With the season premiere leaving me a bit underwhelmed and this episode centering on time travel, again, I was really not getting a good vibe on where this season was headed. However, “Paradox” was solid, taking a long hard look at the ramifications of Barry’s jaunts through time and just how everyone was affected by this in very different ways.
When Barry realizes things are not quite right after returning to his own timeline, he dashes off to talk to Felicity Smoak about and spills everything that has happened. Her great advice? Do whatever it takes to make things right. So Barry decides it’s time for another time jump to try and fix things only to be yanked, both physically and mentally, back to reality by Earth 3 Flash Jay Garrick. Realizing he has to make do with what he has now, Barry goes about trying to fix things without screwing with the timeline.
In the middle of trying to make things right, The Flash is confronted by none other than The Rival, who he defeated in the other timeline. It seems he was given his speed back by the new villain of the year, Doctor Alchemy. What exactly Alchemy has planned is still a mystery but as far as villains go he has some upside, and not being a speedster is a very nice change of pace, pardon the pun.
Barry also has a new co-worker named Julian Albert (Harry Potter’s Tom Felton) who has a very healthy dislike for Barry. It was also interesting to see how Julian told Barry straight out that he doesn’t trust him because there was something off about him that he has yet to figure out. This could be a great plot thread, watching these two go at it and hey, Felton plays bad very well so I think this was a great casting move.
While The Flash is able to take care of business, Barry has a horrible time trying to get everything back to the way he remembers it. It was good to see him suddenly realize that this was no different than The Flash playing around with the timeline and so he stops trying and comes clean about what really happened. Understandably, his ‘team’ is shocked and although they do come around, for the most part, things are never going back to what they were. In fact, some characters might not end up anything like they were before. (Caitlyn, I’m looking in your direction) I love this idea, totally shaking up the familiar dynamic and I hope they have the writing chops to keep it as fresh and fun as they have for most of the first two seasons.
I must say, this is a bold move by the powers that be and this episode was quite a turnaround from last week. The ramifications of what was put forward in this episode are huge and it doesn’t even require fooling around with the timeline again. Saying that, I know we have not seen the last of the Flashpoint storyline and that somehow, someway, Barry is going to find some way to justify speeding though time again. Let’s just hope it’s much later in the season so we can enjoy the new direction of the show, at least for a little while.
Four starts out of five
- Great to see Barry get a reality check on time travel
- Tom Felton and Doctor Alchemy could be great additions this year
- Bold move to stir up the 'team'
- The Rival...I hope he is gone for good.