Four Color Television - The Flash Season 3 Recap

When last we saw Barry Allen he had flipped the table and destroyed his entire timeline in order to prevent the Reverse Flash from ever killing his mother and Zoom from killing his father.  With The Flash erased from existence who knows what changes could have happened to the DCCW timeline?  Over the summer between Season Two and Season Three the buzzword was: “Flashpoint” a reference to a major event in the DC comics continuity that started with the exact same time travel event.  How long would it be before they restored the timeline?  Would the CW Flashpoint be as dark as the DC comics Flashpoint?  Not long, and not really.

Recap: 

Barry raced in to save the day and placed Eobard Thawne in a speed dampening prison which restored both Nora and Henry Allen to life and altered his past so that he was raised by them, everything is coming up Allen.  But what happened to the rest of Team Flash? It’s a mixed bag: Cisco is the billionaire owner of Ramon Industries; Caitlin Snow is an ophthalmologist; Joe West is a drunk on the edge of losing his job; Iris secretly works with this new timelines Flash to fight crime; and finally Wally West is The Flash.  Barry is happy living with his parents, and attempting to find a way to rekindle his relationship with Iris so that he can have the best of both his lives.  The only problem is that the longer Barry lives in this new timeline, the more he forgets the original timeline.  He gathers the old Team Flash together to try to help Wally in his battle against his arch nemesis The Rival, but things go very wrong and Wally is mortally wounded*.  Seeing his team in disarray and his friend on the brink of death Barry realizes that there is only one way to fix things, he releases Thawne from his prison and asks him to finish what he started that night long ago in the Allen home.  After allowing Thawne to kill his mother, Barry returns to his own timeline and Thawne saunters off to be one third of the Legion of Doom on Season Two of Legends of Tomorrow.

Barry has indeed recreated a timeline where he is The Flash and Wally is very much alive, but he soon learns that this still isn’t his original timeline.  Iris and Joe are estranged, Wally desperately wants to have superpowers, Barry has a fellow forensics investigator at the CCPD named Julian Albert (Tom Felton*) whom he cannot get along with, and Cisco is barely speaking with Barry because Barry will not go back in time and save the life Cisco’s dead brother Dante. Disheartened that his timeline hasn’t fully been restored Barry decides to run back in time and try to fix it again, but he is pulled out of the Speed Force by Jay Garrick who sits him down and explains that once time is broken it can’t be put back the way it was – Barry agrees to return to the present and try to move forward from there.  Barry informs Team Flash of his time meddling and its results, which drives a further wedge between him and Cisco since he would run back to save his family and not Cisco’s.  

Barry isn’t alone in having memories of the Flashpoint timeline, The Rival is also front and center in Central City with memories of having fought Kid Flash. After being bested by Barry, The Rival reveals that his memories and powers were restored by someone named Doctor Alchemy (voiced by horror icon Tobin Bell.)  Much like Zoom unleashing villains form Earth Two the previous season, Doctor Alchemy is pulling villains from Flashpoint and unleashing them on Barry all in the name of softening Barry up for the coming of Savitar: The Speed God.  

Harry Wells called over from Earth Two to ask for a little help with his daughter Jesse who it turns out had gained speed powers since last we saw her.  Harry and Jesse hop over to Earth One for a visit which leads to some canoodling between Jesse and Wally, and Team Flash realizes they need a Dr. Wells on the team.  Harry agrees to help them find a new Dr. Wells from elsewhere in the multiverse, but opts not to stay himself.  Through some crazy Harry/Cisco science they reach out to the multiverse and interview potential Harry Wells replacements, what they end up with is H.R. Wells from Earth 19.  H.R. isn’t the scientist he claims to be, he’s actually a writer who pretended to be a scientist to get inspiration for stories he would publish on his earth about The Flash.

Caitlin begins to experience the surfacing of metahuman powers just like those of her Earth Two counterpart Killer Frost and begins hunting for a way to keep herself from becoming the ice cold killer from that other world.  Meanwhile, Wally begins to have visions of himself as Kid Flash as Alchemy begins to manipulate him to get to Barry.  Wally is kidnapped and placed in a chrysalis that will restore his powers from the Flashpoint timeline which puts Barry and Team Flash on the trail of Alchemy.  Wally comes out of the chrysalis and is finally Kid Flash on Earth One  And then the unthinkable:

ALIENS INVADE EARTH.  Barry and Team Flash hook up with Team Arrow, Supergirl and The Legends of Tomorrow to stop an invasion by a race known as The Dominators.  This traumatic event allows Cisco to finally forgive Barry and restores their friendship

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After finally tracking him down Team Flash discovers that Alchemy is in fact Julian Albert possessed by Savitar (allowing Tobin Bell to voice both villains) through use of the Philosopher’s Stone which is in fact a piece of the Speed Force itself.  Jay Garrick arrives to help Barry, together they race into the Speed Force and dispose of the Philosopher’s stone thus freeing Julian from Savitar’s control and giving Barry an unexpected flash of the not too distant future on the night Savitar murders Iris West in cold blood and Barry is too slow to stop.  Barry begins planning and prepping for ways to alter the future and save Iris’ life, it becomes the all consuming goal of the rest of the season.   Barry goes on a brief jaunt over to Earth Two because Harry has been kidnapped by Gorilla Grodd* and Barry makes an awesome visit to Gorilla City, and when both Wells’ return to Earth One with Barry – Wally resumes his relationship with Jesse Quick.  Wally begins having visions of Savitar, and it is discovered that Caitlin kept a secret piece of the Philosopher’s stone for herself.  Wally throws that into the Speed Force and unfortunately unlocks the Speed Force prison that Savitar had been locked in – a prison that was built so that it required a speedster to take Savitar’s place.  Wally was sucked into the Speed Force prison and Savitar was released, now free to attack Barry physically.  Barry goes into the Speed Force to free Wally, but the only way to release Wally is to take his place.  Jay shows up and takes up residence in the prison so that Wally and Barry can stop Savitar together.  Jesse Quick decides to travel to Earth Three to fill the void created by Jay’s absence.

An unconscious Supergirl is brought to Earth One and it turns out she has been sucked into a musical and it’s not long before Barry is stuck in their with her.  Everyone sings, it’s awesome*.  Supergirl goes home, Barry asks Iris to marry him and everyone is really happy with what is going on.  Except… Iris is still weeks away from being brutally murdered by a speedster god in razor armor.  Caitlin goes evil and joins Savitar in his quest to destroy Barry. Not getting any answers in the present, Barry runs to the future to find out how to stop Savitar – when he returns he is finally able to put it all together and reveals Savitar as a future time remnant of Barry himself*.  In fighting Savitar in the future Barry created a time remnant who became badly injured in trying to stop the Speed God, rejected by his own family and friends the time remnant decided to become the very monster who had created him and was then trapped in The Speed Force.  His plan is to break Barry emotionally so that he becomes so bitter and broken that he will one day create the time remnant that becomes Savitar making his life a closed loop.

H.R. has a device that can alter his appearance and he uses it to make himself look like Iris and takes her place as Savitar’s prisoner.  Savitar succeeds in killing Iris, but it isn’t really Iris – so his timeline begins to unravel.  Jay is released from the prison to assist in the fight and Barry keeps Savitar occupied long enough that time wraiths come to erase him from existence.  With Savitar back in his prison, everything would return to normal; but Savitar refused to let that happen and took one last attempt at killing Barry and destroying the both of them forever. Seconds away from killing Barry, Savitar is shot in the back by Iris and collapses to the ground, erasing from existence. Still raw from the events of the previous night, everyone goes to the funeral of H.R. Wells and are mourning their lost friend when a Speed Force Storm threatens to destroy Central City.  Without a speedster in the Speed Force Prison the Speed Force is imbalanced and will continue to wreak havoc on Earth.  Barry tells Wally to become The Flash in his absence, tells his friends and family goodbye and steps into the Speed Force*.

Analysis:

What works about Season Three:  Exploring the birth of Kid Flash with Kieynan Lonsdale is an absolute blast, Tom Cavanaugh’s all new all quirky H.R. Wells is another tour de force performance, an entire episode devoted to letting the casts of Arrow, Supergirl, Legends and The Flash stretch their pipes and sing was incredible.  Introducing villains like Abra Kadabra and exploring concepts like Gorilla City were the perfect ways to satisfy long time Flash fans.  Tom Felton is a lot of fun as the irascible Julian Albert and his chemistry with Danielle Panabaker is charming.  

What doesn’t work about Season Three: The Savitar Mystery is the most annoying of the three speedster villain mysteries on the show so far, particularly because after people began guessing that Savitar was Barry many members of the cast and crew went out of their way to deny the charge.  The idea that Barry’s enemy this season is himself was a perfectly fine notion, but saving it as a season long mystery really left very little time to explore the notion.  The showrunner has said that next season’s villain will not be a speedster, and that seems to be a very wise idea.  As fun as it is to see Tom Cavanaugh inhabit multiple characters, it also feels like H.R. should probably be the last new Wells.

Next Week: Felicity Smoak vs. Barbara Gordon Arrow vs. The Green Arrow

In Two Weeks: Legends of Tomorrow vs. The Time Masters

The Flash: The Complete Third Season [Blu-ray]
Starring Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Keiynan Lonsdale

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