As with many series of the past year or so, The Flash was majorly impacted by the pandemic which resulted in the sixth season being cut short by three episodes. While this made the makeshift finale seem especially anticlimactic, the truth is the sixth season was just another example of a show that has mostly been going through the motions for the past few years. Every season has moments of greatness, but there just does not seem to be any energy behind the scenes and most of the cast members appear as if they need a vacation. With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that this most recent seventh season of the series finds the audience bidding farewell to longtime favorites while attempting to build up goodwill for the rookies on the team – all the while adhering to pandemic protocols. The seventh season offers subtle improvements on the previous season, but mostly it will leave you wishing they would find a graceful ending point sooner rather than later.
The first order of business is to clean up the lingering plot threads from the sixth season. We begin with Barry on the verge of completely losing the remaining speed he has left in reserve from the Speed Force, all the while the evil and powerful Eva McCulloch has emerged victorious while leaving Iris trapped in the Mirrorverse. With these first three episodes previously intended to be the finale of the sixth season, we get some big shake ups early on that reverberate a bit through the remainder of the season. Morale is shaken on Team Flash and issues of PTSD are paid brief attention as the show goes into its first new “graphic novel” of the season. Dubbed the “God Complex” portion of the season, the overarching story is frankly kind of dumb. Without spoiling specifics, let’s just say those who are less than enamored with Barry’s relationship with the Speed Force will find how he interacts as a parent to other forces baffling. Thankfully, there are fun detours throughout this saga such as Cisco and Chester traveling back to the 90s, or Caitlin and Frost debating whether or not to separate when given the choice.
With the new COVID filming conditions, it is to be expected that some episodes may feel a bit off. Nevertheless, the absences felt during the season are downright glaring and handled poorly at every turn. The unavoidable absence is that of Ralph Dibney (aka The Elongated Man) portrayed by Hartley Sawyer who was fired after some toxic social media posts came back to haunt him. The nature of the character’s malleable appearance is utilized to hastily address his absence, but the offhanded references to him throughout the season being off doing other stuff is awkward. Actress Danielle Panabaker (Caitlin/Frost) was initially supposed to be on maternity leave for several episodes, but she ended up being one of the more consistent presences this season, including a satisfying shakeup for the Frost character facing her past misdeeds. It is when Barry and Iris start disappearing for random episodes for “reasons” or just showing up at the beginning or the end that the actors feel the most like they are over the show. There are attempts to establish characters like Chester or Allegra as the next exciting era for Team Flash, but they are just missing the spark that made the original team so compelling.
The moments of this season that work the best are when the show is saying goodbye to old friends or just having fun like the crew over on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow know how to do. By the time we reach the second arc of the season, you do not really care that there is yet another speedster around that the crew has to find a way to eliminate. There are always enough moments in any given episode that are intriguing and do not make you regret investing your time, but there is too much writing on the wall that this cast and crew are completely over the experience. The finale of this season could have very easily worked as a somewhat satisfying conclusion to the show’s run, but once again the show has been renewed for another season and once again we have to see the show stretched out even further until it is a shell of its former glory. It is my greatest hope that this show that was once one of my favorite weekly viewing experiences finds a way back to the excellence of the early days, but we are in desperate need of an end point as soon as possible. The Flash is fresh out of runway.
The Flash: The Complete Seventh Season arrives on Blu-Ray with a pleasing AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1. The levels of detail this presentation is able to eek out is quite striking, as all of the subtle details in the production design are easily identifiable. The series is quite bright and colorful with some magical instances of beautiful colors popping off the screen. Black levels are appropriately deep and give way to a nice amount of detail in shadows. The bright whites of the show do not fall victim to any blooming in this presentation. Skin tones appear very natural across the entire cast. There are no egregious instances of aliasing or compression artifacts detectable here. The show employs some questionable CGI at times, but that is not the fault of the transfer. The Blu-Ray presentation should be more than satisfactory to fans of the show.
This Blu-Ray comes with an incredibly active DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track that creates a truly enveloping world. Dialogue always comes through crisp and clear without being stepped on by the momentous score or any sound effects. Action sequences and more kinetic moments are given the appropriate power in the mix with a forceful showing in the low end. Ambient sounds are also precisely placed in the rear channels. The soaring score of the show often fills the room with triumphant music that perfectly complements the character. The audio track does not feature an incredibly complex mix, but it gives the sounds being featured a lovely presentation.
- Deleted Scenes: There are 22 minutes of unused material provided here including an emotional scene between Allegra and Welles, nerd talk between Cisco and Chester, some cohabitation issues between Caitlin and Frost, a lighthearted scene between Caitlin and Cisco, Joe calling in a favor from Cisco, some nice character moments during the renewal ceremony and more. Some shots contain some unfinished VFX work as well as some harsh color timing.
- DC Fandome – The Flash (WatchVerse): A 34-minute panel in which Entertainment Weekly staffer Chancellor Agard hosts a virtual panel discussion with almost the entire cast and the showrunner in which they talk about the split narratives of season six, plot developments in that season, bonding on set, the process of inhabiting their character’s reality, teasing developments in season seven and more.
- Gag Reel: Ten minutes of joking around on set, laughing fit, flubbed lines and more that are pretty fun.
- The Journey Ends – Carlos And Tom: A ten-minute piece which focuses on Carlos Valdez and Tom Cavanagh and their relationship on and off the show. There are so many clips from the entire run of the series along with input from the performers and writers on the show. This is a decent send off for some beloved performers.
- Never Alone – Heroes and Allies: A 21-minute featurette which goes beyond The Flash to also discuss Batwoman, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Stargirl, Superman & Lois and more. In this piece there is a larger discussion about the teams or family that work together in service of the common good. It is nice to get a perspective from various different shows. This was previously included on the Batwoman: Season 2 Blu-Ray set.
The Flash: The Complete Seventh Season continues to find the show struggling to achieve the former glory that has eluded it for the past several seasons. There are many moments that are very fun, but mostly the show feels poorly structured to accommodate real-life situations that do not benefit the already-rocky narrative. This season we say goodbye to some beloved cast members, but the de facto replacements we have been given do not seem as if they are going to help break this show out of its slump. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment continues to deliver an outstanding A/V presentation along with a decent assortment of special features. If you remain a fan of the show, this package should not let you down.
The Flash: The Complete Seventh Season is currently available to purchase on Blu-Ray and DVD.
Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the Blu-Ray.
Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.
Dillon is most comfortable sitting around in a theatre all day watching both big budget and independent movies.