Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 29, 2023)
CW’s TV version of The Flash launched back in 2014. All good things come to an end, and that brings us to the ninth – and final – season of the series.
All 13 of Season Nine’s episodes appear on this three-disc set. The plot synopses come from IMDB.
Wednesday Ever After: “Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris (Candice Patton) relive the same day over and over again. Joe (Jesse L. Martin) has a heart-to-heart with Cecile (Danielle Nicolet). Friends and foes, old and new, begin to descend upon Central City.”
If you want to rip off Groundhog Day, you need to find a clever twist on the concept. Does “After” achieve this?
Not really. It gets into some interesting concepts, mainly because Barry was able to chart a specific path for him and Iris based on what he knows about the future.
However, this angle leans sappy. A few action and comedy beats boost the episode, but too much of it feels inert.
Hear No Evil: “Barry feels guilty for what happened to Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker). Mark (Jon Cor) comes up with a plan that makes everyone skeptical. Red Death looms in Central City and commands that failure is not an option. Old friends pay an unexpected visit to STAR Labs.”
The longer this series ran, the more involved with character melodrama it became. The Flash was always a frisky and fun hero, but the show lost sight of that at some point as it focused so much on the lives of its roles.
“Hear” reminds me of this, as it indulges in an awful lot of soap opera content. Even with new threats, the episode concentrates more on gloomy interactions than superhero material, and that makes it pretty forgettable.
Rogues of War: “Barry recruits an unlikely team of allies to steal a valuable piece of equipment before the new Rogues can.”
“War” manages glimpses of the vivacity Flash boasts at its best. However, it soon remembers that it prefers dull drama and becomes a pretty flat episode overall – albeit one with an intriguing finale.
Mask of the Red Death, Parts One and Two: “The Flash is forced to make an impossible choice. With the power out in the city, Team Flash calls upon the Rogue Squad to help. Iris is visited by an old friend. Joe and Cecile work on finding a balance.”
Like so much of The Flash, “Mask” takes itself more seriously than necessary. Save the darkness for Batman, people!
Nonetheless, this two-part tale manages to become S9’s highlight, mainly because it comes with some interesting twists and some actual drama. While “Mask” doesn’t excel, it gives us a pretty good tale.
The Good, The Bad and The Lucky: “Barry and Iris prepare for their new life. Cecile takes on a case involving a string of unfortunate and highly unexpected events. Chester (Brandon McKnight) and the team work with Khione (Danielle Panabaker) to figure out her abilities.”
Cecile’s case involves the return of Season Four’s Becky Sharpe (Sugar Lyn Beard), a meta whose power gives her super-luck. Or did, as S9’s Becky suffers from a complete lack of good fortune.
In an episode that leaves Flash himself “on vacation”, Becky adds some fun to the proceedings. This turns into a perkier than usual episode.
Wildest Dreams: “Iris and Nia (Nicole Maines) fall into a fever dream and explore different possibilities for their lives. Barry, Chester, Allegra (Kayla Compton) and Cecile desperately try to help them. Khione feels that Mark is trying to make her something she is not.”
A staple of the Supergirl series, Nia/Dreamer makes her Flash debut. Too bad the episode seems so meh.
The fantasy elements should bring some intrigue, but the show doesn’t develop these especially well. This turns into a mediocre show.
Partners in Time: “A seemingly simple mold inspection at STAR Labs leads to unexpected time anomalies. Chester admits a secret to Allegra, which makes things awkward between the two. Khione meets with an old friend of Team Flash.”
Much of “Time” works pretty well, and even the mawkish melodrama between Allegra and Chester seems tolerable, mainly because Compton looks so damned hot in her shoulder-baring top. The main plot comes with a too-obvious villain but it nonetheless proves fairly brisk and fun.
It’s My Party and I’ll Die If I Want To: “Team Flash throws a surprise birthday party for Barry, but things go terribly awry when Ramsey Rosso (Sendhil Ramamurthy) crashes the festivities.”
Given the tongue in cheek title, one might expect a light-hearted episode from “Party”. Instead, it follows a fairly dark path.
Rosso played a major role in Season Six and makes his first reappearance here. He proved to offer a dull villain back then and matters don’t improve here. “Party” does manage a few trippy curves but overall it doesn’t really work.
A New World, Parts One, Two, Three and Four: “As Iris receives word of a career milestone, Barry is suddenly nowhere to be found. Barry runs across many familiar faces. Khione continues to figure out her powers. Chester works on a suit for Allegra.”
With this four-part span of episodes, The Flash calls it a day. Does “World” allow the series to go out on top?
Not really. While “World” attempts a pretty big story that hearkens back to plenty of earlier characters and plots, it lacks great focus and feels like a messy way to wrap up the show.
Oh, we get plenty of action along the way, especially in the fourth part. But it just doesn’t add up to much real impact.
Honestly, this seems fitting, as The Flash has been spotty for a while. S9 brings occasional pleasures but it fails to find a strong collection of shows, and the four-part finale gives us a mediocre finish.