Episode 302 “Paradox”
Written by Aaron Helbing & Todd Helbing
Directed by Ralph Hemecker
So, Barry Allen, The Fastest Man Alive™ who went backwards in time,
dropped off a pair of whales changed his past and then went back in time to fix it again, is now freaking out because even though he fixed it, he still broke it.
Changes in this new “fixed” timeline are scattered throughout the episode. Every time Barry (Grant Gustin) turns around, he gets hit with a new one, and the pace of the hour is such that it doesn’t feel forced or rushed, especially since it’s mixed in with the case of the mysterious “husks” being left all over the city.
Those husks are being investigated by Julian Albert (Tom Felton), meta-human CSI specialist at the Central City Police Department and resident in Barry’s lab for the past year. Just one of the things Barry has to accept in this new post-Flashpoint reality he’s created. And Julian doesn’t like Barry. They don’t like each other. Julian doesn’t trust Barry.
Barry’s not on Cisco’s (Carlos Valdes) good side, either. Turns out in this reality, Cisco’s brother was killed by a drunk driver, and Barry refused to go back in time to change it. So it’s OK for Barry to do it for himself, but not for anyone else. Check.
And as we learned at the end of “Flashpoint” last week, Joe (Jesse L. Martin) and Iris (Candice Patton) aren’t speaking to each other, and now we find out why: Joe never told Iris her mother was still alive. In pre-Flashpoint time, she forgave him, but it’s yet to happen post-Flashpoint. So Barry feels like he’s got to play peacemaker and Get the Band Back Together, inviting everyone to the house for dinner.
Doesn’t go well.
Meanwhile, more from Doctor Alchemy, the hooded villain who apparently has a few hooded minions, as we discover when Edward Clariss (Todd Lasance) comes calling. Clariss has been having visions of his time as the Rival in the Flashpoint universe, and he’d like the visions to stop. Also, he wants that life again.
Alchemy has apparently figured out a way to identify Flashpoint metahumans and is working to alter their post-Flashpoint counterparts to be the same. Which is where the husks are coming into play: these are leftovers after the alterations.
After quickly (ahem) consulting with Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards), Barry figures that he needs to “fix” the timeline again, especially considering that he’s now erased both times he’s kissed Iris. Felicity: “I hate it when that happens.” Hopefully this is not going to be an on-going thing where Barry tries to put together some kind of quick fix every time he sees something that’s not quite right in post-Flashpoint history — such as the fact that John Diggle’s child is now a son instead of a daughter — which is what he tries to do with the Big Family Dinner.
It’s a lesson he has to learn soon, and he gets a firm talking-to just as he’s about to jump into the Speed Force™ to muck about again. The Flash gets pulled out by The Flash.
Jay Garrick (John Wesley Shipp) takes Barry to a diner in 1998, where Dawson’s Creek is on the TV and they have “the best” corned beef hash. Jay tells Barry that he can’t keep jumping into time travel to try to “fix” things whenever something goes wrong. “We’re not gods,” he says, and he puts it right in Barry’s face that their abilities mean they have to be especially responsible. He all but quotes Uncle Ben here… “I’m not some doctor with a theory, Barry. I’m a speedster, like you, who’s traveled in time and made these same mistakes you are making right now.”
After soul-searching, Barry tells Team Flash about his three months in the Flashpoint timeline, and he draws a Doc Brown Ultimate Timeline™ to illustrate that they’re now in a new post-Flashpoint timeline that resembles the other one really closely, but there are subtle differences, and he’s figured out that he can’t go back and try to change things again.
(Side note: How is the Flash of Earth-3 keeping such a close eye on the Flash of Earth-Flarrow?)
It’s a lot for everyone to take in, and some have a better time of it than others. Iris and Joe probably have it the easiest, since her forgiving him has already happened before.
Cisco takes a little longer, however. But when push comes to shove and the newly restored Rival has Barry on the ropes, Vibe comes in with the save. Together, he and the Flash put Clariss on ice, getting him locked up at Iron Heights (must have been a speedy trial…), where Alchemy somehow gets in and kills him?
Speaking of ice… Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker), who seems to have come through all of this time travel boogaloo unscathed, actually hasn’t. The reveal at the end of the episode shows her hand frosting over. So post-Flashpoint Caitlin is on her way to becoming Killer Frost of Earth-Prime. Finally.
There’s speculation that Alchemy could be the alter-ego of our new CSI specialist, Albert Julian. Although it’s not a perfect match, Alchemy’s name is Albert Desmond, and it could be a coincidence that Tom Felton, AKA “Draco Malfoy”, is an antagonist for yet another lightning-marked hero…
- Barry may finally have gotten over his “I’m the Flash. I can do anything.” mentality, which has reared its ugly head before. Remember when he and Cisco went off to Earth-2 for the first time and Barry didn’t leave well enough alone and got Joe West killed? Yeah. Good times…
- This episode also ties into a Legends of Tomorrow appearance of John Diggle, Jr. AKA Connor Hawke AKA “Green Arrow of 2046”. It’s all connected.
- No coincidence that Dawson’s Creek is on the squawk box in the diner. Greg Berlanti got his break as a producer on that show, which featured John Wesley Shipp as Dawson’s father.
The Flash airs Tuesday nights at 8/7c on the CW.