It has been far too long since the Scarlet Speedster appeared on our screens. Catching the Arrowverse in his slipstream comes plain old Barry Allen in his normal life at a slow walk – the Flash is chasing Rival elsewhere as Allen is out living his life.
Following the events of last season’s finale, time has been rewritten with Nora and Henry Allen alive and well and somebody else now the speeding saviour of Central City. But reality cannot remember two lives and Barry is going to be forced to make a choice.
We begin with an unusually normal situation – a nervous young man (Barry) sitting in a coffee shop promising himself that today would be the day he finally talks to a girl (Iris). Just a few seconds away from talking to her, a new bulletin announces ‘The Rival’ is facing off against the Flash. Barry races right over to find a new speedster in a black outfit facing down the new Flash. Just two minutes in and we already see how much Barry has changed time. What else could be lying ahead?
Barry returns to the coffee shop once the title screen has flashed by and makes an excuse to talk with Iris. She remembers him from elementary school but apparently not since – and she calls him Garry. After only two timelines, upwards of two decades and a very stumbling speech involving ‘ice tea’, the pair finally arrange a date.
Despite his mother not having died in this timeline, Barry is still a CSI but there is a new captain in town and Joe has not reported to work. Barry tries to cover for his adoptive father and asks for an early finish to ‘meet a friend for dinner’. You can guess where he is going.
A Flash-back recaps the night he saved his mother and dragged Eobard Thawne back into the present. The same person that is now locked in a glass cage to dampen his speed. The Reverse-Flash dubs the new world ‘Flashpoint’ and vows that Barry will one day ask him to kill his mother before the scene changes. Henry and Nora Allen, alive and well, meet their son on the steps to their house.
A Normal Life
The level of detail Berlanti puts in is incredible. All the pictures in the house show Allens at various stages in life: graduation, parties, and weddings are all slotted into the background as the family enjoy a breakfast. Barry enjoys delivering the news that a certain girl he has seen around – ‘stalking’ according to Mrs. Allen – has agreed to go on a date with him. It’s a nice family atmosphere that provides a look into a life without powers for Barry.
Iris might be back in the spotlight but Joe hasn’t reported to yet work again. Barry races over to the house he grew up in one life over and finds a drunk Joe sleeping on the couch. A quick speed-clean later and Barry drops him off in the lift at CCPD. But this Joe isn’t friends with this Barry and gives a cold shoulder to both Barry and Iris when she arrives for their date.
Iris and Barry are comparing the weirdness of going out. Iris never usually agrees to go out with guys and Barry wonders if some people are meant to be in people’s lives. There’s a very emotional scene but Barry suffers a Flash-back in the middle of it and various memories seem to fade away. Another Flash sighting is reported and Iris heads off to cover it, Barry running a few moments later. Barry arrives just in time to see the new Flash fall from a window. Barry – despite knowing about the new Flash – is apparently unaware that it was Wally.
The new Flash operates from his apartment with his side-kick sister – who wants to know how Barry knows. The stumbling speedster is able to bluff his way through by claiming that his work as a CSI – not alternate timeline knowledge – is what told him Wally is the Flash. In this timeline, a street-racing Wally was struck by lightning when testing out a new nitrous formula and became the Flash – ‘Kid-Flash’ as Barry and Iris dub him. Wally needs help with Rival and Iris reveals only one person can help them – Cisco Ramon.
A groovy set of tunes accompanies our first look at the Flashpoint STAR Labs. Scratch that – Ramon Industries. A certain eccentric genius has made billions patenting his inventions. Cisco still developed the Flash suit but refuses to help because Rival will plunge a ‘vibrating hand right through the ribcage’. Barry is able to sway him with a personal story that his Cisco shared but suffers another flash of disappearing memory and goes to the one person who might have answers – Eobard Thawne.
Thawne reveals a disturbing and horrifying theory – using the Speed Force will erase his memories. Once all his memories of the previous timeline are gone, there will not be anybody able to change time back. Unless Barry is willing to let Eobard finish what he started – the death of Nora Allen – the Flash will be gone. With time rapidly running out, there is only one choice – Barry introduces the Flashpoint to the real Flash.
The New Team Flash
The group is sceptical and disbelieving until Barry realises something is missing – Caitlin Snow. But this Caitlin is a paediatric eye doctor and doesn’t seem much help. Iris takes Barry to one side to ask why she feels like Barry has been missing from her life until recently. The truth about their love comes out just before Caitlin pinpoints the location of Rival.
Both speedsters race over to meet Rival. So sure of his victory that Rival actually takes off his mask – Edward Clariss lurks beneath. He promises to find out who they really after ripping those ‘cowls of the corpse’ and asks which one wants to join the Speed Force. This is an interesting point. Barry learned of the Speed Force from Thawne (who learnt about it from history of future Barry), Zoom learned it from Jay (who we know barely anything about so far) but where did Clariss learn it from? This could be the first signs of Savitar. The police are alerted to the fight and send officers.
An overly cocky Wally turns his back on Rival and is stabbed by a pole. Barry steps up to the plate and chases Rival around the abandoned sawmill. But another memory-lapse – memories of the Flash – distract him long enough for Rival to knock him back and start twin F3 tornadoes. Barry suffers another lapse but charges into the tornadoes anyway. Barry knocks Rival down but turns his back to help Wally and is only saved by Joe shooting Clariss dead.
Back at Ramon Industries, Wally is not healing like he should and the group falls apart. Realising the problems his meddling has caused, Barry asks Iris to help him set things right. It’s clear what he intends to do, even if we wish he didn’t have to do it.We cut to Henry and Nora relaxing with an afternoon paper before Barry arrives with Iris. Both parents are concerned that Barry is acting strange but he manages to calm them and tells them he loves them both. Another flash of memory has him collapse on the stairs outside as Iris takes him to Thawne.
It is clear why he is there but Thawne delights in forcing Barry to say the words. “I need you to kill my mother.” The role of hero falls to Eobard and he carries Barry back to that night. The demented psychopath waits until Barry calms his mother down before picking up the knife.
Back To Reality
We’re treated to a Flash-forward of Barry’s life as the pair arrive back at the West household. Thawne claims things are how they should be – for him. Barry will have to wait to find out. Thawne promises to return before disappearing in a streak of red lightning.
Now home once again, Barry enters to find Wally and Joe sipping beers with a spare for him. The Flash gives his healed friend a hug and sparks a slight confrontation with Joe after asking where Iris is. Joe soon leaves and Wally reveals that Iris and Joe don’t talk. Restoring time at the cost of both parents seems inconsequential in comparison to the guilt Barry shows when realising he may have hurt his friends.
The final scene shows Edward Clariss – unclear if he is still the Rival or not – being summoned by a voice. Scratches from across the room draw him to the mirror where a single word is somehow being carved – “Alchemy”.
Flashpoint is a bitter-sweet kickstart to the newest chapter in the Arrowverse. For just a few brief months, Barry had everything that he had ever wanted. That last part should sound familiar – Thawne-Wells said it back in the first season. So did he always know that something like Flashpoint would happen? We get to see the truly evil depths that Eobard lurks in when he forces Barry to ask him to kill his mother and waiting until she feels safe before killing him.
In the end, Barry does the right thing. It’s not fair when you think about it. Time travel is what killed his mother in the first place. Trying to undo that event caused untold misery and destruction and restored the Reverse-Flash. Wherever this new season takes us, you can bet it will be one thrilling adventure. Stay tuned to Fandom for the latest in Flash news.