The Flash Season 3 Episode 2 “Paradox”

8 Overall Score
Writing: 8/10
Acting: 10/10
Pacing: 7/10

Awesome cast|Great guest stars|Solid moments of humor

Weak part in third act|A bit too much sadness

 

The Flash Season 3 Episode 2 “Paradox”

Starring:
Grant Gustin as Barry Allen/The Flash
Matt Letscher as Eboard Thawne/Reverse-Flash
Candice Patton as Iris West
Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow
Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon
Keiynan Lonsdale as Wally West/Kid Flash
Jesse L. Martin as Joe West
Tom Felton as Julien Albert
Todd Lasance as Edward Clariss/The Rival

Guest Starring:
Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak
and
John Wesley Skipp as Jay Garrick

Written by
Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg

Directed by Jesse Warn
2016

Barry Allen once again has traveled back in time and attempted to reverse the creation of the “Flashpoint“. But as The Flash returns to what he thinks is the reality he knew, there are still subtle, yet important differences. Thins only he knows have changed. It seems that no matter what he does, Barry is now stuck with this reality, as the one he knew is gone. But a dark and sinister being, who seems to not only be aware of the Flashpoint but survived it as well, is attempting to change people, one by one, into what they were in the previous reality. He calls himself “Alchemy” and he finally makes his presence known to Team Flash.

“Slow Down!”-Felicity Smoak to Barry Allen

OK, so any episode guest starring Felicity Smoak is going to be at least half-way good. Actor Emily Bett Rickards is consistently the best thing on Arrow, so her many guest appearances on The Flash are always welcome. She has GREAT chemistry with Grant Gustin and their opening scene here is a perfect example of that. Barry has come to Felicity (as he always does) to have a heart to heart talk. He tells her about everything that happened with the Flashpoint, and we finally learned that even her world was changed a bit (Arrow character Diggle now has a son and not a daughter. But I suspect more has changed.) There quick witted back and forth delivery is delivered perfectly and Felicity gets several of the episodes best lines (“You’re like pudding. Everyone likes pudding.”/”Run me through…no walk! Walk me through it.”) And It’s Felicity who works as the first voice of reason that advices  Barry he must tell his friends the truth.

But of course, Barry being Barry, he tries to run back again and fix things. He is stopped by Jay Garrick, the FLash from (Earth 3? It’s unclear.) And taken to a diner. In the 90s. With Dawson’s Creek playing on the TV. This is a pretty funny in-joke as Jay Garrick is played by John Wesley Shipp, the original Barry Allen from the 90s The Flash TV show and, even more famously, he played Dawson Leary’s dad. But this scene is actually the episodes second best, as it is finally Jay who explains to Barry what he must do. For the first time,Barry is told not to run, not to fix things, but to merely accept them and (what becomes the show’s theme) “move forward”. It’s a good scene played with grace and humor and makes me hope the Jay is going to keep popping in from time to time.

The third biggest scene in the first half is Barry speeding from friend to friend in an effort to get them all to come to a dinner at the West house. Again this whole sequence showcases the great heart and humor the show can do and how effortless these actors fit into their roles.

We also spend a lot of time with new character Julian Albert, played by Tom Felton (best hated as Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies). He is an interesting character and seems a good foil for Barry. His motivations are unclear, but in a show that loves red hearings so much, I’m not ready to make guesses.

The episode’s second half is not as strong, though, and includes some of the dourness  that really made season two so uneven. Cisco contains to be sad, even shown going to grief counseling for what we see is his brothers death, killed by a drunk driver (a little too cliched there also). Cisco’s is angry that his friend won’t go back in time to change things for him, and is especially upset when Barry finally reveals the truth to everyone about what he did. There’s a lot of crying and confessions, and although Gustin, of course, nails it with his teary-eyed performance.  However,  I don’t like my Flash all doom and gloom. Barry has always been a character to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders, but he has always done it with optimism. The “emo” here is a bit too much. This part really slows down the pacing (and not in a good way.)

Luckily all that gets settled quickly, and Team Flash is soon back together again, fighting off a revived Rival, who has gotten his powers back from Alchemy. Cisco even makes a return to form by adding “Doctor” to Alchemy’s name (because he “fixes” people who had powers). Cisco also gets a moment to shine as he uses his vibe powers to save Barry from Rival. It’s a setup for Cisco to slowly become more of a superhero, and embracing his Vibe persona.

The episode ends on a seemingly happy note as Barry and Iris embrace and kiss. However (and be warned the rest of this sentence contains SPOILERS!) Caitlin is shown playing with “cold” powers. So it seems that Alchemy either changed her too, or her Killer Frost identity has been emerging for some time. It’s a great development as actress Danielle Panabaker was awesome as the villain in last season’s Earth-2 episodes. The Flash continues to be fun and well-worth watching. Even with a weak third act in this episode, it’s already better than season 2.

*I’m introducing a segment for my Flash reviews, observations/questions I will call “Flashbulbs”

The preview for next week’s episode confirms not only the return of Tom Cavanagh as Harry Wells (yay!) but Jessie Quick (Well’s daughter in Earth 2) as yet another speedster. The show has no problem dropping in speedsters by the handful, but it works because it’s something the comics always did. Again I love it how this show confidently embraces things like that

In all the preview footage we have seen of him, Wentworth Miller’s Captain Cold, seems to have returned to full-on villainy after his redemption in Legends of Tomorrow. I’m wondering if Barry’s mucking with the time stream altered Leonard Snart’s time as a good guy. Either way more Captain Cold is always, always a good thing.

I can’t wait for everyone to start guessing at Alchemy’s identity. I’m sure most people are looking at Felton as Albert, but I think that’s too obvious. What do you guys think? Comment below, on my Facebook or Twitter

The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8pm on The CW. 

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Author: Manny Gomez View all posts by
Manny Gomez is a freelance writer based out of Florida's west coast. He obsessively reads interviews, binge watches TV shows, loves comics, movies, punk rock, hip-hop, stand-up comedy, detective novels and the mythology of baseball. His best friend is a dog. Follow him on Twitter @Manny1138

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