Major Spoiler Warning!
The Flash flipped the tables on its established universe by turning everything on its head in the second season finale by having Barry Allen travel back in time and save his mother from the hands of The Reverse Flash Eobard Thawne. This event kick-started a new Flashpoint alternative timeline borrowed from the infamous comics adaption by Geoff Johns and although it didn’t quite have as dramatic ramifications for the rest of the DC Universe as expected, Flashpoint was still regardless an effective hour of television that set up the status quo nicely.
Barry now has everything he wanted. Both his mother and father are alive, and things are back to how they should have been before Eobard Thawne changed his life. But there are changes to what he has known before, for example, STAR Labs has been bought by Cisco Ramon, the richest person on the planet, and there’s a different Flash in town, Wally West. His father Joe doesn’t get on the best of terms with his daughter, and Caitlin doesn’t even work at STAR Labs but remains an ordinary scientist rather than the Killer Frost that we saw in an alternate dimension. In this reality Cisco is helping Wally’s The Flash, but isn’t too keen on it being known to the public. Joe and Iris both don’t know Barry at all, and even though Barry is able to become friends with Iris he finds that the father/son bond between him and Joe has been shattered. Oh, and there’s a new speedster in town, determined to prove that he’s the fastest there is.
The characters are all handled well and this serves as an effective reboot of sorts even if only a temporary one. Alternate reality episodes always provide great fun regardless of the genre or show (for example, I recently watched the Deep Space Nine episode where Dr. Bashir went undercover as a secret agent as part of a hologram simulator), and it’s no surprise to see that the Earth Two episodes were among the best of the previous season.
Whilst this episode does include another Speedster in the form of the Wally’s rival, his motives are really simple (he just wants to be the fastest speedster in Central City) and Wally is having problems of his own in the fact that his rival is simply too good for him. The fact that Iris is helping Wally as part of his team makes an interesting twist from the previous seasons as well when it was clear that Iris was the only one who wasn’t in the know about what was going on with Barry and the STAR Labs team.
One thing that I didn’t like about the premiere was how it ended and Barry’s decision to reverse time so quickly. As a massive fan of the Flashpoint concept (Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is one of my favourite DC animated movies) it was kind of disappointing that everything was reset so quickly, and Barry’s motive for doing so wasn’t really compelling enough when it was likely that given Cisco’s resources in this alternate timeline there could have been a way for him to be saved fairly easily. It will no doubt be interesting to see the knock on effects of Barry’s decision to travel in time and I can imagine it’s something that the Earth 2 Harrison Wells and Jay Garrick will not be too pleased by. Either way, for the most part everything is back to normal now (Iris and Joe don’t get on particularly well, however) and we will have to wait and see what happens next.
The Flash returns next Tuesday on the CW. Let me know what you thought of this episode in the comments below!