The Flash 3×01 Review: What Have You Done, Barry?


“Oh God, what did I do?”

That’s the question audiences were left asking following The Flash’s season two finale where Barry Allen made the extremely selfish decision to go back in time to save his mother and in turn created an entirely new timeline known as “Flashpoint.” And it only took Barry three months and the entire season three premiere to finally ask that question and realize that he messed up beyond repair. Literally.

And if you were hoping Barry Allen had become less selfish following the finale then you were sorely mistaken.

Fuck you, Barry. (And no, that won’t be the last time I write that in this review)

The Flash’s season premiere was touted as being this massive, epic episode with certain comic elements, most importantly “Flashpoint,” but it fell flat in most regards. And that’s being nice. “Flashpoint” was an example of a comic book storyline from the comics crashing and burning as they try to sell it as a success.

“Flashpoint” didn’t feel like an episode of The Flash. Maybe that was the point? But then again, the audience tunes in to watch The Flash. A show that blends stunning visual effects, character relationships, and action, and emotion into one effortlessly. But “Flashpoint” wasn’t that.

“Flashpoint” introduced us to an alternate timeline where Barry was 100 percent aware of everything that had happened in the other timeline and everything that he had created – or messed with – with this new timeline. And Barry didn’t care. Not really. He was more than willing to get to live in happiness and not think about the consequences of his decisions. Even when Reverse Flash, who played the role of level-headed hero in this episode, warned Barry of the dangers of what he was meddling with, Barry chose to ignore it because he was more than satisfied with this timeline.

He. Barry Allen. But what about everyone else? Iris? Joe? Cisco? Caitlin? Wally? The list goes on.

Fuck you, Barry.

And that’s perhaps Barry Allen’s greatest flaw of late is his selfishness. He’s thinking only of himself when he makes decisions like this.

To be fair, I’ll give Barry credit for recognizing that he had to give up his idyllic life in order to save Wally. But it took him an entire episode and nearly losing Wally for him to realize it. Barry’s selfish acts far outweigh the selfless. That’s not to say Barry can’t be redeemed, but the show needs to start treating his character right. More progression, less regression. Because I’ve had it with character regression. Barry Allen was my favorite character on The Flash. And now he’s not. Because of this character regression. He’s unrecognizable.

Fuck character regression.

To be honest, Barry’s a shadow of the character that I fell in love with in season one. That Barry Allen was a hero in every sense of the word. This Barry Allen is a hero struggling to remain a hero. Everyone has it in them to become a villain – the Yin and the Yang – and right now I’m seeing more Yin (dark) than Yang (light) in Barry.

Sure, Barry has experienced some traumatic shit, but this complete character regression is no excuse. Usually we meet the struggling hero in the season premiere and watch as he progresses nearing season’s end. Only Barry’s character did a complete 360 last season. He started off promising and slowly regressed. Sure, Barry lost his father, but that’s no excuse. Oliver Queen has experienced even greater emotional turmoil and has also lost both of his parents. Sure he’s had his selfish moments, but Oliver has always managed to learn something from his mistakes, even if it was too late.

And that’s the problem with Barry Allen. He doesn’t learn from his mistakes. And when you don’t learn from your mistakes you’re more likely to repeat your mistake in the future. As Barry has proven.

Following “Flashpoint,” what has Barry learned? Sure, he acknowledged that he messed things up in the final scene. But that’s not learning from your mistakes. Let us not forget this isn’t the first time Barry has meddled with time and not learned his lesson. Of course this is the first of its magnitude. But it makes you wonder what finally has to happen for Barry to start paying attention and saying, “Well, maybe I shouldn’t do that next time.”

Fuck you, Barry.

In the preview for next week’s episode, Felicity Smoak pays a visit to Central City where she compares Barry to pudding and wonders how anyone could not like pudding. Well, when the pudding is selfish and goes back in time to save its mother and then creates an alternate pudding timeline where the pudding is selfish and messed up and doesn’t learn from his mistake…that’s how. So yeah, pretty safe to say I’m not a big fan of pudding right now.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be happy, but there is a right way to go about it. Just because Barry has the ability to go back in time and rewrite history doesn’t mean that he should. That’s what makes his powers so dangerous. For all intents and purposes, Barry is a good guy. He doesn’t want to kill people or make them suffer. But then again when this power is so big it’s dangerous. Even to the good guys, like Barry.

Never in my life have I watched a superhero show and sided with the villain over the hero. But in “Flashpoint,” I was #TeamReverseFlash as his level-headedness and lack of stupidity shone the light on just how selfish Barry was being.

Even as Reverse Flash tried to warn Barry what would happen to him – both in terms of memory and in terms of his stance as a hero – Barry refused to listen. Part of that fell with Barry’s satisfaction living in this alternate timeline, and the other part fell with his history with Reverse Flash.

But even despite the history and Reverse Flash’s evilness, I couldn’t stop my head from nodding vivaciously as he spoke the truest of words.

“After all, you’re the hero. Or did you forget that?”

Barry Allen is The Flash. But being The Flash isn’t what made him a hero. A costume and superpowers don’t make a hero, actions do. Heroes are selfless not selfish. Heroes put others needs before their own. Heroes put others happiness before their own. Barry was doing everything a hero does not do for most of this episode, and Reverse Flash called him out on it. Just because it was a villain dishing out the tea doesn’t make it any less truthful.

The fact that I was siding with Reverse Flash in the episode should tell you just how bad Barry done fucked up.

Say it with me, Fuck you, Barry.

“The you I know from the future isn’t this stupid.

Well, Reverse Flash, we’re going to have to agree to disagree on that one.

With The Flash tackling Flashpoint we were promised some major effects as a result of Barry’s decision. We got a glimpse of the first consequence as we learned that Iris and Joe don’t exactly have the great relationship we’ve always known them to have.

Here’s the thing, I’m glad. Not that Iris and Joe’s beautiful relationship has been torn from us (Fuck You, Barry), but that Barry is seeing consequences of his decision. It comes back to the learning from your mistakes. For Barry to learn it’s going to take several significant consequences. That is how Barry will know he messed up. But then again it’s not fair for those that didn’t choose this, which brings us back to the selfishness.

Fuck you, Barry.

“Who’s the villain now?” Reverse Flash taunted at one point.

And he’s got a point. For a moment I forgot that Barry was supposed to be the hero and Reverse Flash was the villain. And to be honest, that’s going to be one of the struggles for Barry this season. Now that he’s starting to see the consequences (that’s plural, fuck you, Barry), perhaps this is finally the wakeup call Barry needed to finally start owning up to his actions. He needs to do that if he’s ever going to truly become a hero.

So Barry has a steep cliff to climb in season three. He’s starting at the lowest of the low. Let’s just hope that we don’t get more character regression instead of progression again this season. I don’t think my heart can take it.


The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on the CW.

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