(WARNING: This article contains spoilers for The Flash Season 3)
After a bumpy Season 2, the CW's hit show, The Flash, hit the ground running for its latest chapter and has rekindled some of the charm the show debuted with two years ago.
In Season 3, #TheFlash (a.k.a. Barry Allen) has rewritten history by circumventing his mom's death. But as his "Flashpoint" universe begins showing its negative side, Barry rethinks his decision and tries to set time right. While most things are fixed, there are plenty of new issues the Flash must contend with. His support team is wrestling with inner demons, his family is fraught with discord, and formidable new villains in the forms of Dr. Alchemy and Savitar challenge his stamina.
The writers behind the show have not shied away from giving us complex themes and storylines to chew on, similar to Season 1. With the show on its midseason break, I think now is the time to consider some of the themes that have been teased out so far on The Flash.
The Dangers Of Playing With Time
When Barry realizes the timeline isn't exactly back to normal, he begins to travel back to the night of his mom's death to try and fix things again. The Earth-3 Flash, #JayGarrick, stops him in the mid-'90s for a heart-to-heart when it comes to playing with time. He takes a coffee mug and uses extreme vibration to break the cup. Although he puts the pieces back in place, he can't erase the cracks. So it is with time, you may tweak something in the past, but it breaks the timeline forever beyond repair.
This theme is poignant, especially for Americans in our current political climate. We want to turn back time and go back to the way things were before 9/11, terrorism, war, and economic woes. But The Flash carries on its theme from last season and further shows us that correcting one mistake or tragedy in the past doesn't make for a perfect future. We can never return to the past in the present.
Much of Season 3 so far has been Barry dealing with the consequences of his alternative timeline. His friends turn on him in anger, relationships aren't what they used to be, and new dangerous threats arise. Messing with the past only made things worse, not better and we can learn from this.
Your Sin Will Find You Out
Barry Allen lived in his "Flashpoint" universe for three months. In that period, no one other than himself and his arch-nemesis, the Reverse Flash, knew of any change. When the timeline reverted to normal (mostly), Barry eventually had to confess to his team what he did. As the episodes went on, more effects of his time travel became apparent. In the major crossover it turned out the Dominators were invading Earth precisely because the Flash toyed with time.
Barry's mistake was a big one and understandably his peers were upset with him. Cisco lost his brother, Caitlin's #KillerFrost powers manifested, and John Diggle's daughter became his son. As the Reverse Flash taunted Barry in the first episode, "Now who's the villain?" So many lives were changed or ruined by Barry's selfish decision.
The positive side to all this, though, is that in spite of their anger with Barry, his friends do love him and come around to understand why he did what he did, even if it was foolish. The Flash grew through his mistakes and learned his lesson while his friends found it in their hearts to forgive him. Consequences had to be faced, but there was love waiting on the other side.
Let The Truth Have Its Day
Several members of Team Flash are hiding secrets or deep pain from each other. Barry holds the secrets to their alternate lives in Flashpoint, Cisco struggles with grief over his brother's death, Caitlin strives to hide her metahuman powers, and Wally jealously wants speed, just to name a few.
All the secrets and pain they hold threaten to tear the team apart. However, healing only comes once their grievances and needs are brought to light. They have all made mistakes, they have all buried dark secrets deep down, but once the truth is revealed then relationships can be restored.
"Let the truth have its day!" Alfred declared to Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Rises, and that cry goes out through the first half of Season 3. The things Barry and his friends keep hidden from each other don't make the team safer, but instead put them in greater danger and greater risk.
These are just a few of the themes fleshed out on The Flash so far. It will be exciting to see how the show further develops them and where they go from here. It definitely feels like the show writers have a better grip on the story flow, unlike last season, where it seemed like they were constantly changing their minds. Hope (which was lacking last year) is also a more present theme.
In the midseason finale, Barry catches a glimpse of the future where his true love, Iris West, is killed by Savitar. How will he deal with this knowledge? Will he be able to keep it from her? What other secrets lie beneath the surface for Team Flash that could threaten to undo them? With the show returning to its former glory, I can't wait for January 24th when the Flash returns and chases new adventures!
What stood out to you this season on The Flash? Let me know in a comment below!