I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that a significant portion of nerd culture concerns the idea that one should not go mucking about all willy-nilly with the fabric of time. Time travel screws things up. Nerds know this intrinsically. And I feel like Barry – at some point – was nerdy enough to have known this without having to learn it the hard way three, four times in a row.
Be that as it may, Jay Garrick still has to show up and jerk Barry out of the speedforce for a firm talking to about this. “Look, kid, this is uncomfortable for both of us,” Jay says, before swatting Barry up the backside of the head. “Stop being dumb and leave the timeline alone.”
Ok, it didn’t really happen like that. But that’s basically what went down.
So Barry at least begins to discover the extent of the damage he’s done to the timeline this episode and it’s mostly kind of… meh. Iris is mad at Joe because Joe didn’t tell her about Francine. Cisco is mad at Barry because Dante died, and Barry wouldn’t go back in time to save him. (This, at least, has the benefit of being sharply relevant to the story.) Central City PD hired Draco Malfoy to help out in the CSI department and to no one’s surprise, he’s a bit of a dick. And apparently Dig has a son instead of a daughter, now.
That last one actually makes me a little mad. It feels like Arrow giving the finger to a really cool storyline. “We’re making all these heart-wrenching changes!” Flash says. “Yeah?” says Arrow. “Whatever. Make Dig’s kid a boy instead, I guess.” Like, if you didn’t wanna play, you could have just said so, Arrow. No need to be an ass about it.
Much of this episode is concerned with restoring the status quo. Team Flash is pissed at each other, so Barry needs to puppy-dog-eye his way around until he fixes it. I’m pretty sure this is Barry’s real super power.
We get the cute scene with Jay Garrick showing up to verbally slap some sense into Barry, which sets us up for further Jay Garrick appearances later on. Although I’m a bit confused – does Garrick mean he stuck around on Earth 1 to keep an eye on Barry, or is he able to somehow run between worlds? Because Jay was Earth 2’s Flash. Doesn’t he need to be there, like, Flash-ing?
We also get a fun scene with Barry running over to Star City to see Felicity, and Felicity is a hoot, as usual, as she always is when anyone besides the Arrow writers are writing her. (Seriously, every time I see Felicity on The Flash, I get mad at the Arrow writers room all over again.)
While Barry’s dealing with the drama, we meet Dr. Alchemy, who is able to see the Flashpoint timeline, and is… restoring powered people from the Flashpoint timeline, I guess? He recreates the Rival, and apparently he’s recreated three other people from the Flashpoint timeline, too. (That’s him behind the dried-out husks, right?) Alchemy’s doing this to “prepare the world” for something that’s coming.
Anyway, Barry sorts the Rival out, Team Flash gets its hash settled, and now Caitlyn has Killer Frost powers, so that should be fun.
I dunno, guys. I’m feeling a little let down by the whole Flashpoint thing. I feel like it was a waste of a great storyline, just to set up one or two permanent changes that could have been written in another way. I guess we’ll see.
So, a few things…
- Caitlyn has ice powers now. How long has she been hiding that, in the new timeline? The whole time? Or did they just start?
- Alchemy is “preparing the world” for something. The big crossover event? But then what’s The Flash doing for the rest of the season? Because the crossover hits at the midway point.
- We’ve also got the Justice Society brewing over on Legends of Tomorrow. I’d think they would have more to do with the Dominion crossover event than Dr. Alchemy would.
- And what about Supergirl, dangling off in her own little universe? Andrew Kreisberg, Supergirl executive producer, says the two universes won’t merge, but that wouldn’t be the first time a showrunner lied to us in an attempt to keep big reveals secret. Keeping Supergirl in her own universe just feels really awkward and pointless, especially since we’re six or eight episodes out from debuting aliens in the Arrowverse anyway. Plus, it deprives us of Felicity/Cisco/Winn team-ups, which is a travesty and you know it.
- The best way to bring Supergirl into the Arrowverse would be to wait two more episodes and have someone drop a line to Barry like, “What about that snob in the red skirt in National City? She’s been around for years and has never even flown by to say ‘hi.’ That stuck-up douche in Metropolis, too.” and then Barry can go hyperventilate in the corner for a few because he screwed up the timeline so bad he smooshed two universes together. That’ll learn him.
- Cisco has a Vibe suit!
- Holy crap, that part where the Flash hit the Rival and pinballed the guy halfway across Central City? Jebus. More of that, please.
Line of the Night Award
No winners in this episode. Although Felicity’s reaction to Barry using her computer was pretty good.
- AV Club: The Flash gets stuck in the mopiest timeline
- Den of Geek: The Flash Season 3 Episode 2: Paradox Review
- io9: The Flash May Have Just Fixed Its Biggest Problem
- IGN: The Flash: “Paradox” Review