The Flash is DC’s television adaptation of the comic book of the same name. It airs Tuesday nights at 8/7 Central on The CW. Our writer, Nicole Drum recaps the series each week updating you on the latest episode here in The FlashBack.
Last week we discovered that Barry broke things. Then Barry tried to fix the things that he broke and we discovered that didn’t go quite as planned. Last night we got to see just how broken things are despite Barry’s fix. If spoilers aren’t your thing it’s time to look away now because we’re about to go deep into paradox.
There’s a lot about Central City that feels the same. Barry’s back at it as the Flash, stopping a jewel thief like it’s no big deal before heading off to STAR Labs to catch up with the team. For a moment it looks like things are normal, but when Barry tries to get a witty name for his criminal catch, Cisco isn’t playing ball. In fact, the whole crew has a more serious and strained tone to it. Cisco in particular is not himself. He quickly disappears to go to the gym. We’ll get to that.
What else is different? There’s a different guy in the CSI office, Julian (played by Tom Felton and honestly not my favorite choice here as I look at him and just see Draco Malfoy) who pretty much hates Barry. Julian also is a very specific type of CSI, specializing in metahumans. Interesting. After that little discovery, Barry goes to check on what Cisco is up to and finds his friend at the Leawood Gym where Cisco is attending a grief support group. Dante is dead and Cisco is not okay with the fact that Barry won’t go back into time to save him.
Clearly, a lot has changed. Barry goes to chat with Felicity Smoak about what he’s done because it appears Barry is as mind-blown as the rest of us. Barry pours out his heart to Felicity and for a moment it looks like maybe Barry’s meddling with time is limited only to Central City. Then Barry uses the computer and finds a photo of Diggle with a little boy. It seems that Barry’s meddling erased the existence of little Sara and, in her places, is little John. Oh boy. Felicity tells Barry that he has to fix this. Now.
How do you fix this? Barry decides his best option is a family dinner. He tricks the entire gang into having dinner at the West house, but that goes poorly. The tensions are still there and things just aren’t right. Fortunately dinner is cut short by the team getting an alert that there is a metahuman that needs dealing with. Off Barry goes and is faced with quite a surprise. The bad guy he’s battling down this week? Rival. Yep, the speedster he defeated in the world of Flashpoint is back and this time? Rival knows what’s up. It seems that Rival is the same guy from Flashpoint, just now here. This return has been facilitated by Alchemy. Flash and Rival race around and for a moment it looks like the Flash just might win, but then Rival? Disappears. It’s kind of weird.
Back at STAR things are still not good and Barry still hasn’t fixed things so after a confrontation by Iris, Barry decides that he has to go back and fix things yet again. That’s right, Barry is about to do the thing one more time, but as he’s running through time someone knocks him out of the portal. It’s Jay Garrick, the real one! Flash of Earth 3! Jay takes Barry to a diner where they’ve landed in 1998 and decides to chat with the younger speedster. It seems that Harry explained to Jay what Barry went through regarding the loss of his father and Jay decided to keep an eye on things. Jay explains to Barry that even when he goes back to fix things, some things remain broken. You can’t put the pieces back perfectly so instead of looking to the past, Barry has to move forward. This appears to be the advice Barry needs. He returns home, goes to STAR, and tells the team what he’s done. They are obviously very upset with him, especially Cisco, but before Barry can do much to patch things up the Flash is needed. Barry races off to deal with Rival while Iris talks to the team about how they need to forgive Barry because they’re family. Iris’ pep talk works and in just the nick of time. Barry’s in trouble.
The Rival, frankly, is kicking Flash’s butt. This is made easier by the fact that Alchemy has shown up to help along with a cryptic mission of preparing this world. Not sure what that means just yet, but Flash is in trouble. It looks like Rival might just defeat Barry when all of a sudden Vibe shows up. That’s right, Cisco donned his gauntlets and came to Barry’s rescue. The pair defeat Rival and bring him in. The band is back together and all’s well that end’s well. Barry even gets to have a kiss with Iris that might not be erased from the timeline for a change!
However, there are a couple of things that can’t be forgotten here. That Julian guy? Yeah, earlier in the episode we find out that they keep finding human husks of skin without any real explanation of what’s going on. Barry steals a sample to take to STAR Labs, which is how they are able to figure out Rival’s real identity and that Rival got his speed not from the particle accelerator but from another source. At some point Barry asked Julian to see Rival’s file, but Barry asked for it using Rival’s real name, Edward Clariss. As the episode closes out, Julian points out that Barry shouldn’t have known the real name and reveals that Julian simply doesn’t trust Barry. That might be bad later.
Next week? We get to meet Jesse Quick. That’s right folks, our favorite lady from Earth 2 is back and she’s got speed. Jesse is my favorite speedster in comics so I am excited for this episode. Are you ready for Jesse Quick? What do you think about Dr. Alchemy? Let me know in the comments!