The Flash “Paradox” Review (Season 3 Episode 2)

I won’t lie, given how dark The Flash was by the end of the second season, I’m fairly exhausted at the thought of the show continuing on that track this early in season three. That’s not to say the show needs to be sunshine and rainbows all the time, but it would be nice to feel at least some sense of fun about the show again. The Arrowverse already has plenty of brooding darkness in its original show, so the downbeat nature of “Paradox” was a bit much.

Now, the good news is that the show seems to be speeding past this depressing beat pretty quickly. Arguably a bit too quickly, sure – everyone is moved by Iris’ pep talk pretty darn easily – but I’d rather we move right on in to the show’s new week-to-week status quo of hunting down Alchemy’s new metas. And as far as Alchemy goes, it’s good to have a Big Bad who’s not a speedster, at least for now.

As for the Flashpoint changes themselves, like I noted above, they were all pretty grim. Cisco’s brother is dead, Barry is sharing his workplace with a distrusting metahuman specialist played by Tom Felton, and there’s a rift between Iris and Joe. The latter of those is cleared up by hour’s end, but all together, they made for an unpleasant, miserable start to our permanently changed new universe. At the very least, it seems we’ll be spared more emo Cisco, though the unceremonious killing of his brother still bums me out.

I fully get the need to have this episode. Barry has made a bad habit out of time travelling to fix every problem, and that lack of consequence made it hard for the show to have legitimate stakes; it’s the same problem I was having with Legends of Tomorrow towards the end of its first season. Taking away that ability to time travel willy-nilly fixes this problem, and for Barry to really learn the lesson, things had to be truly bad.

Still, as an hour of TV, it’s far from the show’s best, even with a great return appearance by the real Jay Garrick. Ideally, the show is now in a position to start moving forward and offering the sort of fun, lighthearted adventures we all fell in love with in the first place.

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