Flash Season 3 Episode 2: Paradox. Can Barry fix what he changed after Flashpoint?

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Spoilers for Flash Season 3

Barry is understandably rattled at the start of Paradox. He has experienced other changes now, and, as soon as he has time, Barry runs to Star city, much as he did when he first got his powers. Was he was actually looking for Oliver, but found Felicity? Or was he looking for anyone who he could talk to outside of his team?

Luckily, Felicity appears unaffected, and the Arrow cave remains familiar, so Barry launches into an explanation of what he did: at super speed so that Felicity cannot understand him. Felicity gets him to slow down, and Barry summarises the changes.

I found this quite an effective way to show the repercussions of Flashpoint, without having to go into too much detail and show all the changes and Barry’s reactions. Barry’s appearance in Star city shows clearly how frazzled he is by the entire situation, so we don’t need to see more than a brief snapshot of everything that Barry has experienced.

Felicity remains calm throughout Barry’s story and manages to talk him into going to fix things, despite Barry’s obvious reluctance, with a lot of flattery.

But what is it that Barry has to fix?

Cisco:

Cisco’s brother Dante died and he is angry with Barry, because Barry would not go back in time and save his brother. I thought at first that Cisco remembered the other time line, remembered Dante being alive, and blamed Barry for Dante’s death. Barry must feel awful about that, and I really hope that the writers explore it later. After all, Cisco did remember the previous time line before, in Season 1’s ‘Out of Time,’ when Dr Wells killed him. It would only be natural that his vibe powers allow him to remember other time lines too.

Joe and Iris don’t talk:

Joe eventually tells Barry that Iris isn’t speaking to him because he hid the fact that her mother was alive.

I find it interesting how, when Barry tries to get Iris to tell him why she is upset with her dad, she refuses to talk about it. Yet when she suspects that Barry is hiding something, she expects him to tell her everything immediately. I can’t help but think that there are double standards at play here…

There is a new guy at CCPD:

Barry now shares his lab with Julian Albert (Tom Felton), who doesn’t like Barry. Just because he doesn’t like Barry, when most people do, doesn’t mean that he is evil though, and we shouldn’t judge him on his dislike of Barry.

Julian is clever, and exceptional at his job: meta-human specialist. Even Cisco and Caitlin acknowledge that Julian is the best at what he does. There are husks appearing throughout Central city, and Julian is trying to find out why.

Julian is suspicious because Barry knew Edward Clariss’ name without being told, and knows that Barry stole a sample of a husk from his crime scene. Julian then reveals that he doesn’t trust Barry, and that he doesn’t like things that he can’t trust. This is pretty understandable, given that Barry does appear to be hiding something unless you know his secret. Maybe I’m just sympathising with Julian because I liked Malfoy so much though!

The Rival:

Barry tries to fix things by tricking Joe and Iris into having dinner together, and getting everyone else to come too, in the hope that he can get things back to normal. Cisco sums up his failure quite nicely. ‘Epic fail.’

The Rival provides a welcome distraction. Barry loses the fight and loses track of the Rival, and we see someone watching in the shadows as Barry looks around: is that Julian Albert? I wouldn’t be surprised if it were.

Meanwhile, Iris has hacked into security cameras and guessed that Barry and the Rival know each other. Barry says that everything is his fault and that there is only one way to fix things now.

Trying to change the past, again:

You really would have thought that Barry would have learned by now: Time travel has consequences.

Instead, Barry runs off to change the past again. He is stopped by Jay Garrick, who explains that when you change the past, even if you put it back to the way it was, there will always be cracks, differences. He tells Barry that he can’t go back every time he makes a mistake, and that he needs to learn to live with the consequences of his actions and move forward. It seems very similar to the lesson Oliver learned in the premier of Arrow.

Taking Responsibility:

Barry therefore decides to tell the truth and take responsibility for his actions. Cisco is angry that Barry did for himself what he wouldn’t do for him and Dante. Barry tells Cisco that he wouldn’t want someone else to die so that he could have Dante back, as it is a heavy burden to bear. (Barry knows this burden well, because he is living with it now.)

Would Barry have kept the truth from the team for so long? The old Barry probably wouldn’t have. He was not a big secret keeper and hated when, in Season One, Joe made him keep their investigation of Harrison Wells from Cisco and Caitlin for so long.

Barry now though? He had been without a team for 3 months in Flashpoint, where he could not confide in those same people because they didn’t remember him. He got used to having no one to lean on, and is probably reluctant to admit that he messed up too. He is supposed to be the hero, the leader that everyone can look up to, after all.

The finale:

Barry seeks out the Rival when he realises where he is: alone, because of how he left things with the team. Alchemy shows up too and admits that he wants people to achieve their true potential. He says that he is preparing the world, but we don’t find out what for as the Rival grabs Barry and whisks him away. Barry looks like he is fighting a losing battle.

Meanwhile, Iris says that they all make mistakes and do crazy things for family. This team are like family though and they also forgive each other, especially Barry. Cisco rescues Barry with his cool new gauntlets: I really hope that we see Vibe in the field again soon!

At the end of the episode, everything seems on track to being back to normal. Cisco is back to naming villains (Dr Alchemy now!), the Rival has been dealt with, Joe and Iris are speaking again, and Barry finally gets a kiss that he (hopefully) doesn’t erase.

The only issue is that Caitlin appears to have powers now, and it will be interesting to see whether or not she will go the route of Killer Frost.

Next time on the Flash:

Harrison Wells is back, and Jesse has super speed now!

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