The season 3 premiere of The Flash was not very satisfying as a season opener. While the trip into the Flashpoint universe had a few cool ideas, ultimately it was far too short and didn’t really tell anyone what the season would look like. The second episode, “Paradox,” on the other hand, is much more successful. After the disappointing derailment that was the end of season 2 and the season 3 premiere, The Flash is finally back on board in this episode. For the first time in forever, Barry really faces the consequences of his actions, and the reflection is not that pretty.
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Back to Reality
Hopefully for the last time this season, we will have to recap what new changes there are to the timeline. Barry is back in “our” universe, but there are a few differences:
- Barry has a new co-worker, Julian Albert, who hates him. This is the change that makes the most sense since it was always weird that a major city’s forensic department was always one guy.
- Cisco’s brother, Dante, is dead, and Cisco is a complete bummer who is angry at Barry for not changing time to save his brother.
- Diggle on Arrow no longer has a daughter named Sara but rather a son named John Jr.
- Joe and Iris are fighting because Joe lied about Iris’ mother being alive.
- Caitlin is now a metahuman, secretly developing ice superpowers.
There is also a new villain, Dr. Alchemy, who is giving people their lives from the Flashpoint universe. Alchemy starts this plan by finding Edward Clariss, The Rival from Flashpoint. Alchemy gives Clariss everything he had in “Flashpoint” from the powers to the garish costume. When Alchemy gives these people their powers, husks, like snakeskin, of their bodies are left behind and found by the CCPD.
Barry, unaware of the Alchemy problem, is trying to repair the team by having a family dinner. It’s disastrous because exactly no one wants to talk to anyone else. Wally, however, is now the most positive and non-whiny member of the group, which is a refreshing change of pace. Wally being infinitely more likable and friendly with Barry is a plus, but it doesn’t quite make this whole Flashpoint venture worth it.
Barry’s disastrous family meeting is interrupted by the first public appearance of The Rival. Barry rushes off to face the newest evil speedster. The Rival confronts Barry about how he changed the timeline, and it’s all very angsty. Then they do the speedster thing where they run around the city and one of them (usually the evil one) disappears into the night.
Iris finds security camera footage of The Rival and Barry’s confrontation. Iris is suspicious and asks Barry why it looks like The Rival knows him and why he is acting so weird in general. Barry, who has clearly learned nothing, runs away from this problem and tries to reset the timeline once again.
As Barry enters the Speed Force to change time, he is yanked out by a grumpy Jay Garrick. Jay confesses to Barry that he knows he is Henry’s doppelganger. Jay also tells Barry that he is aware that Barry changed the timeline with Flashpoint. Jay further instructs Barry and informs him that, as The Flash, they cannot change timelines.
They are people with powers, not gods. Barry needs to deal with the consequences of their actions, not run away from them. I have never felt more of a connection to any other fictional character as I do to Jay Garrick in this moment. This scene does make the Flashpoint venture worth it.
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Facing the Music and the Rival
After his talk with Jay, Barry finally takes someone’s timeline advice and travels back to his friends. Barry comes clean about everything. He tells them the whole truth of Flashpoint and how Barry is responsible for the changes in their lives. Cisco obviously takes things the hardest. Cisco is hurt because Barry tried to save his mother when Barry has apparently been refusing to go back in time to save Dante. Barry tells everyone, though, that he is done messing with time. God bless you, Jay Garrick.
Barry leaves everyone to deal with their pain and goes after The Rival. Using his own investigative skills and some information from Julian Albert, Barry figures out that Clariss is waiting for him at the docks where Clariss was killed in “Flashpoint.” When Barry gets there, he finds not only Clariss but also Dr. Alchemy waiting. Before he leaves mysteriously, Alchemy tells Barry his whole evil plan about helping people reach their “true potential” by giving them their Flashpoint lives.
While Barry is meeting these new supervillains, Iris is rallying the troops. Iris convinces everyone to forgive Barry for his mistake. Iris starts the ball rolling by forgiving Joe, and eventually everyone follows suit. Cisco even shows up (with much more control on his powers than before) to help Barry fight and defeat The Rival.
Back on Track
With Cisco’s help, The Rival is thrown in Iron Heights (though he later appears to be murdered by an angry Dr. Alchemy). Cisco promises that he will work with Barry again. Iris and Joe get things back to normal. To cap off this mostly happy ending, Barry finds Iris back on the porch of the West home.
Iris tells Barry that she never wants to find out what her life was like in “Flashpoint.” In Iris’ mind, no matter what happens or where they end up, she will always be Iris and Barry will always be Barry. They will always find each other. Barry and Iris have their third “first kiss” of the series, and hopefully this one won’t be erased by timeline rejiggering or any other nonsense.
What did you think of the episode? Did “Paradox” fix all the problems from the season premiere? Did you think there were any problems with “Flashpoint” that needed fixing? Which change is the most exciting to you?
The Flash season 3 airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW. Want more news? Like our Flash Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of The CW)