The hero’s dilemma

Spoilers for Season 1 of the TV series The Flash in this post.

At the end of the first season of the Flash, Barry Allen manages to go back in time and gets an opportunity to save his mother from being murdered by a super-villain from the future and also prevent his father from being falsely imprisoned for her death. However Barry decides not to because in this particular timeline, another version of himself is already battling the super-villain and warns him not to. This leads to a tearful scene where he gets to say goodbye to his dying mother.

If we ourselves were to go back in time about fifty years or so, we’ll find that within the genre of boy’s tales and super-power fantasies, heroes did not act like that.

If the Flash was written in that time, Barry Allen would have without hesitation saved his mother.

First, he would not immediately assume that the other Flash fighting the super-villain is actually a future version of himself – that Flash could well be a doppelganger or an evil version or some-other such creature.

Second, he would not have cared that saving his mother would have created a paradox within his own timeline and potentially threaten his existence – that would be small beer for him. Heroes of that time took seven such risks and faced a dozen such dangers before breakfast.

Third, he would have had utter confidence in his own ability to do the right thing now and deal with the consequences later.

Finally, you would never catch a hero from that age making the sad cry-baby face so aptly captured in the gif above. A true hero from that period would have shed manly tears on occasion at the loss of a comrade and while doubts and fears would combat within him as he engaged life and villains, he would project nothing but a stern jaw, a confident smile and steely gaze.

Mind you, Oliver Queen, in the companion TV show Arrow, falls much more in that mold and frankly I can’t stand that arrogant smug bastard

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