Barry's Prison Stint Is Breathing New Life into 'The Flash'
Barry's Prison Stint Is Breathing New Life into 'The Flash'
Jay Ruymann
Jay Ruymann
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Even though The Flash remains a consistently strong performer on The CW, the series has lacked its original appeal since the first season, naturally, because of how Barry has grown as a hero. During season 4, each villain of the week hasn't really been a challenge for Barry because of how far his powers have advanced. But who would have thought putting Barry in prison would boost the series' creativity and, subsequently, make the series almost as interesting yet again?

Prison Problems

Putting Barry in prison has added a layer of difficulty that series has missed since Barry basically mastered his powers. Being in prison, Barry has a harder time utilizing his powers, and he's unable to be the Flash as often (if ever) because of how he's watched, his moral compass that compels him to remain in prison until this is all over, and the danger he'd be under if any of his fellow inmates found out (since he probably is the reason most of them are there.)

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Not only does it make Barry's superhero journey harder, but it's making the writers actually try to figure things out once again, which hasn't happened since the beginning of season 2. The lazy writing for weekly villains has been repetitive and dull, and hasn't challenged anyone because either Cisco comes up with a new invention, or Barry and his team are able to outsmart them using his speedster powers. With Flash temporarily gone, Team Flash has to actually work to bring down villains and prove themselves as heroes because their powers aren't as easily utilized to stop villains, while coming up with interesting plans to get the upper hand without Barry there to back them up and save the day. With Barry temporarily absent from the team, we've seen more growth from Ralph, Harry, Cecile and Iris in the last two episodes than we've seen over seasons for other characters like Cisco and Caitlin.

The Future

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Even though Barry will be back and Flash reinstated as Central City's top hero, the writers should learn something from this time and utilize it in the future. If anything, the writers need to learn that Barry doesn't always have to be the hero. Episodes would be just as interesting if Barry were tied up with his day job, taking a vacation with Iris or just altogether absent because we can see the rest of the team shine and use their collective skills to stop the weekly villain in Barry's absence.

Barry being in prison has brought out the best in the rest of Team Flash, and it would be a shame to lose that again as soon as Barry is released, like nothing ever happened and he never left. This team is actually very capable, smart and savvy enough to stop the villains of the week from time to time, which would allow the series to become more refreshing since Barry wouldn't always have to fight villains that shouldn't even be a challenge for him at this point. Plus, if the other "heroes" on Team Flash are supposed to be believable heroes, we need to see more episodes with Ralph, Cisco and Killer Frost further learning how to utilize their own powers as Barry has without anyone there to save their lives if anything went wrong.

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Even though the series is aptly titled The Flash, it's so much more than Barry Allen and his superhero alter-ego. The Flash is a team series by now, and as such, the rest of the characters should get their own time to shine. It's a shame Barry had to go to prison to allow the rest of the team to become heroes on their own.

What do you think? Should Barry be sidelined in future "filler" episodes to allow other characters their time and refresh the series? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW! Like our Flash Facebook page!

(Image courtesy of The CW)