“I ran back in time because Zoom and my dad and things and I got to live with my parents and it was all good but then it wasn’t so I came back but everything is different and I want everything to change back.” – Barry Allen during this week’s panicked voiceover
Barry flips his shit so hard that he flips it all the way to Star City. All over Felicity. Who, like us, is like, “You just, like, run back in time? All the time?”
I’m glad Barry is owning up to his mistakes. I mean, he’s not dealing with the repercussions of his choices very well, but he’s being held accountable to his actions. My man. Everyone’s man. Well… except new paradox!Cisco. Paradox!Cisco doesn’t want to name bad guys anymore. DUN DUN DUNNNNN.
Paradox!Cisco leaves the lab to “go to the gym” in a very subdued manner. Barry is confused. All of us are confused. Cisco + Gym = WHAAAA? Barry makes this joke and Caitlin shuts him down. Caitlin is overprotective and concerned for Cisco, yes, but is it the same, platonic concern from pre-Flashpoint? Or, according to the showrunners and San Diego Comic-Con, is this one of the ways the KillerVibe relationship that we’ve grown accustomed to has turned upside down?
With just the Wests in the Lab, Iris and Joe make excuse to get out of each other’s presence. Barry tries and fails to fix their relationship — while also trying to figure out WHY AREN’T THEY TALKING(?!?) — as Wally West watches his new hero from his chair in the corner. Can I just mention Wally’s transformation into the heart-eyes emoji whenever Barry is in the room? I am so ready for their team up.
Speaking of team ups: Tom Felton is officially on The Flash… AND HE IS STILL ENGLISH YES YES YES. Y’all don’t understand how relieved I am. Felton plays Julian Albert, CCPD’s Meta-Human CSI Specialist and Barry’s office mate. Apparently, they don’t get along. Because he doesn’t trust Barry, plain ol’ CSI. Which, to be honest, is justified. So I guess Barry can’t speed through his work anymore with Julian around.
You guys. It took so so so so much self-restraint to NOT reference Harry Potter or Draco Malfoy just now. So much self-control.
Almost just as much self restraint that Cisco used when Barry showed up to the gym to unknowingly crash Paradox!Cisco’s Grief Support Group meeting. Dante died. In a drunk driving accident. And Barry refused to go back in time to save him per paradox!Cisco’s request. And now their friendship isn’t the same. This is paradox hell.
Felicity synthesizes all of the new “resets” that we know about: Joe and Iris are fighting, Cisco’s brother is dead, Barry has a new CSI wizard officemate,
Caitlin is a meta-human with ice powers but we don’t find out about that until later…
…and Team Arrow’s John Diggle has a son: John Diggle Jr.
THAT’S RIGHT. NO MORE BB SARA. LITTLE JOHN DIGG. WHY AM I IN CAPSLOCK? OH BECAUSE OF THIS CROSSOVER MOMENT:
This is when Felicity starts talking as fast as Barry. “Ohmygod so I guess you can change our TV show too omgomgomgomg.” Dammit, do I have to catch up with Arrow now? I’m not really on speaking terms with that show, at the moment.
Meanwhile on a very public bus, Ed Clariss keeps flash-visioning his alternate Flashpoint life as a speedster. It seems really, really inconvenient. They’re being brought on by, who I assume is this season’s Big Bad Villain, Alchemy. I don’t know how he does it, but he gives this paradox!Clariss superspeed so that he can officially become the Rival. Dammit, we just got rid of one black-suited speedster. I wonder, if we rank all of the speedsters from fastest to slowest, where would Rival fall?
So I guess in this life, only Julian Albert handles the meta-human cases… which must drive Barry crazy. He busts in on the latest meta-scene where Julian is already work and visibly annoyed by Barry’s arrival. He’s examining something Barry + the audience has never seen before: a husk. I missed this the first time… a “husk” is… I think a metahuman snakeskin? Basically. It’s weird and, if I didn’t love this show already, I’d yell “LAME” at my TV.
Also, I can’t fully explain what a “husk” is because Barry Allen is wearing sunglasses and I’m still getting re-acclimated to how much I love his face. I’m having a hard time focusing on plot while he’s rocking the white boy Ray Ban swagger.
Barry speed-steals a husk sample to bring back to the lab and complains to his BFFs (Cisco and Caitlin) about Tom Felton. I think I’ve watched this scene play out before… but in a hut on the edge of a Forbidden Forest. Cisco and Caitlin are, apparently, friends with Julian. Cisco is actually Team Julian. DAMMIT.
Before Cisco walks away from Barry, he makes sure Caitlin doesn’t need him. It’s more tender and touchy than I’m used to. Their voices are very hushed. “ARE THEY OR AREN’T THEY,” I yell to the (alternate) universe.
A bunch of whooshing papers later, Barry arranges a Family Dinner with Iris, Wally, Joe, Cisco, and Caitlin. He smiles contentedly as they eat Grandma Esther’s recipe for noodles. “This is nice. This is really nice,” Barry tells them. They all think he’s weird. Barry suggests they go on a Team Flash Retreat. They all think he’s really, really weird. Except Wally because Wally is DOWN FOR WHATEVER BARRY WANTS. Don’t think I didn’t notice Wally West sitting to the right of Barry. Wally is Barry’s right hand man, baby! Suspiciously, Wally is the only one to not speed off when all of the team’s cell phones alert them to a speedster at the Central City boardwalk. That’s good, because Clariss/Rival would recognize Wally as Kid Flash but also because someone needs to clean up that disaster of a Flash Family Dinner.
The Rival’s speed lightning is red as they race around the city. Barry was surprised to see him… so the Speedforce allows speedsters to see alternate timelines? Or was that Alchemy’s doing?
Iris calls Barry out for being weird AF, so Barry tries to reset the timeline again. No, Barry, no. Just when I think he’s going to be eaten by a Time Wraith, Earth-3 Jay Garrick aka The Flash pulls Barry’s dumbass out of the Speedforce tunnel and takes him to get coffee in 1998.
They greet each other like Doctors or bus drivers or Ferrari owners. The Flashes sit down and talk about Barry’s foolishness while Dawson’s Creek plays on the TV. Judging by Dawson’s hair, it’s an early episode from season one… possible episode four when Dawson learns that his mom is cheating on his dad. Guess who Dawson’s dad is? John Wesley Shipp. THIS EPISODE WAS MADE FOR ME.
Sorry, where was I? Oh yeah, graying veteran Flash Jay Garrick teaches Barry Allen some stuff and some thangs about speed-time travel. It’s what I always wanted: Golden Age Flash mentoring Silver Age Flash. He even uses a coffee cup as a metaphor for Resetting Timelines instead of that damn impractical glassboard. The lesson is this: trying to reset a broken cup still results in cracks because despite how well you match up the broken piece, it’ll never be the same as it was before. Damn, that’s deep.
Also, Harry told Jay about Barry, so that’s why Jay is keeping an eye on him. I want to cry.
“I’m not some doctor with a theory, Barry. I’m a speedster, like you, who’s traveled in time and has made these same mistakes that you are making right now.” –Jay Garrick
I could quote Flash-Jay Garrick all day. He tells Barry that they are not gods but men who have been given extraordinary abilities. He challenges Barry to evaluate his decisions and his responses to his mistakes and move forward. Move forward, Barry. No more do-overs, please, even if that means sad-Cisco.
Barry tells the truth to the team. The team doesn’t know how to respond… me neither. Barry offers to tell them their differences, if they ask. That’s a bad idea. Luckily, they are all smart enough to abstain from that information. Cisco deals with the information the worst. He yells at Barry’s hypocrisy, but Barry stays firm in his decision to not go back. Thankfully.
Barry falls into a trap and ends up double-teamed by Rival AND Alchemy at a sawmill. Like, really Barry? A sawmill trap again? I’m legitimately trying to listen to Alchemy’s accent… is it an English accent? I hope not.
Team Flash rises up out of their paradox slump of sadness to pull together and back Barry up. Which is good, because he’s about to get impaled. Cisco shows up, still subdued, but geared in Vibe glasses and vibe gloves. I SEE YOU, ALTERNATE UNIVERSE. I mean, I also see that Dante Ramon was fridged so that Cisco could step up into more than an in-lab sidekick and become his own hero…. Mhmmm.
So that’s it: this is our world now. I will stop referring them as paradox versions of these character because THIS IS THEM NOW. Oh man. What a genius move, to rewrite the canon of the show so that Season 3 is still new and fresh.
At S.T.A.R. Labs, the team have a lively discussion rehashing the Rival/Alchemy fight. My bad, “DOCTOR ALCHEMY.” Oh, yeah, I noticed Cisco and Caitlin flirting. Cisco’s spark is back! Barry predicts that everyone from the Flashpoint world who had powers will regain them in this life. Barry stares at Wally for, like, 30 seconds after he says this.
At the office, Tom Felton calls Barry out for stealing a piece of evidence. He doesn’t trust him. Just once, I want Tom Felton to join the team and be friends and not make bad choice. JUST ONCE PLEASE.
We end the episode on the West Family Porch because Barry and Iris will always find each other… across all timelines and multiverses and earths. They fulfill the kiss that was previously erased, but this time, they’re both on the same page and ready. They are ready to move forward.