A look back on The Flash Season 3 Premiere: Flashpoint

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Eobard Thawne: Now who’s the villain Flash? Now who’s the villain?

Beware: Spoilers may follow.

Flashpoint is a major part of the Flash mythos. Its story about Barry Allen living in an alternate timeline was one that had a major impact not only on him but also his friends, family, and the entire Justice League as well. While the Arrowverse didn’t have a Justice League it still had a vast majority of superheroes to showcase its impact back then (particularly with only recently at that point adding Supergirl to the mix). This is something that should have been done over several episodes. And while it is setup well, the Arrowverse’s Flashpoint has many missed opportunities.

The story is that Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) after losing his father Henry (John Wesley Shipp) at the hands of the nefarious Zoom (Teddy Sears), in his devastation, travels back in time to prevent the Reverse Flash (Matt Letscher) from killing his mother Nora (Michelle Harrison) thus creating a new timeline called Flashpoint. In the present day now Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) is the new Flash, Barry still has his powers, his parents are alive and well, and the Reverse Flash is secretly locked up. However as Barry begins to lose his memories of his previous life he must make a choice to remain in this world or ask Eobard to reset the timeline.

The story did hit some hard notes such as Barry’s adoptive father Joe West (Jesse Martin) not only having a horrible relationship with Barry but is also an alcoholic with a strained relationship with his kids. Seeing Nora meet an even worse death than her original one was even more emotional. And even after Barry resets the timeline there are many negative changes such as the rift between Joe and Iris (Candice Patton) and others that are discovered along the road. The main problems are that there were so many other characters in the first two seasons that whose fates were unknown in Flashpoint and that Barry’s decision to change things back is rushed when it could have explored much more.

When it comes to the scenes with the Reverse Flash, Grant Gustin’s performance is once again great. Seeing him struggle to keep his memories alive was moving. You truly feel the denial in his voice when he doesn’t want to believe Flashpoint’s permanence setting in and the devastation when he ultimately realizes that he has no choice but to let Thawne kill his mother. It makes the goodbye he says to his parents all the more devastating.

Keiynan Lonsdale as Wally West was also shining in this episode. His Kid Flash costume is incredible and the dynamic between the two during Flashpoint was very entertaining. It truly made me look forward to seeing Wally become Kid Flash in the normal reality (this actually had nice payoff when the two go in a head-to-head race later in the series).

This was one of the bigger episodes for Letscher as the Reverse Flash and also the framing device for his role in season 2 of Legends of Tomorrow. His taunting and rage at Barry were incredible and brought to the table a great deal of personality to the character that Cavanagh, despite his talents in the Arrowverse is unable to.

Carlos Valdes as the tech billionare Cisco heading STAR labs was funny. However it also involves Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) being an eye doctor and while Panabaker does successfully do a good job of giving the character a nerdy edge, it doesn’t serve much purpose.

We also don’t know what became of characters such as Eddie Thawne, Ronnie Raymond, Leonard Snart, the Earth-1 Harrison Wells, etc. These and others were all characters that were well defined and some of whom had a close relationship with Barry so it would have been interesting to see what things would have been like for them.

One aspect that stands out about this whole thing is that it would have been a clever in-universe way of explaining the changes in season 2 of Supergirl. In the second season a lot of plotlines and characters from season 1 have been forgotten and even now aren’t mentioned. Flashpoint would have been a way to explain what happened to these characters and their stories. Do they exist still? Were they taken down differently? If they are how so?

What should have been a story building up episode by episode is rushed with Barry at one moment willing to accept his new reality and instantly choose to go back to his old one the next. The motivation to change it back was good and it certainly hit some entertaining notes but the whole thing could have used a lot more depth and entertainment with its endless supply of characters.