I’m going to admit something here. I have a bit of a thing for snarky little assholes. Especially ones that start out as villains but eventually show that vicious tongue to be masking a world of hurt. So I will admit that I was first interested in The Flash solely because I loved Sebastian Smythe on Glee. And then The Flash gave me that final push to watch Arrow which originally peaked my interest due to my deep love for Jackson Whittmore on Teen Wolf.
See what I mean? Assholes.
But let me be clear that those two are hardly the only selling points for either show (regardless of the fact that Roy Harper is my favorite from either series). Both shows have a lot of strong things going for them: good characters, funny moments, a lot of heart. And it’s good that The Flash isn’t just a carbon copy of Arrow. It has a decidedly lighter tone. It’s more goofy, more hopeful. There are no wrongs Barry is making up for; he’s not on a redemption quest. And because of that, there are moments of pure joy that aren’t really a part of Arrow.
Despite their differences, it’s hard not to compare the shows. They come from the same universe, had a crossover before The Flash was even halfway through its first season, and make reference to each other on a consistent basis. I do think Arrow is the stronger show. I know that we’re still in season one of The Flash while Arrow is a 2.5 year veteran, but I feel like even if I compared them both at this point in their respective first seasons I would feel the same thing.
The Flash, as delightful as all the characters are, doesn’t quite feel…about anything yet, I guess. Like, when Arrow started, we had Oliver and Diggle and eventually Felicity starting team Arrow, we had Moira and Malcolm and the undertaking, we had Laurel and Tommy coming to terms with Oliver’s return and what that meant for their relationship, we had Thea’s drug problem, we had Felicity and Walter investigating Moira, we had Det. Lance’s vendetta against Oliver, we had Oliver’s life on the island, not to mention the “monster of the week.” With The Flash, on the other hand, not a whole lot goes on outside of the weekly meta-human and Dr. Well’s cryptic codas. There’s a mention now and again of Ronnie and FIRESTORM or of Joe’s suspicions of Dr. Wells, but they’re not real fleshed out story lines yet. And characters like Eddie and Iris, who aren’t a part of Team Flash, are left with very little to do. The show has a lot of potential, it just needs to flesh out their world more.
But the thing I actually wanted to talk about, what I have spent far to many paragraphs leading up to, is the real problem I have with The Flash: the Star Lab’s meta-human prison.
I am hoping beyond hope that that inhumane monstrosity is something that gets addressed before the end of the season. Because it’s a true blight on a good show.
I recognize the problems with regular jail the show has. These are people with extra-ordinary abilities, so regular old Iron Heights can’t hold them. We’ve seen that with Barry’s own abilities, not to mention several of the other meta-humans. And as it stand on the show right now, very few people know about meta-humans other than The Flash. So it’s not like the government can create meta-human friendly prisons, since they don’t even know they exist.
On Arrow, everyone they go up against is (for the most part) a regular person, and so they end up in actual factual prison. Except Slade Wilson. But even he is handed over to ARGUS which, despite being shady as fuck, is at least a government entity. And Slade did commit mass murder.
Barry and the Flash Gang on the other hand are just a bunch of nerds illegally imprisoning a bunch of people with no regard to human rights or due process. Peek-a-Boo is barely a thief, just trying to get her and her boyfriend away from Central City (I can’t remember if she actually killed anyone) and Piper’s not even a meta-human. I feel enraged every time an episode ends with another person getting shut into the Pipeline.
Because, seriously…who is feeding them? Cisco? Caitlin? Where do they shower? These are people who are in solitary confinement with no idea when/if they’ll ever be released. No interaction with other people. No way to contact their families to let them know they’re alive. No library, no mandatory exercise time in the yard, no medical care, no programs for rehabilitation. They were not condemned by a jury of their peers, just locked up in a basement by some kids for all eternity.
I have strong feelings about the Pipeline.
I really hope that the inhumanity of it becomes a plot point if not by the end of this season, than next. I want it to be addressed, I want it to bite them in the ass. The Flash is visible now, so the existence of meta-humans is going to become public soon. Hopefully that can lead to a less abominable punishment system.