Barry starts to learn the full repercussions of resetting the timeline and, of course, he immediately starts trying to fix things.
The episode starts with Barry speeding off to Star City to talk to Felicity about just how messed up everything is. To recap, here are the differences that he’s learned about after returning from Flashpoint:
- Cisco’s brother Dante is dead and Cisco is in a grief support group. Cisco also seems to blame Barry for the death or something related to it.
- Joe and Iris aren’t talking because Joe didn’t tell Iris about her mother.
- There is a new guy at Barry’s job, Julian Albert (Tom Felton) who hates Barry
- Barry and Iris never kissed.
- Diggle’s daughter Sarah is now his son, John Jr.
After finding out that last part, Barry decides to stop looking into what else might have changed. Felicity urges him to try to fix things. Instead of simply telling everyone what he did, Barry tries to orchestrate a dinner to get everyone in a room together to try to work out their issues. The dinner ends up being a bust, but Barry does learn that the reason Cisco is upset at him is because Barry won’t go back in time to save Dante.
What Barry hasn’t learned yet, is that there’s also a new villain on the scene. Someone calling themselves “Alchemy” has reached out to Edward Clariss, who’s having visions as his life as The Rival in Flashpoint. Alchemy offers to give Clariss back the powers that he had in Flashpoint. Clariss accepts and reappears in the city just in time to interrupt the awkward Team Flash dinner. Barry races out to see what the disturbance is and is surprised to see the Rival again. The Rival reveals to Barry that he knows about Flashpoint. After his confrontation with the Rival, Iris confronts Barry about why this new speedster seems to know him already.
With everything pilling up on him, Barry decides to try to fix things once again by resetting the timeline. As he’s running back through the speed force, he’s snatched out of it by Jay Garrick. Jay explains to Barry that there’s no way to completely set the timeline back the way it was. He convinces Barry that the only way that he can move forward is to deal with the changes that he’s made.
Barry runs back to his new reality and delivers a tearful explanation of Flashpoint and how he changed everyone’s lives. He gives his friends the option of knowing what in their lives changed. It’s pretty easy for Iris and Joe to figure out that they weren’t fighting in their previous lives, but no one else takes Barry up on his offer immediately. Cisco, is more enraged to learn that in order to save his mother, Barry did the one thing that he wouldn’t do to save Cisco’s brother. Eventually, the team (minus Barry) gets together and decides that they can forgive Barry for making a mistake, even if it changed their lives.
In the meantime, Barry runs off to try to find the Rival. When he meets the Rival at the location of their last battle, he’s ambushed by Alchemy. With Alchemy’s help, Rival is able to get the upper hand on Flash. Just as he’s about to strike a killing blow, Cisco shows up in his gauntlets and goggles to lend a hand. The duo are able to quickly take out Clariss, but that leads them to other questions. Barry believes that Alchemy (now dubbed Doctor Alchemy by Cisco) is going to give powers to anyone who had them in Flashpoint. They conclude that Alchemy’s “gift” is related to the strange human-sized husks that the CCPD has been finding all over town. Barry also tells them that Alchemy claims that he’s preparing the world for something, but didn’t specify what.
In the aftermath of all the revelations, Team Flash tells Barry that they don’t want to know what their lives were like in Flashpoint. They start to work through some of the new issues. Iris and Joe start to patch up their relationship. Cisco seems like he’s on the path to forgiving Barry. However, one difference that Barry doesn’t know about is that Caitlin seems to now have her Killer Frost meta powers. Towards the end of the episode, Barry and Iris reunite on the front porch of the West household. They kiss once again, much the same way they did before Barry created Flashpoint.
In some less happy scenes from the end of the episode, Julian confronts Barry about information he had about Clariss. Julian realizes that Barry stole evidence from a crime scene. He also tells Barry that he’s not fooled by his whole “good guy act”. Julian doesn’t like Barry because he doesn’t trust him. Julian is sure that he’s hiding something and he seems determined to reveal it or, at least, figure it out. Speaking of Clariss, we see him being held in a cell. He hears a voice that tells him that he failed before a large metallic hand appears and yanks him off screen.
- I’m assuming it wasn’t an accident that the episode following “Flashpoint” was named “Paradox”. “Flashpoint Paradox” is the name of the DC animated movie adaptation of the Flashpoint comic book story line.
- The erasure of baby Sarah is particularly notable because she was named in memory of Sarah Lance. Of course, Sarah is now alive and leading the team of time traveling adventurers on Legends of Tomorrow. So, removing her namesake kind of seems appropriate.
- A bit of Trivia about the two Sarah’s: Flash season 3 episode 2 is when Barry finds out that baby Sarah is gone. Arrow season 3 episode 2 is when Team Arrow holds a secret funeral for Sarah Lance following her death at the hands of Speedy/Merlyn.
- Jay Garrick tells Barry, among other things, that he knows that he’s Barry’s father’s doppelganger.
- “I’ve kissed Iris West twice and managed to erase it both times” – Barry
- When defending Barry, Iris brings up that Cisco gave up Barry’s secret identity to Captain Cold in order to save his own brother.
There was lots of information dropped in this episode. Barry got overwhelmed by how much had changed in the world since he came back and it was almost overwhelming to try to keep track of everything that had changed. Every single member of the team has something different going on. I guess, the one exception is Wally but I think we’ve all understood that he was going to get his speed powers at some point. Flashpoint was just a premonition of what’s to come for him.
While it seems like most of the emotional stuff will patch itself up sooner rather than later, the changes are going to thrust Cisco and Caitlin onto the battle field during this season. Cisco’s started to develop his Vibe gear and it’s getting close to battle ready. Caitlin’s becoming Killer Frost. While that could mean that she’s doomed to become part of the Flash’s rogues gallery, it could also mean that we’re going to get the good version of Killer Frost at some point.
Speaking of emotional stuff, I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on that scene where Barry comes back to the lab and explains Flashpoint to everyone. In comic book stories, there are occasionally heart breaking moments where the characters have to really deal with the weight of the events that unfold around them. This was the first time I can really think of that kind of moment happening on The Flash when it actually resonated with me the way that it does in those comics. Most of this had to do with Grant Gustin’s delivery of the scene and the rest of the cast did a great job really feeding into that.
As far as things to look forward to; Tom Felton’s character, Julian, is probably the biggest question mark of the new season. When you introduce a new mysterious villain in Alchemy and a new character in Julian with a grudge against your main character, it seems like the logical conclusion that most people would draw is that Julian is Alchemy. However, the episode also drops a couple of hints that he might be something more. Both Cisco and Caitlin mention that Julian’s very smart and that they’ve worked with him before. These could be early indicators that Julian’s meant to be a Wells fill-in for Team Flash.