Previously on The Flash, “Flashpoint”
Barry Allen learns the hard way sometimes… well, often times. Barry Allen needs his friends and family to catch him when he stumbles and check him when he’s wrong. But most importantly, Barry Allen always acts with the best of intentions, and that may be the main reason his family and friends have put up with some pretty selfish shit from Barry as of late. And it’s probably why he wasn’t in a rush to tell them about the events of “Flashpoint.”
And the fallout from that was bigger than we knew at the end of last week’s episode. Barry makes a trip to Star City to lay it all out for Arrow’s Felicity: Tensions are high within Team Flash. Cisco is grieving the death of his brother Dante and is angry that Barry has spent the past six months refusing to go back in time to save him. Iris and Joe aren’t speaking because Joe kept the secret about Francine; a secret she forgave him for almost immediately in season two.
Things are frosty at work as well. Barry shares his lab with CSI Julian Albert (Felton), and the two pretty much hate each other for reasons Barry doesn’t remember because this is all a product of this new timeline (I call it Timeline C). And speaking of chilly, Caitlin is most definitely in possession of her Killer Frost powers (minus the Hot Topic lipstick and annoying vocal fry), but she’s keeping that a secret for now.
The one bright spot is Iris West still has romantic feelings for Barry, but the kiss on the porch and her advising him to do whatever he needs to in order to get well never happened.
Felicity convinces Barry that he can fix things, so that’s what he tries to do. Working with Julian instead of snapping at each other doesn’t go well as Julian would rather work the case of husks of skin being found around Central Center on his own. While watching Barry zip back and forth between Iris and Joe (lying to both in order to get them to share a meal) was funny, it all blew up in his face around the dinner table. Grandma Esther’s noodle dish was a hit, but Joe and Iris do not make up and Cisco is still pissed at Barry.
Personal turmoil is put on hold when The Rival appears, newly re-powered by Alchemy, who claims he wants to prepare the world. For what? We don’t know, but Edward Clariss is just happy that the visions of his prior life (also gifted from Alchemy) aren’t signs he’s going crazy. With his memory and powers fully restored he challenges The Flash. Clariss gets away, but their encounter is caught on a security cam and Iris demands truthful answers or their relationship with be over before it starts. Unable to confess the details, Barry takes the blame but runs back in time (again!) to reset his reset.
Thankfully, he’s yanked out of the Speed Force in 1998 by none other than Jay Garrick (John Wesley Shipp). Over corned beef hash and The Wallflowers, Jay lays it out: Stop messing with time when your life sucks. Move through it and forward like everybody else, starting with dealing with the consequences of his recent time travel.
Barry finally tells the team, giving them the option to learn about their Timeline B lives. This does nothing to change Cisco’s feelings of betrayal (good thing Barry left out the detail of how he created Timeline C to save Wally’s life). It takes Iris reminding them all that they’ve each done terrible things when pushed against a wall.
And good thing, that, because when Barry tracks Rival again, he’s confronted with Alchemy as well and it takes an assist from Cisco and his Vibe powers to save him. With Clariss cooling his heels in Iron Heights, the team gets a moment to breathe and forgive, and none of them want to know about their alternative timeline lives.
Most special of all, Iris is convinced that no matter what, when, or where they are, he will always be Barry, she will always be Iris, and they will always find each other. They finally share a kiss that won’t be erased.
I have such high hopes for season three based off these first two episodes. It’s like having a time jump, but better. And unlike other shows that have used a time jump to skip over relationship shifts, these changes feel earned. Cisco has been working on his own crime-fighting suit and honing his powers. Caitlin, who really needs a storyline not focused on losing a man, will finally be interesting. Now that we know the husks of skin are related to Alchemy, is it possible one of the other husks belong to Caitlin? Was her Timeline B eye doctor living a double life as Killer Frost? Or is this just one of the differences that comes with the territory; like Iris not forgiving Joe? Either way, I’m actually looking forward to a Caitlin storyline now.
“Paradox” didn’t touch on an issue that should be, well, an issue. If Eobard killed Nora Allen in this timeline because Barry needed him to, and then whisked Barry back to the present, doesn’t that mean he was never stuck in the past? That would also mean he never needed to become Harrison Wells so Earth-1’s Wells should be alive. Unless we’re supposed to believe that after dropping Barry off Eobard ran back to that time.
Felton’s Julian is a much-needed addition to the cast. With everyone in on the secret, you need someone close to Barry (at least in proximity) to be out of the loop. With the bulk of their relationship taking place during the change, and given Julian’s genuine distrust of Barry (and we know Barry is terrible at not looking like he’s keeping secrets when he’s keeping secrets), their acrimony promises to be intriguing. He’s like Sgt. Doakes to Barry’s Dexter.
But Wait; There’s More
Like most evil masterminds, Alchemy doesn’t take it too well when his minions fail. Clariss’ stint in Iron Heights is a short one as Alchemy kills him in his cell.
Leave your thoughts on the episode below, or on our Facebook post of this review, and we’ll read them on tonight’s podcast for The Flash!
The Flash S3E2 = 9.1/10