It’s the end of an era. After the better part of a decade on air, The Flash season 9, currently set to go into production this Fall and premiere in early 2023, will mark the show’s end. It’s hard to imagine what a superhero television landscape will look like without this show, which has helped shape so many that came after it, thanks to its huge heart, bright tone, and empathetic storytelling.
With just 13 episodes, The Flash season 9 may have limited room to run, but that also means The CW’s flagship superhero property can still go out on its own terms, with a story that showcases just what this series has always done so well. Here are a few things we definitely need to see–and some we know aren’t exactly likely but we’re still hoping for anyway–in The Flash’s final season.
A Return to Fun, Simple Adventures
The Flash has always excelled at being the most lighthearted entry in the Arrowverse, both literally and figuratively speaking. It’s a show that’s at its best when it’s telling stories about silly, over-the-top villains and problems that can be solved by simple lessons about love and friendship. Much like Barry Allen himself, the best thing about The Flash is its boundless heart. But recent seasons have occasionally gotten bogged down in heavy-handed stories about rewriting reality or random humans being forced to become vessels to poorly defined anthropomorphic nature gods.
The Flash season 9 needs to get back to basics: Some entertaining low stakes adventures with a return to the character’s rogues gallery (one of the best in all superhero fiction) and stories that tell us something we didn’t know about the characters we care about or give their relationships with each other more depth. I’ve given up on understanding how the Forces of Nature work or what Iris’ time sickness even was exactly, so here’s hoping we spend the series’ final episodes just doubling down on the sort of stories that remind us why we all loved this show so much in the first palace.
Barry and Iris Finally Start Their Family
We not only already know that Barry and Iris have kids, but we’ve also met both Bart and Nora multiple times over the course of the show. And, thanks to the wonders of time travel showing us how old they are in the 2049 version of Central City, we also know that the West-Allens basically have to start their family sometime real soon. And is there a more poetic way to wrap up The Flash than by definitively showing us that even though this show is ending, the Flash family will always keep running?
Plus, after literal years of Barry and Iris getting kidnapped, targeted by crazed murderers, trapped in alternate dimensions, and generally kept apart for whatever reason, the pair deserves a little bit of domestic bliss before the series’ run is over. A pregnancy storyline could also offer the chance for some much-needed lighthearted comedy during the show’s final season, since I can’t imagine that giving birth to speedsters is going to be anything like your average childbirth experience.
Cisco Ramon and Other Familiar Faces Return to Central City
Look, there’s no way we can properly say goodbye to The Flash without Cisco Ramon. It’s just a fact. An original member of Team Flash and a key member of the cast that built this show, Cisco deserves the chance to come back in some capacity for this final run (I’m still stunned he missed Frost’s funeral, to be honest). To be fair, there’s not really a ton of outstanding story that Cisco needs to wrap up before the show ends, but fans deserve the chance to see Carlos Valdez–and the show’s original Team Flash trio–back in action together one last time, even if it’s only for a single episode.
Bonus points if we somehow get the chance to see fan-favorite characters like Wally West, Sara Lance, or Mia Queen pop up to offer some closure to this iteration of the DC superhero universe in The Flash’s final episodes. Remaining Arrowverse series like Superman & Lois and Stargirl technically take place on alternate Earths, after all, so this is the end of an era in more ways than one. And there are certainly some dangling storyline threads—the Legends’ imprisonment, William’s disappearance—that still need to be resolved.
One Last Reverse-Flash Faceoff
Though The Flash showrunner Eric Wallace insists that Tom Cavanagh’s Reverse-Flash truly died in the Season 8 finale, “Negative, Part Two,” we all know that’s…unlikely at best (I mean how many times has Eobard Thawne died over the course of this show? How many times did he die just last season?) And, at the end of the day, is it possible for this show to conclude without one more face-off between Barry Allen and his greatest enemy? Doubtful.
How exactly the show will manage to resurrect or clone or port another version of Reverse-Flash over from an alternate Earth or timeline remains to be seen. But it feels like the safest possible bet you could make on what will happen during this final season.
What Has Happened to Caitlin?
One of the few real cliffhangers from Season 8 involves the fate of Caitlin Snow, who spent the finale doing mad scientist-style cryo-chamber experiments on herself in an attempt to somehow resurrect or replicate her dead sister/icy alter ego Frost. We don’t know what–or who–she has become at the end of the episode but it’s pretty clear that something fairly major has happened to her. Again. Will she exit the chamber as another version of Frost or simply a Caitlin that’s finally activated her latent ice meta abilities?
Regardless of how you feel about the quality of this storyline and/or The Flash’s bizarre inability to permanently commit to a lane when it comes to either Frost’s existence or her connection to Caitlin, I think we can all agree that it’s finally time for this poor girl to catch a break. No matter what she’s now become, let’s see her find some peace in the show’s final season, whether that means therapy, a new love interest, or just a rededication to her career as a scientist. She’s suffered–and lost–more than enough.
Who is Max?
During Barry’s Season 8 search for Iris, he spent some time in the Still Force where he saw multiple visions of his past, present, and future. During a montage of important figures in his life, we caught glimpses of Cisco Ramon, Harry Wells, Wally West, and a figure that was only identified as Max. Now, it’s certainly possible that this Max is just some random person who will one day be Barry’s work buddy down at the CCPD, but given that this is The Flash, the odds are much more likely that he’ll turn out to be someone significant from Barry’s future (and probably a speedster to boot).
If the comics are anything to go by, there’s only one person this could be: Max Mercury, a Golden Age speedster who was once known as Quicksilver (who existed well before the Marvel version of the same name), his arrival in Central City would finally allow the show to complete its Arrowverse version of the Flash family onscreen. And after all, if this Max fellow is a figure that’s lumped in with some of Barry’s most trusted friends in his vision, he must be someone important, right?
Give Chester and Allegra Their Shot
For the better part of the past two seasons, we’ve seen Team Flash members Chester and Allegra essentially dance around their feelings for one another, coming this close to admitting they are obviously crazy about one another before backing off to insist they’re just best friends. And as the series draws to a close, it’s well past time to just let Chellegra live.
It’s been a while since The Flash has had a real slow-burn multi-season romance like this, and while it’s been great to watch their relationship grow and deepen rather than simply being told repeatedly how much they care for each other, it’s time for the show to just go for it. These two are adorable together, and their love story deserves a chance to shine.
Will That Blue Crystal Finally Introduce Cobalt Blue?
Cobalt Blue is probably the most famous comic villain from Barry Allen’s rogues gallery that we haven’t seen at this point on The Flash. This is why the seemingly random appearance of a strange, glowing blue crystal in 2049 that has no immediate connection to any character during the post-credits scene of Season 8 finale “Negative, Part Two“ suddenly feels so important. I mean, who else could that be referring to?
In the comics, Cobalt Blue is Malcolm Thawne, Barry’s secret half-brother, which is the sort of insane emotional twist that seems like much too big a deal to introduce into the world of a show with just a handful of episodes left in its run. So maybe that long-held internet theory that some version of Eddie Thawne–who after all, is also distantly related to Eobard–could somehow take his place is finally going to come true?
More Bart and Nora Please
I realize I may be the only person still holding out hope that we’ll get to see a next generation Arrowverse spinoff that involves the kids of our current onscreen faves–characters like Mia Queen, Connor Hawke, J.J. Diggle, and Bart and Nora West-Allen–fighting crime together in the future. But while that dream seems increasingly unlikely given the state of this onscreen universe at the moment, there’s no reason we can’t have another kid-centric episode or two before The Flash wraps up.
Bart and Nora are such a breath of fresh air in the world of this show, and their presence somehow manages to make even the clunkiest, most nonsensical storylines more fun to watch. “Impulsive Excessive Disorder,” a Season 8 episode centered almost entirely on Bart and Nora, was one of the best installments the show put out all year. It would be great to see what it could do with another, especially if it were some sort of flashforward that focused on their lives in the future.
A Jay Garrick Solo Adventure
With just 13 episodes to work with in its final season, it’s unlikely The Flash has time for all the fan service most of us would like to see before the credits roll for the last time. But one thing that could be a nice nod to the history of both the show and the large onscreen Flash franchise is an hour that finally gives Jay Garrick his due.
Having original recipe Flash John Wesley Shipp play Barry’s father Henry Allen, speedster Jay Garrick, and alternate universe versions of Barry Allen in several crossovers has been a dream for fans of the Flash character, but Shipp’s fragmented appearances haven’t really given us much time to learn much about any of the characters he’s played. Why not show us an origin story for how this Flash came to be, or what his role as Bart’s mentor is like?