After the game-changing finale of Season 2, fan hopes are high for The Flash Season 3, as Barry discovers the full consequences of his decision to save Nora Allen's life. To help you keep track of all the twists and turns along the way, we'll be updating this The Flash Season 3 recap and review page as the episodes air.
So without racing around the point, let's get to it!
Episode 1 — "Flashpoint"
Three months on from the end of Season 2, we find Barry living happily in the new timeline he created. His parents are both alive, he is working as a CSI, and he's finally asked Iris West out on a date. Sure, things are different — Joe dislikes him and Cisco's an arrogant billionaire — but with Kid Flash holding down the fort, all Barry has to do is enjoy his new life. Until he starts forgetting his old one.
Initially teaming up with Wally and Iris — "a brother-sister crimefighting unit!" — to fight the speedster villain known as the Rival, Barry now has to round up his old team and explain to them the intricacies of Flashpoint — the name Reverse Flash gave to this new timeline.
As Eobard Thawne taunts him from the sidelines, Barry is determined to have it all, continuing to use his speedster powers even though he's losing his memory. But after a vicious battle with the Rival leaves Wally mortally wounded, Barry decides to rewrite history again, releasing the Reverse Flash so he can go back in time and kill Nora Allen.
But though everything seems to be back to normal, Barry soon finds out that this timeline isn't the one he knows and loves — and Iris may be very different too.
Verdict: This is definitely an episode that will divide fans. After months of building Flashpoint up in our heads, there was no way the TV adaptation of the popular comic arc could live up to fans' weird and whacky theories. Opting for a more personal approach, The Flash TV series' version of Flashpoint pretty much just used the concept in order to give Barry some character development.
And yet, even if they didn't want to go all out and show us the terrifying consequences of time travel — the comic arc features a vicious war between two cultures, and vastly different versions of our favorite superheroes — it's still a shame that this arc wasn't drawn out over more episodes.
With any luck, this post-Flashpoint timeline will still have enough differences for us to explore in later episodes.
Episode 2 — "Paradox"
Leaping straight back into the story where we left off in Episode 1, "Paradox" explores the subtle differences between this post-Flashpoint timeline and the original one — and you better believe that transparent whiteboard makes a comeback as Barry tries to explain time travel again.
But although he's created another timeline, the problems from Flashpoint come back to haunt Barry and the team, as the mysterious Alchemy — dubbed Doctor Alchemy by Cisco — seems to remember the previous timeline, and is intent on causing all kinds of problems for Team Flash. Enter the Rival, again, as Edward Clariss is granted speedster powers by Doctor Alchemy.
With Iris and Joe not speaking, and Cisco mourning the death of his brother Dante, Barry has a lot to deal with in this post-Flashpoint timeline. Then of course there's Julian Albert — played by Tom Felton, Julian is the CSI forced to work in close quarters with Barry, investigating the appearance of human shaped "husks" scattered around the city.
Barry attempts to solve these problems in Team Flash first by an ill-advised family dinner, before running back through time to reset the timeline again. But he doesn't get very far, as Jay Garrick — the Flash from Earth-3 — pulls Barry over for a fatherly scolding, telling Barry that he can't just reset the timeline when something doesn't go his way.
After a nasty battle with the Rival, the team demand Barry divulge the secret he's been keeping from them, so he explains how he reset the timeline twice. Cisco is not happy to hear this, arguing that Barry is only refusing to do so again to save Dante because Dante was Cisco's brother, not Barry's.
Without backup from the team, Barry tracks the Rival to an old salt mill, but after he finds the new speedster to be more than a match for him, Cisco and the others are forced to step in to save Barry. Donning the partially completed Vibe suit, Cisco arrives on the scene, and with help from him the Flash defeats the Rival.
The team patch things up, agreeing to move forward and not dwell on their different lives in Flashpoint. But Caitlyn doesn't seem as happy as the others, and when she's alone her hand starts to freeze.
In the final scene, we see Clariss incarcerated, safe until a mysterious assailant with a metal arm kills him, presumably on the command of Doctor Alchemy.
Verdict: This was a much stronger episode, as the consequences of messing with the timeline finally seem to be catching up to Barry. The action was well paced, with some nice plot threads laid out for the rest of the season to deal with, introducing Doctor Alchemy and the intriguing "husks" he seems to be producing when giving his followers powers. There are plenty of unanswered questions for us to mull over while we wait for the next episode — how does Alchemy remember Flashpoint? — and it'll be interesting to discover the now-permanent differences in this new timeline.
Episode 3 — "Magenta"
Episode 3 developed the Doctor Alchemy plot, as a young and vulnerable metahuman seeks vengeance against her abusive stepfather.
With the power to control metal, and suffering from Dissociative Identity Discorder, Frankie a.k.a. Magenta puts her stepfather in the hospital and soon has the Flash on her tail, after she lashes out at Julian at the police precinct.
In the meantime, Barry and Iris try to begin dating, but discover that there may be some awkwardness after their first date doesn't last long — and it was pretty dull even before Barry rushed off to save lives.
But they're not the only ones on Team Flash with problems. When Harrison and Jesse Wells return from Earth-2, Wally becomes quietly jealous of Jesse's new speedster powers. Considering they were both caught in the second particle accelerator explosion, Wally wonders why he hasn't got speed powers too — especially as he's been experiencing dreams of being a speedster.
After trying to get Caitlyn to persuade Jesse not to use her powers, Harry eventually decides to support his daughter's desire to be a hero like the Flash, allowing her to help Barry take down Magenta. Back at the lab, Frankie confirms the team's suspicion that Alchemy gave her her powers, after tempting her with dreams of Magenta's supervillain life in Flashpoint. Wally seems uneasy, and we're left wondering if Alchemy is tempting him with similar dreams of Kid Flash.
With Frankie packed off to a new, and nicer, foster family, Barry and Iris resume their date. This time though, Barry says they should embrace the fact that they're different people now, speeding Iris across the city to a romantic location. Again, he can't stay long, but the date went better this time.
The episode ends with Julian showing Barry and Joe footage of Edward Clariss' death — and as Barry lets slip that he already knew who Alchemy was, Julian's mistrust of him grows.
Verdict: Although it was a pretty standard episode for The Flash, "Magenta" had some nice emotional high points, pushing along Wally's development while reintroducing some strong cast members in the form of the Wells.
Check back here for more recaps and reviews as Season 3 progresses!
Tell us in the comments: What did you think of Episode 1?