The Flash, S3 Ep02 – Paradox

Following the events of “Flashpoint”, Barry has tried his best to restore the timeline to the way it’s supposed to be. Unfortunately, not everything is back in its rightful place as there is a divide between members of Team Flash, changes in certain characters’ abilities, a new character where there shouldn’t be, and even some unfortunate alterations in the world of Arrow. “Paradox” sets out to explore these changes, as well as introduce audiences to a new villain dubbed Dr. Alchemy.

Father-Daughter relationship on the rocks

The Wests have some issues to work through

In the show’s past two seasons we’ve seen Barry alter the timeline a number of times as a way of either defeating a villain or saving a loved one. As “Paradox” continues we soon discover that Barry will not be able to fix the timeline as easily as he has in the past. This is one of the most compelling aspects of the episode and it allows for a brief moment between Barry and Jay Garrick (John Wesley Shipp), who explains that no matter how hard Barry tries to repair the timeline it can never be the same. This is cleverly demonstrated with the use of a broken coffee mug.

So, all of the new changes to the timeline, which include the death of Cisco’s brother, the strained relationship between Joe and Iris West, and even the heartbreaking erased existence of Sara Diggle, daughter of John on Arrow, are here to stay. This separates the episode from others as Barry chooses to open up to the rest of Team Flash and continue living in an altered timeline, rather than attempting to repair it once again.

Fortunately, the strained relationship between Joe and Iris does not last long as they make amends after Barry tells them the truth. Additionally, Cisco learns to forgive Barry for not going back in time to save his brother from an apparent car accident. Throughout the majority of the episode Cisco is angry with Barry for not saving his brother, Dante. As the episode wraps up it’s nice to see the two become friends yet again, and rather than moping around Cisco returns to his former self, even coming up with the name “Dr. Alchemy”.

The alteration of the timeline almost allows for the writers to cheat their way into developing abilities in certain characters and bringing new characters to light. Cisco can now go full on Vibe mode and Caitlin secretly has freezing abilities, much like her doppelganger from Earth-2. The new existence of John Diggle’s son taking place of his daughter, Sara, paves the way for Connor Hawke. Hawke was introduced as Diggle’s son in a future-set episode of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Personally, I don’t like this change and feel sad that Arrow‘s Lyla and Diggle no longer have the daughter they once had. We’ll see how Arrow chooses to address this in later episodes of that series.

Harry Potter franchise alum Tom Felton makes his debut as Julian Albert, a fellow CSI to Barry working at the CCPD, now sharing a work space with Barry. Albert is definitely not a bad person, despite his feelings toward Barry. All we know for sure is that he does not like Barry and for good reason. He makes it a point to mention that he can’t trust Barry, and when Albert realizes Barry somehow stole a sample from one of his reports it only gives him more reason to not trust him. We also know that Albert is very good at his job and Barry has feelings of resentment towards him. Nothing yet whatsoever implies that Albert will turn out to become a villain, but I do expect him to attempt to figure out Barry’s secret sooner or later.

The Flash -- "Paradox" -- Image: FLA302b_0155b.jpg -- Pictured: Tom Felton as Julian Albert and Grant Gustin as Barry Allen -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Barry now shares an office with Tom Felton

The real villain “Paradox” introduces us to is Dr. Alchemy. So far not much has been revealed about Alchemy. All we know for sure is that he is determined to restore the “Flashpoint” versions of certain people in Central City. This includes The Rival, who was last seen in last week’s episode taking on both Barry as The Flash and Wally as Kid Flash. Fortunately, thanks to some help from Vibe, The Rival is taken down, but Alchemy still remains on the loose. As of right now we don’t know what “Flashpoint” character Alchemy will choose to restore, but at one point it is hinted at that Wally will regain his “Flashpoint” abilities. The motive behind why Alchemy is doing what he’s doing also remains a mystery.

With the alteration of the timeline, The Flash can now explore several new series aspects that were non-existent in the conclusion of last season. Cisco is becoming his own superhero, Caitlin now has meta-human abilities, a new CSI in intruding on Barry’s work space, and a new villain is restoring certain aspects of the so called “Flashpoint” universe. As “Paradox” sets all of these pieces in place we can be sure that this season will feature even more surprises, one of which will take place in next week’s episode.

Overall, “Paradox” was a solid episode and surpassed the season finale, which was ultimately a bit disappointing. I look forward to seeing where these new threads go as the season progresses, though part of me wishes some things could go back to the way they were.

Next week Dr. Harrison Wells and his daughter Jesse return to Earth-1 and it’s revealed that Jesse now has super speed. Check out The CW’s official trailer for next week’s episode entitled “Magenta” below, and feel free to let us know what you thought about “Paradox” in the comments.