Martial arts isn’t typically a part of your wheelhouse if you’re a super-powered superhero. Who needs it when you can, say, run at the speed of light? Then again, Superman is disciplined in Kryptonian karate, but Barry Allen sure isn’t. As the so-called Fastest Man Alive (in the DC Universe), dude’s got lightning legs that would make even Bruce Lee envious.
But maybe he should sign up for some lessons. In the last two seasons of the CW’s The Flash, Barry has gotten his ass handed him by mutant sharks, gorillas, weather freaks, and rival speedsters. It’s difficult to implement martial arts in a show with the Flash, but that doesn’t mean The Flash phones it in during fight scenes. As Season 3’s premiere quickly approaches, set for October 5, here are some of the best fights from the last two seasons.
The Flash vs. Turtle (Season 2)
Unique in most fights is the Turtle, who had the power to slow down the kinetic energy around him — including that of the Flash. He’s one of the rare villains of Flash’s rogues where running is not useful.
Coming at the bottom of the list, Barry’s fight with Turtle in the Season 2 episode “Potential Energy” is a tired example of sheer willpower triumphing over conflict, but it’s still exciting to see Barry forced to slow down in order to win.
It wasn’t the first time he had to, though.
The Flash vs. Captain Cold and Heat Wave (Season 1)
Two of Flash’s most enduring villains made their debut as a criminal duo in Season 1 of The Flash. Armed with an ice blaster and a laser-focused flamethrower, the two made Flash’s life hell until Barry figured out how to make them cross streams, Ghostbusters style: Slow down. Before that moment, however, Barry was on a wild goose chase full of whirrs and and stuff freezing and burning.
The Flash vs. Reverse-Flash (Season 2)
The second round between Barry and Eobard Thawne wasn’t as good as their first tussle in the Season 1 mid-season finale, but The Flash and the Reverse-Flash in “The Reverse-Flash Returns” is a brutal brawl with Flash going way more savage than he’s ever been. Thawne is the man that killed his mother, so of course Barry goes Muhammad Ali on the guy. But it’s a test of restraint that Barry nearly fails.
The Flash vs. Zoom (Season 2)
The final showdown between Flash and Zoom in the Season 2 finale after he was revealed to be Jay Garrick, was… okay. It came down to a lot of running, as it probably should, but it could not top their fight in the mid-season finale, “Enter Zoom.” It’s Flash’s Bane fight, and not just because Zoom paralyzes Flash. It’s just an awesome throw down between two equal opposites.
The Flash vs. Arrow (Season 1)
Here’s a challenge the producers probably didn’t expect: How can a superhero whose weaponry doesn’t date past the 17th century go up against another whose ability to run fast is scientifically impossible? Somehow, they figured it out.
Putting aside the goofy wailing Stephen Amell’s stunt double had to do on set, the fight between Arrow and Flash in the show’s first season was a smart construction of choreography. It was a ballet of balance, between the Arrow’s gritty (however implausible) archery and Flash’s super speed. That doesn’t make sense or match up at all on paper, but it so works on screen that the choreographers should be commended. And really, it’s just a great fight.
The Flash vs. Reverse-Flash (Season 1)
The actual fight between Barry and the Reverse-Flash in the mid-season finale of The Flash’s first season wasn’t great. What makes it top this list is its emotional gravity and the momentum of the season’s plot at which the scene arrived. It was what had to happen, at this time in the show, and boy was it emotionally spectacular.
The Flash kicks ass, but it especially kicked ass in its first season. Coming at the mid-season finale, the show finished the calendar year with a bang with the Reverse-Flash tossing Barry like he’s nothing.
Is it cleverly constructed? Is it the best fight on TV? No, and no. But that doesn’t matter, because it was awesome as it was important.
The Flash vs. King Shark (Season 2)
It’s the Flash versus a giant mutant shark. Give this show a goddamn Emmy.