“There’s only one thing I know about life. I know some things happen by chance. And some things happen because we make them happen.”
The wait is over. The Central City Speedster is back, folks, and he better be ready to hit the ground running because, once again, our fleet-footed protagonist has flubbed up the timeline.
When a show turns its world upside down in a season finale, you never really know what to expect when it returns. Fast three months in Flash time and you get this week’s episode. And we’re not eased into the new world. Within the first segment, we get the rundown of this new world—aptly christened ‘Flashpoint’ by the villainous Reverse Flash, aka Eobard Thawne (more on that later). Barry and Iris have yet to meet (elementary school doesn’t count), there is a new Flash in town as well as a new baddie in the Rival. Captain Mendez is in charge of the police station and quite a bit more amicable than the crabby Singh. And of course, there’s the biggun—Henry and Nora Allen are both happy and alive. When Iris says yes to a lunch date, things couldn’t be better for CSI Allen. But as they say, if it seems too good to be true…
Thawne tells Barry as much. “This isn’t your home, Barry,” he says. “This is a mirage—a fiction—that will end us both…” It sounds like the ravings of a madman, which Thawne clearly is, but he’s not wrong. Barry doesn’t hear it though, cozy and smug with the fact that he’s taken down the bad guy and has the two most important people back in his life. We get a glimpse of a life filled with love as the Allens sit down to a family breakfast and, even in this wonderful moment, can we really be happy for Barry, knowing what he’ll have to do?
Before that happens we see another glitch in the timeline—it seems that the man of responsibility, Joe West, has let himself go. We really don’t get a reason for his current state but as misses go, it’s a minor one in this episode.
What we do get is a Barry and Iris who, despite not knowing one another, still maintain a familiarity that goes beyond just a casual attraction. Their small moments together may not be exactly what we remember but parallel the original timeline and solidifies the fact that Iris is Barry’s ancho and always will be.
Taking a break from the feels for a moment, what good is a hero without his team of people? Enter Cisco Ramon, richest man in America. Say what? Yep, turns out his tech is just that good. Though on the surface he carries the arrogance of Reverb, the Earth-2 Cisco, he’s still the heartfelt guy we’ve come to know and love through the last two seasons. Caitlin doesn’t get as much screen time this go-round but, when the crew is together, we still get that witty banter as the actors do such a phenomenal job playing off one another.
Of course, we all knew Wally would be donning the cowl of Kid Flash (just don’t call him that) and, while a pretty cool Easter Egg, I get the feeling that it won’t be the last time we see him speeding through the streets of Central City.
And then we have the bad guy. No, not Thawne, but the new guy in town: Edward Clariss, better known as the Rival. He doesn’t project the menace of Zoom but there’s an air of charisma about him that, unlike last year’s villain, may have people wanting to see more of him.
Okay, we’ve stalled long enough; let’s get the end out of the way.
There was never any doubt that this alternate timeline wouldn’t last past the first hour of season three but still, the brevity of our time left a few questions—however moot—out there. But the biggest disappointment is that we won’t be seeing Henry and Nora anytime soon and that’s a bummer though, Barry’s reaction when he returned back into the original timeline wasn’t one of a guy who’d never see his parents again. It’s a small gripe, I know, but then again Barry doesn’t get a chance to put his feet up when he’s knocked on his tuckus at the newest reveal: Joe and Iris, whose strength of ‘ship is the second constant in the show (next to Baris) aren’t on speaking terms.
Finally, we’re left with the familiar face of Edward Clariss being activated by a phantom voice that etches the name ‘Alchemy’ on the mirror.
The Finish Line
Lots of action and moving parts in the forty plus minutes in the premiere and, despite a hiccup here and there, as well as the disappointing rush through the whole ‘Flashpoint’ saga, this was a good jumping off point for season three. Not only did we get to see an old villain in his words “be the hero”, we get the smallest taste of what awaits for Barry as he tries to settle into the new dynamic. Right now, we only know of Iris and Joe’s estrangement but who knows what he’ll have to deal with down the line. Well, that’s not entirely true; we do have two names awaiting Barry…
The Rival and the bigger bad, Alchemy. A speedster and…something else. As always, Barry’s going to have his hands full, but if he can remember Alternate Iris’s words—“Be the Flash, Barry, because that’s who you are”—then he just might come out of all this all right.
Flashpoint – 3.5 lightning bolts (out of 5)