Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for The Flash series finale.A frequent complaint about the many speedster villains populating the Arrowverse in The Flash became canon in the series finale. Over nine seasons, Barry Allen faced a variety of metahuman menaces, with unique and unusual superpowers. Despite this, it seemed like the vast majority of the chief villains that Team Flash faced each season were evil speedsters who put Barry Allen’s claim of being “The Fastest Man Alive” into question.
The series finale of The Flash, “A New World, Part Four,” pitted Barry Allen against an old friend, as the resurrected Eddie Thawne became the new Negative Speed Force avatar. Empowered by a strange blue crystal, which also gave him the power to manipulate time itself, the newly dubbed Cobalt Blue assembled his own Legion of Doom, made up of the many evil speedsters who failed to destroy The Flash in the past. While this did result in an epic high-speed battle across Central City, it also evoked a frequent complaint about The Flash’s villains.
Reverse-Flash Mocks The Unoriginality Of The Flash Villains
To describe the team Eddie Thawne assembled as uneasy allies would be an understatement. Zoom and Godspeed came to blows almost immediately, given their mutual need to kill rival speedsters to boost their own powers. Savitar had ego issues, viewing himself as a literal god of speed. However, it was the Reverse-Flash Eobard Thawne who did the most to undermine the team’s unity, mocking the other villains and describing them as “slightly derivative.” This echoed a frequent criticism of The Flash‘s villains and the fact that most of the series’ big bads were evil speedsters who wanted more power, making each successive season’s storyline more repetitive.
The Flash’s Repetitive Villain Problem Has Existed Since The Early Seasons
The Reverse-Flash specifically singled out Zoom in this regard, recalling Zoom’s plan to assimilate himself into Team Flash by posing as their ally, while scheming to steal Barry Allen’s power in The Flash season 2. Thawne pointed out this was the exact same thing he had done as Harrison Wells in The Flash season 1. Savitar had similar issues in The Flash season 3. While Savitar didn’t employ the same deception, he did have the same desire to increase his speed by any means necessary, making him seem like another imitator of the Reverse-Flash.
Aware that the series’ chief villains risked becoming a never-ending chain of evil speedsters, the writers of The Flash season 4 changed things up with the introduction of The Thinker. The seasons which followed introduced other villains, like Cicada, Mirror Monarch and Bloodwork, who could challenge Barry Allen while not being able to match his speed. Unfortunately, this created a different problem, with The Flash being continually bested by villains he should have been able to defeat easily, given how powerful Barry Allen had become. This ultimately led to The Flash introducing more speedster villains, like Godspeed, the Red Death, and the Negative Flash, in the later seasons.
The Flash Finale Doesn’t Manage To Fix Its Villain Problem
Despite Eobard Thawne acknowledging the problem that most of The Flash’s biggest enemies were all pale imitations of him, The Flash finale did nothing to address this issue. Cobalt Blue’s plan to overwhelm Team Flash by throwing multiple evil speedsters at them was a dismal failure, primarily because nobody knew better than The Flash’s allies how to take out an evil speedster. It seemingly never occurred to Cobalt Blue or the Negative Speed Force that Team Flash had ample experience fighting evil speedsters after nine seasons, as well as protocols for stopping Barry Allen if he went rogue. This made their last stand incredibly anti-climactic.
It did not help matters that, with his team seemingly defeated, Cobalt Blue absorbed the powers of his fallen allies, shouting that he would be the true Fastest Man Alive. It was the exact same evil speech that had been given by every other evil speedster across all nine seasons of The Flash, with the exact same gimmick. Even Cobalt Blue’s motivation was identical to that of the Reverse Flash, wanting to replace Barry Allen and live the life of a hero. The only difference was Cobalt Blue motivated by his love of Iris West.
Ironically, Barry Allen wound up winning the war by making the same basic point the Reverse-Flash had at the start of The Flash series finale. Eddie Thawne abandoned his vendetta after Barry pointed out that the Negative Speed Force was making him act like the Reverse-Flash and that “You’ve become the person you died trying to stop.” While this did create a peace of sorts between the Negative and Positive Speed Force Avatars, it did nothing to resolve the problem that The Flash had little variety in its evil speedster villains.
The Flash series finale is now available for streaming at CWTV.com