The Flash (2014): The Complete Sixth Season Blu-ray Review: The Stakes Have Gotten Higher but the Fun Has Gotten Smaller

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Mat Brewster with a free copy of the Blu-ray reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are his own.

Towards the end of “The Last Temptation of Barry Allen, Pt. 2”, Episode 7 of the Sixth Season of The Flash, the main cast gathers together to hug, say nice things to Barry, and look at each other wistfully. They know that Crisis is coming. The prophecy has foretold that Barry Allen aka the Flash (Grant Gustin) has to die.  At some point, Cisco (Carlos Valdez) reminisces about the old days, when there was no Crisis, no Flashpoint, or multiverses, or doppelgangers.  When it was just them against the bad guys.  Those were the good old days he seems to say. While watching this season, I couldn’t help but feel the same.  I miss when The Flash was simpler. Over six seasons, the storylines have gotten bigger and more complicated. The cast has grown and changed, then changed again. The stakes have gotten higher but the fun has gotten smaller.

It isn’t that it is a bad show, far from it, but it has fallen into the trap that so many shows like The Flash fall into: as each season has passed, they’ve felt the need to give us more and more until it feels like we’re exploding. Bigger villains, higher stakes, more action, but none of that means better show.  In fact, it can be detrimental to what we loved about the show in the first place.  Maybe it is the fact that I just binge-watched the sixth season in a few days. Or maybe it is because I had to skip a few episodes because there was no way I could watch the entire 20 episodes in less than a week, and thus parts of the plot confused me.  Maybe when I rewatch it at a slower pace, I’ll find I like this season a lot more than I did, but for now I have to say this felt like a lesser season.  I still like this show a lot, but I’m starting to think it needs to end soon.

Season Six was a little disjointed due to “Crisis on Infinite Earths”, this season’s crossover.  In seasons past, the crossover has been basically a one-off.  Some super-powered villain comes to town and all the heroes get together to stop it.  Or sometimes they all gather for a wedding and have to fight off alien Nazis.  Either way, the event is usually over within the confines of one episode per series so that everybody can get back to their seasonal story arcs quickly.  With “Crisis on Infinite Earths”, The Flash gang has literally been preparing for it since Season One.  That’s when Barry first saw the newspaper headline from the future indicating he was going to disappear.  More recently, the Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) has been prophesying about the event and the need for Barry to die.

As such, much of the first chunk of Season Six had the gang preparing for that eventuality.  Because Crisis was going to cause major changes in the series, the episodes leading up to it had to be somewhat self-contained.  What this wound up looking like is the first seven episodes had their own mini-Big Bad, and the episodes following Crisis then got their own main villain and storyline.  All of which gave the season a bit of a disjointed feel.  Add in the fact that due to Covid-19 they were unable to shoot what was supposed to be the last two episodes of the season, and Season Six definitely comes off weird.

For the first seven episodes, the main villain is Ramsey Rosso/Bloodwork (Sendhil Ramamurthy), a genius physician who works out a way to cure any human ailment.  Trouble is, he needs dark matter to do it and the cure turns its patience into black-goo-soaked zombies. But hey, they live forever! The dark matter infects him, making him Lord of the Zombies bent on world domination.  His story gets a bit truncated as he has to be captured by the time Crisis comes to town, but while he’s there, it’s actually quite a bit of fun, making me think it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to give each season several main villains with each of them getting wrapped up after half a dozen episodes instead of trying to keep the momentum up for an entire season.

The “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover was covered by a few Sentries when it aired and you can read all about it here.

Post-Crisis we get a new villain. Or several new villains. Iris (Candice Patton) falls into a Mirrorverse, which is just like Earth-1 except everything is backward and there are no people. Well, there is one person: Eva McCulloch (Efrat Dor), who says she’s been trapped there since the particle accelerator exploded all of those years ago.  The gang doesn’t realize Iris is even missing because a mirror version of her was created when she fell through the looking glass. Eva starts out nice, but naturally is actually a villain who creates all sorts of mirror people to take over the real world while she finds a way out of the mirror one. 

There is also an organization called Black Hole bent on using the Speedforce for evil. And of course, a series of villains of the week including a few old ones like Grodd and Amunet Black (Katee Sackhoff) who spars with Goldface (Damien Poitier) and also gets one of the best needle drops in the entire Arrowverse.

There are plenty of new and newish characters including Iris’s investigative team, of which Allegra Garcia (Kayla Compton) joins this season. Ralph (Hartley Sawyer) gets a love interest in Sue Dearbon (Natalie Dreyfuss) and powerless Cisco continues his relationship with Kamilla (Victoria Park).  With all of these new characters and villains, there is barely any time to spend with the main cast and develop them in interesting ways.  Having Cisco give up his powers is an interesting emotional beat, but Vibe was such a cool character it seems like a waste. Oh, and I’ve not even mentioned how Killer Frost (they just call her Frost now that she’s turned good) is the predominant persona of Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker).  The two of them decided that Frost has spent too much time on the inside and she deserves a chance at life.  This gives us lots of pointless fish-out-of-water antics as Frost figures out how to deal with people on a regular basis.

As always, there is a lot going on in this season, too much to really talk about in a short review. I still really do like this show. I just wish they could slow it down a little. The Flash works best when it is our heroes dealing with bad guys. Throwing so much more into the soup only serves to make a mess. 

Extras include a special noir version of the episode “Kiss Kiss Breach Breach” as well as audio commentary for that episode. Plus, there are deleted scenes, a gag reel, and an edited version of The Flash‘s panel at last year’s Comic-Con.  The entire “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover is included on a separate disk along with several featurettes on those episodes.  The Flash‘s episode for the crossover is also included within the regular disks so that if you only want to watch that episode you can without having to switch disks.

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Mat Brewster

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