Barry Allen screwed everything up. That’s the big take away from the Season 3 premiere of The Flash. Of course, we knew he would. At the end of season two, Barry decided to go back in time and saved his mom—something he couldn’t bring himself to do at the end of Season 1.
By doing this, Barry changed everything. He wiped away the world he’s known and everyone – who can blame him?And in season 3 episode 1 “Flashpoint,” we get to see just how these changes impact both Barry and those around him.
In Barry’s altered reality, he isn’t friends with Cisco Ramon or Iris West or Caitlin Snow. But does a great job stalking Iris.
In this world, Joe West is a cop, but he’s also a drunk and a deadbeat. Iris is, well, Iris and hits it off immediately with Barry. And there are speedsters. Wally West is the Flash, though Barry and Iris call him “Kid Flash.”
Cisco Ramon is the owner of Star Labs, and is the richest man in America, and really annoying. But I loved hearing him say -thanks my money needs me.
This is all fun world-building, though perhaps a little too reminiscent of Earth 2 last season.
Interestingly, Barry is still in possession of his memories of the world he came from. He’s also in possession of the Reverse Flash, Eobard Thawne, who he’s kept prisoner. Instead of seeing Barry as he would have grown up in an altered timeline, we see him after having time traveled back to the present.
But as he uses his powers, he begins to lose his memories as well. So Barry turns back the clock once again—only barely hanging on to his old life at this point, let alone his Speedster powers—and lets the Reverse Flash kill his mother and set things back to “right.”
Barry returns to the same night he left—a night of victory and romance. Everything seems to be fine and good, back to its old state of affairs, but when Barry asks where Iris is, Joe gets offended and storms out. Wally, confused, reminds Barry that Joe and Iris aren’t on speaking terms. We aren’t told why.
The timeline is back to a very close version of what it once was, but it’s by no means the same world Barry left. It’s an alternative timeline where smaller, but still important, details have been changed. It’s not Flashpoint at all, but it’s still a world with some butterfly effect consequences.
EPISODE 2: PARADOX
In Paradox we discovered the true depth of the changes wrought by Barry through his meddling with the timeline; Barry learned an important lesson about said meddling from his father’s doppelganger; and we were introduced to a new villain, Dr. Alchemy, who at least appears to be a very different sort of villain from the past two seasons’ big bads.
Perhaps more importantly, we were introduced to Julian Albert, also known as Malfoy to Harry Potter fans. Albert, played by Tom Felton, notorious for his role as Draco Malfoy in the Potter films, is a new workplace antagonist to Barry Allen. He’s “the best” CSI has, according to Caitlin and Cisco. He also despises Allen, because he “can’t be trusted.” That’s a fair assessment of our hero, though at least Barry comes clean to his friends about the whole Flashpoint fiasco which, in the end, doesn’t appear to be quite as big of a deal as it looked at first glance.
After all, by the end of the episode Iris and Joe are back on speaking terms, and Cisco—who lost his brother, Dante, in a drunk driving accident—isn’t quite as resentful toward Barry as he was at the beginning. That’s progress!
Of course, Caitlin—the one character Barry thinks hasn’t been drastically impacted by the Flashpoint—has frost powers, leading us to wonder if there’s a Killer Frost lurking below the surface, or if this Caitlin will use her meta-powers for good. (The latter seems more likely, but wouldn’t it be interesting if, say, Alchemy brought out the bad in her, and Caitlin was changed forever.
While Alchemy appears to be the season’s new super-villain, we did get a bit more Rival this week. Once again, Barry takes him down, though once again it’s only with the help of his friends. Rival goes to Iron Heights, though he isn’t safe from Alchemy there, who shows up (at least in the poor man’s head) in spite of the prison’s defenses. The future doesn’t look bright for Edward Clariss.
EPISODE THREE: MAGENTA
Iris/Barry are no longer navigating barriers to their romantic relationship, they go on their first date and realize that having dinner with someone you’ve lived with for 15 years is actually pretty boring.
Undeterred, they have a do-over and, rather than acknowledge the familial elephant in the room (we can’t have that), they decide that they just weren’t thinking big enough. They can’t ignore the speedsters and general chaos in their lives, because those things are part of who they are.
But Barry’s not the only speedster in town anymore – Jesse Quick is living up to her nickname. This isn’t an unexpected twist given the tease towards the end of last season, but I love that she’s basically at the same level as Barry so soon after getting her powers.
Less good is the typical ‘for your own good’ attitude of Harry, Joe and Barry when it comes to their young friends. It’s the same crap they gave Iris back in season one, so I’m glad at least Wells’ take on Jesse’s abilities is shown to be misguided by episode’s end. Poor Wally isn’t so lucky, with Barry adamant that his sorta-brother shouldn’t get the powers he used very wisely and well in the Flashpoint timeline.
Why shouldn’t he, if it’s meant to be? Barry should at least explain why he’s so twitchy around the subject, and there’s nothing worse than watching Joe use his ‘dad cop’ powers for evil.
Nevertheless, it’s great to have Harry back in the mix, and a female speedster joins the group at last. As much as I’d like to see it, I’m not sure if introducing Kid Flash would be overkill and, given the choice, I’d like to see Jesse get her chance to give the suit a spin.
Seeds for the rest of the season are slowly being sown and, while still dealing with a lot of the problems carried over from the second half of season two, it seems to have more of a structure than last year’s Zoom-focused arc. Maybe it’s time for the show to realize that no villain is ever going to measure up to Tom Cavanagh’s Harrison Wells, and when it comes to Alchemy or whatever else they’ve got up their sleeves, less is more.
But the one thing that keeps ringing in my ear is Alchemy can turn Wally into an evil kid flash . I mean with Wally desperate for the abilities and Alchemy on power-giving spree, who knows .