The Flash Season 3: Episodes 1-3 Review

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I know that I’ve said this before, but for real, CW’s The Flash is easily one of the best network television shows in a long time. I’m not about to lump it in with anything that HBO produces (Game of Thrones) or that Netflix put’s out (any of their Marvel shows), because those are different beasts and I don’t like comparing apples to oranges, but as far as regular network television goes, it’s absolutely upping the game.

I haven’t seen a show that makes this good a use of an ensemble cast since the late great, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in that all of the characters fulfill specific roles all of which serve to round out the show. There’s Barry Allen (the shows titular hero), Joe West (the parent), Harrison Wells (the mentor), Caitlin Snow (the friend, confident, and medical expert), Cisco Ramon (the science nerd and heart of the show), and Iris West (the forlorn love interest). Each of the core characters serve their roles in away that serves the story. Always and the show is better off for it. Each character understands their role in Barry’s world and Barry acknowledges that he wouldn’t be able to do what he does without them, despite his tremendous abilities, and he continues to grow in a way that a true superhero does.

He makes mistakes and then learns from them.

The third season of The Flash continues on in this tradition in a way that is clearly progressing the show forward. From it’s first episode, Flashpoint, it establishes that Barry is prone to make the mistakes that we all would make given his ability. His changing of the timeline was ultimately a selfish act that created larger issues for the rest of the world, specifically the people closest to him, but instead of dwelling on the issue, Barry and the show work hard to correct things right away which was a smart move. We as viewers have been captivated by the dynamics created by the shows writers and the last thing anybody wants is to have to sit through an entire season that messes with that. It’s a mistake that too many shows have made in the past and usually there’s a lot of time, at least a half season, “putting the band back together” and reestablishing the core group we once knew (although there are always some lingering side effects).

The Flash, which easily could’ve drawn out Flashpoint for the rest of the season, knew better. Instead, it course corrected right away, while leaving lingering unknown changes which ultimately give rise to the big bad of the season. It spares us the long drawn out “get back together” scenes and instead claims solidarity and while everybody recognizes what happened and the inherent issues that go along with the changes in the timeline, they opt to accept things the way they are, for better of for worse, and power through. Again, this is something that could’ve been long and drawn out, but instead they bring it back together to use as a launch pad for bigger and better drama, action, and suspense later on down the road.Very wise.

The second episode, Paradox, deals with the ramifications of the Flashpoint event and the reconciling of issues in order to come together and address the bigger issues. It’s here we seen the differences created from the correcting of the timeline and how they effect Team Flash, but again, instead of drawing it all out, the group collectively decides to just let things to be as they are in order to move forward. This is something that could’ve ultimately bogged down the whole season, but the writers have better things in store and they know we don’t want to have to solely focus on group drama in lieu of a big bad.

The second episode also shows us that the alternate timeline will serve as the prevailing story driver of this season, just as Earth-2 did last season. It sets up new meta-humans for the monster of the week stuff, while not leaving the story stagnant. It’s a device that provides for simple weekly story telling that maintains and propels the overarching plot of the season.

The third episode, Magenta, introduces us to a new speedster in the form of Jessie Quick. Quick developed her powers, at least in part, from the particle accelerator explosion used in the last season to restore Barry’s powers. It’s likely that this will deliver more than just a new hero into the show and instead setup some kind of plot device later in the season. We also see Wally West lamenting in his lack of powers, despite being hit with the same dark matter form the particle accelerator that affected Jesse, however, we’ve already been given enough information to know that this and the Flashpoint timeline will come together in some kind of unexpected way.

Right now, the best thing about The Flash, is it’s ability to maintain it’s unpredictability through fairly simplistic story telling. They don’t have to resort to over-complicated story-lines in order to drive the week to week stuff like their sister show, Arrow, is overly prone to doing. Instead, they institute a fairly simple device right off the bat that allows the story to unfold naturally throughout the season and right now, it seems as though this season will continue to deliver on what the first two seasons setup and we’re really looking forward to some of the bigger reveals down the road.

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