Warning! Full spoilers for the episode below.
There’s no time spent catching up, and we jump right into the world of Flashpoint. I appreciated this approach, especially when compared to the sluggish pace of Season 2’s first handful of episodes. We are introduced to a world where Kid Flash is Central City’s hero, a world where The Rival is the Big Bad. This is a world where Iris West doesn’t know who Barry is, and where Joe isn’t the superstar cop or father that he could be. This is a much different Central City.
But Barry is happy. As he says to Reverse-Flash, who he keeps captive in a warehouse, Barry has everything back. He has everything that Reverse-Flash took. He has everything that Zoom took. Barry has everything back. Barry has everything. Sure, he pines for Iris and Joe, and the Star Labs crew, but Barry is ultimately happy in Flashpoint.
The interactions between Barry and Reverse-Flash (Matt Letscher) are what truly stood out in Flashpoint. While Tom Cavanagh defined whom Reverse-Flash was through his multilayered performances in Season 1, it was indeed spectacular to give Letscher more screen time to chew through and establish himself even further. With Letscher guesting on Legends of Tomorrow as Reverse-Flash, it will be fantastic to see him truly stretch his legs and become Barry’s ultimate and eternal rival.
But just as soon as Barry professed about how happy he was in Flashpoint, things had to go sideways eventually. Barry began to forget about his old life, his old memories, with the new world of Flashpoint superseding everything that came before. This is where Flashpoint varied a bit from the comic book counterpart, and with lesser effect. In the comics, Barry awakens in his new life with no memory of how he got there, how he got into this changed reality. He remembers how he was The Flash, but has no memory otherwise. The Flash believes that Flashpoint is due to Reverse-Flash’s actions, and sets out to defeat him and set the past straight. The big twist comes when it’s revealed that Flashpoint came to be due to Barry’s own selfish actions of saving his mother in the past, something that is already apparent following the end of Season 2. Yes, The Flash had to create something fresh and new, but there was much less punch with Barry in this new alternate timeline.
Flashpoint provided alternate looks into the relationship of Iris and Wally as a crime-fighting duo of siblings, and also gave us a look at a suave billionaire Cisco, who benefited the most from this new timeline. Barry attempted to recreate the team at Star Labs, to varying success while describing exactly what this “Flashpoint” timeline was all about. Barry tried to reconstruct his old team, alongside Kid Flash, in order to take down the new baddie The Rival. Unfortunately, Kid Flash didn’t exactly agree with teaming up, and The Flash had to save the day. At the sacrifice of accelerating his memory loss, Barry defeated The Rival, but Joe was forced to kill him to defend Barry. All’s well that ends well, but Barry was left in a fragile state. All Barry wanted to do was to make things better for everyone with Flashpoint, but he finally returns to a state of simply wanting to make things right.
This led to another emotional scene where Barry had to once again say goodbye to his parents, knowing that they wouldn’t be there when he fixed the timeline. Barry took this goodbye in stride though, grateful for the three months he was able to spend with his parents. Barry’s condition was at an all-time-low following his battle with The Rival though, so he had no choice but to turn to Reverse-Flash. Again, it was lovely to see the relationship between Reverse-Flash and Barry taking on a much different shade this episode. Even Reverse-Flash took note of this, claiming the role of hero in order to fix Flashpoint. But he warned Barry that he would be back, and that things wouldn’t be the same.
I hate you. But I sometimes wonder which of us is right.
Barry returns to what should have been a fixed timeline, but still feels the reverberations of Flashpoint. Iris is no longer part of Team Flash, and we can expect more aftereffects to follow. While Flashpoint has been nixed, it appears that this new timeline is Flashpoint 1.5, and I hope that the status quo of Team Flash and the world of Central City doesn’t return immediately. We also get teases of this when we see Edward Clariss, who was The Rival in Flashpoint, receive a strange message about “ALCHEMY” in what appears to be the normal life he is living. While Clariss certainly doesn’t appear to be the The Rival in Flashpoint 1.5, there are dubious forces afoot as Barry must brave yet another altered timeline.
Flashpoint altered itself from its comic book counterpart, for both better and worse. While I was pleased to see Season 3 hit the ground running, especially in comparison to the sluggish pace of Season 2, the events within Flashpoint appeared to pass all too suddenly. While there is now Flashpoint 1.5 to worry about, I would have loved to see Barry deal with the initial Flashpoint in more depth, before the issue was quickly half-solved.