“Flashpoint” is a alternate timeline with its fair share of problems.
Maybe it’s just been a while, but for me it took some time to really get in to “Flashpoint.” Obviously I’ve been following the news and gobbling up any minor spoiler I could get my hands on, but for some reason it was kind of a shock to get back in to the swing of things for The Flash. At first I thought things were going too slow, then I was irritated because they were going too fast, then they hit a good pace…and the episode ended. Obviously there wasn’t anything devastatingly wrong with “Flashpoint” it was just kind of there with only a few moments giving a bit more oomph. We do have an emotional connection though, and that’s the most important part of the episode. There’s a real natural style to how Barry and his family interact, and it really helps sell that big tearjerker finale; but sadly it’s the Flash stuff that kind of lets middle sag. Barry finds out he’s losing his memories, gathers up the team, and says that he’s gonna help stop the Rival. I get the mentality behind this. Rival’s causing problems, Wally can’t handle it himself, so Barry recruits the old team to do what they do best. Despite their different backgrounds, the team jives well, proving that it’s the people and not the skills that makes them so effective (though the skill helps.) Unfortunately the way the entire sequence was cut it seems like there’s some urgency to it, but it’s not even implied. Barry never makes it seem like there’s a time limit, he just kind of gathers up the pieces and goes to work. Barry celebrates not having to be the Flash, then goes right back to being the Flash without any moral conundrum. Considering that this was a big part of his attraction to his new life, it’s odd that he’s just able to forgo it that easily.
Still, top notch effects, and the return of highly appreciated characters keeps this one up in the top spots anyway. The doppelganger versions of each character have their own interesting backstories that seem to correlate with the sudden change in history, and the “new” Captain is sure to make some older Flash fans happy. You can really tell each character was rewritten thoroughly. The last ten minutes of the episode really charge the batteries for the season though. Reverse-Flash is played to perfection by Matt Letscher. I was especially affected by his despicable request for Barry to plead for Thawne to kill his (Barry’s) mother. He’s a thoroughly unlikable villain, and I look forward to seeing him pop up more. The finale is also a perfect segue in to the next episode, “Paradox” as the theme of “fallout” continues.
“Flashpoint” is a heavily modified and abridged version of the celebrated storyline it’s based off of, but its mistakes are its own. There’s such a hurry to get things on track, and get back to the winning formula that the episode refuses to dwell on its strongest points, namely Barry’s life with his parents, his interactions with Wally as two Flashes, and the effect of Barry’s absence on the West family as a whole. Obviously you can’t blame Flash for wanting to get back up on the pedestal, but some of these aspects were unique to “Flashpoint” and without that hook it might not be easy to explore them later down the road. Regardless, we all missed Flash and “Flashpoint”, for all its missed opportunities, still manages to remind us why.