The Flash has really been a triumph for the superhero genre. The Arrow spin-off proves that not only do superheroes work on TV, but that it can be the best possible medium for them. While Ezra Miller's Barry Allen in the DCEU looks promising, Grant Gustin's version of the Scarlet Speedster is widely considered to be the definitive version of the character. But while there’s a lot to love about The Flash, it’s far from perfect.
Outside of some shoddy big bads and some struggles with tone, The Flash has made a fair number of mistakes throughout its three seasons. None of these errors really ruin the show. Some are even so ridiculous that they weirdly enhance it. They aren't even really plot holes either (though some can certainly qualify as one.)
These mistakes are also more serious than a filming or editing inaccuracy. Though The Flash has standard goofs, like props appearing and disappearing between shots, these errors are of a much more shocking nature. The moments gathered here are ones that should've been caught or corrected by someone, but were somehow missed. Now, they exist as a glaring "boo-boo" on the show's mostly solid record.
Here are 15 Most Shocking Mistakes You Missed on The Flash.
15 Barry Can't Count
Barry Allen’s a smart guy. He often doesn't need Cisco to work out some complicated science problem. Before Julian came along, he was even running Central City’s CSI department single-handedly. Despite Barry's intellectual feats according to The Flash season 3, he apparently can’t do some very simple math.
In the third year of the series, thanks to Savitar, the future became a very big deal for Barry. He was specifically focused on the year of 2024. Barry eventually ended up traveling to this year in the episode “The Once and Future Flash.” Although the present day of “The Once and Future Flash” took place firmly in 2017, Barry kept insisting he was going 8 years into the future. This is just wrong. 2024 is 7 years ahead of 2017, not 8.
It’s not a huge deal, but it did make Barry, and everyone around him, look like a bit of dummy. Granted, the episode was probably written in 2016, but someone should've double-checked the math, in any case.
14 Linda Park's Changing Face and Careers
In the comics, Linda Park is the love of Wally West’s life. She’s his wife and the mother of his children. In The Flash, Linda became Barry’s very short-lived love interest. This was definitely weird for comic book fans, but not necessarily a mistake - though there is an error that involves Linda in a big way.
Most viewers would likely assume that Malese Jow’s first appearance as Linda in the season 1 episode, “Crazy for You” was the introduction of the character. But Linda had, in fact, been introduced in the Arrowverse as early as the Arrow season 2 episode, “Three Ghosts”, where she was played by a completely different actress.
The first Linda Park was not only about 10 years older than the second, she also had a completely different career. The first Linda was on-air reporter for a major market news network. The second is just starting her journalism career, barely above newbie Iris at Central City Picture News. It's an example of fun Easter Egg going completely awry.
13 The Mysterious Case of HR's Face
On Earth-1, because of the Reverse Flash, Harrison Wells is known widely as a killer. To get around this issue, season 3 had HR Wells use a face-changing technology. HR would appear to Team Flash as he normally does, but to the rest of the world, he would look different. It’s a clever solution, but The Flash seemed to quickly forget that it was a thing.
When Julian Albert and Tracy Brand join Team Flash later in the season, HR never lets them onto his little face secret. This is especially weird because Tracy ends up striking up a romance with HR. It’s true that the reveal could have happened off-camera, (and for Tracy’s sake, hopefully it did) but otherwise, Julian and Tracy are interacting with a man that is constantly lying them.
There’s no excuse for when Jesse Quick and Harry Wells travel from Earth-2 and immediately recognize HR as a doppelganger of Harry. The pair weren’t even on the same Earth when HR changed his face, let alone the same room.
12 Eddie Must Have Super-Speed
During The Flash season 1, Eddie Thawne was a constant source of speculation due to his last name. The prevalent theory was that Eddie was (or would become) the Reverse Flash. Ultimately though, Eddie was revealed to not be a speedster but just an average (and honestly, pretty very boring) guy.
But Eddie’s apparent non-speedsterness means that the episode “Revenge of the Rogues” makes very little sense. In the episode, Barry is under attack from Heat Wave and Captain Cold. The assault is happening on a city street that’s been blocked off by the police. When Barry gets knocked down in the middle of the street, Eddie saves him by rushing in and covering him with a riot shield.
It’s a heroic moment, but also a completely illogical one. Eddie not only moves about four blocks in a matter of seconds, he makes his way to Barry without Snart or Mick seeing him at all. Usain Bolt can't pull that off, let alone Eddie Thawne.
11 How Are There Metahumans in Flashpoint?
In the Arrowverse, Thawne's particle accelerator explosion was the superhuman event heard around the world. It is the "flash point" that created superheroes. In The Flash’s actual Flashpoint timeline, though, Barry goes back in time and prevents the particle accelerator from ever exploding. Yet somehow, there are still metas running around all over the place.
Barry still has his speed in Flashpoint due to some wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey nonsense. He’s shocked to learn that not only is Wally West a speedster now, but that Iris' baby bro has his own speedy nemesis, The Rival. No explanation is ever given as to how this happened. It doesn’t just stop with Kid Flash or The Rival, either. Season 3 is populated with Earth-1 versions of characters getting their metahuman abilities from Flashpoint.
The Flash was evidently so used to metahumans being a part of the show that they forgot to explain how they could exist without the very event that created them.
10 Reverse Flash Used Up His Speed
Eobard Thawne’s big mission in season 1 of The Flash is that he just wants to get home. Though he's faking being paralyzed in season 1, he is crippled (in a sense) because he has lost his speed. The explanation given is that Thawne evidently used so much speed in traveling back in time to kill Barry’s mother than he momentarily lost it. It takes him years to build back up the strength.
It’s a fine motivation for a villain, but The Flash has forgotten this little tidbit since the season 1 finale. Barry has time traveled multiple times since season 1, and there’s never been a hint of him “using up” his speed. If anything, Barry has only gotten faster.
The Flash has established that speedsters can give up their speed or have it taken away, but they don’t just use it up. If Reverse Flash’s loss is meant to be taken seriously, is there a time in the not too distant future where Barry will have run out of steam altogether?
9 Barry Forgets About Kara Almost Immediately
The Flash crossover episode is one of the best installments in Supergirl’s uneven first season. While Barry fit perfectly into Kara’s world, the crossover didn’t work both ways. The Flash wrote Barry’s adventures with Kara into the episode “Versus Zoom” in one of the sloppiest ways imaginable.
“Versus Zoom” sees Barry use the tachyon device to run so fast that he ends up on Kara’s Earth and returns just seconds later in to his world. The problem is that the rest of “Versus Zoom” is all about the team trying to figure out how to travel to another Earth.
While the gang is working on how to get to Earth-2 to face off against Zoom, Barry never brings up that earlier that day, he just went fast enough to take himself to another dimension. It was the wrong Earth he traveled to, but still another Earth. Barry either didn't remember Kara or he's just an amazingly selfish jerk.
8 Barry is Apparently a Terrific Fighter
During “Infantino Street”, Barry takes a walk on the wild side as he works with Captain Cold to infiltrate ARGUS. One of the big elements of the duo’s plan is that Barry impersonates his friend Lyla Michaels, the director of ARGUS, to get inside the HQ. While the disguise holds up initially, our hero eventually has to trade subtly for punches, knocking out ARGUS guards with ridiculous ease.
It’s a cool moment and one that makes visual sense. It’s Lyla’s actress, Audrey Marie Anderson, doing the fighting, not Grant Gustin. Yet Barry has never shown a fraction of martial arts prowess before that moment.
Barry’s basic fighting style on The Flash is run real fast and jab even faster. Barry has no real finesse, and besides one or two scenes with Oliver, he’s never even really trained to be a fighter. Barry fighting as Lyla looked cool, but it's one big gap in logic.
7 Barry Mocks Superman ... Someone He's Never Met
Though the episode is named "Duet," The Flash and Supergirl musical crossover only has the respective leads sing one song together. Thankfully, Kara and Barry's song, "Super Friend" is the musical equivalent of a prozac pill. It's happy, silly, and a ton of fun. Sadly, it does come with a huge continuity error.
Halfway through the jingle, Barry takes a timeout to mock Superman, and Kara responds by telling him that it’s a “really good impression." Um what? Barry has never met Superman. Up until that moment in the song, it was unclear if Barry even knew Supes existed.
There are two ways to explain this little joke. One is that The Flash or Supergirl are missing another crossover episode where Barry got to work with Clark Kent. The more likely option, though. is that he writer of the song, Rachel Bloom from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, is a bit behind on her Arrowverse knowledge and simply assumed Superman is as famous in this reality as he is in our world.
6 Barry Has Definitely Killed People
There’s a lot of hemming and hawing in The Flash season 3 about Barry contemplating the murder of Savitar. Iris eventually convinces Barry that he’s not a killer. It’s a great moment of understanding between the main couple ... or it would be, if Barry hadn’t totally killed people before season 3.
In the season 2 opener, Barry finds himself up against the Earth-2 baddie, Atom Smasher. Unable to defeat him in a straight-up fight, Barry lures Atom Smasher into a nuclear reactor and has the team turn it on. The result is that Atom Smasher is exposed to more radiation than he can handle, and he dies.
It’s a move done in self-defense, and Barry doesn’t psychically flip the switch on the reactor. Ultimately, though, Barry lures Atom Smasher into a deathtrap. If not murder, it’s almost certainly manslaughter.
5 Cisco Never Builds Another Cold Gun
For three seasons, The Flash’s main villain has been an evil speedster. Every year, Team Flash must come up with a new way to defeat someone who can at least rival or outright surpass Barry’s speed. And every year, they seem to forget that Cisco built a way to take a speedster out before the series even began.
It’s revealed in Captain Cold’s introductory episode that Cisco built the villain/antihero’s famous cold gun. Cisco built the gun while Barry was in his coma, worried that his pal would wake up and become a villain, not a hero. This is, rightfully, a source of some tension between Barry and Cisco in season 1.
Yet when the team comes up against Reverse Flash, Zoom, and Savitar, no one ever asks Cisco to make another gun. It’s not as if the materials are hard to get either. In the episode, “Rogue Time” Cisco is forced to make Cold another gun, and he does it overnight. So either Team Flash or the showrunners forgot Cisco has this ability tucked away on the backburner. Either way, it’s an embarrassing mistake.
4 Savitar's Delayed Erasure
In the dramatic season 1 finale, Eddie Thawne kills himself, and seconds later, his ancestor Eobard Thawne is promptly erased from the timeline. In the anticlimactic season 3 finale, meanwhile, Iris West isn’t killed by Savitar, and thus, the villain should cease to exist. Yet somehow, he doesn’t automatically disappear. Savitar’s erasure from the timeline is delayed for no other reason than The Flash season finale would then be five minutes long.
To be fair, the series does acknowledge that this is strange. Unlike every other mistake here, characters comment on the weirdness of Savitar being around when he should be time dust. The show never really comes up with a satisfying answer for the anomaly - mostly because there isn’t one to be found.
3 Barry is the Fastest Man Alive Before The Accident
Barry Allen's introduction to the Arrowverse in the Arrow season 2 episodes "The Scientist" and "Three Ghosts" are flat-out delightful. "Three Ghosts" ends with Barry rushing back to his hometown of Central City and getting struck by a bolt of lightning in his lab. He then becomes the fastest man alive. It's a cool and shocking end to the tw0-parter...but then The Flash pilot completely rewrites history.
In the pilot, Barry’s trip to Starling City is mentioned, but the ordering of events is all out of whack. Barry has a whole day working his job as Central City CSI and seeing Harrison Wells for the first time before he gets his super-speed. He doesn't come directly home from Starling City to be zapped.
It was important for The Flash pilot to introduce Barry's supporting cast before his accident. However, it probably could've done it in a way that made sense with the ending of "Three Ghosts."
2 Barry is the Fastest Man Alive ... Without Speed
The Flash pilot and “Three Ghosts” timeline weirdness is an undeniably goof, but it’s excusable. It was only the first episode, and the universe wasn't quite as established as it is now. It’s more embarrassing that The Flash committed the same type of mistake at the end of season 2.
Heading towards The Flash's season 2 finale, Barry ends up giving up his speed to Zoom to save Wally’s life. Afterwards on Arrow, Oliver fails to save Laurel Lance’s life from his main villain. Yet Barry still runs to Laurel's funeral with super speed and darts away just as fast. This glaring mistake undermines the powerful nature of Barry and Oliver mourning a fallen friend.
The Flash executive producer Todd Helbeig did acknowledge the mistake. In an interview with Cinema Blend, he explained that the scheduling of the episode was to blame, and that Laurel’s funeral was supposed to air before Barry losing his speed. This one falls on The CW, it would seem.
1 There is No Solid Logic to Time Travel
There are two very basic theories to time travel. One is that time is circular and any changes to the timeline will have always existed. Even if someone changes the past, it won’t impact the present because it always happened. The other is that time is constantly in motion and things can and will change, resulting in diverging timelines. They are contradictory ideas, but The Flash mixes them both together. And it doesn't make sense.
For example, in two different episodes of The Flash, Barry has traveled back in time and participated in an earlier adventure. In one episode, a Barry from the future completely erases a Barry from the past. Barry "becomes" his old self. In another episode, he performs the same feat, but his past self still exists. These shouldn't be able to exist side-by-side according to the rules established by the previous adventure. If going back in time erases your old self, it should always erase your old self.
The series is littered with similar time travel contradictions and goofs. The easy explanation is that The Flash just doesn't have rules for time travel. Overall, when Barry travels in time, it's best to just switch your brain off and accept whatever confusing explanation the show is going to throw at you. You'll have a much better time if you do.
Did we miss any mistakes from The Flash that bother you? Sound off in the comments!