‘The Flash’ season 6, episode 1 review: A slow, character-focused premiere


The Flash season 6 episode 1 picks up in the moments after the season 5 finale, with Iris and Barry going to the Time Vault and discovering Nora’s message had been destroyed. Why start there?

The Flash season 6, episode 1 is a slow episode, which as I explained in my preview of the episode, doesn’t feel like a premiere. After watching it again, I stand by what I said, though maybe I was a little too hard on the episode. It’s a decent episode, rife with important character and relationship moments.

While the action was a little slow and there wasn’t as much Barry Allen as I would have liked to see, Iris’ journey in the wake of Nora’s fading from existence is just as important and something we never get to see her do. So, forgive me, Flash fans, for not appreciating all this episode had the offer the first time around.

The Flash season 6 episode 1

‘The Flash’ 6×01 highlights the importance of motherhood

Over the last five years, The Flash has expressly focused on the importance of fatherhood. From Barry’s relationships with Joe and his father to Barry’s relationship with Nora, the importance of a mother has often been lost because of both Iris and Barry’s mothers not being part of their lives (for one reason or another). Even last season, Nora’s idolization of Barry and hatred for Iris kept the show from fully exploring this theme.

On The Flash 6×01, efforts are clearly made to rectify this, even without Nora around. Iris and Cecile’s conversation about losing Nora is incredibly important, and it’s nice to see the mother-daughter angle of their relationship finally explored. Cecile has a lot of life experience and love to share with Iris, and I hope the writers make more of an effort to connect her with Barry and Iris on a personal level as Joe’s wife, rather than just being part of Team Flash and the District Attorney.

As much as I enjoyed watching Iris’ grief explored, I hope the next few episodes focus a little more on Barry’s obvious grief, which he’s avoiding by working so often but it comes out in certain moments (like screaming, “I’m not losing anyone else!” at Cisco). I also want more scenes like one of the final scenes between Barry and Iris where they realize that they need to grieve for the Nora they knew, not the Nora they think they’ll have again. (Honey, you’ve got a big storm coming.)

The Flash season 6 episode 1

Iris’ journalistic endeavors

We asked and the writers delivered. Iris is the key to figuring out what or who is tormenting Central City with black holes spontaneously hitting at various locations around town. It’s very clear that the writers are staying true to their promise that Iris’ journalism and her endeavors at the Central City Citizen are being explored this season. I didn’t expect Iris’ investigations to lead to villains, but as we saw, maybe they won’t always appear how we expect them.

Barry and Cisco

Barry and Cisco played the most important parts in saving the day, but I’m a bit confused by how little time was given to them in the premiere episode. I get that Barry is avoiding dealing with his feelings, and he’ll play a crucial role in the upcoming episodes leading to ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’, but more time could have been devoted to exploring just how far into denial he is.

The transition from having Vibe in the field to Cisco in the lab with Iris was kind of ignored in this episode. Four months have passed in Flash time, so they have all gotten used to it by now, but I want to see some rocky moments with the transition in future episodes. They have counted on Cisco to be in the field with Barry since season 2, and Cisco’s powers were invaluable to Team Flash, so I hope it’s just not forgotten.

Frosty femme fatale

I love Caitlin Snow. I find her character fascinating, particularly since she became intertwined with Killer Frost, and I’ve enjoyed watching her journey from the supposed cold-hearted bitch she was on The Flash season 1 to the warm, caring soul she is now.

That said, The Flash has always had a huge Killer Frost problem, and The Flash season 6 is not intent on changing it. If anything, it seems like the problem is going to become even worse. Mainly, the decision to let Killer Frost take the driver’s seat more and putting Caitlin on the backburner in her own body seems disastrous.

The most recent Killer Frost problem is that they are two separate people sharing one body. It’s obviously Caitlin’s body, but Killer Frost has been established to be her own person, rather than just a split personality of Caitlin’s. Even Caitlin having a split personality would be better, honestly, than being two different people or not having powers at all. Bringing Killer Frost out more, to live a life of her own, is only going to make her want a life even more. How long can Caitlin and Frost keep up this back-and-forth, and when does Caitlin draw the line? Neither can live a full life while they have to share a body.

Believe it or not, I’m excited to see more of Killer Frost. She’s been such a rare sight, and hardly any focus has been put on developing her. Despite the issues above, personally, I’m okay with splitting the focus between them. By the above paragraph, I’m more just trying to suggest that this has to be a short-term solution. At some point, The Flash is going to have to merge them, kill one of them, or split them into two. They can’t live in the same body forever.

I’m also surprised that it was Ralph, not Cisco, that got Frost to spill the beans about what was going on and why she hadn’t come out in months. Ralph and Caitlin certainly have a growing friendship, and I’m happy that they’re introducing Ralph’s love interest from the comics, Sue, so we (hopefully) don’t have to see forced romantic interaction between these two.

Flash thoughts

As slow as I found this episode, I’m willing to give The Flash season 6 time to impress me. After five seasons, it’s time to change things up a bit, especially with how poorly-received the last three have been for following a simple story structure. Already, the show is ready to be a thrilling departure from what was with, essentially, three arcs to the story: Bloodwork, Crisis, and another Big Bad for the latter half (which I’m guessing has something to do with the multiple Godspeeds).

Though the action sequence was relatively short, it was heartening to see that none of the heroes (namely Killer Frost) were knocked unconscious. The Flash has avoided unnecessary CGI by making one or two of the heroes unable to participate, but I’m hoping this is a sign that Killer Frost and Ralph will be able to do things in the field besides (over)use their powers.

‘Flash’s Theme’ by Queen. That is all.

Did The Flash season 6, episode 1 impress you?

The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW!

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