Monday, October 3, 2016

The Flash Season 3 With the Season Premiere Flashpoint

If you're a regular reader of my Flash-centric ramblings, you'll know that I wasn't particularly in love with The Flash season two. I found it uneven, and a number of the twists felt contrived, particularly how Earth 2 simply became an excuse to get everyone to essentially be the goatee-wearing mirror universe eeeevil versions of themselves. It got old, and it didn't leave enough room for the kind of smart sci-fi that this show is often capable of.

While everything worked out by the season finale, you might also remember that I was ambivalent about Barry's decision to alter the past and save his mother. In particular, I questioned the wisdom of going to the "Flashpoint" well relatively early in the series' history, and I worried that they were quickly going to dig another hole, with more gimmick-y alternate universe/timeline versions of familiar characters and situations.

Well, after watching The Flash season 3 premiere episode, "Flashpoint," I am pleased to report that my fears weren't just unfounded, they were really frakkin' unfounded. "Flashpoint" is a wonderful return to form for the series, the best episode since the first half of season two, and right up there with some of the best in the show's history.

Here's a quick Flash Fact for you: I never particularly cared for the comic story that this is loosely based on. The comic book version of "Flashpoint" was needlessly dark, and was so interested in showing off a DC Universe gone wild that a lot of the impact of Barry's actual emotional story was lost.

Well, that doesn't happen here. While in the comics, Barry's actions rewrote the whole world with some bizarre and disastrous consequences, here, things are far more subtle, and the focus stays on the people who bring us back week after week. As we've seen in the trailers, Barry's relationships with Iris, Joe, and Cisco have changed dramatically (and yes, Cisco is in a very different place than he is in "our" timeline), none of it is an excuse to go off the rails. Is it possible that I just missed these characters and this world, and that's coloring my perception? Maybe. But it says so much about this cast and the solid foundations the show has built that they settle so comfortably into these new dynamics and it all feels completely believable and natural.


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