Grant Gustin’s “The Flash” has come to an end after nine seasons. The final episode of the DC series aired on the CW on Wednesday, just in time for the big-screen version of the same name starring Ezra Miller to take over the role. However, the finale of “The Flash” also marks the end of an era for the CW network as a showcase for its love of superheroes. With new management in place after the Nextstar station group took control of the network, the CW is shifting its focus towards unscripted programming and international acquisitions.
Although the demise of “The Flash” marks the end of an era, the show’s legacy is bittersweet. As part of the Arrowverse, which traversed a dizzying array of characters and subplots, the show hopscotched between alternate Earths and different timelines. The final episode features the return of Eddie Thorne (Rick Cosnett) and sees old villains assemble to fight the Flash and his gang. However, the show’s use of nostalgia is most evident in the repeated presence of John Wesley Shipp and the nod to comic book history.
Despite the many moving parts of “The Flash”, the show embodied a genre that thrived on the CW and underwent a major creative shift throughout its nine seasons. As the future of the CW looks uncertain amidst the waves of change in the television industry and the uncertainty exacerbated by the writers’ strike, the vision articulated by Barry Allen/Flash (Grant Gustin) remains hopeful. Barry closes the episode with words of optimism, sharing his power and believing that “nothing is impossible as long as we believe in it.”