Flashpoint zoomed past far quicker than we hoped for in Season 3's premiere episode. Fortunately, The Flash hit the ground running this week, throwing surprise after surprise our way in the new timeline.
From Tom Felton's debut as the Barry-hating Julian to the most awkward dinner party since The Parent Trap, 'Paradox' has reminded us why we fell in love with The Flash in the first place, even if we're still mad at Barry for messing up the timeline — again!
Amidst all of the big changes though, there were a number of enticing easter eggs and DC comic book references that deserve to be discussed in far greater detail. While we don't have a whiteboard available to draw fancy timelines on and such, there's still plenty here to get you up to speed with the latest episode of The Flash.
— Cisco's brother Dante is dead and he's pissed because Barry won't travel back in time to prevent this from happening. It's not like there's CONSEQUENCES when it comes to changing the past, right Cisco!?
— Iris and her father Joe aren't speaking because he kept the fact that her mother was still alive a secret — or something. This point was brushed over super quickly, classic Flash-style.
— Arrow‘s Diggle now has a son called John instead of a daughter called Sara — so does that mean Barry killed her, or did his time travelling antics just perform some kind of strange gender-swap?
— Barry's kiss with Iris was erased, but the dirty old dog soon rectified that mistake pretty sharpish.
— Cisco rocked his powers in proper hero style by coming to Barry's rescue, which was possibly the only good thing to come out of this new timeline.
— Wait, no. The one thing even more exciting than Cisco's newfound confidence in his abilities is the fact that Caitlyn Snow also has powers of her own now. That's right — it looks like fan favorite villain Killer Frost could return if Snow heeds the call of the dark side! Right now, she's currently keeping her abilities a secret — because that always works out super well for everyone involved, all the time, always.
Did anyone else notice that the first two episode titles of Season 3 combine to make the phrase 'Flashpoint Paradox', which also happens to be the name of the story that these episodes were based on? Probably, yes, but did you also notice that Williamson Street appeared once again, a location named after Joshua Williamson, the current writer of DC Comics's The Flash?
One thing that was almost impossible to ignore this week was how Cisco has been transformed from a loveable goof into a dark, grief-stricken husk of the scientist we all know and love. Gone are the adorably geeky t-shirts that Cisco's wears each episode, replaced by a more run-of-the-mill wardrobe that suited his glum demeanour. On the plus side though, this version of Cisco has new glasses and gauntlets that enable him to focus his vibes as an offensive power, which brings him closer to his comic book counterpart than ever before.
Felicity's appearance at the beginning of the episode was a welcome link to the Arrowverse at large, which provided some light relief among the more serious proceedings — that is, until Barry's visit also revealed that Flashpoint has had a far larger impact on Star City than we were first led to believe in the Season 5 Arrow premiere.
Diggle and Lyla's baby is no longer named Sara, but has become John Diggle Jr. instead. Bizarrely though, this isn't the first time that we've met this adorable new addition to the Arrowverse, as we've already seen a future version of the boy adopt Green Arrow's mantle in the Legends of Tomorrow episode 'Star City, 2046'. You'd think would be feeling pretty crappy about wiping an infant girl out of existence with all his shenanigans, but infanticide-by-proxy didn't stop him from recreating that gorgeously lit kiss with Iris from the Season 2 finale.
Finally, it was also extremely gratifying to meet the real big bad of Season 3, Doctor Alchemy, who somehow managed to exceed even the Rival in the terrible costume stakes. While his character remains shrouded in mystery, we did see our first glimpse of his weapon, the Philosophers Stone, which also just so happens to be the name of a Harry Potter book... OMG IT'S MALFOY! HE'S GOTTA BE DRACO MALFOY UNDER THAT BUG MASK THING!
- Will Caitlin fight crime with her new powers, or will she betray the team? Let's face it; Killer Frost is way more interesting than Caitlin "I'm a scientific expert in every field ever invented" Snow.
- How are the human husks linked with Doctor Alchemy? Do people shed their old skins when he they regain their powers & memories from the alternate timeline, or do we just have a million snake-themed meta humans slithering around Central City now?
- How has Jay Garrick been keeping an eye on Barry across three alternative timelines this whole time? Does he have his very own Cisco who can peer through the dimensional barrier or is it like that time Superman inexplicably developed weird Wall of China building vision in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace?
- Speaking of Cisco, surely he should be able to see through the changes to the timeline due to his abilities, right? RIGHT!?
- Did Doctor Alchemy kill Clariss in the final scene, or will we see The Rival return in a future episode? Whoever designed his costume is the only one who deserves to be killed in this scenario.
- Will Wally West's speedster powers return after an encounter with Doctor Alchemy, or will he continue as the adorably pointless side character you can't help but love?
- What's Doctor Alchemy's end game? What is he 'preparing' Earth-1 for? How extensive are his powers, and how does Doctor Alchemy know who had powers in the original timeline and who didn't? Does he know because he's not so secretly Julian, the magic wielding renegade from Harry Potter?
- Finally, how many times does Barry need to explain how timelines work? Couldn't he just take a photo of the first one and send it round the Team Flash group chat every time someone stupid like Wally asks how time travel works again?
Check out the preview for Episode 3 of Season 3 below, featuring a whole lot of Jesse Quick:
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While it felt like Flashpoint had let Barry off the hook for every ridiculous thing that he'd done, Paradox addressed Allen's selfish behaviour in far more gratifying detail. We haven't been more excited about The Flash since Season 1 first opened up the Reverse Flash mystery, and that's largely down to the huge number of intriguing hooks that have been set up by this new timeline.
Season 3 could very well turn out to be the darkest season of The Flash yet, but I for one cannot wait to see how things turn out as the aftermath of Flashpoint continues to hold shocking ramifications for the Arrowverse at large.