Welcome to Flashpoint, enjoy it while it lasts.
Let’s recap shall we? At the end of Season 02, Zoom killed Henry Allen, and sent Barry into a downward spiral of sorts. Yes, he was able to beat Zoom, but the grief of now having no parents drove him to change everything for the “better”. He reset the timeline, saving his mother from Reverse Flash, and creating a new reality. Flashpoint.
Not surprising, the season 03 premiere was called “Flashpoint”, and it was a solid premiere. Even if it had basically nothing to do with the comic series itself. I will note this as a negative, because Flashpoint is one of the key stories in Flash history. In fact, it’s the only Flash focused event in DC Comics history. Now yes, he’s had defining moments in DC events, like Crisis on Infinite Earths, Blackest Night, and more, but Flashpoint was HIS event. The world changed for the worst because he made a decision to save his mother.
The problem with “Flashpoint” was that because they condensed all of it to a 45 minute episode, a lot of impact was lost. Yes, we knew that Flashpoint wouldn’t last forever, nor should it, that wouldn’t be fair. But, would it really have been bad to make it last one episode more? Or maybe two? Make it a mini event or something. Fans have been waiting for this for some time, so for them to basically blow past it, all the while invoking the namesake, is kind of heartbreaking. Cause Flashpoint at its core was a fascinating tale of why time travel can be the most dangerous power to have.
Focusing back on the episode itself, it was a very solid episode. It touched on many of the things it needed to, while answering many of the questions fans no doubt pondered during the gap. Yes, not all were answered, and one lingering one remained (hint: Barry’s powers still working), but for the most part, it was pretty explanatory. From where many of the main characters were, to how they were in life, to how Wally got his powers, and more, it was really good.
What I truly appreciated, was that the little things weren’t lost in the shuffle. For example, Barry’s parents (alive and still married) were kinda/sorta wanting Barry to move out and live on his own. Because to them, he’s been living with them for over 20 years, so they feel he should be out living his own life instead of being “sheltered” by them. It was funny to see his reaction to this because of the varying contexts. Or, how Joe wasn’t his chipper self because of the loss of Barry. Joe noted numerous times that Barry was his light, and that he got through very dark times because of him. So without him in the Flashpoint storyline, it was very believable that he would be a drunk.
I also appreciated how at first, Barry didn’t want to get involved with the conflicts of the city, as he was fine not being Flash in this new world. But when things went bad, and he knew he had to step back up, the Flash was reborn.
Though only shown in bursts, both Kid Flash and The Rival was used very well. Wally was cocky, and felt he could beat The Rival even though he couldn’t. And The Rival was a much more forward opponent than Reverse Flash or Zoom. For he had no personal beef with either, he just wanted to prove he was the best. Not unlike what happened with Merlyn when he debuted his Dark Archer.
The fights were very fast, and very furious, even getting pretty violent and gory in a way. This cemented just how dangerous The Rival was, and that he wasn’t a “filler” villain.
An unexpected delight here was the return of the true Eobard Thawne. It was a mystery going in how RF was being held hostage in a timeline he shouldn’t exist in, but it was quickly answered, and it allowed him to shine in a new way. Seeing his rage against Barry, all the while taunting him was very fun. Especially since we knew he was right in just about everything he was saying. Yet, he knew that deep down, he still didn’t know if it was worth it. The line, “Sometimes I wonder if you’re right” is very true to the character, and it was good to see.
That being said, I didn’t like that Barry’s desire to reset the timeline again happened so quick. Yes, in the comic, Barry’s memories did overlap like here, but it wasn’t because of his speed. That felt kind of like a copout to get him to reset, instead of a situation happening that forced him to reset. Furthermore, Wally’s sudden inability to heal after his near fatal wound felt very convenient.
As for the twist at the end? I’m not going to judge, as it’s uncertain if this’ll stick, and to what degree it will. It could be a great thing. Or, it could be the Season 03 version of “Son, I just got out of jail, so I’m going to leave you”. We’ll just have to wait and see.
“Flashpoint” on its own merits was good, a solid start to season 3. Yes, I wish it went broader, and did more to expand the world, and the return to the “real” timeline was really fast (pun intended). We’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out in the long run to see where this’ll rank in the Flash’s history.