The Flash S3E2, Review – Paradox

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We get to find out how much worse things are about to get and if Barry can fix an y of it. With all of these mistakes, we’re reminded how much a regular guy Barry is– he makes really poorly thought out choices throughout the episode. Will he have the support of his friends to guide him to a better path?

Overwhelmed by his current screw up, Barry visits Felicity for advice. It’s sweet that he can reach out to her in his time of need, and proof he has a wide friend network. Felicity is a helpful voice as Barry vents to her, laying out all the changes he’s had to deal with recently.

Most changes are made apparent during a Star Labs meeting, after Barry apprehends a lackluster thief. Cisco is not himself, as he barely offers any creativity to nickname the criminal. Joe and Iris are very much not talking, due to Joe not telling her that her mother was alive. Then we get to the biggest change: Iris and Barry never kissed! How far backwards with this relationship are we going? At least Caitlin’s life seems to be the same– or so we hope.

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Barry’s life is not easy, but he’s solely to blame for all this time travel nonsense. At least his mistakes have brought us one gift in the form of Tom Felton joining the cast as Julian Albert, a Metahuman CSI Specialist. He seems to be working on a metahuman related case involving husks. Barry and Julian are not fans of one another, and we know they’ve been working together for at least a year, dealing with this animosity. Even though Felicity insists Barry is like pudding, (and everyone likes pudding) Julian doesn’t seem to be a fan.

We’re brought a little into Cisco’s life, learning the reason his spark is gone is due to the loss of his brother, Dante. What we can infer is that Barry has been unsupportive of his situation, which doesn’t seem like Barry at all. I’m torn up about this failed friendship, just like I was when Joe hated Barry earlier. Despite all Barry’s losses, he’s had such a strong friendship with Cisco that made me envious. Seeing it fall apart is heartbreaking.

Back in the present, we gain insight on how Barry’s time jumping has affected Team Arrow. Mostly everything is the same (RIP Black Canary), except Diggle’s child is not baby Sarah, but baby John. We now know Barry has successfully changed Arrowverse, but how much does that extend into the actual show?

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While the weight of everything wrong weighs on Barry, Felicity comes in as a voice of reason to encourage him. He’s screwed up, yes, but he’s pudding! Pudding can fix this, NOW!

Remember Edward Clariss, aka Rival, from the last episode? Well, he’s remembering the previous timeline; visions are coming to him of his other life and how much power he really had. A mysterious voice is encouraging him to regain his speed, and he’s totally about it. The voice belongs to Alchemy, and he’s got Clariss on board. This is not a good sign for Barry who barely has control of his new life.

We switch back to a mysterious husk washed up on the beac h being investigated by Julian, who has all the signs of a great investigator. And while we’ve only just met him, he’s had a year to prove it to CCPD. Unfortunately, it seems that he has extremely little respect for Barry. While our speedster is smart, Julian is several steps ahead of him and quite protective of his work, especially concerning the four human husks. Barry does not take to being denied very well, and uses his speed to take what he needs before making his way to Star Labs.

I just can’t get over how much Cisco hates Barry– that’s his BUDDY, his PAL! Little by little, evidence comes out why, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Cisco’s brother died due to a drunk driver, but what did Barry have to do with it?

The more Barry interferes with relationships, the messier it becomes. Though, it’s part of his charm, to want to help and make it right. He tries to organize a big Team Flash family dinner with all of his friends to try and force them to get along.

As expected, a dinner between this timeline’s Team Flash is awkward. There are a lot of hurt feelings, and it seems Wally and Caitlin are the only ones to be spared from any animosity. Barry’s family is gone AGAIN, so I can understand his desperation to keep Iris and Joe together, and to try and get to the bottom of Cisco’s pain. What we learn is that Cisco asked Barry to go back in time to save his brother and Barry refused. Looks like this timeline’s Barry was smart, and our Barry needs to learn a thing or two about consequences.

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Dinner is cut short by the appearance of a new meta human, who reveals himself to be none other than Edward Clairss. He now fully remembers who he was, and he will fight Barry to reclaim it. Barry seems to remember how to fight well enough to take Clariss out quickly, but there is no relief as someone watches in the shadows.

 

Iris is extremely perceptive, especially when it comes to Barry, and her growth has become so evident this season. As she calls Barry out for hiding something, I appreciate her cutting to the chase and taking charge of each situation instead of letting Barry run with his secrets. Her level head is what makes Barry’s idealistic mind come back to reality. She notices Barry speaks to Clairss with familiarity, and he can’t come clean.

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Thinking he can fix his mistakes by time traveling again, Barry takes off, only to be pulled from the speed force by Jay Garrick. Jay tries to bring him back to reality before he causes further damage to the timeline. He’s been watching him, realizing Barry’s emotions are taking charge. What a good doppelganger dad– this is the best person Barry should be hearing it from. Being a fellow speedster who has made the same mistakes is a great wakeup call. Barry has to accept his mistakes and stop trying to do it over, before it becomes worse.

Finally, Barry comes clean with the truth to the team about all his mistakes, how much he’s screwed up and affected their lives. Obviously, everyone is emotional and high strung from the news. Cisco takes it the hardest. How could Barry refuse to go back time for his brother when he did it for his own mother, more than once? Barry tries to reason with him, explaining how one change can ruin another’s life, but it doesn’t seem to satisfy Cisco’s anger. He’s emotional, hurt and working through his grief. We then notice that he’s been working on his gloves, which we can assume were inspired by Reverb, but hopefully without the super villain backstory.

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Julian’s sand bowl hobby is quite odd, but when you’re living in a world where people can run REALLY fast, I guess it’s not too out of the ordinary. Gotta appreciate his precision to his craft, as he dishes out the insult’s to Barry’s desperate attempt to see his work on the human husks. If this timeline changes again, I hope we can keep Julian. He reluctantly gives Barry a peek into the file, which is enough to give Barry an idea of where Clariss will be next.

While Team Flash reels from Barry’s confession, Iris tries to appeal to them to forgive Barry. Everyone makes mistakes, and while this is a big one, it was done with love. Iris’ speech inspires her and Joe to finally make up (oh, thank god). Caitlin, who has had to play peacekeeper all episode, is asking for the same from Cisco.

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Barry’s one on one with Clariss is taking a turn for the worst, as Alchemy steps in as a distraction so Clariss can take a hit and throw Barry off. Luckily Team Flash has just gotten their lives together and are ready to help him. Best of all, it’s Cisco who comes to the rescue to save his FRIEND. That super villain origin story has just shifted to superhero– that’s the Cisco I’ve been missing. I doubt he’s snapped out of his depression, as grief takes many forms, and The Flash seems to handle it more realistically than I expect most comic shows to.

Alchemy (or Doctor Alchemy, thank you Cisco) is our mystery man who had aided Clariss to regain his speed, and his powers are not like other metahumans. There’s a link between him and the four human husks plaguing Central City, and we can only assume those husks will belong to those who had powers in Flashpoint.

With the stress from Barry’s secrets starting to melt away, Team Flash reveals that none of them want to know their old lives. Barry says to Caitlin that she’s the most unchanged, as long as she isn’t moonlighting as an opthamologist, so she’s doing just fine. Except, she’s not. She’s showing signs of Killer Frost’s ice powers and seems distressed by it. We should’ve known that seemingly unchanged Caitlin would be hiding the biggest secret.

Julian confronts Barry, letting him know he doesn’t trust him and he has good reason not to. He’s realized Barry was able to get a sample from the human husk without him knowing, and it seems to add to a list of suspensions Julian has going. My bet is that Julian is going to figure out Barry’s identity fairly quickly.

Iris and Barry share a moment on the porch, where she tells him that she doesn’t need to know her life in another timeline, after all, no matter where they are they will always end up together. Her faith in their love is endearing: Barry better be on board. They continue to take steps forward with their relationship by sharing their “first” kiss.

The episode wraps up with the Clariss in his cell, hearing whispers of his failure, until Alchemy gets his hands on him. Alchemy doesn’t seem to care about him enough to keep him alive, and we are led to believe he’s killed.

An episode examining Barry’s mistakes is painful, but they needed to be addressed. He has to face his consequences and not “fix” it by running fast. In his failures he’s created yet another villain for himself who is more concerned with results than the means to achieve them. With Team Flash back on track, Alchemy won’t have an easy time, but that’s assuming there are no more timelines created.

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