When Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) travels in time, you know he’s going to mess something up. That’s just a fact. We’ve seen it a few times now, he goes back, he doesn’t save his mum, he goes back to the present, and (mostly) everything is hunky-dory. So when he went back at the end of Season Two and he actually did save her this time, shit went down.
Enter Flashpoint. Fans of the comics will know what this means, but for fans of the TV show it means something else. Barry has messed with time, and now the world is different. He still lives with his parents, he doesn’t know Iris (Candice Patton), Joe (Jesse L Martin) is an alcoholic, Cisco is rich, Caitlin is a children’s doctor and, oh yeah, Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) is Kid Flash.
Watching the yellow blur saving the city is fresh, having not being given much of a chance to shine in the last season, it’s brilliant to finally see Lonsdale get something to play with. His comic timing is perfect, and his interactions with Iris are some of the best character driven scenes we’ve seen on the show.
Giving Barry a break is great, and actually, seeing Gustin act as Barry over The Flash is just as rewarding. In the Flashpoint universe Barry Allen is Barry Allen. He is still the fastest man alive, but he’s no longer needed as a superhero. He fumbles, he stumbles over his words and he’s cleared failed spectacularly to ask Iris out in the three months that have passed. To the point where his own mother is hinting at him to move the hell out and get a girlfriend.
For all its upsides, the episode does have a few flaws. For starters, why bother creating this brilliant new world if you’re only going to use it for one episode? We wanted to see Ramon Industries taking on the bad guys! Why on Earth would you make the first bad guy on the season somebody who is another bloody speedster? Enough of the speedsters. We get it, Wally’s fast, Barry’s faster and this new person will want to take it from them. We’re just guessing, but it’s become the formula for Flash bad guys now and we’re pretty tired of it. We’re not saying we would rather see the return of King Shark, but for the love of Barry please be more original.
It will be interesting to see where the next episodes take us, with Barry already going back to his ‘own’ timeline, what has he messed up this time, and how long will it stick?
The Flash is currently airing on Tuesdays on Sky1.