When will Barry Allen learn? Last episode saw Eobard lament about the Barry from the future and how he wouldn’t have possibly done anything as stupid as messing up the timeline. I’d like to meet that Barry. Maybe we’re already (finally) moving toward that future.
“The Flash” has been pretty successful with its more emotional consequences and undertones, but with “Flashpoint,” it strikes me as odd that the writers would send Barry back to the past and back to the present (where there are repercussions) when the emotional impact on those closest to Barry aren’t going to be explored for more than one episode. Or maybe they will be and this was a wrap on just Flashpoint.
“Paradox” picks up where “Flashpoint” left off last week. Realizing he’s screwed up and that resetting the timeline didn’t make everything magically go back to the way it was, Barry sets out to fix his error. He also chooses not to immediately tell everyone about these changes or of what he’s done. Instead, we get a voice-over that explains why he did what he did and a few minutes of shoehorned Felicity screen time that felt irrelevant overall and whose advice of “just fix it” didn’t really offer much in the way of usefulness.
The question you need to ask yourself is what kind of hero are you going to be? Are you just going to take a do-over every time you make a mistake or are you going to live with them and move forward?”
More to the point, however, the episode touches upon the disastrous consequences of time travel. Barry messed up the timeline and the people he loves and cares for suffered for it. Iris and Joe aren’t on speaking terms after she finds out that he’d kept Francine being alive a secret; Cisco’s brother Dante was killed in an accident caused by a drunk driver; and Caitlin (secretly) has begun showing signs of her Killer Frost powers. Most notably, however, is the addition of Tom Felton as the meta-human CSI specialist Julian Albert, who is a direct result of Flashpoint. He hates Barry, not buying his good-guy persona. Mostly, the disrespect and disdain stems from him not trusting Barry. Their relationship is already strained and filled with contempt and should prove very interesting moving forward.
Barry tries to fix what he broke, but ends up making things worse. When he’s confronted by Iris about hiding something, he apologizes and says he’ll fix it by… running back in time again. At this point, Barry Allen (bless his idiocy), should have been knocked out and tied to a chair just for being a frustrating human being. Earth-3 Jay Garrick, Henry Allen’s doppelganger, thinks so, too. As Barry runs back, Jay intercepts him and they end up in a diner in 1998 (Dawson’s Creek is playing on TV and everything). Their conversation is enlightening and Barry seems to listen.
Jay asks him what kind of hero he wants to be, someone who tries to erase something when it doesn’t go the way he wants, or someone who’ll try and live with his mistakes and move on from them. It’s an important scene. So Barry comes back to S.T.A.R. Labs and thankfully tells everyone the truth. Some of the conflict is resolved too quickly (I had at least hoped they’d drag out the Iris/Joe not speaking issue, or at least have given us a proper makeup scene) as Iris encourages everyone to forgive Barry for what he did. I do hope (wishful thinking, really) that some of the emotional consequences will continue, even when they won’t be at the forefront of each episode.
In my mind, wherever you go, you’ll always be Barry. And I’ll always be Iris. And we always find each other.”
The Rival returns this episode and Doctor Alchemy makes his presence known. Edward Clariss is having flashbacks to his Flashpoint life. And Doctor Alchemy gives him back what Clariss thinks Barry stole. So far, The Rival’s storyline hasn’t been very compelling and he remains pretty forgettable. I’ll reserve further thoughts on Doctor Alchemy, but thus far his character doesn’t bring much excitement. He wants to give back powers to everyone who had them in Flashpoint. Why? What are his motivations? One thing is clear, though, and that’s that Wally will probably be getting his speed very soon and suiting up as Kid Flash.
Other notable events in the episode include the movement in the Barry/Iris love department. They shared a kiss that was a redux of the porch kiss from the season two finale, but this time it’ll actually be a kiss Iris remembers. Besides the villains this week, “Paradox” was a fairly good episode, even though the resolution of Flashpoint went by too quickly and the emotional fallout could have been drawn out for a bit longer. It ultimately served its purpose and the lightheartedness was back for awhile. The air was still heavy with resentment and frustration at Barry from almost every character at least. And it’s most certainly warranted. After all, “it’s a lot to take in,” says Joe. But here’s hoping that there’ll be no more time traveling in the near or distant future.
Next week, Earth-2 Wells and Jesse are back!
- “Just for a second, I need you to imagine that we’re actually friends.” “Can’t do it.”
- They killed Dante Ramon. Why?!
- I know Iris is usually the emotionally mature one, but the underserved Francine storyline from last season needed more than a one episode follow-through. I suppose I’ll take her being mad for months at Joe for not telling her, I guess. Progress.
- Baby Sara Diggle no longer exists. This is tragic and slightly disturbing that they would cut her out completely just for the possibility of giving us the future Connor Hawke.
- You know something is wrong with the world when Cisco isn’t coming up with clever names for metahumans.
- Grandma Esther is mentioned several times in this episode. Doubtful she’s still alive, but it’d be great to see her show up if she is. Anyone remember Grandma Esther’s famous eggnog from season one?
- Wally looked SO happy that his sister and his dad were reconciling. Like a kid in a candy store.
- So Barry ran almost 600 miles (without his clothes burning) to talk to Felicity about his problems? That scene ate up screen time that could have gone to central characters on the show. Sigh.
- We need more Cisco/Caitlin friendship scenes on this show. The subtle support was there.
- Caitlin is probably going to become Killer Frost. I called it from way back in last season. This show is not subtle.
- Iris telling Barry not to lie to her! Yes!
- Did I mention I already really like Julian Albert? Because I do. And I’m also ridiculously happy they let Tom Felton keep his accent.
- The back and forth between CCPD and CCPN as Barry tries to figure out a way for Iris and Joe to have dinner under the same roof was funny.
- Cisco needed a hug. Why didn’t someone hug him?
- Jay Garrick yanking Barry out of the speed force before he screws up again. The real MVP.
- Wally is going to become Kid Flash, it’s only a matter of time now.
- Julian Albert is probably Doctor Alchemy? Just saying.
- Because of Julian, we’ll be seeing Barry at work more!
- We got hints of reporter Iris in this episode. I hope we see more in the near future of her reporting tying in with the episode. Also, did Flashpoint give her her own office? I like it.
- I love that they gave Cisco heavier material. He nailed it.
Besides the villains this week, "Paradox" was a fairly good episode, even though the resolution of Flashpoint went by too quickly.