‘The Flash': Is Season 4 Taking on the ‘Rebirth’ Storyline?

     July 5, 2017

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We’re in the middle of the long summer break between Flash episodes, though with their production already ramping up we have a few tidbits about what Season 4 may hold. At the end of Season 3, which was largely disappointing (especially the back half which focused only on one Savitar-related event), I gave my 10 suggestions for what the show needs to do moving forward to get it back to greatness. Given this new information though, I’m not sure the writers listened …

On July 4th, the Flash‘s production office tweeted out a photo (that has since been deleted) of the premiere’s title “The Flash Reborn” plus the comments “Ready for our first day of filming Season 4! We get started tomorrow, and it’s gonna be epic!”

All of that suggests the show will be taking on the Rebirth storyline, based on Geoff Johns‘ 2009 six-issue arc. Of course, if we’ve learned anything from The Flash it’s that a title does not a season make. Probably somewhere around this time last year we were all jazzed up about the show taking on Flashpoint as a complicated narrative driver … and we got one episode. So if Rebirth is broached, I would seriously not think it would cover more than an episode (or two at the most) of the new season. Most likely, it will just refer to Barry’s (Grant Gustin) return from the Speed Force, and his (always complicated) feelings about whether or not he should have stayed there.

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Image via The CW

Candice Patton told TV Line that “[The Oct. 10 premiere] takes place six months in the future, and we still don’t have Barry out of the Speed Force. Iris is really struggling to deal with that, and she does it in her own way.”

This just makes all of my anger over the Season 3 finale fresh again. Barry worked for half the season to save Iris and have them be together again, and then (through some suspect logic) decides to go into the Speed Force to take up the void left by Savitar, and come what may in regards to Team Flash. It was an awkwardly shoe-horned narrative to set up the next season. My only hope is that in this six month time jump, Iris has been given an actual storyline that does not just revolve standing around waiting for Barry. Give Iris something to do, please!

It’s unlikely that Barry will be off of the show for more than half an episode, and as far as what happens beyond that, we can reasonably guess that The Thinker, a.k.a. Clifford DeVoe, will be Season 4’s major villain. He’s not a speedster (as promised), and he was mentioned in a list of villains by Abra Kadabra, all of whom Barry has otherwise faced. Future Time Remnant Barry then tells our Barry in the season finale that the mental inhibitor was to protect him from DeVoe but “you haven’t gotten there yet.” So it seems pretty clear that’s where things are headed.

As for the Rebirth story in particular, it’s anyone’s guess how far the series will take it, if they are even going in that direction (as mentioned, the Tweet was deleted, so it could all be a red herring). We saw The Black Flash defeated last season, so per Rebirth, Barry could start to become Black Flash … but I hope that’s not the case, or at least, not yet. Hopefully we get a Barry Allen in Season 4 who is an actual hero, and maybe, just maybe, is able to find some joy again.

The Flash returns to the CW on October 10th.


Television