It's finally happened! After months of speculation, The Flash Season 3 kicked off with a great episode, partially adapting the comic arc Flashpoint in a low key but interesting way. In true The Flash fashion (Flashion?), Season 3 Episode 1 was stuffed full of plot hints, Easter Eggs, and plenty of unanswered questions to keep us guessing for the rest of the season.
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 with Kid Flash holding down the fort, all Barry has to do is enjoy his new life. Until he starts forgetting his old one.
Barry gets the gang back together, but after a battle with the Rival proves almost fatal for Wally, Barry allows the Reverse Flash to go back in time and kill his mother, reseting the timeline again. But all is not what it appears to be in this new, post-Flashpoint world.
There were tons of callbacks to the first episode of Season 1 in "Flashpoint", right down to Cisco calling the Rival "some kind of Weather Wizard". Here's the sequence of events:
- The Rival created tornados, just as Weather Wizard did.
- Barry stopped the tornados by running around inside them.
- Joe shot the Rival, just as he shot Weather Wizard's brother.
This was a really neat parallel, and implies the story is starting afresh (again).
But before this all played out, there were a few more interesting Easter Eggs. There was a nice parallel with Legends of Tomorrow as Thawne explained to Barry how the timeline was becoming "concrete", in much the same way that Rip Hunter explained how time works in the Season 1 episode "Star City 2046".
The captain of the police precinct in this timeline is Julio Mendes. Mendes is actually a character from the 1990 TV show The Flash — kind of a Cisco to John Wesley Shipp's Barry Allen. This character is played by the same actor as in the 1990 show.
When we first encounter this version of Cisco, he explains why he decided not to work with Wally and Iris — because he didn't want to get a "vibrating hand" right through his chest. This is a callback to the Season 1 episode "Out Of Time", in which the Reverse Flash (disguised as Harrison Wells) killed Cisco in this way. The fact that Cisco mentioned this specific method of a speedster killing someone might imply that Cisco remembers the timeline before Flashpoint.
But my favorite Easter Egg by far was possibly accidental. When the Rival ordered Barry to remove his Flash mask and reveal his identity, I couldn't help but remember this moment from the Justice League animated series:
Because if the Rival doesn't already know who Barry Allen is, what's the point in him taking off his mask?
But it's not all comic parallels and Easter Eggs. There were plenty of plot hints in this episode too, aside from that cliffhanger ending that introduced Dr Alchemy and established Iris is estranged from Joe.
We're left wondering whether the Reverse Flash deliberately orchestrated problems for Barry to encounter in this post-Flashpoint timeline. Did his actions lead to Iris becoming estranged from her family? And where did he run off to? (We'll find this out in Legends of Tomorrow next week, as the Reverse Flash is part of the Legion of Doom, the Big Bads for the upcoming season.)
But the question that really bugged me is — where is Harrison Wells in Flashpoint? Because Barry stopped Thawne from killing his mother, it stands to reason that the original Harrison Wells was never killed by Thawne, and so he must have been the owner of S.T.A.R. Labs before Cisco took it over. It's a shame we didn't spend more time in the Flashpoint timeline, as we could have found out the answer to this.
So where is Harrison Wells in the post-Flashpoint timeline? The Reverse Flash only killed Wells in the original(ish) timeline because he lost his speedster powers and needed the particle accelerator explosion to happen a decade earlier. But in this version of events, the Reverse Flash has his speedster powers, so there's no reason for him to kill Wells. Of course, that means this timeline could be different in many more ways, so it's possible that the Reverse Flash lost his speedster abilities soon after killing Nora.
But for that matter — why could the Reverse Flash use his speedster powers in Flashpoint?
All these timelines start to make your head hurt after a while, huh!
Tell us in the comments: What Easter Eggs and unanswered questions did you spot in the season premiere?