Season 3, Episode #1 "Flashpoint"
The third season of the Flash begins with an adaptation of one of the more famous modern Flash stories, “Flashpoint” which affected the entire DC Comics universe. The Flash goes back in time to stop The Reverse-Flash, Eobard Thawne, from killing his mother. However that event has a major effect on the timeline. The first episode begins a couple of months later in a radically different Central City. While Barry has his powers he has not become The Flash. Instead, Wally West (in traditional Kid Flash costume) has become the city’s protector battling another speedster known as The Rival, a character that goes all the way back to 1949.
But that’s not the only change. In this new timeline he doesn’t yet have a relationship with Iris, her father Joe West is an alcoholic detective who is close to losing his job; Cisco has become a billionaire tech developer, taking over the old S.T.A.R. Labs facility; and Caitlin is a pediatric ophthalmologist. Despite these changes Barry is happy with his new life since both his parents are alive and well. But when Barry begins to lose his memories of the previous timeline, Thawne tells him it is because it is being erased from existence and the only way he can repair the timeline is to return Thawne back and let him kill his mother. Barry is left with an impossible decision to remain in the current timeline which is worse for all his friends, or return and see his mother die again. The final segment teases the appearance to Doctor Alchemy as next week’s villain.
As I have said numerous times over the years I detest stories about time travel as they open a Pandora’s box of too many issues and unresolved plot fragments. If you think too deeply about the consequences it will make your head explode. This new timeline doesn’t seem to address that The Allens and the Wests already knew each other well before Nora Allen was killed. I mean, that’s why Joe took Barry in when his father was accused of the murder, right? Why would Caitlin have become a pediatric ophthalmologist instead of a bioengineer? And why would Wally West jokingly be referred to as Kid Flash when Central City didn’t yet have a Flash? Ugghhh…my temples are beginning to ache.
Despite all the questions it raises “Flashpoint” did provide an interesting, alternate reality of Central City. One in which things are a little darker and edgier than the one in which the characters currently reside. The cast had another opportunity to step out of their usual characters and play them a little differently; as they did with the Earth-2 episodes last season. The ending includes an interesting twist which seems like it might become a permanent alteration to Barry’s life. I am intrigued by the prospect of Doctor Alchemy, particularly in the sinister way they teased his introduction.
Enjoyable debut episode…This played out like the Flash version of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”