Speedforce considered harmful...

…to my interest in the Flarrowverse.

When Arrow launched, I wasn’t really interested, and when I finally got around to trying to stream the first season, the only things that held my interest were the beautiful women and two excellent actors (John Barrowman and Paul Blackthorne).

Flash, at least, wasn’t dominated by an unsympathetic jackass with enough issues to staff a large psych ward, and not only has two of the most beautiful women on television (and many others…), but a fully-fleshed-out cast of interesting characters, including an awesome dad and a complex, well-portrayed villain (season one). Also some terrific tie-ins to the earlier Flash TV series.

The fly in the ointment has always been the portrayal of speedsters. Simply put, the writers have no idea how velocity and acceleration (and deceleration!) work, so they make up numbers that just don’t make sense, and write stories where Flash is simultaneously too fast and too slow.

A typical scenario might go like this: Barry is standing in Jitters with Joe/Iris/Cisco when something comes up, so he activates his speed and leaves, instantly vanishing from sight without being noticed. Seconds later, halfway across town, he’s facing a human being armed with a weapon that requires aiming (Captain Cold, Doctor Light, whatever), and spends a minute or two dodging blasts while the team comes up with a plan.

…instead of using super-speed to simply run up behind them and whack them on the head. Or pants them, tie their shoelaces together, wrap them in duct tape, and/or just write IDIOT on their foreheads with a Sharpie.

This is painful, but I’m willing to put up with a certain amount of it given the limitations of the format and the genre. Also, Wentworth Miller did an awesome snarky job as Captain Cold, so I’ll cut them some slack just for that. I genuinely like the cast, and the show embraces the essential absurdity of Flash’s comic-book history.

But I just finished streaming season 2 of Legends Of Tomorrow, and their handling of the Speedforce made the Flash writers look like super-geniuses. Specifically, in episode 14 (Moonshot):

Eobard Thawne, the season villain who’s desperately trying to outrun the fact that he was erased from existence in Flash, and who has repeatedly made expert use of his control over the Speedforce to spank the heroes like a bunch of spoiled children, is completely powerless when he’s not on Earth’s surface.

This is presented at first as if “he can’t do anything with his speed in zero-G”, allowing Ray to beat him in a fist-fight, but he’s still restricted to human speeds while they’re stranded on the moon, then again when he’s imprisoned on the Waverider (despite its artificial gravity). But he trivially vibrates out of his cell as soon as they’re back on Earth, something that never occurs to the idiots imprisoning him.

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