What would the Flash Do?

the flash

CW’s The Flash is definitely my favorite current television series, but if I’m going to be honest, that was practically a forgone conclusion. Adventure, science fiction, heroism—I can’t get enough of it. But while I will never grow tired of watching a giant psychic gorilla being punched at supersonic speeds, it’s the show’s optimism and hope that connect with viewers in a meaningful way.

You see, my favorite thing about The Flash is that it features a hero who’s a good guy.

It’s ridiculously simple, but characters who are good or pure of heart are not so common in this modern age of the antihero, and we as an audience don’t always know what to do with them when they do show up. We can’t relate to characters that aren’t as flawed as we are. But Barry Allen strikes the perfect balance between humanity and sainthood. He has his flaws, his mistakes, and his weaknesses, but he is also is kind and compassionate. He’s willing to sacrifice himself for the good of others and he’s able to forgive those that have hurt him because he doesn’t let his suffering define him.

Now, the Flash is no messiah, but he can be a role model. I used to reject the idea of fictional role models because as a Christian I felt that all of my role modeling needs were satisfied by Jesus and the Biblical heroes of faith. Finding inspiration in fictional superheroes seemed childish, but really it’s nothing of the sort. Fictional characters have the power to inspire—to show that goodness triumphs in the end even when we can’t see it in our own lives. And as I live my life aspiring to be more like Christ, I sometimes find encouragement in asking myself “What would the Flash do?”

–Emily D.

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3 thoughts on “What would the Flash Do?”

  1. You make a very good point. I spend a lot of time (possibly too much) thinking about superhero origins and back-stories. The great majority of superheroes have some event in their past that shapes them and makes them use their powers (or billionaire resources) for good rather than evil. In Barry Allen’s case, he wants to get justice for his parents, but that goal doesn’t require fighting crime or saving people. He does that out of the goodness of his heart, because it is within his power to act.
    The thing about Barry’s altruistic nature is that it’s not all that realistic. If a realistic person in the human world got super powers, we would use them for selfish reasons. We would get revenge on people who had wronged us, and even if we called it justice, it probably wouldn’t be. But so often I forget the whole point: the Flash isn’t meant to be realistic, he’s meant to be a role model, an ideal to strive for, like you said.
    This is exactly the sort of thing I would be talking about on The Correlation (shameless plug), if I had thought of it first. Nicely done.

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  2. Thanks! And I suppose it’s worth noting that while Barry is unrealistically altruistic, the show does depict every other meta-human as using their gifts for evil, so maybe it balances out. I’m always interested in following up on a good shameless plug, but I can’t find your blog for some reason.

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