Flash's pilot introduced Dr. Harrison Wells, who has some sort of time travel/time computer thingy (H. Wells? Get it? GET IT????) He also uses a wheelchair - stunningly enough, for network TV, a completely appropriate powerchair. It was so appropriate I tuned in. The end of the pilot, however, revealed that Wells can walk, implying that he was totally faking needing a wheelchair. Ordinarily this would have irritated me, but the show made it clear that Wells was a morally grey murderer, suggesting that faking a disability isn't something "normal" or "good" people do.
And then last night it got really interesting.
The opening scenes showed Dr. Wells zipping around, confirming that he has superspeed. (An earlier episode suggested this, but fans were still debating.) A later scene showed him zipping around - and suddenly collapsing on the floor, unable to move at all. As it turns out, Wells is in some sort of self-treatment for superspeed addicts, or something, treating himself with tachyon particles (this show is not good at the science) which, to sum up means this:
He has a chronic illness which sometimes makes him unable to work, which is why he needs the chair.
Brilliant, Flash writers.
Most wheelchair users on television are of the "can't walk at all" variety, which kinda leaves out the many of us (me) who can walk, for short distances, but find that the chair is either easier, or, in my case, prevents falls and really painful bruising. (I started using the chair after a bad fall at the grocery store left my leg black and blue for well over a week - the only good thing about that was that my arm didn't hurt as much in comparison. In related news I suggest that everyone avoid falling in a grocery store. )
So to see this on television felt like a win. Granted, these are more or less the same people who finally gave me a bisexual superhero only to toss her off a roof right onto a dumpster (sigh), so I'm not feeling overly confident that this is going to be great portrayal moving forward, but for now, I'll take it.