The Flash 3×03: Magenta

Or: Find your solid footing.

So I say I’m done writing reviews until I have something good to say, and they give me this. It feels like old times again! So here I am, giving time I can’t spare to writing a review. On the plus side, I have good things to say!

Pretty much every love interest Barry has had so far shows him getting ready for a date with said girl. There have been the usual antics, like flowers and changing clothes and on one occasion being completely blind. But now they have the opportunity to show us how Barry Allen prepares for a date with Iris West. FINALLY. Not only is he so excited that his Olympic-level leg twitching annoys Julian, but time is passing soooooo slowly since he’s been dreaming about this his whole life and being a speedster makes it worse. Thus, he overcompensates a little. Or a giant amount. I must admit, as flower arrangments go, Barry is quite the talented florist. Not only did he speedily take and pay for every flower the street vendor had, he arranged them into a heart for Iris. And when that seemed too cheesy and over the top, he spelled out her name. Because that is so much more subtle. No one can ever fault Barry for how much effort he will put in when Iris is involved. It will always be above and beyond. He’s trying so hard, lol. Calm down Barry it’s okay!

Iris is touched and wants to spemd the evening with just Barry and not the Flash. But when they both agree to leave out any Flash-related conversation they find they have very little to talk about. The date is interrupted by a robbery across the street, and Iris encourages him to go handle it. Immediately after they are both summoned to S.T.A.R. Labs and the date is over.

Before we continue, I’ve seen many differing opinions on this date and its inherent awkwardness, and I just want to put my take on it out there. I really think it was written that way to highlight the different place they are now in. They have been best friends for years, even before Barry had speed powers, and they could talk about any and everything even way back then. So it’s not that they only have the Flash in common now. Also, they had easy and relevant discussions about all sorts of things up to now, even with speed. But before now there has been a barrier that allowed for comfortable talking. One or the other wasn’t aware or expressing their true feelings, it was safely tucked away and left alone. Now it’s out there and in the open for both of them, and with it comes the worry that they could screw up their new and old relationship past repair. They are on an actual date now, romance is front and center. That final barrier coming down leaves them both a little worried and cautious. Barry handles it by overcompensating with flowers and an expensive restaurant, trying to show Iris the sheer magnitude of his love for her. Iris does it by trying to express to Barry that she loves him for who he is and not because he’s a superhero. Both of them trying to alleviate fear and doubt in the other led to a really awkward date because they are tiptoeing instead of embracing. Then the reality that Barry IS a superhero intruded to cut it short. The universe is trying to tell them something I think. It’s telling that Barry makes no move on the robbery until Iris tells him to. He respects the limit they set for the night but she also understands that the city needs him. I also think it is telling that they are both disappointed it was cut short. Despite the awkwardness neither of them was looking for an excuse to leave. They are just trying to find their footing.

Anyway, Barry and Iris arrive in their finery to find a breach open and the team on high alert with guns drawn. Harry Wells pops in, fresh from earth 2 and a with major new development on his hands. Jesse is a speedster now. Also, the team now has a speed lab too which is a new thing for Harry and Barry. Wally is disturbed that Jesse has powers now and excuses himself. Barry is fine with Wally not having them since he may not get skewered this way. Even unaware of flashpoint events, Joe is of the same mind.

I’ve also seen discussion about Wally in this ep. I don’t think he was written as petty so much as severely disappointed. When you’re that let down it’s hard to immediately muster gladness for someone else who got what you wanted. Considering Wally has already had to deal with the fact that Barry got the home and childhood he should have had, I don’t view him unfavorably here. He was unable to fake excitement so he gracefully excused himself to deal with his feelings without ruining Jesse’s happiness. I also don’t think he is necessarily wrong to want speed so badly. He’s been all about speed most of his life, and he has a huge desire to help people. It’s only natural for him to want it with so much fervor. It’s kind of cute and reminds me of comic Wally to have him dream about it and want to be like Barry so badly. When he finally becomes a speedster he is going to be one adorable excited cupcake and I honestly can’t wait for that day.

Speaking of petty downright awful, we cut to a man called John coming home and promptly verbally abusing his wife and foster daughter Frankie. His awful demeanor pushes Frankie over the edge. When Frankie’s eyes go (ahem) magenta colored and Magenta takes over, a streetlamp crashes through the window and severely injures him. I found myself shedding no tears over it.

The next day Iris and Barry discuss their underwhelming date. Barry worries that it’s a sign that they shouldn’t be trying to see where this goes, but Iris vehemently disagrees. Good for you Iris, be honest and direct. Go for what you want! Their slightly awkward and cute sidestepping around each other and Barry’s kiss on her cheek was just so cute. Still trying to find their footing.

Joe interviews Frankie about her foster father’s freak accident and finds that she blacked out during the incident. Barry and Julian spar over forensic evidence and what it could mean, and Julian zeroes in on Frankie. He offers to get her some more water and swabs a DNA sample from her glass.

Meanwhile, Jesse shows off her skills for Caitlin and Cisco, and both of whom are impressed and encouraging. Harry wants “more tests” and when the others call him on his stalling, he reveals that he is very worried about Jesse wanting to be a hero and brought Jesse here so the team could talk her out of that idea. After Caitlin gets very squirrelly when he suggests that she, a non-powered human, talk to Jesse, we all start to wonder how long she can keep her powers secret if she’s that bad a liar.

Joe also approaches Wally and tries to help him understand that being exposed to dark matter is not a guarantee for powers, and using his superior intellect to help build a better world is just as good. He actually has a very good point, but Wally still can’t let go of the desire for speed.

Julian isolates an unknown element in Frankie’s DNA that is also found in the five husks. He immediately rushes downstairs and confronts Frankie, pushing with questions and accusations until Magenta takes over. Since Magenta can control metal, she breaks the wall-sized metal CCPD mural from the wall and attempts to crush Julian with it. Barry speeds in as the Flash and saves him, then rushes after Frankie and confronts her in the parking lot. He mentions Alchemy and she recognizes it, but in the end she refuses Barry’s offer of help and chucks an occupied police vehicle, forcing Barry to save the officer inside so she can escape.

The team discusses Frankie’s dissociative mental health, and how she seems to be a split personality. Iris flexes her journalist muscles and offers to talk to the foster father for more  information. (Yay!) When Jesse offers to load up on carbs and help track Magenta, Harry begs Caitlin to talk to her. Caitlin reluctantly agrees. Barry and Joe discuss Wally and Joe’s own personality disorders, which include good cop, bad cop, and dad cop. And I think he may have called Barry a little girl somewhere in there.

Caitlin is doing about as well talking to Jesse, leading Jesse to think Caitlin is against her being a hero because she’s a girl. (Ouch! Girls have to stick together!) Once she figures out (and it was a pretty easy assumption) that Harry doesn’t want her to have powers, she lets him have it. Harry gently tucks his foot into his mouth when he tells her she’s not Barry, proving that both he and Caitlin need sensitivity training classes. (I get what you meant Harry but man that was the worst way to say it.) Jesse speeds off in a huff. (I would do that every day if I had powers!) So Wally offers to track her down. Now Wally and Jesse have been quietly interested in each other for a long time now (I detect the next will-they-won’t-they after Barry and Iris, and they are cute. But where’s Linda?) and I don’t think Wally was working on purely selfish motives going after her. However, in the course of their conversation Jesse tells him she was almost hit by an car and that was when she realized she had speed. So Wally, in his ultimate youthful wisdom, steps into oncoming traffic hoping for the same result. We all screech at our screens. Thankfully, Jesse saves him. Then yells at him. Then Barry yells at him. We’re yelling at him! Joe figures the message has been recieved. Wally we love you, please don’t get yourself killed. Patience!

Also, Magenta hangs with Alchemy in his lair and they discuss how to get rid of Frankie all together. Kill your foster dad, and Frankie is toast. Also I think Alchemy needs a throat lozenge. Or a big chill pill. Magenta is nothing but solid anger and pain, but I feel bad for Frankie the most.

Harry and Jesse go rounds again. Cisco is quiely judging behind his computer, which I love. When Harry goes after Caitlin and implies she made things worse, Caitlin nails him with and ice cold observation. (YUP, that was a pun.) If Harry would spend time helping Jesse navigate her powers instead of assuming they will destroy her, maybe Jesse would stop shutting him out. Wow Caitlin bit back! But she’s right and I think she’s referring to herself as well. Right now there has to be a lot of worry in Caitlin, wondering if this means she will turn evil without a choice in the matter or if she can still manage to keep her own identity along with her new powers.

Barry and Harry discuss making mistakes despite their desire to help. It’s a vicious repetitive cyle. Please learn guys, break the cycle. Harry says that he was always too good at forgiving himself, and Barry was never good enough. There is something to be said for this but at the same time I do feel that this show shies away from truly exploring the idea of guilt and forgiving oneself. But that’s par for the course.

Iris goes to the hospital and questions foster dad of the year John. Her suspicions are quickly confirmed. John is an abuser and Frankie/Magenta was trying to get back at him with the lamp post. She won’t stop trying to get at him until she manages to kill him. Quick on the heels of that deduction (nicely done Iris) a boat appears outside the hospital windows…wait WHAT? It’s just Frankie looking to crush the entire hospital and everyone in it to get at her foster dad. Can’t make an omlet…you know.

Iris triggers her panic button. (That’s a lovely addition!) Barry quickly moves to intercede and creats a helicopter effect to keep the tanker aloft but once he manages that he’s stuck there and can’t do anything about Frankie. Meanwhile the building doors are locked shut with all the people inside (GUYS THERE IS MORE THAN ONE EXIT IN A HOSPITAL!) so they are at an impasse. Harry has to realize it’s do or die time. He gets over himself and sends Jesse to help. She’s majorly excited and takes over tanker duty so Barry can appeal to the bit of Frankie still inside Magenta.

Considering the villain this week is in reality a scared and abused teenage girl, it was nice to see Barry avoid violence and appeal to the part of her that was still good. He does break through, and Frankie overpowers Magenta enough to gain control. I’m really glad Frankie didn’t take over abuuptly enough to lose control of the tanker, that could have been bad. But it was the lovely image of Barry holding her as she cried with Iris watchig that gave me warm fuzzies. Being a hero isn’t always about power and speed, it has to be about seeing the good in people and helping them see it too. This is why Iris says Barry is perfect with or without his powers. It wasn’t his speed that won this one.

The team helps Frankie get settled into a new foster home and ensures John will now face charges. They give her support and comfort, and she describes the process Alchemy used to get to her. Wally alert! Don’t do anything rash Wally!

Jesse and Harry make peace, and he gives her a Cisco-designed speed suit and an offer to stay for awhile and learn to be a hero. She happily accepts. It’s a nice moment, even if it arrived so soon. Jesse will make a good hero, she’s just finding her footing as a speedster.

Barry and Iris meet for another date. This time Barry has been doing some thinking, and he thinks they should stop trying to pretend they are people that they no longer are. So this time he brings a single rose, (red and yellow, naturally) and takes Iris for a brisk run up the shoreline to a private and beautifully lit dinner by the waterfront. Iris agrees, they can’t pretend that everything that has happened hasn’t. In other words, they do talk about Flash-related stuff a lot. That’s okay, it’s a big part of their lives. They have much in common, and a big one is that they both want to do good and help people. They can do it together now. In addition, trying to pretend that they went to a relationship status straight from best friends is denying all the past declarations of love and desire to be together, all the new awareness of each other as something more than friend, and all the romantic tension they have felt along the way. They didn’t get to this point before Barry had powers, they did a lot of growing after. So they have to finally stop tiptoeing and start embracing each other for all of who they are. That’s what is going to make this couple a power couple. Unified, they are a formidable force.

Once they relax, their radiance lights up the screen. I am so ready for more! In a suitable parallel to their very first forgotten moment, they kiss beautifully with the waterfront and epic westallen kiss music behind them, but with a noticable lack of tsunami. I accept the trade. Candice and Grant have an easy and palpable chemistry, and when they turn it on they are beautiful to watch. In fact, I was disappointed we didn’t get a few more minutes of the episode so Barry could run back to Iris and finish their date because you know he did. I’ll always want more of that than this show will give me. Character building moments and scenes are ok guys! And because Iris knows everything about who Barry is, when Joe texts and needs him she tells him to go. Being a city’s hero is demanding. We’ll see how that wears over time but I don’t doubt they can handle it as long as the writers don’t feel the need to add unneccessary angst and stress to the relationship. I am going to give Joe the benefit of the doubt and figure he had no idea Barry and Iris were on a date, otherwise that was really rude considering prison footage isn’t a life or death emergency. Joe West, the buzziest of all buzz kills.

As it was, the episode ended with Joe showing Barry and Julian footage of the Rival killed by an invisible Alchemy in his cell. Barry is suitably bothered, but Julian also looks very… rattled? disturbed? intense? He questions Barry on hearing the name Alchemy and whether he believes in ghosts. Man, are we going to have another bad guy on our hands so soon? I have theories forming.

Flashpoint is really messing with everything.

All in all, the show seems to have found its footing again and I am glad. Let’s hope they keep their stride.

*Gratefully puts soapbox away.* Finally! Thank you Barry. Hope I don’t need it anytime soon.

Tidbits:

    • “Thinking aboout…well…what I always think about.” In case anyone had doubts that Barry Allen is all about Iris West.
    • Viewing Iris through a heart of yellow and red flowers is a perfect camera shot. Thanks, guys.
    • “Oh, I’m sure. Not!” LOL. Harry is funny. And seems to be stuck in the 90’s.
    • “You don’t think that it’s a sign that we shouldn’t…” “NO!” Lol Iris, thanks for saying what we were all thinking.
    • “Repressing memories is a coping mechanism for lots of foster kids.” “Is it?” Julian, I see you. “It is.” Awesome sass Barry.
    • “He honed that brilliant mind of his.” Joe, you gave a good talk and I know you believed it, but it would be nice if the writers would actually show Barry’s brilliant mind a bit more because he really gets dumbed down for drama a lot.
    • If Barry keeps popping in as the Flash to save Julian I think it’s not going to take long for him to put it together.
    • “She’s calling herself Magenta” “Meh.” LOL Cisco, she named herself and it has a color. Your ultimate pet peeves.
    • “Wally’s different than you Barry, you’re like a second daughter you overshare your feelings.” LOLOLOLOL Joe that’s really good messing you had us all going.
    • Barry’s uncle-like concern for Wally was actually kind of endearing. Wally will do what he wants, but it’s nice that Barry cares so much. He’s definitely trying to avoid Wally getting killed like in Flashpoint.
    • Panic buttons for the team are a good idea!
    • “As much as it pains me to help an abusive dick like you, I can’t let you die.” Iris for the win!!!!
    • Harry reversing his opinion of Jesse’s heroism almost immediately is a conflict resolved too quick, but that is pretty typical for the show. I won’t quibble about it much this week since I got some good stuff this ep.
    • Magenta’s color scheme and Caitlin’s raspberry colored skirt might be a bit heavy handed, but it did the job. Frankie’s powers manifested as Magenta, the darkest part of her. Similarly, Caitlin fears that her powers will lead to a dark side takeover, which is why she’s ignoring them for now.
    • The team believing in Frankie and helping her find a better home situation (and promising help if needed) was actually a really beautiful aspect of the story. Frankie didn’t need prison or condemnation, she needed help. “We have faith in you Frankie.” Oh! That was beautiful.
    • Wally looked weird when Frankie talked about dreams. I think he’s already been having dreams and I think it’s a matter of time before Alchemy approaches him.
    • The Iris and Barry scenes were just too short, but otherwise lovely.

 

Possibilities:

  • Julian acting odd and memory repression mentions, plus dissociative disorder and Frankie as an example lead me to wonder if Julian is Alchemy but doesn’t know it. The way he zeroed in on Frankie right away and provoked her, possibly to get Magenta to take over is also interesting. But to purposely do that he’d have to know what he was doing. Possibilities! I’m probably looking too close, this show often provides clues and signs and then ignores or changes them later. I think I expect too much. But it’s a thought to hold onto for now.
  • Wally and speed. He’s been dreaming about it. I think that’s Alchemy at work. Wally wants it and he’s already risked his life to try to jump start it. I worry about how this will go down. I hope they don’t write Wally making a Barry-level of bad choice in trying to get it. Don’t trust Alchemy Wally,and  don’t underestimate him.
  • Dark matter spread through the entire city. Interesting how they spelled that out. It may have been just to make a point to Wally but still….. fic ideas are starting to formulate. Oh crap!

What did you think of the ep? Feel free to hit the comments!

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The Flash 3×01: Flashpoint

Or: The Bitter and the Sweet

I think we all dream of a perfect life, where everything goes according to our wishes, and we don’t have to struggle or suffer. But alas, I don’t think one of us has ever truly found it. You can’t have happiness without sadness, and Barry discovers this in Flashpoint. He saved his mother at the end of season 2, and in doing so has created the “perfect” time line. but there is still a cost.

Barry’s voice over at the beginning of the episode mentions how some things happen by chance, and others we make happen. I’d like to know which one Nora’s death falls under, but I digress.

The current thing Barry is attempting to make happen is meeting and asking out Iris West, the girl he watches every day at Jitters and has been for a while. Of all the things that have changed, Barry’s scared-to-make-a-move trait has stayed. He’s been working toward asking Iris out for three months. I’m glad that Barry feels the difference, he and Iris have been so close until he changed everything, and now there’s a chasm between them he has to figure out how to bridge. It’s still Iris, but they don’t have the years together they had before. I have to admit, his nervous hand fidgeting and the mumbling of pep talks to himself as he approached her was delightful. Classic Barry Allen.

But instead, a speedster outside and breaking news on the television pulls him away without speaking to her. Iris, incidentally, was smiling as she texted with someone, then began texting fast and urgent after the Rival’s appearance. Any bets she was texting with a certain little brother named Wally? Of course, she was!

Speaking of Wally, who cheered when Kid Flash arrived on the scene? I did. The show has boosted their special effects some (well hello, increase in budget!) and it was thrilling to watch Kid Flash and the Rival race around/up buildings. Wally was awesome, and I can’t blame Barry for rushing to watch the new Flash in action. (But seriously Barry, why are you rushing to rubberneck at every Flash altercation? Are you trying to see what you look like to others when you run? Do you wish you had yellow on your suit? Are you just hanging around in case you’re needed? Maybe, as a good mentor, you’re trying to add extra civilian factors in to further challenge this new Flash and make sure he’s up to the task?)

It must be the last one because Barry manages to put himself in harm’s way and is saved by Wally Kid Flash, who then asks if he’s ok. Lol. Sidenote: I enjoyed how accepting and supportive the CCPD is with Wally’s Flash, it speaks to how established this hero is, and his youthful bravado is just cute. The Rival is a pretty generic blowhard at this point, we’ll see if he improves.

Barry books it back to Jitters and, after quickly stealing and returning Iris’ wallet to start a conversation, successfully manages to finally ask her out and she accepts. Their instant connection over grade school memories, his bumbling and babbling and Iris being instantly charmed by him all speak to the connection Iris and Barry share, no matter the timeline or earth. The show is consistently showing us that westallen is something that happens over and over again no matter the circumstances. They are meant to be because they connect in a way that transcends anything else. No mothers dying or being raised together, no coma or disapproving father-in-law, other relationships or time travel shenanigans (Barry’s or Thawne’s) can make it go away. I’m delighted to see this depiction. And because the show started with Barry and Iris already best friends we never got to see them meet for the first time or agree to go out for iced tea together as a first date and navigate the beginnings of what feels like a very promising relationship. This episode was a gift in that sense.

We also get to see Barry in action at work, with a new boss who actually seems to like him and doesn’t mind chatting. Joe is suspiciously absent and it’s clear that Barry is attempting to cover for him. Add that to the dimming in Iris’ eyes when Barry mentions her father and you realize all is not right in Flashpoint Land. The feeling intensifies when Barry leaves work early to take Big Belly Burger to Eobard Thawne, who is incarcerated in a speed-dampening cell in the warehouse district. Barry stays true to his jail-’em-without-a-trial-roots, something this show has never quite known how to navigate. But I digress again…

I know many who prefer Tom Cavanaugh’s Eobard Thawne over Matt Lescher’s. But sometimes Matt pulls out some really amazing moments with his version, and I can’t leave him out of the equation. I’ll never forget his creepy chilling version of Eobard Thawne when he was introduced in 1×17, and in this episode he delivers once again. While Barry pats himself on the back about getting his real life back, Thawne has just the right amount of snark, hatred, and chilling resolve as he warns Barry that they now have a common enemy coming for them both. He reminds Barry that he’s supposed to be the hero and that time is screwing with Barry’s life and Thawne too. When he tells Barry one day he’ll beg for Thawne to kill his mother again, I gotta say it’s quite intense. Matt is in top form in this ep.

Barry ignores his enemy and heads home, where we are treated to an aged Nora and Henry, happily married and alive. Did anyone catch the slower, dreamier quality of the music during that scene? Blake Neely has always composed stellar music for the Flash and he starts out this season in great form.

Barry is loving life with his parents, hugs his mom too much but she loves it, (sniffle) and is a bit surprised when it becomes apparent that his mom and dad want him to move out/have a girlfriend/be an adult. He happily informs them he asked out the girl he’s been stalking watching and she said yes. Nora and Henry are delighted. Honestly, the domestic bliss in the scene is just beautifully done and I can’t decide if I adore it or if I am bitter about the reality that the writers killed Henry for man pain. *Sigh* Sidenote: The look on Henry’s face when Nora first brings up a basement apartment for rent is a thing of beauty.

At the police dept. Joe is once again MIA and it’s looking like his job is on the line. Barry heads to the West home and finds him hung over, snoring and cuddling with takeout food. His breath alone could probably stun a yak, so Barry whooshes his ex-foster dad upstairs, cleans him up and delivers him at work, then offers him a breath mint. (I admit I giggled at the accelerated water and tooth brushing sounds upstairs.)

Joe can’t figure out exactly what just happened and he’s crusty and cranky in this timeline. I feel that way every day, Joe. His interrogation of Barry and why on earth this non-partner kid should care about him at all comes to an abrupt end when Iris shows up for lunch with Barry. (What is that adorable awkward wave, Barry? Could you have any less chill? Oh wait, look who I’m talking to.)

Joe does not approve, but neither Barry nor Iris seem to care. They are practically beaming at each other. Iris and Joe exchange tense and stilted words, wow these two don’t get along in this timeline. I demand backstory. Now.

Iris and Barry in conversation as they walk is such a simple and lovely scene. Grant and Candice have beautiful chemistry, and letting them shine in a simple scene like this was a wise move. Barry tells her it feels like he already knows her and then worries it was a wierd thing to say, but Iris confirms that she feels like she knows him too. Their conversation flows so well and really shows how easy it is for them to slip into a comfortable place with each other. Alas, it’s cut short by a disturbing episode as Barry experiences past memories of he and Iris together, then they disappear.  Iris is worried, Barry is out of sorts, and the police alert them that the Flash and the Rival are going at it again. Both quickly make their excuses and leave. If that’s not a giant sign that Iris is working with this Flash, I don’t know what would be.

Barry shows up just in time to see the Flash thrown out an upper floor window of a tall skyscraper. He manages to buffer the fall enough to save him, but loses control and drops him in the dumpster. Nice, Barry. Being the extra-curious nosey hero he is, Barry unmasks the new Flash and is astounded to find Wally. Wally, however, has no idea who Barry is.

We get to see Wally’s secret base of operations, complete with crime-fighting sister Iris who immediately suspects Barry was trying to get close to her because of her brother. Barry vehemently denies it and offers help. It is made clear Joe is out of the loop entirely.

So they go to Star Labs Ramon Industries to enlist help from the richest man in the country: Cisco Ramon. Oh yes! I always love watching the actors get to be a different charcter than the one they do all the time, and this was no dfferent. Cisco is rich, brilliant, caustic, and not at all interested in crime fighting. He did, however, uphold tradition and make the suit for Wally before telling him never to come back. Barry appeals to Cisco’s better nature, using memories from the other time line. But then they suddenly disappear, and Barry can’t remember what he was saying. Uh oh.

So back to Thawne he goes, looking for answers. Turns out time is now solidifying, and Barry soon won’t even remember he is the flash, much less that he had a previous life with the people he loves. (I have to ask. What did you think would happen Barry?!) Soon time will cement and nothing will change it back again. The discussion is charged and full of emotion, as any discussion will ever be between these two. Thawne tells Barry he knows what he has to do now, he has to let his mother die again. Barry responds with something that rhymes with glow foo tell, and Thawne asks him who the villain is now. It’s true, Barry’s not acting like much of a hero at the moment.

Determined to be a hero again, Barry doubles down on making this timeline work as he brings Wally and Iris to Cisco’s lab and reveals himself as another Flash. He explains what he did, and both West siblings give him incredulous looks. (Have I mentioned how much I love the West sibs? Cause I do.) Cisco is not on board, and Barry realizes they are missing someone so he looks up and kidnaps escorts Caitlin Snow to the lab. But she’s not a scientist, she’s a pediatric eye doctor. Okay, lol. Still, she does seem to come up with a good idea and locates the Rival. The team works well together in any timeline, willing or not.

Meanwhile, Iris asks to speak to Barry privately and tells him she does believe his story,  because she always felt something about her life was off and that feeling went away the moment she met Barry. (Oh! My heart!) That is a lovely moment and really cements that these two are always supposed to be a part of each other’s lives.

Flash and Kid Flash team up and head out to take on the Rival. They discuss flanking strategy (lol), the Rival blabs a lot of hot air (yadda yadda yadda), Wally goes Anakin solo and tries to beat the Rival himself. He still has to learn about teamwork. Wally pulls some impressive moves, which I enjoyed, and appears to beat the black dragon impersonator. (Seriously what are those spikes about?) I mean Rival. But with the true unsportsmanlike cowardice of a lame villian, the Rival spears Wally from behind with a makeshift spear. Tacky, dude. Wally! Noooooooo!!!!!!

So now it’s up to Barry to beat the Rival, and for a second he might just do it. Until he blanks out and starts losing memories of himself as the Flash at all. The Rival gets a bit over-excited and generates two tornadoes.

Wait wait wait! Ok, is this just some very unsubtle symbolism here? Why two? The absolute only reason for two would be to reference the Tornado Twins, Barry and Iris’ future children. Otherwise one would have been enough to remind us of the pilot and give some lovely callbacks to the other timeline. (I want to scream about fish in a pond here, but I’ll resist. Gold star to any one who knows what I’m talking about lol.) Cisco’s Weather Wizard comment was nice.

Anyway, Barry loses all hope and tells the team he can’t stop them. While Thawne himself disgused as Harrison Wells gave Barry the words he needed then, in a perfect twist Iris is the one on the other side this time. She is the one who unfailingly believes in him, and she is the one he needs to really be the Flash. It was a nice moment. So then Barry accepts his identity as the Flash and proceeds to break up not just one, but two tornadoes and vanquish the Rival. In what must have cost him no end of bruised machismo, the Rival admits Barry is indeed the fastest man alive. (Is this a first? Barry always seems slower than the bad guys.) The Rival will shed manly tears later, I’m sure. Well he would have, if he hadn’t been determined to be unsportsmanlike. When Barry turns to check on Wally, the Rival attempts to pull his same backstabbing move, but he didn’t count on Detective Joe West, who uses his gun in defense of the Flash once more. Now that was nice. Also nice was the fabulous look of surprise on Joe’s face when Barry pulled off his cowl, and his deep worry and concern when he realizes the injured speedster is his own son.

Wally does not recover, and Barry is starting to realize that his happiness is coming at a  steep price for other people. He enlists Iris’ help and takes her to meet his parents one last time. He has a lovely moment with them and tells them how happy he is to be their son. (See my notes below.) On their way out Iris catches Barry as he has another memory loss and they hurry to Eobard Thawne. Thawne is a gloating victorious jerk, and I don’t blame Barry for saying he hates him. Thawn confirms that he hates Barry too, but sometimes wonders which of them is right. That is a loaded statement that could take years to unpack, but I’m going to hazard a guess that it’s Thawne who’s wrong. Hero worship gone wrong is what started this whole problem. Sort yourself out young man!

Iris and Barry say goodbye, and while it’s a tender beautiful moment when Iris kisses him and says she’ll see him soon, it still tasted bitter to me because here is yet again another kiss Iris will have no memory of. Barry moves to run and seems to have lost all his speed. Thawne declares himself the hero on this occasion, but I don’t ever think killing an innocent woman makes you a hero. I watched the last few minutes with a curled lip because it was really kind of a dick move to make Nora think she was safe and then pull the rug out and kill her again. I feel like she is getting screwed left and right, and Henry isn’t far behind.

Thawne drops Barry at Joe’s house and tells him things may not be exactly back to normal in his usual crytic manner before leaving. Barry enters the house and gives a very confused Wally a long hug. I’m totally here for Wally and Barry to be close buds! There is a  discussion and a toast to Henry (Oh do you remember him? Seems like he’s long forgotten) and then Barry asks about Iris. Joe is less than impressed and leaves. For a second I panic and think she might be dead even though I know she’s in later episodes. Wally shakes his head at Barry’s confusion and tells him he knows Iris and Joe don’t talk. Barry is left to wonder what exactly he has done. (Again.)

Meanwhile Clarence (the Rival) is awakened by a voice and scratching on the mirror that spells ALCHEMY. Ok then. But really, I’m more worried about Joe and Iris.

Tidbits:

  • “Gary, right?” L.O.L. That entire exchange was ADORABLE. Barry is never the same with anyone else like he is with Iris. Watching them connect and feeling the waves of chemistry they exude wash over me was really delightful. The cutest of meet-cutes.
  • “And remember. I have a hangover, and a gun.” LOL Crusty Joe is funny.
  • “It’s just a lunch. And truthfully, I wasn’t even sure you still worked here.” OUCH Iris takes no prisoners! I love her.
  • Wally’s story of getting his powers was perfectly him. Loved it.
  • “More like Kid Flash.” “Don’t call me that.” Wally, you could be 80 and your youthful exuberance would still shine through. Have a cookie.
  • “Cisco—” “Uh uh. I don’t know you, Stringbean.” “S—Mr. Ramon.” “Oh, yes?” Carlos Valdes is a treasure in every form.
  • “Don’t do that! I told you it freaks me out!” “That wasn’t me.” I like how Wally is settling into awesome speedster guy. Let’s keep him this way!
  • “Stop bringing strangers into my lab, who is this?”
  • “Excuse me, have I been kidnapped?” “Unclear.”
  • “We’re something else to each other where you come from aren’t we?” “But it’s love? Because this is what love feels like?” “Since the day that I met you.” Oh look, I’m melting.
  • I’m kind of miffed that Wally was relegated to secondary Flash so soon after Barry revealed himself. It’s good that Iris believed Barry so completely, but I don’t know, I kind of felt for Wally. I don’t blame him for wanting to prove himself to Barry. He’s been running the show for a while and then suddenly another Flash shows up and he’s all that and a bag of chips to everyone, even his own sister. I’ll make you brownies Wally.
  • “Is that a thing? Flanking?” Heeee!!
  • Ok, I’m sorry, but in what world or timeline is a villain stupid enough to willingly reveal his face and identity to two rivals? Overconfidence? Really? Why oh why? That makes no sense. I call shenanigans.
  • They take the time to include a reason why Barry is forgetting but Thawne isn’t, but they can’t take a millisecond to explain why Wally isn’t healing fast anymore? Huh? Come on guys.
  • As much as I love the idea of giving people inspirational words to help them believe in themselves and achieve great things, I feel like this show does it about every other episode. It is far past being overused, now it’s in saturation territory and I think they need to take a break from it, please. Not forever, but just lessen the use and bring it out when they really need a gut-punching feels moment. They’ve lost their significance now and it’s only the first episode of season 3. Geez Barry, lift yourself up now and then!
  • UMMMM for an eye doctor Caitlin knows a bit too much. Wally wasn’t stabbed in his eye.
  • “If it isn’t the future Mrs. Allen.” Dang right she is!
  • “But I want to hear you say it.” Cold, Thawne, cold.

Stuff I Wanna Complain About:

  • You know, I used to think it was good flashpoint was one episode, but I now rescind that. I worried about flashpoint stretching too long, but I think a two parter would have been better. Far too much emotional depth was just glossed over in order to reach the finish line. Barry’s magical healing of grief over his father and parents in general was reduced to one line. “I feel closer to my parents than I have in a long time.” Oh. I was wondering if they’d actually give the grief and loss about having to let your mother die AGAIN time to be addressed. I see it will not. Having his parents for three months was wonderful, but I can’t imagine it would be easy as pie to revert back again, no mattter how much you know it has to be that way. But apparently it’s time to drop that and sprint forward. Typical.
  • Iris was lovely in this ep as always and the westallen connection was emphasized beautifully, but I admit I was disappointed I didn’t get even a little bit of her and Wally, crime fighting siblings in action. Here was a prime opportunity to show her using her journalism skills to actively help one or both Flashes safeguard the city, and instead it was reduced to one line and quickly skipped over. She was a beautiful love interest here, but is it too much to ask for her as a love interest/journalist? A fully realized person? Or is that only afforded to Barry on this show? I feel like a party pooper complaining, but I can’t help thinking a two-parter would have had more time to dig into this idea and really show it off. Wally could have benefitted too. Iris could have utilized her skills to find the Rival in the second episode instead of Caitlin entering as a deus-ex-machina-style plot point to do it with skills that don’t even apply to her field. The possibilities boggle my mind and I’m kind of let down.
  • Similarly, I feel that Henry and especially Nora were just window dressing. They were the whole point of flashpoint and while I will never turn down a depiction of westallen importance and development and I loved that part, Nora was just a pawn to be either alive or killed. There was no inclusion of Barry’s parents at all in the plot, from what I can see of the ep and the way they cut it Barry never even clued them in to any of it. He just did whatever he pleased and while he may have some angst over it, he seems to be the only one important enough to make such decisions even though they affect so many others. It bothers me on a certain level. There wasn’t agency afforded to either parent concerning their ultimate fate, and it felt really crappy to provide Nora with a moment of relief only to have it ripped away again and kill her. That’s more cruel than the first time around. She felt like emoional fodder for the angst cannon and she deserved more than that, as did Henry. But at least Henry got to sleep through that part. I feel the episode missed the poignancy and bittersweet beauty that could have been there had they taken more time to do flashpoint. I feel like a two-parter would have been beneficial. No longer, because that would be too long. But two episodes would have rounded out so much. So now I feel the show has failed both of Barry’s parents, and Francine West too.
  • Connected to that, it feels as if flashpoint was so short that they really glossed over why it had to be undone. Barry losing memories and Wally not recovering seems like a pretty shallow reason compared to two people dying. There is an ethical dilemma to each one chosen and neither consequence was enough to really tip the balance   completely. I appreciate that Barry realized everyone around him had it worse to make his life better, but in the comics the world was in chaos and there was death and destruction at every turn. It was a very compelling reason to let Nora die, even though it hurt. The good of many/the world over the few. I didn’t feel that here.
  • Flashpoint was fun and I know there are other changes as a consequence, but I can’t help feeling a bit frustrated that the thing they felt necessray to change at the end was Iris’ beautiful relationship with her father. While it has never been perfect, both characters have grown and changed over the past seasons and their strengthening relationship was always something I enjoyed. Now they are so estranged they don’t even speak? What? So Barry does his usual messing up of everything and every one else pays for it. You don’t live in a vacuum Barry! Everything you do affects everyone else and it’s time to pull yourself together. Right now the speed force is shaking its head. They gave god-like powers to a 2 year old. I blame the writing for this.
  • If Jay Garrick is arriving to advise Barry, why is Felicity the advice-giving guru showing up too? They only trot her out when Iris is unavailable, and Iris is right there. Talk to her Barry, for pete’s sake. I feel like I can check off Felicity Visit from the list of things they do every season. It is NOT a good thing that a checklist is starting to form, that’s formulaic writing and in the end it loses its heart.

Possibilities:

  • Dare I hope that Jay Garrick is showing up next week to kick Barry in the head and tell him to grow up? Barry needs some serious training in how to actully be a hero, and I  think Jay is a perfect candidate to teach him.
  • It’s time for Barry to own up and take some responsibility. I expect him to tell at least Iris if not others about his disastrous choice, and I’m ok if Iris and others are a little bit angry with him for treating their own lives and choices and relationships so casually. Iris has every right to be really aggravated there are kisses and memories she no longer has because Barry keeps messing around with time.
  • I have heard the phrase “Barry wooing Iris” applied to season 3, and after all this mess I expect it. I want to see some wooing, I want to see their relationship actually take off, I want to see westallen become non-erased canon and actually thrive. It’s time. No more playing around. If they can’t do it for real and make it stick I’ll have to take a very long break from the show. Same goes for Barry learning he doesn’t live in a vacuum. It’s too frustrating. These characters should be growing, not stagnating in their own mud puddle of bad choices.
  • Next episode brings Tom Felton as Julian, and I admit I’m curious. Bring it.
  • Honestly Thawne should really realize how important Iris is to the Flash, instead of going back to kill Nora left and right. Not that I want Iris in danger, but it’s pretty clear by now…

 

What did you think fo the ep? Feel free to hit the comments! 🙂