The Flash returns tonight for its Season Three premiere with a take on the famed “Flashpoint” storyline from the comics. The episode titled “Flashpoint” asks what would you sacrifice to have everything you’ve ever wanted?
At the end of Season Two, Barry (Grant Gustin) went back in time to save his mother from the evil clutches of Reverse Flash (Matt Letscher), and in doing so creates an alternate timeline in which his parents are alive. Three months have passed in The Flashpoint and Barry’s used every opportunity to soak in the life he was deprived of. Unfortunately for Barry, he’ll soon learn that his happiness comes as a hefty price. When Barry starts forgetting parts of his old life and losing his powers, Reverse Flash taunts him with the knowledge that there’ll be serious repercussions for Barry and those he loves unless Barry corrects the timeline.
Admittedly, there are a few things that aren’t fully explained and you’ll wish they were. For instance, why is Joe the way he is? How did Barry retain his powers even though he prevented the catalyst that would lead to him getting his powers sooner? I feel like a two-hour episode would have better served the launching point for “Flashpoint” but I digress.
Overall the episode will probably go down in the top 10 lists of fans’ favorite episodes for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with Flashpoint as a concept and plot device, but rather the standout moments for the characters. There are a couple of takeaways from the episode involving Barry, his allies and the love of his life, Iris West. I tried to avoid major spoilers but certain plot points are revealed. This is your only warning.
****Beware: Spoilers ahead! ****
A Happy Barry is a Great Barry
Flashpoint Barry Allen is the happiest we’ve ever seen him. He’s whistling while walking down the street happy. He’s got everything he could want – his parents alive, spending all the time he can with him, a great job, and he’s got plans to reunite with Flashpoint Iris (Candice Patton) too. To say life is perfect for him would be an understatement. And best of all, he can leave the heroics to the likes of Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale).
Grant Gustin is severely underrated as a performer. There are things he can do with just an expression that can warm or destroy your heart. Episodes like ‘Flashpoint’ show off his range, because Barry gets to be himself. The scene where Barry has to say goodbye to his parents was hard to watch, because as a fan you know what it means for the character, and Grant’s performance kicks you right where it hurts.
Kid Flash aka The Flash Is Awesome/Team Flash
Wally West is the hero we need! His snark is hilarious and he’s very determined to save Central City from The Rival (Todd Lasance). Surprisingly, he gets a nice characterization, though not as much as I would have hoped. His story is similar to main Barry’s, albeit with some slight tweaks to fit Wally. There is a Team Flash in the Flashpoint universe, but it consists of Wally and Iris. We’ll see Barry reunite the whole team (minus Harrison) in a humorous way.
#WestAllen Spans Space and Time
WestAllen is real y’all. Their love is one that exists in the past, future and alternate universes. It’s been three months since Barry’s been in Flashpoint and he still hasn’t mustered the courage to talk to Iris. The episode begins with him plotting a way to speak to her, which he later accomplishes in speedster fashion.
After a run-in with Joe before their date, Iris apologizes for what happened and Barry plays it off. He tells her he feels bad for Joe, and her. She asks why when he barely knows her, he slyly tells her it’s because he feels like he knows her. When Barry asks if that’s weird, Iris says, “No, no, I mean strangely I know what you mean. I never say yes to guys asking me out like that, but I said yes to you. Why did I do that?” Barry replies, “I don’t know, some people are just meant to be in your life I guess.”
Iris asks Barry about his parents, and he happily tells her they’re alive and well. “They’re like stupid in love. I hope I have what they have someday.”
“You just haven’t met the right girl yet? Is that it” asks Iris.
“That’s the thing about the right girl, she’s out there waiting,” Barry says. “Just have to be lucky enough to find her.”
“Where did you come from, Barry Allen,” she asks, smiling at Barry as if nothing else in the world exists.
“I’ve always been here, Iris.”
My heart burst into a million little pieces. But that’s not even the best part! There’s a scene between Iris and Barry, once she learns he’s from a different universe, that is probably one of the most accurate explanations of what they mean to each other in any world. After cluing in the Flashpoint crew about other universes and whatnot, Iris asks to speaks to Barry in private. This is what transpires:
Barry: Look, I’m sorry, I know that this is hard to believe.
Iris: No, that’s just it, Barry. I do believe you. I have a good life. I have a good job. I love my brother. But something has been off, something has been missing. And that feeling that something is not right with my life, that went away the moment that I met you. We’re something else to each other where you come from aren’t we?
Barry: It’s…it’s escaped definition.
Iris: But it’s love. Because this is what love feels like.
Barry: Since the day that I met you.
It’s a series of moments that should solidify for viewers what we already know — #WestAllen is the only way, the kind of epic, series grounding love that can only exist between a true pairing. And it’s a preview of what viewers can expect between Barry and Allen should the series finally pull the trigger with them.
That said, there’s a twist at the end of the episode that I don’t know what to make of and it has me worried about what it could mean for Barry and Iris in the future. There is a question all of you will be asking at the end, and in typical CW form, I’m sure it’ll be accompanied with a hashtag.