So we know Barry couldn’t cope with the weight of his familial misfortunes and thought he could create a new timeline, but Barry really messed things up. No, I mean he REALLY messed up … to the point where he ran to Felicity Smoak for help. So, bear with me through the first portion of this recap in its stream-of-consciousness narrative form, from Barry’s perspective.
Explaining What Happened
Barry gets Felicity up to speed on how he dashed into Flashpoint, the alternate reality, and returned to the current timeline. She asks for a play-by-play, and Barry gets into the story of how things changed.
Before he was able to make it to STAR Labs, the Flash had to make quick work of a jewel thief by rapidly dashing around his escaping motorcycle and completely dismantling it in bad-ass Flash style.
Barry gets to STAR Labs and wants to jokingly nickname the thief, but they (Cisco, Iris, Joe, Caitlin, and Wally) weren’t too receptive. Cisco and Caitlin create ways to leave, and Joe tries to do the same. Barry quickly asks what’s the cause of conflict with Iris, which leaves an awkward family setting. Barry presses the issue, so Iris blames their lack of communication on one of Joe’s decisions. What could Joe have done that’s really that bad?
Iris approaches a conversation about “us” and wants to know if Barry feels the same about a relationship. He’s ready – who wouldn’t be?
Differences at the Station
At the station, Barry finesses his way into determining why Joe and Iris aren’t talking. She’s upset that Joe never told her her mother is alive – and all this time I was thinking it was something much worse than this.
Barry encounters Julian Albert, a meta-human CSI Specialist. This new guy has worked at CCPD for a year, and doesn’t have much affinity for Barry.
Tension with Cisco
Barry follows Cisco to a meeting, where he expresses great remorse for never telling his brother he loved him. Cisco catches a glimpse of Barry and promptly steps forward to dismiss him.
Now, keep in mind everything I just recapped, and let Felicity do the rest: “So you altered the timeline. Joe and Iris don’t talk anymore. There’s a guy at work, a new guy, who doesn’t like you. You never kissed Iris, and Cisco’s brother is dead.”
Barry uses Felicity’s computer to speed update himself on life’s current affairs. They determine that there is a key difference in the fact that Dig now has a son, Baby John, but in the Flash’s past it was a daughter, Baby Sarah.
He screwed everything up and doesn’t want to tell them, so Felicity strongly encourages Barry to fix this…NOW!
Edward Clariss is riding a quiet bus when he completely loses his composure. The word “Alchemy” begins appearing on a bus window. In a dark underground location, Edward encounters Alchemy and tells him that he wants the visions to stop. Alchemy presents him with the choice of having the visions stop or obtaining super speed.
Meanwhile, Julian is processing a crime scene, where yet again he declines Barry’s help. So, Barry takes the initiative to speed-snatch a sample when Julian turns his head. While getting the sample analyzed, Barry learns that his relationship with Cisco has declined because Dante, Cisco’s brother, was killed by a drunk driver.
Barry’s “family” is all upset at him and at each other, so he gets the grand idea to get them all together for dinner. The dinner begins in an awkward silence, so Barry announces that he thinks a retreat to reconnect would be the perfect remedy. Cisco absolutely crushes this idea, calling it an “Epic fail, party of 6”. Then, the Epic Fail begins unfolding in real life, not just in theory, as Cisco revels that he’s upset that Barry didn’t go back in time and keep his brother alive.
Clariss knows the Flash’s secret of changing the timeline, and he accuses the Flash of stealing his speed and declares that the Rival is back seeking revenge. They rapidly swirl though city streets engaging in a speedster duel around city buildings. The Flash veers off, then blindsides Clariss from an intersecting city block but loses sight of him. Iris accesses city security cameras and confronts Barry about his meeting with Clariss. She also wants an explanation for his recent odd behavior. If he lies, it’ll be the ruin of their relationship. So what else would Barry do? Run and try to reset the timeline, but The Flash (the version played by his father) stops him.
Move Forward or Do Over
The year is 1998, and the Flash [his dad version] knows Barry was going to attempt to reset the timeline – again! He empathizes with Barry and cautions him to the consequences of time travel: it’s never going to be exactly how it was. As a result, he asks Barry if he thinks he’s always supposed to get a do-over, or continue to push forward?
Back at Star Labs, Barry zips in to tell the absolute truth as to why things are disrupted. They question how he created a new existence around them, which theory is now a third timeline. One: the original timeline with the killing of his mom. Two: Flashpoint, the parallel existence that was his fantasy world, and Three: the world/timeline that began when Barry returned.
Barry tearfully apologizes, but the truth causes Cisco to walk away in frustration. Cisco is furious that Barry was willing to change the timeline for himself, but not to save Dante. Nevertheless, Barry apologizes and says they have no choice but to move forward.
Julian is the best in crime scene investigation, so Barry asks him for his case notes in order to determine Clariss’ location. As usual, Barry runs blindly into a trap where Alchemy surprisingly emerges and blasts the Flash with an energy wave. Barry is getting brutalized and as the Rival prepares to deal a punishing death causing blow, Cisco (Reverb goggles and all!) steps forth to thwart the fatality. The special effects in this scene contend for top spot in this show’s run thus far.
Returning to Normal
Back at STAR Labs, the team chemistry seems to be returning to normal. Cisco is back to creatively nicknaming villains [Dr. Alchemy], and the overall morale has a positive vibe. Yet, Cisco makes it clear that his relationship with Barry is a work in progress. Barry assumes that Caitlin was the only person [seemingly] unaffected by the change in the timeline. He chides her and leaves the lab, as she displays powers reminiscent of Killer Frost on her hand.
Tying up Loose Ends
There are basically three quick points here: Julian determines that Barry stole a sample and doesn’t like Barry because he can’t trust him. Secondly, Iris doesn’t care about what happened in Flashpoint because she feels like their chemistry will remain true regardless of circumstance or timeline. The scene from the end of season 2 – where Barry and Iris kiss on the porch – is virtually recreated. Finally, Alchemy chokes [and its implied that he kills] Clariss for failing to take down the Flash.
So now that the Cisco has powers and apparently Caitlin does too, who else has special abilities? Moreso, if anyone else happens to have powers, will they come to the The Flash’s aid? How will Alchemy strike next, and what will it take for Barry and Cisco’s friendship to rebound? For answers to these questions and more, be sure to tune in next Tuesday night at 8 on Atlanta’s CW!