FLASH SPOILER Review: Episode 3×01 – “Flashpoint”

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The Flash (3×01) – “Flashpoint”
Written by:         Andrew Kreisberg & Brooke Roberts
Directed by:       Jesse
Warn
Flashpoint!
Let’s go, no time to waste!
Three months
after Barry played with time like my dog plays with an old sock he’s sitting in
Jitters working up the nerve to talk to Iris. 
But before he can lightning flashes outside and Channel 52 reports that
the Flash is confronting the Rival. 
Gotta hand it Channel 52 in this age of media bias and agenda reporting
Channel 52 has found a niche to stand on “All the Plot-specific,
perfectly-timed news Central City needs.” 
So Barry
races off and catches up with the pair and we get our first glimpse of the
Rival and…
Whoo
boy.  Not the best costume man, might
want to kidnap a fashion consultant. 
Anyway, we get a pretty standard speedster vs speedster fight with Barry
playing the part of the bystander for once and when the Rival pulls the throw
the lightning trick Barry learned last year, this new timeline’s Flash has to
save.  We get a pretty good look at him
and gee, I wonder who he could be!
Anyway,
Barry returns to Jitters to make a play for Iris and Barry goes for the old “Did
you drop this?” routine.  Classic,
Barry.  Classic.  He talks to Iris and manages to secure a date
before goes to work at the Station and it seems that the Speed Force has replaced
Captain Singh with Julio Mendez (played by 1990s Flash alum, Alex Désert) who
has promoted from 90s Barry’s assistant to Captain.  The pair discuss the Rival, and Joe’s recent
absenteeism before Barry begs off to “meet a friend.”
By “meet a friend,”
he means, “I have to go feed the Reverse Flash at the abandoned warehouse I’ve
kept him imprisoned in.” Let me tell you, after five years of the DC-CW Universe I’ve
learned that really good decisions are always hallmarked by keeping someone
imprisoned in some sort of abandoned building. 
 
Reverse Flash is looking for curly fries, which makes me want Arby’s,
but he’ll settle for reminding Barry of how “heroic” he’s being right now and
giving the episode a title.  He then goes
on to call Barry out for being a coward and reminding him that time doesn’t like
to be screwed around with.
Barry’s not
interested in reflecting on his actions so he goes home.  Barry still lives with Mom and Dad in the
Flashpoint universe and while Barry and I are excited to see Michelle Harrison
and John Wesley Shipp, Henry and Nora Allen would like Barry to move out of the
house.  Probably should have done your
own laundry more, Barry.
At the
Police Station, Barry’s trying to cover for Joe because Joe’s about to drink
himself out of a job.  He heads over to
the West Home and finds Joe passed out so he uses his speed get Joe to
work.  Joe is unimpressed and thanks to
Iris’ timely arrival he thinks he’s figured out Barry’s angle pretty quick and since
Barry can’t tell him “Hey, I care because before I started channeling Marty
McFly you were like my second dad” Barry has to let him assume that.
Barry and
Iris take a walk and they’re hitting it off pretty well but things take a turn
for the worse.  First, Barry has a
flashback to all the time he spent with Iris before and then the Rival and the
Flash start fighting again.  Oddly, Iris
suddenly runs off with a lame excuse before Barry can. 
Barry
arrives on the scene of the Rival and Flash’s latest fight just in time for
Flash to be thrown out the window.  Barry
tries to save him with the tornado arms but doesn’t quite pull it off, still
Flash lands safely in a dumpster.  Barry
pulls his mask and sees that it’s Wally! 
*Gasp*
Wally takes
Barry to his secret lair and Barry quickly has a lot of explaining to do
because it sure looks like he’s stalking Iris to get to Wally to them.  Instead he deflects, and we get Wally’s Flash
origin.  Wally was testing some sort of fuel
mix for his drag racing when his car was struck by lightning and after a nine
month coma he wakes up with super speed and he and Iris fight crime.
When they
turn to the matter of stopping the Rival, Iris says that there’s only one person that can
help them: Cisco Ramon.  They head to STAR Labs and Barry learns that
STAR Labs is under new management, namely Cisco Ramon.  Cisco apparently bought STAR Labs when he
started selling his tech ideas and he’s turned into a douchebag-billionaire.  Think Mark Cuban in a suit instead of an Iron
Man T-Shirt.
Cisco isn’t
exactly interested in helping out any more than he already has by making Wally’s
suit.  Barry has a trump card,
meta-knowledge from the previous timeline. 
Barry has another one of his flashbacks so he heads over to see
Thawne.  Thawne tells him what he
probably should’ve assumed from the start.  The new
timeline is asserting itself in Barry’s brain and very soon Barry’s going to
forget his old life.
Barry doesn’t want to admit to believing him so he leaves
and uses his speed to gather the team together and reveal himself to them so
they can help each other defeat the Rival. 
They don’t buy it so Barry pulls from Back to the Future II to explain
what he’s done. 
He also realizes that
there’s still a member missing from Team Flash. 
So he kidnaps- recruits
Caitlin and we learn that she’s a pediatric ophthalmologist here.
Iris pulls him aside and explains that she’s been getting
some pretty serious soulmate vibes since Barry talked to her in the coffee shop
but before they can get with the making babies Cisco pops out in to the hall to
tell they’ve found the Rival with Caitlin’s help.
Barry and Wally head to the Rival’s abandoned sawmill and
try to work out a flanking strategy.  The
Rival, or should we call him Edward Clariss, is not impressed and after some
posturing goads Wally into abandoning the plan. 
Which doesn’t work out well for him and he gets a broomstick through the
chest.  Barry and Edward go after each
other and while it seems Barry has him outclassed another flashback give
Clariss the opportunity to create a tornado.
Excuse me, I wasn’t thinking big enough.  Why create one tornado when you can create
two?  So Barry has to unwind two F3 Tornadoes before taking out the Rival. 
But Barry still hasn’t learned to see a fake surrender yet.  Fortunately, Captain Mendez dispatched the
police and Joe was on the scene to make the same.
Back at the Lab, Wally’s in a coma and Barry finally
realizes that Thawne has been right all along but he doesn’t think he can do
what he has to without Iris’ help.  So he
takes her to see his parents one last time before he sets Thawne free.  Unfortunately, Barry’s essentially coming
apart at the seams at this point so it’s up to Thawne to save the timeline.
After “fixing” things, Thawne deposits Barry on Joe’s
doorstep and takes a little time to gloat. 
Not only did Barry help him win but he knows that even after correcting
the timeline there will be surprises for Barry. 
So with a victorious smirk, Thawne leaves.
Barry goes inside and catches up with Joe and Wally but when
Barry brings up Iris Joe gets pretty upset and storms off.  Wally explains that Joe and Iris don’t talk
and Barry and I agree on the only question left: What did you do, Barry?
Meanwhile, somewhere in another part of Central City, Edward
Clariss is awakened by an ominous disembodied voice.  It’s time to tease this season’s big bad: “Alchemy!”
Back in the saddle again. 
So if you read my review of the Season 2 finale you’ll remember I liked
the emotional turmoil Barry went through and that it lead to him rolling the
dice on time travel.  Considering that the writers were between a rock and a hard place here, this was a good follow up.  Barry’s actions to close out season two needed
to be explored deeply but as viewers of the defunct series Eureka can tell you, messing around with changing the show’s core
elements can kill a show faster than Fonzy on waterskies.
I think they found a way to eat their cake and have it
too.  Barry and friends are back to a
place that is close enough to normal that the audience can roll with it but we
still get to explore why Barry should have never done what he did in the first
place.
Moving along, I might be alone here but I think I like Matt
Letscher’s Thawne better than Tom Cavanaugh’s at this point.  I really love that Thawne has been able to
justify his actions, even if only to himself, which makes him as capable of
help Barry as he is of destroying him.
It was fun to see new versions of our cast but much like the
Earth 2 versions last year I don’t feel too much desire to see more of
them.  They also did a good job teasing
Barry and Wally’s mentor/student relationship once Wally’s powers start to
manifest.
As for the Rival… Seriously, that’s a bad suit.  I get that there’s only so many ways to do
the look but they might want to go back to the drawing board on this one.  Ideally, they need to give the evil speedster gimmick a rest for a while.  It’s becoming as big a crutch to Flash as the Kryptonite-gave-me-powers-and-turned-me-crazy gimmick was to Smallville.  I’m not telling you to stop, I’m asking for restraint.
All said and done, this was a much better season premiere
than we had last year and I hope that’s a good omen going forward.
Three Things We Learned
This Week:
1)     
Eobard Thawne has righted the timeline. Mostly.
2)     
This timeline’s Joe and Iris have had a major falling
out.
3)     
Someone named Alchemy is making moves on Central
City.
Three Questions:
1)     
Does Thawne know what has changed for Barry?
2)     
For that matter, did Thawne have a hand in those changes?
3)     
Who is Alchemy and what is his plan?
Just another guy on the internet.