How many times has the Flash catastrophically altered the timeline? “Not enough!” screams both the Season 2 finale and this Tuesday’s premiere, “Flashpoint”. Viewers are anxious to know exactly what happens after Barry travels back in time to save his mother, despite making a very different decision in 1×23. In other words, how did the Flash screw with time again?
But before viewers scream at their TVs in frustration, let’s quickly recap where the season two finale left off:
Zoom murdered Barry’s father right before him- a scene that required full-on tears from both viewers and the Flash himself. For Barry to lose another parent, right when he felt as if he could move on from his mother’s death, was a brilliant and beyond cruel plot-device planted by the screenwriters.
Barry manages to outsmart Zoom using his own “time remnant” trick, and the vengeful time wraiths from episodes beforehand take care of Zoom.
A plot-twist reveals that Zoom actually stole the name Jay Garrick from the Flash of Earth 3, Barry’s father.
A bittersweet goodbye as Earth 2 Harrison Wells and his daughter Jesse Quick return home, back to their Earth.
For BarryxIris fans, a farewell kiss was shared between the couple before Barry decides to change the course of fate himself…again.
Despite victory against Zoom, Barry is completely broken by the death of his father. In anger, he travels back in time to stop the Reverse-Flash from killing Nora Allen.
So what exactly happens because of Barry’s tantrum? We all know that the whole perfect universe is too good to be true, yet we see his loving parents “well and alive” as he puts it, and a beautiful budding romance between Iris and Barry in the beginning of the episode. It’s practically everything he’s ever wanted, except for the fact that he keeps the Reverse-Flash(Eobard Thawne) locked in an abandoned warehouse. But otherwise, things do really seem to be looking up; and as the audience saw in the Flashpoint trailer, there’s even a new hero speedster so Barry can retire from his vigilante duties! Not to mention a few amusing changes, like how Cisco Ramon is now a prickly billionaire with no time for heroics, or how Joe West is both a deadbeat dad and detective. Fans will definitely need this touch of humor to get past the ending of the episode.
What was also a nice touch is how Eobard names this alternate reality as Flashpoint. For those of you who do not read DC comics, Flashpoint is a popular comic where Barry wakes up to an entirely different reality due to the consequences of his actions, much like what’s going on in this episode. The comic to screen nod here is a fun easter egg for the comic nerds watching!
Going back to Central City’s new protector, viewers finally see Wally West as his comic counterpart KidFlash. Yes, Wally, Iris’ little brother is this timeline’s Flash fending off the Rival (Todd Lasance), the current evil speedster. Here’s where the whole interesting “wow” factor goes down: the Rival’s basically the alternate timeline’s knockoff of Zoom. He’s another villain who wrecks havoc because of his major ego issues (his need to be the fastest man alive). Although it’s understandable why bad guys might be threatened by the Flash’s awesome speed and power, a more refreshing reason behind the whole villain getup would have been appreciated.
But that doesn’t mean the Rival shouldn’t be taken seriously, which is made clear when he kills KidFlash in one merciless stroke. Everything starts going downhill from here, which is furthered emphasized by Barry’s memory loss as he rewrites the old timeline through everything he does. Now here fans realize that Eobard is annoyingly right: Flashpoint is warping everyone’s lives and needs to be reversed (pun intended). Barry eventually realizes this when Wally’s on the verge of death, and sets out to make a decision that will undoubtedly scar him forever.
Of course it wouldn’t be a proper Flash episode without angst and heartbreak. And that’s exactly what viewers get when Barry realizes that he has to make things right by allowing Eobard Thawne to kill his own mother. So they travel back, prevent Barry from saving Nora, and Thawne stabs her in the heart once more… before returning to the original timeline.
Hallelujah. Order is restored. Everything’s back to the way it was! But we know things are never this simple. Before Eobard speeds away, he reveals that everything’s not quite fixed in Barry’s world and that the trouble isn’t over yet. We see Barry quickly discovering this after talking with Joe and Wally as he realizes that Iris is no longer part of his life. Who’s to tell what other changes he’s caused?