So after a seasonal intermission, The Flash has finally returned! I hope I wasn’t the only one anxiously awaiting this moment. Nevertheless, I know you’re not here to hear me gush, so let’s get into the action!
By Chance or By Choice?
A nervous Barry sits at C.C. Jitters trying to muster the courage to speak to Iris. He approaches with the intentions of saying something clever, and right as he gets ready to make his move, a newsflash on the local TV interrupts his attempt. The breaking news is that the Rival is terrorizing the populace with his incredible speed. Barry dashes away, in plain clothes, to the location where the battle is happening.
He arrives to find a dark suited villain, the Rival, and a blurry faced speedster engaging in a stare down. The Rival shouts that the city needs to know that no one can stop him and launches a few whirlwind-like attacks.
Back at C.C. Jitters, Barry speeds and snatches Iris’ clutch to create an opportunity to introduce himself by returning it. She seems to recognize him and mistakes his name as Gary, but they establish common ground over a elementary school memory. They engage in other trivial conversation, before Iris closes with the joke that he is her “hero for today”. Barry turns to leave and awkwardly invites her for coffee, wine, beer, iced tea or any drink imaginable. She accepts and tells Barry Allen that although he’s very cute, he should practice the art of saying less. Barry isn’t exactly the smoothest with the ladies.
Meanwhile back at CCPD (Central City Police Department), the department is having a hard time tracking and identifying the Rival. Joe’s absence is noted by a department boss and Barry asks for an early dismissal to meet a friend for dinner.
You Need Me
Barry zips away from the department with a bag of food in his hand and arrives at a warehouse. He slips into a flashback where he most recently saved his mother by brutalizing the Reverse Flash – except this time the scene continues. After assuring his mother of her safety, the Flash grabs the Reverse Flash and drags him away, then the flashback abruptly ends and we are zoomed back to the warehouse where Barry ran with the food. He’s been keeping the Reverse Flash prisoner. Wow, a prisoner in a box… it already feels like Zoom is back. Anyways, Barry offers him the food and they exchange verbal jabs. Apparently, Barry is dampening his speed with a glass cage. This is now the Reverse flash, and much to my dismay (perhaps many of yours?), we wont have the pleasure of enjoying the former Wells’ sarcastic, snarky rebuttals.
Barry feels he’s regained everything that was taken from him and thoroughly enjoys his [new] home. The Reverse Flash warns that this newfound peace will be short-lived because “time” is now their enemy and will be coming to hunt them down soon. As Barry walks away, the Reverse Flash snarls “one day soon, Barry, you’ll be begging me to kill her again!”
Home Sweet Home
Barry approaches his home to see his parents prepping to leave. All the joy and security that his parents could have provided were realized at that moment.
The next morning, Barry happily awakes to greet his parents. In particular, he’s been hugging his mother everyday, which she obviously notices but still appreciates his new behavior. Shortly thereafter, his parents shop the idea of Barry getting out more and dating. He tells them that he worked up the courage to [finally] ask Iris on date.
Where is Detective West
The CCPD boss is livid that Detective West is late again. Barry goes to check on Joe who is passed out on his couch. In an attempt to keep him out of trouble, Barry [quickly and uncomfortably] cleans Joe up and transports him to the office. As they stand in an elevator, Barry briefs Joe of the hot water he will be walking into. A hungover Joe is curious as to why Barry is so interested in his well-being with the department. Iris arrives as they converse, and Joe instantly shuns the idea of them dating.
A Walk to “Remember”
Barry and Iris stroll down the sidewalk as their date begins. It’s kinda cute watching Barry and Iris date in the way that Flash fans have been hoping for since the origins of the show. Iris is smitten with Barry and jokingly asks him where he’s been all this time. As he answers, some odd things begin happening as he mentally recaps past situations and encounters with her. A few officers scurry out of the police department and inform them that the Flash and the Rival have engaged in battle and that everyone needs to evacuate the area. This ends their date, and Iris offers a rain check – which sucks for Barry because he has been waiting on this opportunity all this life. Once Iris hastily turns to leave, Barry zooms to the location of the showdown.
Barry rushes away and saves Kid Flash from free falling to his death by slowing his plummet with rapid turbine arms. He unmasks the speedster and, although we could tell all along, Wally’s face is revealed.
Back at Wally’s modest bachelor pad, Iris [coincidentally] walks in. Barry asks Wally how he got his speed, and Wally tells him a story about experimenting with a nitro formula while street racing on the night of a crazy thunderstorm – which we know is the particle accelerator explosion. When he awoke nine months later, he was the fastest man alive.
It’s clear they need to stop the Rival, so they team up and reach out to Cisco Ramon. He’s now the richest man in America. Cisco emerges with a tailored suit and custom spectacles before he dismisses his woman to handle business. We know Cisco to be comedic, but seeing him in a dapper shirt and tie makes for an entertaining sight.
Cisco makes it very clear that he isn’t thrilled to see them and cautions [with gesture] the reason you don’t mess with a speedster. Cisco’s comedic value is instantly restored! Barry extends an invite to partner and stop metahumans, citing destiny as the reason, Barry says he feels they would make a great team, and launches into another disorienting flashback.
What is Flashpoint?
Barry confronts the reverse Flash to figure out what’s going on with these visions. The reverse Flash tells him about the side effects of Flashpoint – when the new reality starts to override the memories he once knew. The more he uses his speed, the faster he will lose his memory. Eventually time will set, and if Barry’s mother isn’t killed a new timeline will be set in stone.
Barry rushes to grab Wally/Kid Flash as well as Iris and takes them to Cisco’s place. He reveals his true identity of the Flash and says he’s ready to help stop the Rival.
Quickly, Barry draws a diagram to explain how he ran back in time and redefined the existence of Kid Flash. Iris and Barry prod Wally all episode about being the “Kid” Flash and continually belittle him into a secondary sidekick role. It’s actually quite humorous. Nevertheless Barry, realizing that part of his operating team is missing, departs to get Dr. Caitlin Snow.
Iris walks Barry away for a private chat. We know she’s smart, so in almost no time flat she begins to simultaneously know and feel that her and Barry have some sort of history where he comes from. She identifies the feeling as love because his newly established presence makes her feel complete.
Locating the Rival
Cisco uses some advanced camera technology to track the Rival to an abandoned sawmill.
The Flash Will fight the Rival head on and Kid Flash is supposed to attack him from the side. The Rival speedily arrives, unmasks, and introduces himself as Edward Clariss – because apparently rivals are supposed to at least know each others names.
Kid Flash rushes in to take on the Rival. They exchange punches before Kid Flash gets a pole rammed through his abs. The Flash rushes in to avenge Wally and, of course, a commercial. Gotcha! Now back to the action. A high-velocity duel occurs, and once Barry has the upper hand, another disorienting memory relapse occurs. Consequently, the Rival lands a vicious 2-punch combo, then creates 2 tornadoes. The Flash tells Iris and Cisco that he feels overpowered, which prompts Iris to deliver one of her signature motivating speeches where she reminds him that “he’s the Flash!” The words turbocharge Barry, and he unravels both tornadoes before landing a seismic punch. Barry turns his back for a moment and leaves himself vulnerable. Joe has made it to the scene and saves Barry by shooting the Rival in the back.
Wally is seriously hurt, so mental weight begins to wear Barry down, and he wants to make things right. Iris accompanies Barry to his parents house where he’s basically gone to bid his final farewell. He spills that the last three months have been the happiest of his life. As he leaves, yet another memory plague strikes again, but this time with more intensity.
I Told you So
Barry, weakened, returns to the Reverse Flash for help. As Barry’s health continues to weaken, the Reverse Flash rushes away to the night where he was supposed to kill Barry’s mother. As past-Barry assures his mother of her safety, the Reverse Flash reappears to complete the murder. A time lapse of memories ensues, and the Reverse Flash takes Barry back to his present time. The Reverse Flash menacingly tells Barry that things have returned to normal, but that some truths will reveal themselves.
Back to Reality
Barry walks in to Joe’s house relieved to be back in his normal life/time setting. Yet, his asking of Iris’ whereabouts offends Joe, who leaves the room. Apparently, Joe and Iris have an estranged relationship, and Barry feels bad because his question clearly threw salt in an open wound.
In the episodes final scenes, we see Edward Clariss awakened and beckoned by an evil voice. He climbs out of bed and approaches a mirror where the word “Alchemy” is inscribed on the glass. What will Edward’s villainous role moving forward be? How will Barry’s activity that ruptures multiple timelines affect life in the present? What happened that caused a rupture in Joe and Iris’ relationship? More importantly, what, if anything can be done to rectify the situation? A thrilling premiere left tons of question that need answers. To see how things develop, be sure to tune in next Tuesday night at 8 on Atlanta’s CW!