FLASH SPOILER Review: Episode 3×02 – “Paradox”

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The Flash (3×02) – “Paradox”
Written by:         Aaron & Todd Helbing
Directed by:       Ralph
Hemecker
Gotta give
Barry credit, judging by what we saw at the end of the last episode you still
can show self-awareness by starting this week with “I made a big mistake.”  Yes you did, God man you were a nerd growing
up you had to have seen “City on the Edge of Forever” at least once.   
Small changes in history make bigger changes
in present day and they compound on each other.
So Barry
runs to Starling City, or is Star City now? I haven’t watch Arrow since early season three. And
talks to Felicity, and I suppose that is the reason I smiled and thought, “Hey,
it’s Felicity!” Instead of what other people were probably thinking.  Anyway Barry lays out his big dumb mistake
for her and the two of them worked out that the changes have reached as far as
changing the sex of Diggle’s kid but are clearly far more devastating for Team
Flash.
Not only are
Iris and Joe aren’t talking but Cisco has gone strangely emo and dickish and
apparently Caitlin thinks it’s his fault. 
Barry tries to be the bridge over troubled waters but the Wests are
really not into it.  After everyone
leaves them alone, Iris can definitely tell Barry’s acting weird and guilty and
tries to talk about it as well as their increasingly complicated
relationship.  Let’s spin the big wheel
of unexpected twists from time travel and find out what’s gone wrong here…
The wheel
says, “Barry has again wiped out his super-romantic first kiss with Iris!”  Jesus, someone get Jim Kirk on the phone to
explain “Time Travel and Romance for Beginners.”
When Barry
goes to the Police Station and gets some old-fashioned butt chewing from Joe
and some good news/bad news about his time travel fallout.  “Good news” Captain Singh’s back.  Bad news: He’s got an office rival now.  Meet Julian Albert, he’s British and while I
know I’m supposed to hate him I afraid if I did that his father would hear of
this. (I will genuinely try to make that the only Malfoy joke I make. No
Promises, though.)
Julian is
the head of a Meta-human task force and he thinks Barry’s a dick, and to be
fair there’s a lot of evidence to point to him being correct.  Even more so when he goes to the gym to find
Cisco and instead of finding him at the squat rack he finds him in a grief
support group talking about Dante.  When
he tries to talk to Cisco, Cisco basically blows him off and hints that in this
timeline Cisco blames Barry for not going back in time to save Dante.
So we’ve
caught back up to Barry and Felicity’s scene and Felicity sends Barry off to fix
his mess.  Meanwhile, Edward Clariss is
not having a great time in this brave new world judging by the ranting in the
back of a public bus.  He manages to find
Alchemy and he offers Clariss a way to fix his problems…
Barry and
Joe head out to a crime scene, and Julian is on the case already so Barry is
not welcome. So Barry steals a sample and takes it to STAR Labs, Barry tries to
talk to Cisco unsuccessfully so he begs her to bring Cisco to the West Home for
dinner before he tricks Iris there too. 
It’s time to talk this out, by God.
Did I say
talk? I meant awkward silence while Barry tries to offer up ways to talk things
out.  It also quickly comes out that he’s
lying to everybody.  Well kids, just wait
for when you find out just how much. 
Unfortunately, they’re saved from this by the Rival. (Also,
unfortunately he has the same suit.)
I didn’t
think it was possible but Edward has managed to have an even bigger beef with
Barry than Cisco, what with the remembering the Flashpoint timeline and being
able to conclude that Barry changed it. 
So he decides to do things the way Thawne and Zoom should have, no time
travel or dimension hopping, just an ass kicking at super speed.  Sorry Edward, you just weren’t up to
snuff.  Also, Barry’s being spied on.
Back at the
lab for a recap and Barry can’t keep things to himself anymore.  Things are too messed up so Barry decides
that third time’s the charm and heads off to fix history… Again.
Not so fast,
buttercup!  Someone yanks him out of the
Speed Force and that someone is Earth-3 Jay Garrick aka the Flash and he’s got
some news for Barry.  The two hit a
dinner, and since it’s 1998, some Soul Asylum and Dawson’s Creek and Jay explains what Barry should’ve figured out by
now.  When you are able to travel through
time, you can’t actually fix the timeline you only end up changing it in a new
way.  Jay’s tried to fix things before
and has learned the lesson through bitter experience.  Setting all that aside, Barry needs to
actually learn that somethings can’t be changed, even with time travel.
So Barry
goes back and tells everyone what he has done and they take as well as anyone
would if they were told that someone messed around with their life behind his
or her back.  Cisco’s especially hard
hit, considering Barry did exactly what Cisco asked him to do for Dante for his
mother.  Barry offers to tell them about
the other timeline if they want but they would have to live with that knowledge
and Cisco would have to live with whatever the cost of bringing Dante back
would be, whether he or someone else paid it.
Barry goes
to Julian for help with Clariss and thanks to Julian’s casework Barry figures
out what should have been pretty obvious. 
Clariss is hiding out at the sawmill again.  He goes there and finds himself in the midst
of a three-person fight.  Only this time,
he’s the one that’s outnumbered.  Flash
meet Alchemy.
Back at the
Lab, Iris has the whole group together and while everyone else is content to be
mad at Barry for a good long while she’s not. 
So basically points out they’ve all done things they regret tremendously
when faced with losing a loved one so maybe they should at least offer Barry a
shot at forgiveness.  Caitlin gets a
little cryptic but is interrupted by Barry’s suit telling them that he’s dying.
Alchemy’s
got Barry on the ropes, so Barry to stall by getting Alchemy to monologue a
little.  However, beyond some near-meaningless
words like “Helping people achieve their true potential” to “prepare this world”
Barry doesn’t get much before the Rival steps in.
Unlike last
time, the Rival is putting the boots to Barry but just as he’s about to kill
him Cisco makes the save.  Let the
healing begin so it’s back to STAR Labs for a recap and the official naming of “Doctor
Alchemy.”  They ponder what Alchemy’s
plan is for a while before Iris tells Barry that the group has decided to let
the previous timeline go and move on.
Barry heads
back to the CCPD and Julian’s got some words for Barry.  See, Barry asked for Clariss’ report by name
when Julian never mentioned his name. 
Julian knows Barry is lying about something and that’s why he hates
Barry.
Back at the
West Home, Iris and Barry have a little chat on the porch.  A very shippy chat, because yeah this is the
CW, what of it?  Barry again decides
third time’s the charm when it comes to first kisses too.  No time-traveling interference this
time.  Just Kissing.
Meanwhile in
the Meta-wing of Iron Heights, Edward’s got some trouble on his hands.  Alchemy wasn’t happy with failure, and in
typical big bad fashion he kills Edward to set an example.
Good episode
this week, though it really didn’t accomplish much beyond setting up the stage
for the season.  Still it feels like they
pushed a little hard to get some things settled.  I wouldn’t have minded (or won’t mind if they’re
not done, I suppose) more of the Cisco/Barry friction because it comes from a
good source.  Despite the suit, I did
like the Rival so it sucks that they killed him off. Twice.  Then there’s Caitlin, it’s pretty clear she’s
got a problem and judging by her cryptic words to Iris and her final scene she
might feel things are spinning out of control, so I’m looking forward to more
of this coming soon.
As for our
guest stars, I am interested to see if Jay is going to be around going forward
or if this is the last we’ll see from John Wesley Shipp for a while.  Tom Felton is good as Julian, just righteous
enough to be just what he seems and with just enough of a sinister air to be a
suspect in the “Who is Alchemy?” mystery. 
I liked seeing Emily Bett Rickards again, like I said I don’t watch
Arrow so for me it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen Felicity.
So it all
adds to be rather unfortunate that this ended up being the lowest rated episode
of the show ever, that “honor” should have been reserved for an episode like “All-StarTeam-Up.”  But I can’t begin to speculate
all the dozens of factors that lead to this or what it might mean for the show
so I’ll just wrap this up by saying that while I’m not concerned the rating did
raise my eyebrow a bit.
Three Things We Learned
This Week:
1)     
Barry’s trips through time have had major impact
on many of the people in Barry’s life. Even someone he’s only acquainted with,
like Diggle.
2)     
Dante was killed in a car accident and Cisco
blames Barry for not saving him.
3)     
Barry’s accepted that he can’t keep changing the
past, at least for now.
Three Questions:
1)     
What’s Doctor Alchemy doing?
2)     
Who was spying on Barry at the waterfront?
3)     
How much have Caitlin’s powers manifested and
how worried is she?
Just another guy on the internet.