The Flash is back! Things are not what they seem for Barry Allen. He’s changed the past, which has rippled through to present day.
FLASHPOINT IS HERE!
SYNOPSIS: Last seeds on, new dangers arrived from a parallel earth known as Earth-2, under the direction of an evil speedster named Zoom. In Season Three, Barry faces the unknown – as he irrevocably alters the timeline by saving his mother from the clutches of the Reverse-Flash. The only question now – as he remains trapped in his own Flashpoint Paradox – is will he be able to find a way out?
Though we get to see the ramifications of Barry’s time traveling shenanigans, Flashpoint does indeed have a basis in the comics – specifically the Flashpoint event that ran from May to September in 2011. Written by Geoff Johns with art by Andy Kubert, Flashpoint gave us a glimpse of the DC Universe if Barry’s mother never died.
The comic book series opens with only Barry remembering the past version of the DCU, and as he attempts to figure out what is going on, and how to get back his powers (he electrocutes himself TWICE!), he runs into alternate versions of Aquaman and Wonder Woman (who are at war with one another), and learns that Bruce Wayne died long ago, turning his mother into The Joker, and his father into Batman.
As the end of the world approached, Barry discovers that Eobard Thawne (yes, The Reverse Flash) is behind the time change, and as the two battle while traveling through time, Barry is able to see alternate timelines and realities, before ultimately defeating Thawne.
Returning to the repaired timeline, Barry visits Batman and delivers a very special letter from his father, Thomas Wayne.
The events of Flashpoint kicked off the New 52, where things were the same, but in some cases, drastically changed. Though the events of the New 52 seem to have been undone once again in the current DC Rebirth storyline, not all things have been returned to normal.
And as we found out at the end of this episode, Eobard has made a few minor tweaks to the timeline that will throw everything in Barry’s life in to disarray.
NOTE: If you want an in-depth discussion of Flashpoint, be sure to check out:
- Geek History Lesson #130
- The Major Spoilers Flashpoint Archives
- You can also get your hands on the animated movie of this tale
At one point in comics’ past, the industry needed makeovers to keep hysterical parents and government meddlers at bay. Enter the era of Kid Sidekicks and a softer, gentler, more kid friendly way of telling stories. Batman had one. Superman, too. For the Flash it meant the introduction of Wally West – nearly 20 years after Robin was introduced.
While visiting his aunt Iris in The Flash #110, Wally gets to meet his hero. While showing Wally how he got his powers, Wally is struck by lightning and doused in chemicals just like The Flash. Wally soon discovers he has speed powers, too, and the two become a team.
In his original incarnation, Wally West’s Kid Flash costume was identical to Uncle Barry’s, but fortunately, the costume got a makeover to the familiar red and yellow suit.
While the name Wally West will be forever tied to John Broome and Carmine Infantino, the New 52 Wally West, appearing in Flash #30 (April 23, 2014) was created by Robert Venditti, Van Jensen, and Brett Booth. It is this version of the character that debuted last season, and who dons the costume in this week’s episode.
With the timeline seemingly reset the big question is, “Will Wally still be Kid Flash, or was this a one time trick?” I don’t know the answer, but I do know that costume looks too damn good on Keiynan Lonsdale to be a one off.
Kid Flash Powers
This week we did get to see Kid Flash debut one of his powers – face vibration. Though vibrating the face, or entire body, has been used by Barry Allen, it is interesting to see Kid Flash use this all the time when interacting with “common people.” It is also interesting, because vibrating only the face is a gimmick used by a long time Jay Garrick villain, The Rival.
CAPTAIN JULIO MENDEZ
If the name Julio Mendez seems familiar, then congratulations, you are a long time Flash fan. The CW version of The Flash isn’t the first time the speedster has appeared in a live action adaptation. In the ’90s The Flash television show starred John Wesley Ship as Barry Allen (aka The Flash) and his co-worker was one Julio Mendez.
Once again, Berlanti Productions has gone to great lengths to not only pay homage to the original series, but to tap Alex Desert to reprise his role. Now we just need the show runners to bring Desert back again so he can appear alongside Tina McGee.
Last season we talked a great deal over the identity of Zoom. While we know the answer now, one of the names that popped up a couple of times in the Flashback feature was The Rival, aka Edward Clarris.
Rival first appeared in Flash Comics #104 in February 1949. In that issue, we meet, Dr. Edward Clariss, a professor at the same University Jay Garrick attended when he first discovered his powers. Clariss, in order to compete with the Flash, develops Velocity 9, an addictive speed drug. Instead of becoming a hero, Clariss becomes the dark villain “Rival.”
Rival would eventually die and become trapped in the Speed Force, until he was released by Johnny Sorrow during the Injustice Society storyline. It’s interesting that we have Clarris running around in this episode and witnessing the words Alchemy being scratched on the mirror at the end of the episode. It makes me wonder if we will see an Injustice Society form at some point this season between all of the DC shows. We are after all getting the Justice Society on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
Rival was created by John Broome and Joe Kubert.
While The Rival may seem like the big bad this episode, and the Reverse Flash mocks Barry from behind bars, I think we all know who the big bad is this week –
It’s been three months since Barry changed the timeline, and he seems rather content with his life, even though it means Joe West is an alcoholic and his kids won’t talk with him. Barry kidnaps Kaitlin Show (who is now an optometrist). He’s holding a person against their will in a cage designed to zap their powers. Barry has not made the world better, and it really makes you question how selfish Barry really is.
He begs to have his mother killed of all things!
True, by the end of the episode Barry has realized the errors of his ways, and with the help of the Reverse Flash, the wrongs of this reality are nearly corrected. As a twist of the knife, The Reverse Flash has done something in this current timeline that has pushed Iris completely away from Joe to the point it is sore issue with Barry’s adoptive father.
In Rebirth, even as the original DCU Wally West attempts to come back to our reality, he is confronted with the harsh reality that the love of his life, Linda Park is no longer in love with him. Heck, she doesn’t even recognize him.
What will become of Barry and Iris? Two whole seasons of will they/won’t they seem to have been wiped away, and we can explore their relationship all over again (for the first time).
THE BEGINNING IS THE END IS THE BEGINNING
There is a theory that has been floating around the Internet for a couple of years now, that says George Lucas is so brilliant that his Star Wars films are actually a repeating theme, or as Anne Lancashire, professor of Cinema Studies and Drama at the University of Toronto, stated in a 2000 essay:
Not a series of narratively independent sequels and prequels (the normal mode in movie sequelization), focused on film genre conventions and/or on specific actors/roles, nor an old-fashioned serial with (merely) narratively interlocking episodes, but an epic mythological saga—full of exotic locales and monsters, like the sagas of old—consisting of at least six mutually-dependent parts interrelated in an intricately designed narrative, mythological, and metaphoric whole
So what does this have to do with The Flash?
During his fight with Rival, the villain creates two tornados that Barry must undo in order to save the day. Cisco Ramon mentions Rival, “is some kind of Weather Wizard.” Weather Wizard is the first villain Barry faced in Season One, Episode One of the series. In that episode, the first Weather Wizard was stopped when Joe West shot him in the back. In this episode, The Rival is killed when Joe shoots him in the back. The parallel storytelling, and the idea that this episode follows the Ring Theory is an interesting one, and it will be interesting to see how many things will be restarted or explored again going forward. For example, is the falling out between Joe and Iris because she ended up marrying Eddie Thawne or something else?
THE LITTLE THINGS
There are a number of little things that popped up this week that are worth mentioning:
THE JEFFERSON CASE
Barry mentions to Captain Mendez that Detective West is following up a lead on the Jefferson Case. Could that be a reference to Jefferson Jackson? Is it a missing persons case, or something else?
BIG BELLY BURGER
Big Belly Burger makes a small appearance this week. As seen in previous episodes, it appears to be the food of choice for villains incarcerated in illegal holding cells in the Arrowverse. While Big Belly Burger first appeared in the first season of Arrow, the fast food chain appeared in Adventures of Superman #441 in June of 1988 in the story “The Tiny Terror of Tinseltown”. The issue was written by John Byrne with art by Jerry Ordway. The restaurant was founded in Coast City and thanks to parent company LexCorp, was able to spread across the United States.
While Channel 52 has been a great nod to the New 52 in the various CW series, this week we got a look at News 52, with host, Bethany Snow.
I wonder if she is related to Caitlin Snow?
Nope! In the comics, Bethany Snow is a member of the Church of Blood. She uses her influence as a journalist to promote the agenda of Brother Blood – a super-villain and enemy of the Teen Titans. The Teen Titans…. did you know Wally West was a founding member of the Teen Titans?
Bethany Snow first appeared in New Teen Titans #22 (1982) and was created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez.
BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II
While explaining the Flashpoint Paradox to his new friends, Barry begins drawing a visual aid on a window. Interestingly, his depiction of a changing timeline looks a lot like the one Doc Brown used in Back to the Future Part II.
Back To The Future II Timeline Scene
Clip from the moving describing the Alternate 1985.
THREE MONTHS HAVE PASSED
Barry mentions it has been three months since he changed the timeline. It’s been three months since the Season Two finale. It’s almost like we are watching the events of a different earth play out in real-time or something. Could there be an episode coming our way where Barry Allen jumps through dimensions and ends up on Earth-Prime?
It wouldn’t be the first time something like that happened. In Flash #179 (May 1968), the Flash is thrown into a parallel universe while fighting the alien Nok. While there he discovers he exists only as a comic book character. With the help of DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz, Flash is able to build the cosmic treadmill that will bring him back to Earth-1.
PRESCOTT SAWMILL OUT BY WILLIAMSON
Joshua Williamson is currently writing The Flash for DC Comics.
IT’S CALLED A SECRET IDENTITY FOR A REASON!
Things have definitely changed for Barry Allen now that things have been reset. But is our list still accurate?
Dr. Harrison Wells(deceased?)
- Eobard Thawne
- Dr. Harry Wells (Earth-2)
- Dr. Caitlin Snow
- Dr. Cisco Ramon
- Detective Joe West
- Dr. Martin Stein
- Mrs. Clarissa Stein
- Hartley Rathaway (Pied Piper)
- Felicity Smoak
- General Wade Eiling
- Oliver Queen (Green Arrow)
- John Diggle
Bette Sans Souci(deceased)
- Dr. Henry Allen (deceased)
- Iris West (in another timeline)
- Iris West-Allen (in the future)
- Iris West (via spark touch)
- Iris West (of Earth-2)
- Iris West (in yet another timeline)
- Leonard Snart (Captain Cold)
Detective Eddie Thawne(deceased)
- Ray Palmer (The Atom)
- Brie Larvan
- Laurel Lance (Black Canary)
Hannibal Bates (Everyman)(deceased)
- Gorilla Grodd
- Lyla Diggle (Harbinger)
- Jay Garrick (The Flash of Earth-2)
- Dr. Henry Hewitt
- Jefferson Jackson (Firestorm)
- Linda Park
- Malcolm Merlin/Al Sa-Her/Ra’s al Ghul
- Vandal Savage
- Kendra Saunders (Hawkgirl)
- Cater Hall (Hawkman)
- Thea Queen (Speedy)
- Patty Spivot
- Barry Allen (of Earth-2)
- Killer Frost (of Earth-2)
- Jesse Quick (of Earth-2)
- Supergirl/Kara Zor-El (of Earth-CBS)
- James Olsen (of Earth-CBS)
- Alex Danvers (of Earth-CBS)*
- Martian Manhunter (of Earth-CBS)*
- Winn Schott (of Earth-CBS)
- Cat Grant (of Earth-CBS)
- Lucy Lane (of Earth-CBS)
- Everyone at the DEO (of Earth-CBS)
- Dr. Tina McGee
- Wally West
- Nora Allen (
no longer deceaseddeceased once more)
- Zoom (aka Hunter Zolomon)
And that should be everything! What did I miss? What did you catch? Use the comment section below to share your thoughts on this episode, and until next week – RUN, BARRY! RUN!
FLASHBACK: THE PODCAST
Matthew Peterson and I sit down each week to discuss this episode in detail on the Flashback podcast. If you are a Major Spoilers Patreon Member, look for the Flashback Podcast very soon!
One more little thing: Barry & Iris mention that they shared a class taught by a “Mr. Hinkley,” which had me wondering it this was a wink to The Greatest American Hero & the school teacher Ralph Hinkley that wore a red super-suit back in the ’80s.
Maybe, but I think that is a long shot…