Catching Up: The Flash Episode 301, "Flashpoint"

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The Flash Episode 301 - Flashpoint

For those wondering if the events from "Flashpoint" would last all season long or just for the first episode -- well, you're both right.

The second season of CW's hit superhero drama THE FLASH ended with Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) traveling back in time to prevent the Reverse-Flash from killing Barry's mother, setting the stage for what fans of the comics knew to be the "Flashpoint" paradox. And, certainly enough, when The Flash returns to the present day, his world has been changed. Both his parents (John Wesley Shipp, Michelle Harrison) are alive, but nobody remembers that Barry Allen is The Flash.

Instead, there's a new Flash in town -- Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale), who battles his own super-speed villain, The Rival (Todd Lasance). Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) is a billionaire, Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) is a pediatric eye doctor, Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) is a drunk, and Iris (Candice Patton) hasn't seen Barry since middle school.

Only two people remember that Barry is the Flash -- Barry himself and Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash (Matt Letscher). And one of them is starting to forget that as well!

The idea of fixing timelines is fraught with paradoxes. Not stopping the Reverse-Flash from killing Barry's mother would leave the current timeline intact. But if you think about it, even that timeline is an alternate one, since Reverse-Flash had to time-travel to pull it off, to get revenge on The Flash. (Did Thawne then forget certain elements of his past afterward?) Which means that somewhere out there is a timeline where Nora Allen was not killed and Barry Allen became The Flash. But did Timeline-Prime flow the same way Timeline-Flashpoint did? Almost certainly not. Perhaps when it comes to time travel, Thomas Wolfe was right: You can't go home again. Because as this episode shows in its conclusion, even fixing the fix doesn't truly put thing back the way they were.

There's also discussion to be had about the morality of Barry's actions in this episode. From keeping Reverse-Flash locked away in a warehouse as his personal prisoner to the self-serving decisions Barry ends up making to fix things (because, observed honestly, almost everyone except Joe West were happier with their lives). The ethics are iffy, but make for some great academic philosophizing.

Things noticed in this episode:
- Rival's headgear looks far more like Ocean Master than any other speedster.
- Captain Julio Mendez is played by Alex Desert -- who played Julio Mendez in the original series when Shipp was The Flash.
- The foreshadowing that things still aren't what they once were, only hinted at with the relationship between Joe West and Iris.

That's all for this week. As usual, next week can't get here fast enough.

4.0 / 5.0