With the second season of Justice League, our superheroes are allowed to have some depth. Batman and Superman are largely established, and we’ve spent some time following Diana and John. Flash, though, is something of a mystery. He’s a mainstay of the DC universe – all these characters are. But Flash still has a secret identity, and we know little about him besides his super speed and his wisecracks.
“Eclipsed” is as much a showcase for Flash as “Maid of Honor” was for Diana, or “Hearts and Minds” for John. It’s overdue, honestly, but I’m not sure this is what we were waiting for.
To be clear, I like Flash as a character, even if his jokes don’t always land. His disposition is a welcome contrast with the rest of the league, most of whom are serious characters, and J’onn, who is nearly stoic. The moments in “A Better World” where the effect Flash has on others – both through his presence and his absence – illustrate the importance of his character.
“Eclipsed”, though, has other things going on, and not all of them good. We spend a lot of time with inconsequential storylines; I don’t know that the saga of Flash’s commercial endorsements is anyone’s favorite part of Justice League. Glorious Godfrey would have a natural role as a league antagonist, but he is mostly a distraction here. And the central conflict might be Earth-threatening, but it seems less important than any of the others so far this season.
There are some decent moments, though. John and Flash are a natural team, just two regular guys, hanging out in the gaudiest animated van you’ve probably ever seen, even considering the Mystery Machine. The path of the black diamond is honestly a solid idea, even if the execution leaves something to be desired.
The black diamond moving from hand to hand until it makes its way onto the Watchtower – and possesses the entire league – just takes too long to realize its potential. Flash facing off with the rest of the league is pretty good, though, albeit brief. All of these things are nice, but hardly enough to offset the rest of the episode.
So when the episode ends, with the Earth saved, and Glorious Godfrey banished to a hopeless time slot, it’s almost a relief. Maybe this should have been the story of two hard-traveling heroes, John and Flash taking the Flashmobile out on a tacky adventure. Maybe the sun-hating snakes would have been a better adversary for the sun-powered Superman, or they could have had history with Diana’s Amazons.
Who knows? Hindsight is always full of good ideas. Thankfully, there are much better episodes ahead, and there would be good Flash episodes, even if we had to wait until the last season of JLU to get them.
I do like the idea of John and Flash just hanging out in this horrible van, and the scene of them watching Godfrey announcing his awful new time slot is a nice bit of continuity. Oh well. Everything else this season is, at the very least, solid.
- The voice casting in this one:
- Lauren Tom, Ted McGinley, and Lukas Haas all play soldiers in the opening segments.
- Mophir, the wacky barbarian, is voiced by Tracey Walter, who played lead goon Bob in the Tim Burton Batman.
- Artie Bauman, Flash’s agent, is recognizably voiced by Brian Doyle-Murray.
- Glorious Godfrey is voiced by none other than Enrico Colantoni, best known as private eye and all-time great TV dad Keith Mars.
- Flash’s rogues (Mirror Master, Captain Boomerang, Heat Wave) making a cameo in the first commercial is a cruel tease, honestly.
- “What’s wrong with the way I dress?” Oh, Diana. You’re such a good character but your wardrobe could be more warrior-princess, if I’m being honest.
- I don’t know much about Eclipso, which is a real DC character name. If one of you other nerds wants to fill in this gap, please feel free.
- The general being questioned, cured of his possession but still in the Eclipso gear, does make for a decent visual.