The Flash: Season 3 Episode 2 review – Paradox
Where last week’s season opener felt a little flawed and underwhelming, for various reasons, this week provided quite a touching and tragic episode, which was closer to the show that we know and love. As Barry attempted to figure out what exactly has changed in the timeline that he’s returned to, his team appeared so torn at the seams that Barry decided to admit the truth to them about Flashpoint. Below you will find our spoiler-heavy review of this week’s episode.
We saw the value immediately in this week’s hasty attempt to pull Felicity into the mix. It was a sensible and cathartic way to iron out all of the potential creases in viewers’ heads about the state of play, post-Flashpoint. While everything has been easy enough to keep up with, hearing it all laid out succinctly still doesn’t hurt for a nice succinct summary and to educate those who perhaps didn’t quite manage to grasp everything as it happened. Felicity essentially acted as a familiar-faced sounding board for Barry’s expositional ramblings, but overall we found it more sensible than condescending.
We mentioned in our review of the premier that there’s something a little inadvertently wicked about Barry Allen lately. Perhaps it’s been there all along, but through his efforts to do good things he can sometimes cease to think and therefore hurt other people in the process, a little carelessly if you ask us (which begs the question of whether there is apathy on his part after the fact). We like that Julian (played by Tom Felton, who we’re liking having on board) effectively directly pointed out what we’d been thinking: “You have the good guy routine down and everyone buys it, but there is something not right about you, Allen. They don’t see it but i do.”
This was reinforced this week by Cisco’s subplot about grieving the loss of his Brother and how no matter how many times Cisco implores Barry, he refuses to go back in time to save Dante. In line with our observations, Cisco points out (after learning the truth) that Barry won’t do it for Cisco but he will do exactly the same thing for himself (saving a family member). We understand Barry’s reasoning (flashpoint equals bad things), which is logical, but we still feel that there’s a little nonchalant superiority about Barry, which results in placing himself first. Another example of this was the team very seriously telling Barry that they didn’t want to know what their Flashpoint lives were like, then Barry went straight ahead and told Caitlin anyway and just thinly disguised it as a joke (which Caitlin no doubt saw right through).
That being said, heartfelt tears did flow from Allen this week, in what was a very tragic and emotional moment, upon Barry telling his team the complete truth about Flashpoint. It’s smart of the writers to take a The Terminator: Rise of the Machines-like stance; that no matter what efforts are undertaken, the desired positive ending cannot be achieved, because when it comes down to it, time has the last say. As Barry put it: “I can’t ever really put it back together”. It’s a sad truth that adds a real weight and seriousness to the show and we love it. Our characters are stuck with this new timeline and so are we.
We were a little disappointed to see Clariss return to simply being The Rival (with his still terrible merman-style mask), given that we expected him to become Dr. Alchemy (only based on the close of the pilot). Alchemy was still on the scene, however, with a similarly terrible bug-like mask (in the comics he essentially just looks like Green Arrow, but with an ‘A’ on his hood, so we can see why the writers changed this look, but the outcome isn’t a great choice).
The romance between Iris and Barry was touched upon again this week and we quite liked that Barry pointed out that both kisses had been erased. It was apt too that the episode then ended with another kiss (which could still be erased) and the line about always finding each other, which reminded us of Hawkman and Hawkgirl (no bad thing given that big cross overs are looming).
The episode closed out with Cailtin showing that she holds the Killer Frost abilities (even though in Flashpoint she didn’t appear to have any – but then again, we didn’t spend long enough with her). We also saw Clariss being assaulted by a large arm (which hopefully means his end) – which either belongs to Dr. Alchemy himself or to some yet to be seen minion of his. One thing we’re curious about is how well Alchemy will take to Cisco dubbing him with the ‘Doctor’ title, because this is one villain who seems very set on his showing off his name, given that he carves it into various surfaces.
We enjoyed this week’s episode much more than the premier. Season 3 is tricky territory for any show. Let’s hope that The Flash can handle the complexities of this season, while still retaining the heart that keeps viewers returning.
Image credits: The CW