The Flash “Flashpoint” Review (Season 3 Episode 1)

As I say pretty much any time The Flash returns from a long break or hiatus, it’s so good to have this show back on the air. There are few shows – new CW compatriot Supergirl is the other – that so successfully and unabashedly capture the joy and fun of comic books on a weekly basis. It’s just hard not to smile while watching this show, even when “Flashpoint” ultimately ends up as a fairly weak premiere for the show.

This is far from a bad episode, mind you, but it suffers a little from rushing its way through the set-up for this new Flashpoint universe before shuffling it off at the end of the hour. The biggest shame, really, is that we spend so little time in this altered reality, when it easily could’ve served as the backdrop for a larger, two-part story. I get the need to return to the old timeline quickly – there is a larger Arrowverse to consider, after all – but the alternate character versions aren’t allowed to feel as unique or fleshed out as they did on Earth-2 as a result.

Outside of Cisco’s delightful turn as a pompous billionaire, there’s not a lot to say about drunk Joe, eye doctor Caitlin, or basically unchanged Iris. It is admittedly cool to see Wally as the Flash – here’s hoping he can become a speedster full-time in the regular timeline – but he doesn’t exactly get to seem that heroic here, unable to defeat the Rival and eventually getting impaled. Also, for as much as Barry did all of this for his mother, we barely get to spend much time with his parents this week.

It’s all unfortunately rushed, and not getting a chance to really understand what Barry has gained cast his actions in a harsher light compared to what everyone else had lost. It’s easy to understand the impulse that drove Barry to create Flashpoint in the first place, but he comes across as a jerk for letting Iris and Joe suffer for so long. Hard as it’ll be to watch, I’m glad that rift has followed him home, and that there will be some very real fallout from this truncated event moving forward.

The place this episode truly shined was with the return of Matt Letscher’s Reverse-Flash, giving his best performance as the character yet. He was absolutely devouring scenery as he tore into Barry for his bad decisions, and his forcing Barry to ask him to kill his mother was a brutal moment. Sure, he looked even better against the absolute doof that was the Rival, but this felt like Letscher finally making the role his own after Tom Cavanaugh’s first-season performance. I’m now all the more excited to see him in the Legion of Doom on Legends of Tomorrow.

What did you think of this week’s premiere? Let me know in the comments!