Time travel has been a part of The Flash since Season One, but every time since then the implications have been minor. If something changed, Barry (Grant Gustin) went back in time again, and things went back to how they were, or he had only travelled so far he only made things better, or not much changed.
With Flashpoint, he’s screwed up big time. Things are different, his friends aren’t on the best of terms with him, and people have died.
‘Paradox’ is by far one of the strongest episodes of The Flash to date. While there is a bad guy, its focus on the characters and their interactions and reactions to each other are what make it stand out.
Seeking out advice from Felicity (a guest-starring Emily Bett Rickards) – in many interactions that will see Gustin at his bumbling finest, and Rickards matching him step-for-step – Barry mentions that the over-riding reason he knew something was deeply wrong was Cisco’s (Carlos Valdes) refusal to name a bad guy. Small it might be, but that one feature of Cisco’s character impacts on everything in a way that you might not realise.
Seeing Valdes play a Cisco so obviously affected by the death of his brother is compelling. We’re used to seeing him be light-hearted, joke around even in the most pivotal of moments, so for him to barely crack a smile and walk away when usually he would be palling-up with Barry is affecting. It makes you realised you’re attached to these characters and their happiness.
Another highlight of the new series comes in the form of Draco Malfoy actor Tom Felton as new CSI worker and – in this timeline – Barry’s boss, Julian. He’s a dick, he doesn’t like Barry and the feeling in mutual. We never see people hate on our lead (unless they’re a bad guy). Julian just wants to get his job done, and he noticed when things go awry. He’s a great placeholder for Wells (Tom Cavanagh), with just the right level of antagonistic, done-with-your-shit-Barry sass.
The one thing that has us intrigued is the comment of “Everybody who had powers in that timeline will get them”, followed not to distantly by Caitlin and ominous, Killer Frost foreshadowing smoke. If Caitlin is going to become this season’s villain, it will make a refreshing change to the constant need for speedsters.
Overall, this week’s episode was The Flash at its absolute finest, more of this please!
The Flash is currently airing on Tuesdays on Sky1.