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Hello Flash fans! Our favorite speedster is back in action and we’re as happy as Cisco is naming supervillains. Season 2 ended with a timeline-diverging twist, leaving Barry Allen in a brave new world to explore. What does he find? Let’s dive in.

Season three begins three months into Barry’s new life in the Flashpoint universe, a result of him traveling back in time to prevent his mother’s death at the hand of Reverse-Flash. His parents are alive and well, but the last two seasons of The Flash never happened. Iris is a near-stranger, Joe is a hard-drinking, beat-up detective, Cisco is an app-developing billionaire, Caitlin’s a pediatric ophthalmologist and Wally is Kid Flash. While Barry’s home life is better than ever, he can’t resist getting the old crime-fighting team back together.

That effort is a mixed-bag. The Barry/Iris romance is something this show has trouble selling, as the writers keep inventing reasons to separate and bring them back together as the plot demands. Barry’s pursuit of someone who doesn’t know him in this timeline is supposed to be charming, but feels more like light-stalking. Of course, it all works out since even in this alternate timeline, they’re meant to be, a line that Iris almost says verbatim.

Plus, there’s yet another speedster causing trouble, Edward Clariss AKA The Rival. Who’s rival? Kid Flash’s, it seems. While Wally’s outfit is pretty sweet, The Rival’s is overdone and cartoony, the opposite of the menace that Zoom brought to the show. It is a bit cool though that they brought the original baddie speedster from the comics into the show.

But all’s not well in the world of “Flashpoint.” Barry is losing his memories, leading to a visit to his prisoner/exposition-machine, Eobard Thawne. While Matt Letscher isn’t as menacing as Tom Cavanagh, he’s decent at the witty repartee. I feel like he speaks for everyone when he tells Barry, “The you I know from the future isn’t this stupid.”

And this is the main problem with “Flashpoint.” Barry already learned this lesson about changing his past back in the first season. Then he learned it again last season, only to ignore all that and rewrite history to save his mom anyway. The show seems to have trouble finding a way to keep Barry’s character growth intact. It keeps falling back on the same flaw over and over. It takes the loss of his memories and the near-fatal injury of Wally for him to release Thawne and set things straight.

But of course, he doesn’t get off with his time-traversing that easily. While Thawne kills Barry’s mother and the timeline appears restored, it’s not the same as Barry left it. Joe and Iris haven’t talked to each other in years. And the word “Alchemy” gets carved into Clariss’ mirror. Things are worse. It’s up to Barry to clean up his own mess.

Assorted Thoughts:
⦁ Barry teasing Kid Flash about his hideout’s security is rich, given that S.T.A.R. Labs might as well be Times Square. Glass houses, Barry. Glass houses.

⦁ Best exchange of the episode: Caitlin – “Have I been kidnapped?” Wally – “…unclear”

⦁ Barry’s parents are far too calm in his goodbye scene, which seems more like he’s running away from home. I doubt they would have just let him go after those odd remarks.

⦁ The Doctor Alchemy tease makes me hopeful that we will not have a speedster as this season’s Big Bad. The Flash has already run out of road on that course.

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