The Flash is back, and if you ask us, it's better than ever.
Tonight's premiere brought Barry (Grant Gustin) back from the speed force, but he wasn't quite the same Barry who sacrificed himself to the speed force six months ago—and that's a good thing.
Old Barry was filled with angst and regret and guilt over all the the things he'd done and changed or didn't do and didn't change, and his every move was marked with a gravity that just wasn't any fun anymore. Sure, it was a place that made sense for him to be in after everything he'd been through, but it was getting to the point where something had to give.
Now, something has, and the show feels more fun than it has in a very long time.
Season four started with Team Flash operating pretty OK with Boss Lady Iris (Candice Patton) in charge while Vibe (Carlos Valdes), Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale), and Detective West (Jesse L. Martin) were out in the field. Iris felt she had to come to terms with the fact that Barry couldn't come back, so any talk of bringing him back wasn't helpful. The big problem was that there was a giant samurai secret robot threatening the city if he didn't get to fight the actual Flash.
With help from Caitlin/secret Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker) (who had been working under questionable employment) Cisco was able to find a way to get Barry out of the speed force and replace him with something...else.
It didn't seem to work at first, but then a naked, bearded, and confused Barry showed up, sped around the city, and passed out in front of a pick up truck full of oranges in the middle of nowhere, 300 miles away.
When the team went to pick him up from the police station, he was speaking gibberish in the form of lots of rhymes and references to stars and his mom and even Oliver, and writing out strange symbols on walls, which Cisco eventually deciphered to mean "This house is bitchin'."
Obviously, the thing that brought Barry back was Iris, who put herself in robot samurai danger to encourage Barry to get himself together, which he did, while running faster than anyone or anything had ever run before.
When he got back to Star Labs, he seemed happier and more chill than he's been since perhaps before he got hit by lightning, and when he and Iris got home, he said it himself.
"It sounds funny, but maybe this was a blessing. I can't tell you how I feel, Iris, it's like everything that was wrong in my life, the pain, and my past, my mistakes, it's all just washed away and all I see is you, and us, and our future together."
Then we cut to some lair somewhere, where the Thinker and his assistant are surveying their work. It was they who sent the samurai robot, all to force Barry back out of the speed force.
"It appears things are going as planned," said the very stationary, opposite-of-a-speedster guy in a big chair, and you can color us fully intrigued.
Having seen next week's incredibly fun episode, we can tell you this show appears to just be getting started with its apparent rebirth, and it's exactly the breath of fresh air Team Flash has been desperately needing.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on the CW.