The Flash S03E02: Paradox
Last week, Barry discovered that resetting the timeline wasn’t exactly a full reset, and this week is all about the fallout of that decision.
The biggest changes to the new prime timeline are mostly relationship based. Iris and Joe no longer talk, Cisco hates Barry, Diggle from Arrow has a son instead of a daughter, and Caitlin Snow may have her Killer Frost powerset. The biggest change to Barry himself is that he now has a partner in crime solving. This partner comes in the form of Tom Felton (of Harry Potter fame), playing Julian Albert, Central City’s main CSI for Metahuman activity. He takes his job very seriously and doesn’t really get along well with Barry Allen’s more fluid approach to crime solving. It is a wonderful addition to the cast, and finally provides someone as an opponent for Barry Allen and not the Flash.
Barry continues to be a character with the absolute worst judgment, and tries to force everything into being like it once was. After a humorous scene of going back and forth between Joe and Iris to plan a dinner with the intention of getting everyone in the same room, no body seems to care about Barry trying to force things on others. Iris still hates Joe for not telling her about her mother, Cisco still blames Barry for not going back in time to save his brother from a drunk driver, and Barry seems frustrated that he isn’t getting his way. In his infinite wisdom and logic, Barry decides to try and reset the timeline once again, but Jay Garrick pulls him out of the speed force and sets him straight.
The best part about Garrick telling Barry to stop being selfish is that he doesn’t beat around the bush. He tells Barry how it is, and although Barry is dismissive of the warnings about time travel at first, Jay eventually gets through to him. Hopefully, this will be the absolute last time Barry has to learn this lesson, but it probably won’t be. I just don’t understand how or why Barry keeps making these trips back in time and intentionally changing things with the hopes of a perfect outcome. It’s like he doesn’t remember anything from past seasons at all! Or has ever seen any time travel story ever!
Taking Jay’s warning to heart, Barry gathers everyone together and tells them about the Flashpoint (season 1, episode 3). But the important thing here is he gives each member of the team the choice to ask him about their alternate lives. Even though Barry made the stupid move of trying to reset everything again, he allows all of the supporting cast to steer their own moral compass without his influence. It is truly a heroic moment that shows that even though Barry did something incredibly selfish, he is still comfortable with holding that burden by himself.
Minor gripes of logic aside, Flash still shines while facing off with weekly villain, The Rival. His speedster powers have been activated by the mysterious Dr. Alchemy and he remembers everything from the Flashpoint timeline, including that there were two Flashes instead of the one. As Barry is getting pummelled by the Rival, Cisco reaches deep and forgives Barry, showing up in full Vibe mode. This gives us a great team-up moment as the pair work in conjunction to defeat the Rival. It took about a half season too long, but having Vibe show off his hero side is great. It really helps bring home the themes of Barry being strong because of others.
Watch it! But check your brain out first. Barry does some frustrating and selfish things that warrant facepalms throughout the episode, but a great speech from Jay Garrick and the long overdo Vibe team-up can’t help but bring smiles to your face.