The Flash: 4 Things We Learned from the Season 3 Premiere [SPOILERS]
The Flash can't outrun the choices he's made.
The Flash is back, and everything is different because of Barry Allen's choices during the Season 2 finale. However, can Barry live in this unfamiliar, parallel timeline, or did Allen's decisions makes everything worse?
At the end of Season 2, The Flash went back in time and saved his mother from Reverse Flash. However, this wasn't supposed to happen. Nora Allen was supposed to die. Season 3 picks up in the present day, but everything has changed because of Barry's actions.
A lot has changed for the Season 3 premiere, but what does all this mean for the overarching story and plot this year? While a lot has changed, here are the moments that are going to affect the rest of the upcoming episodes.
Warning: Spoilers for the Season 3 premiere ahead!
The Rival Wasn't Just a One-Shot Villain
In what was dubbed the "Flashpoint" universe, Wally West is The Flash and his arch-nemesis is a speedster called The Rival. His real name is Edward Clariss, and he just wants to be the fastest man alive and to have a worthy adversary. A chunk of the episode revolves around this new villain, with Barry and Wally fighting him.
After the timeline is reset (more on that below), and Barry returns to the world the world he once knew, there is a post-credit sequence. Clariss is lying in bed with his wife, and he hears a voice call out to him. He wakes up and sees the word "Alchemy" being carved into his bedroom mirror.
There's a lot that could be at play here. Maybe Clariss is the seasonal villain Doctor Alchemy in this world and Mirror Master (who will also be a part of this season) is reaching out to him. Maybe Clariss is Mirror Master and Alchemy was talking to him. The most likely scenario is that Clariss will become The Rival though. We do know Clariss is in the season for more than one episode.
Time Can Set & Become Unfixable
This whole episode deals with time and how it can be manipulated. Barry saved his parents from Reverse Flash, and in doing so, it altered the present day completely. However, as the episode moved forward, Barry's memories of his past life started to disappear. Why is this happening?
Barry talks to the Reverse Flash, who he has locked up in a glass cage that dampens his powers. Reverse Flash explains that every time Barry uses the Speed Force, his memories start to fade. The current time line they are in is setting and becoming permanent, and Barry's memories of the prior world are being purged. If this keeps up, everything will be erased, including what Barry's learned about the Speed Force.
This moment is the most important part of the series thus far. Barry has been on a quest to find out who killed his mother and a way to stop it from happening. In Season 1, he decided that he couldn't change the past. However, in Season 2, he said "screw it" and did it anyway. Barry learned that if you change the past, it will alter the present, and according to Reverse Flash, if you do that, time will snap permanently into place, and you won't be able to change it back.
Reverse Flash is Alive
As you've already realized, Reverse Flash is alive. Barry went back in time to save his mother, and after doing so, he brought Reverse Flash to the present. Strangely enough, Barry's most infamous villain is also the voice of reason throughout the entire episode.
After Reverse Flash explains to Barry why Nora Allen needs to die, he brings Barry to the past, and once again, kills Nora, in order to change the present back to what Barry was accustomed to. Barry saw his mother die one more time. How many times can this show traumatize the character?
More importantly, Reverse Flash escapes, and here's where it gets a bit tricky. At the end of Season 1, Reverse Flash met his end. As the audience learns towards the end of the "Flashpoint" episode, not everything Barry knew about the timeline is the same. Does this mean Reverse Flash could be back as well or is that moment a fixed point in time as well? Considering these two characters cross paths quite a bit, we're sure this isn't the last time we've seen him.
The West Family Dynamic is Different
After Barry lets Reverse Flash kill his mother, he goes back to the present, to where he lives with Joe, Wally, and Iris West. However, Iris isn't there. Joe, Wally, and Barry share a beer to remember Henry Allen's life, since Henry died at the end of Season 2.
Barry quickly finds out that Joe and Iris aren't on speaking terms. Something big happened, and Barry has no clue what it is. Joe seemed really upset when Iris was brought up, and it's something that this timeline's Barry would know about. That means not everything in this timeline was exactly like Barry left it.
Our guess is that Reverse Flash is screwing with Barry again. Why would something be changed in this timeline otherwise? In addition, it's the nature of the character. He's always had a rivalry with Barry and will stop at nothing to completely ruin his life.
Overall, the Season 3 premiere of The Flash may have seemed like a throwaway, villain of the week episode, but it offered so much more, especially in the way of character development for Barry. He finally realizes he can't change the past without losing everything and everyone he knows. It also put him between a rock and a hard place as he had to team up with the man who ruined his life.
More importantly, it sets the tone for the rest of season. These moments may not be front and center, but we do learn that there are multiple threats to the Flash family. Barry may be distracted by the situation with Iris, so he won't be on top of his game. This episode didn't have the same impact the Season 2 premiere had, but it is a great start to the season.
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