It’s no secret that Barry Allen has fallen from his former self this season following his selfishness when it came to Flashpoint and beyond. And it’s no secret that we, along with other fans, have held Barry accountable for his decisions instead of just sweeping it under the rug because “he’s a hero.”
Grant Gustin, Barry himself, understands and agrees with the backlash that Barry has received this season.
“I try to give [Barry] a break, but I understand the backlash,” Gustin said during the Heroes & Villains Paleyfest panel.
Last week’s Flash (“Into the Speed Force”) proved to be a pivotal episode in how it set up Barry’s redemption arc this season. For the first time in a long time we saw Barry actually take responsibility for his actions.
We saw Barry make a sacrifice — when it came to being happy with Iris — because he recognized that he has to answer to the consequences of his decisions, which included Barry proposing to Iris because he thought it would save her life not because he actually wanted to marry her. Not that Barry doesn’t envision his life with Iris (he does, we know that), but his intentions were tainted by an ulterior motive.
While Barry will find himself distracted in this week’s musical crossover with Supergirl, when things return to normal for Barry an co., it’ll be an opportunity for Barry to get back on track when it comes to being that selfless, inspiring hero we know him to be.
“He’s doing the best he can to get back to the old Barry Allen: he’s choosing hope and optimism, even in the face of everything he’s facing,” Gustin told TV Insider. “We’re trying to see him optimistic, but he’ll be continuously pulled down, obviously. And his love causes him to make decisions that are really best for him. Now he’s trying to make decisions for the team, and he’s sacrificing his own needs a little bit.”
That’s refreshing to hear about a season where Barry has been thinking more about his own needs than the needs of others. While we don’t expect perfection from Barry, we do expect him to be that hero he’s already shown us he can be. To remember that just because you’re gifted with super speed and the ability to go back in time (and apparently the future) doesn’t mean that you should.
As a hero you’re held to a higher regard because of the nature of what you do. You embody this persona of selflessness and this vision of hope where all eyes are on you at all times. It’s definitely a pressure-filled job, but Barry has already learned that it comes with the job.
With Barry actively seeking out redemption I feel like we’re getting closer to rediscovering the Barry Allen that I fell in love with in season 1. The optimistic hero that was selfless to the point where it didn’t seem fair. Hopefully we can “happiness” to the mix by season’s end. Because once Barry finds himself again, I feel like then he’ll be able to be with Iris once again.
I miss Barry Allen. I’m ready for him to reclaim my heart.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.