Episode 301 “Flashpoint”
Teleplay by Andrew Kreisberg & Brooke Roberts
Story by Greg Berlanti & Andrew Kreisberg
Directed by Jesse Warn
The Flash does with this version of “Flashpoint” what DC Comics didn’t do: tell the story and then move quickly away from it. The mistake that DC made with New 52 has been avoided here, even though the resolution may have been a little … speedy?
And let’s not miss the most important part of this episode: the return of Alex Désert to The Flash!
It’s been three months since Barry (Grant Gustin) went back in time to save his mother, because he just couldn’t leave well enough alone. And the fallout is massive: Nora (Michelle Harrison) and Henry (John Wesley Shipp) are both alive, yes, but everything else is different. Joe (Jesse L. Martin) is a drunk who’s barely holding onto his job. Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) is a billionaire tech genius who owns what used to be S.T.A.R. Labs. Dr. Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) is a pediatric ophthalmologist. And Harrison Wells is nowhere to be found.
Barry is holding Eobard Thawne (Matt Letscher) in a plastic cell that dampens speed, so the Reverse Flash gets to watch from the outside as the timeline resets itself to fit around the new reality. Which means Barry is starting to lose his memories of everything that happened before. And once it’s done, Barry may not even have his speed anymore. The irony is that this is probably the actual “supposed to be” timeline that would have played itself out had Thawne not gone back to kill Nora Allen in the first place.
So really… which timeline actually deserves to exist?
Barry wants to have his cake and eat it, too, as he tries to relax into his new reality, where his parents are both still alive. But at the same time, he barely knows Iris (Candice Patton), who’s part of a brother-sister crimefighter team with Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale), who’s this reality’s Flash (“Kid Flash” according to everyone but Wally… why is that?). Facing off against another speedster, the Rival (Todd Lasance), Wally has yet to stop the villain of the hour, who really has a lousy motivation for existing… he’s the Hand-of-the-Writer character, meant to serve the purpose of getting us from point A to point B.
The Rival is the weakest part of the whole episode, honestly. He’s a setup character, as Edward Clariss looks to be moving toward a completely different villain role than he has in this reality. He’ll eventually have some connection with Dr. Alchemy, and did the voice calling to Clariss come out of the … mirror? Almost as if someone had … mastered… a skill?
Clariss basically just acts as the catalyst to bring the whole of Team Flash™ together long enough for The Flash to stand heroically next to Kid Flash, then realize that everything is falling apart and Barry has to do what he considers the unthinkable: he has to let Thawne go back and kill Nora Allen to make everything right.
(Now, remember when the show established that the death of Nora Allen set up an altered timeline from the very beginning of all of this? Good. You’re keeping up.)
In the end, it’s Iris once again who centers Barry and reminds him that he’s a Good Guy™ who does the Right Thing™ as often as he’s able, and that ultimately leads to his decision to let Thawne do his thing.
Once the timeline is restored, however, things are not entirely back where they belong — as Barry discovers that Joe and Iris aren’t speaking to each other, leaving him to wonder what else he messed up trying to fix things…
An interesting parallel between this episode and the pilot revolves around Barry’s stopping the Rival, who forms tornadoes in order to kill Flash and Kid Flash, in a scene very much calling back to the show’s pilot, when Weather Wizard did the same thing. Joe shoots the bad guy in both episodes, and Barry runs counter to the tornado rotation in both episodes.
Cisco also mentions that the reason he refused to get involved with Team Kid Flash™ was that he didn’t want to be on the wrong end of a vibrating hand through the chest (does he remember it?).
Other Easter eggs:
- “There’s only one thing I know in — the opening line in the episode is the same opening line in the Flashpoint comic book
- 52 — of course this number is there, because it’s DC
- Edward Clariss is Jay Garrick’s “reverse” counterpart, but it looks like he’s either being recruited to be Doctor Alchemy or Doctor Alchemy will make Clariss a speedster?
- Big Belly Burger — it’s what’s for dinner
- “a fortress” — Wally mentions it when he asks about Barry’s expectation about their hideout
Speaking of Kid Flash, why is Flashpoint Central City calling him “Kid Flash”? It implies a junior version of an older hero with the same name, right? So why call him “Kid” if it’s not relative to a first Flash who’s older?
But the best part of the episode, hands down, is the return of Alex Désert as Captain Mendez. That’s Julio Mendez, thank you very much. For those keeping score, that’s now all of the major cast from The Flash of 1990 — John Wesley Shipp, Amanda Pays, and Alex Désert, along with Mark Hamill as the original Trickster and Vito D’Ambrosio as Mayor Bellows, who was one of the patrol officers chasing after The Flash in the 1990 show.
So, now all we need is an episode completely set on Earth-3, with Jay Garrick working with Dr. Tina McGee and Captain Julio Mendez to stop the Trickster from killing Mayor Bellows.
Make it happen, CW.
The Flash airs Tuesday nights at 8/7c on the CW.