on a honeymoon with his new wife, with neither of them to ever be heard from again (because getting rid of Sawyer has the unintended consequence of also canceling Dreyfuss from the scripts).

The overarching plot of the season was dismal and disappointing overall. One hopes that the writers can pull some surprises out for the next season that will bouy it from becoming its last.

The Blu-ray release of this season includes a handful of deleted and extended scenes, plus a unique view of the fifth episode in "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - Noir" with commentary by Executive Producer Eric Wallace.

 

The Flash: The Complete Sixth Season

Disc 1 Disc 2

01. Into the Void
02. A Flash of the Lightning
03. Dead Man Running
04. There Will Be Blood
05. Kiss Kiss Breach Breach
Bonus: Kiss Kiss breach Breach - Noir

06. License to Elongate
07. The Last Temptation of Barry Allen, Pt 1
08. The Last Temptation of Barry Allen, Pt 2
09. Crisis on Infinite Earths: Hour 3
10. Marathon

Disc 3 Disc 4

11. Love is a Battlefield
12. A Girl Named Sue
13. Grodd Friended Me
14. Death of the Speed Force
15. The Exorcism of Nash Wells

16. So Long and Goodnight
17. Liberation
18. Pay the Piper
19. Success is Assured
Special features: Best of DC TV's Comic-Con Panel, 2019

 

Grade: 
3.5 / 5.0