The second season of THE FLASH left us on a whopper of a cliffhanger, with Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) travelling back in time to save his mother and alter history. Shortly after, we and the rest of the CW viewing citizens of the Internet correctly guessed that this could only lead to one thing: Flashpoint. Based on the 2011 DC Comics event that served as a catalyst for a monumental shift in the DC Universe. In this debut episode of the third season, also titled “Flashpoint,” the CW runs headfirst into comic book territory, and it results in one of the strongest episodes of the series to date.
Like the comic mini-series, reality has been shifted thanks to Barry’s actions. Central City is home to the Kid Flash, better known to us as Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale), where he fights an archenemy named The Rival. Both of Barry parents (John Wesley Shipp and Michelle Harrison) are alive again, and his love interest Iris (Candice Patton) has agreed to go out with him. However, with Detective West (Jesse L. Martin) having never dealt with his alcoholism, the captive Reverse Flash (Matt Letscher) reminds Barry that his perfect new life will crack if he doesn’t put things back the way they were.
Multiverses, alternate realities and mirror worlds have long been the bread and butter of comics and science fiction. Indeed, much of the THE FLASH‘s second season dealt with Earth-2 and all manner of doppelgängers. Yet with “Flashpoint” the series goes deep into comic book lore, abandoning the caution that big brother Arrow has demonstrated over the last few seasons. This is, after all, an episode where we get to see The Flash and Kid Flash working together as one, a mere teaser for the potential that this show (together with the extended family of Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl) has to offer the faithful in weeks and years to come.
There’s a lot of fun to be had in this ultimately bittersweet episode. Seeing alternate versions of Cisco (Carlos Valdes), here the cocky head of tech empire Ramon Industries, and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) as a “paediatric eye doctor.” The effects are spectacular for this season return as well, mirroring the very first episode with its twin twisters in the heart of town.
If anything, we would have liked to spend a bit more time in this world, being a shortened version of the larger Flashpoint saga. Unlike the original comic, Barry is aware of the changes from the beginning, so there is little sense of mystery, and the solution is a foregone conclusion from the beginning. Yet as this is the first episode of what promises to be a corker of a season, it doesn’t simply wrap up all the threads by the final scene, leaving us with at least two major cliffhangers to contend with. Plus, if our Crazy Fan Theory holds, then this just might change the very nature of the DCU on television for good.