The Flash season four now has four episodes in the books and we are well into the master plan of the season's big bad, The Thinker (Neil Sandilands). He is an important character this season, not just because he's the main villain, but because unlike previous seasons… he's not a speedster. Fans were starting to complain about the series getting too dark and repetitive with Reverse-Flash season one, Zoom in season two and Savitar in season three. But there is a lot of great stuff going on with the series right now and you should be watching.
Executive producers have said, flat out, that they wish to get back to some of the lighthearted fun of the first season as well as create a villain that taxes the Flash in a different way. The Thinker and his plan to created twelve new meta-humans has already given the series a different feel. They're still trying to solve a mystery, but as of right now it's not one of live and death against someone faster than Barry (Grant Gustin). They also put Barry in the speed force for a while so they could give him time to get over all the tragedy in his life and get back that amazing sense of hope that is the hallmark of the character. The first few episodes after his return introduced us to new meta-humans Kilg%re and Hazard and had funny moments like his new suit malfunctioning or him tripping over a barrel of marbles. They also helped set up the new team dynamic of Harry Wells (Tom Cavanagh), the somewhat in control Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker), the now in charge Iris West (Candice Patton) and of course Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Joe (Jesse L. Martin). They even sent Wall (Keiynan Lonsdale) off to Blue Valley for a while.
Then this week the took a page out of the Flash comics… literally, issue number 112 from May 1960. Back then Julius Schwartz, the DC editor behind a big chunk of the what is now the start of the Silver Age of comics and passing of the hero mantles to more science based creations like Barry Allen (Flash) and Hal Jordan (Green Lantern). Schwartz felt like the Flash needed a new supporting character, someone with powers for Barry to take under his wing. He asked writer John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino to do just that and they created Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man. The writers of the television series have done the same thing, casting Hartley Sawyer in the role of one of DC's greatest detectives (after Batman of course). Sawyer does a remarkable job playing one of the more unique characters in comics and looks far closer to they way Infantino first drew the character than I would've thought possible.
Between the return to the more lighthearted stories, the introduction of the Elongated Man and the decision to use a non-speedster big bad has already put this season to be on track for one of the best yet. And to think of all the possible things they can do with Dibny now… or just how John Diggle will react when he finally sees Dibny stretch… that is definitely worth tuning in for.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 PM on the CW.