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The Flash Producers Promise Barry Will Lighten Up In Season 4

This post contains spoilers for The Flash season 3. 

Upon its premiere in 2014, The Flash started out as the shimmering beacon of the CW's burgeoning Arrowverse—a cracker jack in crimson compared to the tortured, sullen attitude of sister series Arrow

But a funny thing happened as the show went past its first season, delving into increasingly dark and morose territory for its hero. Barry Allen, the enthusiastic fastest man alive, grew less and less likable as his problems grew more and more personal. 

Barry's battle with his darker self may have been interesting dramatically—admittedly, a contentious point—but it robbed audiences of the smiling optimist they grew to love when they signed on for Team Flash.

Now, according to show producers, the series is making an effort to cheer Barry up, and pivot him back toward being a Barry people want to be around. The change will happen, the producers say, as a result of the hero's six-month coma that he suffered upon entering the Speed Force, and all the reflection and self-care he got up to in his time away.

"The experience of being in the Speed Force was a bit of a baptism for him," executive producer Andrew Kreisberg said, during a discussion with Entertainment Weekly. "His experience in there has really washed away a lot of his sins, cleansed him of his doubts, fears, and his guilts, and he really loves being The Flash again."

The fourth season's first episode, The Flash Reborn, comments directly on this slow shift in personality as Barry finds his way back home. 

"It really is leaving him free and clear to have an open road and a fresh start," Kreisberg said. "And he's just not upset the way he's been these past two seasons."

If Barry can learn to love himself, then surely fans can learn to love to watch The Flash again. We've got high hopes! And if season four ends up in the muck again, well, we've always got Supergirl.

The Flash returns on the CW on Tuesday, October 10.