Something has been nagging at me about The CW's fantastic superhero show, The Flash. I hadn't been able to put it into words until last night…just before a character did. Why aren't more metahumans using their powers for good?
When Arrow first aired on The CW, I was less interested that it was trying to be a Batman show and more in the potential of other heroes who might join Oliver on his crusade down the road. Eventually, a team was built up with other characters making guest appearances along the way. But something I always wanted to see was metahuman heroes.
With TV budget limitations I know they can't go too big with that sort of thing. But I thought there was huge missed potential with their introduction of not one (Sara Lance), not two (Laurel Lance), but technically three (Evelyn Sharp) Black Canary's into their canon, none of whom had a Canary Cry based in superpowers. Roy received powers for a brief time thanks to Mirakuru but even that was only enhanced strength and healing.
Finally, in Season 5, they've introduced their first real superhero – Ragman. And…I finally think they might be able to save the city??? We haven't gotten much explanation yet on his powers beyond “magic rags,” but Arrow already did the work of introducing magic into their universe.
But then came The Flash. The entire premise of this spinoff series was based around an explosion of the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator which gave Barry Allen his powers. Random other people in the blast radius also received powers and are metahumans (metas for short) but so far Ronnie Raymond and Martin Stein (collectively known as Firestorm) have been the only other heroes to emerge from the S.T.A.R. Labs catastrophe. But even then, they weren't around long enough to do much superhero-ing (Stein eventually spun off into Legends of Tomorrow with Jefferson Jackson). Hawkgirl and Hawkman were introduced and also spun off but their powers come from Thanagarian technology.
So I have to wonder, why are there so many bad people in Central City that all the metas turn into villains? Or should I say, why are so many good people unwilling to do what The Flash does?
Turns out Julian Albert (played by Tom Felton) wondered the same thing in last night's episode “Monster.” In an uncharacteristic conversation, Julian opened up to Barry about his feelings on metas after discussing their current case involving what appeared to be a literal monster.
JULIAN: This is exactly what I was talking about. Some meta has been gifted this incredible power and this is the very best thing they can do with it – terrorize a city – it's pathetic.
BARRY: Why exactly do you hate metas so much?
JULIAN: If you think I'm gonna break down now and tell you that one of them killed my parents and that's why I have to do this job, I'm not. Okay? I don't need a deep personal reason to hate metas, I just need to see person after person transformed, given these extraordinary abilities and then watch them be squandered. Robbing banks, hurting people, spreading fear it's just…well it's not just a crime, it's an absolute waste. Can you imagine what it would be like to have those powers? I mean, I would be helping people, I would be improving the world. But I guess I wasn't one of the chosen few, was I?
He's absolutely right; it's a waste. What are all those metas doing?? We've seen a few metas from other Earths. We even got another Laurel Lance, Earth Two's the Black Siren, and she was a meta this time around…but was also a villain. Earth Three Jay Garrick and now Earth Two's Jesse Quick are heroic but have work to do on their own planets. We're still waiting to see what happens with Wally (who was the only Flash in the Flashpoint timeline), but now with Caitlin's emerging Killer Frost powers seemingly out of her control, it doesn't look like she'll be able to contribute as a meta-hero down the road either (it's looking like she either becomes a villain or they cure her of her powers). Cisco is a meta but isn't actively using his powers. I'm probably forgetting someone, but even when you consider all of this, there's still a remarkably high rate of villains in the meta community.
Now don't get me wrong, I love Team Flash as it is (and I love the show as a whole, it's my favorite of the DCTV series), they have a great dynamic, but I love watching superheroes at work. And considering ratings and box office receipts, I'd wager a lot of others do too. But it really makes me curious why, in The Flash universe, more metas aren't taking up superhero mantles. Perhaps it's more of a real-world decision not to take the spotlight away from Barry? I don't have an exact answer, and maybe I just think more positively about humanity, but I just know I want more superheroes on my screen (Raven? Aquagirl? Knockout? Bumblebee?). What about you?