The Flash 3×01 Roundtable: Discussing ‘Flashpoint’

A new season of The Flash means a new season of roundtables where Fangirlish writers Alyssa, Lizzie, and Lyra discuss the hot topics from every Flash episode.

In The Flash‘s season three premiere, we finally got to see the effects of Barry’s decision to go back in time and save his mother. Meet Flashpoint, ladies and gentlemen. We wish that we had only good things to say.

What were your overall thoughts on “Flashpoint?”

Alyssa: To be honest, I don’t think I’ve enjoyed an episode of The Flash less. While that’s nothing against the show’s decision to move forward with Flashpoint, this episode felt like anything but an episode of The Flash. For a season premiere it was pretty blah. Early on in the episode I even said to Lizzie, Wow, this is boring. I’ve never felt that way before. I’ve never had a reason. I’ve always trusted the Powers That Be that they’ll take good care.

But ever since the show took Barry Allen’s character in an entirely opposite direction of where he seemed headed last season (eff character regression), I haven’t been very trusting. While I’m sure some diehard comic fans loved this episode, me – a casual comic book fan – did not. The thing is the show is not the comics. Sure, you can draw on certain elements and storylines from the comics, but one of the biggest mistakes you could make is forcing a comic storyline on a show. And that’s what “Flashpoint” was.

Lizzie: Ugh. Yuck. No. Bad Barry. You think it’s so easy? Ugh. Please don’t. No. NO. I said no. BAD BARRY. I hate you Barry. ARGH. NO. NO. NO. I think that about covers it.

To be honest, I didn’t like the idea in the first place – I’m a big fan of the storyline in the comics, but there didn’t seem to be a way they could do it justice in the show – and my worst fears came to pass. Flashpoint was over in one episode, and all it did was effectively make Barry look like a selfish idiot. Oh, and yes, and it made Joe and Iris fight. Big freaking deal. I’m a big believer in do it right or don’t do it, and The Flash didn’t do this right, so they just shouldn’t have done it.

Also, the episode, though mildly entertaining as most The Flash episodes are, was so stupid in that it basically destroyed all character development for THE MAIN CHARACTER. Why did we spend those 40 minutes in the speed force last year with Barry learning to come to terms with his mother’s death? WHY?

Lyra: It bombed all the character development that I thought Barry had gone through. Now I feel like I can’t even cheer for the main character because he’s the villain of his own story. And I understand that Flashpoint is an integral part of The Flash storyline. I get that. But this version that played out was not worth the writers time or the viewers. Currently I want the people on The Flash to turn their backs on Barry. He didn’t see them as worthy people, they weren’t good enough. So why should they care for Barry? Better yet why should I care about Barry Allen’s journey as a superhero?

As for Westallen, I don’t think I want it anymore. I think Iris deserves better. I think Iris deserves someone who is on the same page as her and respects her and those she loves. She needs a man, not a boy. A hero.

Focusing on the Flashpoint storyline, what was your general impression with how the show handled it?

Alyssa: For a storyline that touted as being so significant on the show, the fact that it lasted only one episode was incredibly disappointing. Then again, I don’t know if I could’ve taken another few episodes of this Flashpoint world where everything felt weird and foreign. But putting aside my personal feelings about how The Flash handled Flashpoint, what’s the point in doing something so significant like Flashpoint if you’re not going to dig a little deeper? Of course it was never going to be like the comics (especially given the characters and circumstances of the comic), but the hype was not worthy.

I will admit that it was intriguing to see different versions of these characters that we’ve grown to know and love over the past two seasons. Billionaire Cisco was genius (although he had me missing our Cisco), Caitlin being a pediatric eye doctor was too cute, Iris and Wally’ teaming up as crime fighters, and Wally West as Kid Flash was simply amazing. But then there were elements that I wasn’t a fan of: the ruination of Joe West, the WestAllen dynamic, and Barry Allen. I’ll say it before the next question when I’m likely to repeat it throughout, but “Fuck you, Barry.”

Now, of course that Flashpoint is now in the past that doesn’t mean that we won’t see it reverberate throughout the season. But the fact that this storyline lasted only one episode pretty much made it not worth it at all.

Lizzie: I touched on this a bit in my other answer, because apparently my anger is too great to be contained, but it was awful. I didn’t have great expectations, but I think this was, in a way, even worse than I expected it. If they wanted to win me over they needed to frame this more around the pain of losing a parent – they didn’t. They just made Barry this careless dude who does what he wants when he wants and who basically expects to have his cake and eat it too with no consequences. Because what are consequences for Barry Allen? Nothing. He’s never had to live with them – he’s gotten the hero moniker pretty easily. We don’t expect enough from him, and it’s all fine, because he’s funny and Cisco’s funny and we like this show. But my days of forgiving his stupidity are over. If you want to call yourself a hero, Barry, you’re gonna have to earn it.

Lyra: It was an utter failure. There was sooooooo much potential there to do something great there. And I give The Flash writers points for trying because I can’t take that away from them. But it bombed. Big time. I couldn’t help thinking that they should’ve kept Flashpoint going longer. They should’ve made Barry come to the realization slowly that he’d fucked up, instead of this storyline where he basically came out to everyone because he wanted to brag and because he was losing his memories. They also should’ve made us fall in love with these versions of Cisco, Caitlin, Joe, and Iris. They should’ve made us wonder if Barry should fix the timeline or just stay there with them.

But wouldn’t it mess with what’s going on in Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, or Supergirl, you ask?! That’s some timey-wimey stuff that can be explained with time travel jargon about how the timeline was eventually fixed so no one remembers what was there before. Oh and wait, the differences weren’t that big anyway TV viewers! It’s a lazy explanation by the writers but one that they can use to their hearts content because time travel.

Can we talk about how selfish Barry Allen has become? So much so that Reverse Flash was the levelheaded one. Let out your feelings about Barry!

Alyssa: Fuck you, Barry. Did you expect me to lead off with anything else? One of the biggest disappointments with The Flash of late has been the character regression of Barry Allen. It’s something that was evident at the tail end of season two and has carried over into this season. Heroes are supposed to grow throughout a season not regress. Yet that’s all Barry has done. I am beyond irate that these writers have taken a character I love and twisted him into this entirely unrecognizable guy.

When we first met Barry he was someone who was dedicated and selfless. He sacrificed his well being for the well being of others. What happened to that guy? Sure, he experience trauma. But then again what superhero hasn’t? Season two was supposed to be a learning opportunity for Barry. But what I’m thinking is that the producers had already decided to move forward with Flashpoint late in season two so they elected to alter the story around that. And that’s just not right. Why stop telling a character’s journey in the middle of his arc? Taking Barry’s character and having him take several steps backward each week isn’t helping you or him.

In “Flashpoint,” Barry finally got what he wanted: both of his parents were alive, he was happy, he had Iris, and he didn’t have to be The Flash. But even then he wasn’t even thinking about anyone but himself. Barry, despite remembering the other timeline, seemed to create his own false reality with Flashpoint. He was in denial. Until it was almost too late.

The fact that I not only sided with but cheered on Reverse Flash in this episode was ludicrous. But Reverse Flash was the hero in this episode. He’s the one that, despite his hatred towards Barry, warned him about the impending consequences. (Although we know he also had ulterior motives, he wanted to escape.) But he still was trying to help. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. The enemy here was Flashpoint.

I’ve never wanted the hero to lose so bad than in this episode. Despite warnings that those he cared for would be in jeopardy, Barry continued to go about this idyllic life without concern for others. This was about him; his happiness; his relationships; his decisions.

I will give Barry some credit as he eventually realized – after he effed up real bad – that he had to give up this perfect life and return to his old one. But it did take three months and the entire season premiere for him to realize it. Barry’s got a long way to go in the progression department. I just pray that the writers do right by the character of Barry Allen and do right by the audience that tunes in every week to watch a hero save the day.

Lizzie: UGH. Fuck you, Barry. You screwed up everything. And the worst part is, YOU DIDN’T EVEN CARE. Joe was a drunk – but that’s okay, because you had your parents and you were close to getting the girl. Your life was perfect. So what if you missed out on all the good your previous life had given you? Who cares about the people you’d touched, the lives you’d changed for the better? They don’t matter. The world revolves around Barry Allen and his happiness is all that we should aspire to. Ugh. How dare you call yourself a hero? How can we believe that you’re truly willing to do whatever it takes to save the people of Central City? Right now I believe you’d let the city burn if it meant not missing out on a date, or something along those lines. I don’t trust you, Barry Allen. Right now, I don’t even like you.

Lyra: I never thought that I’d cheer for the bad guy but here we are. I wanted the Reverse Flash to escape and kill Barry’s mother, just to right the mess that Barry made. Can you believe that? I certainly can’t. I thought Barry had gotten past the death of his mother during that cry worthy episode by Kevin Smith with the dinosaur story. It was a perfect closing for me and showed the progress this character has made. That chapter was finally closed. And look at him now? All of that character development wasted! Personally I don’t know if I can ever forgive him for what he’s done and his disregard for others that he “claims” to care about so much. He’s not a hero anymore.

The show has made no attempt to hide the fact that Barry and Iris are endgame. But we got a different version of them in Flashpoint. What did you think of that?

Alyssa: Here’s the thing, I absolutely love and I mean love WestAllen, but the WestAllen they gave us with Flashpoint just wasn’t the same. I won’t lie and say that they weren’t both incredibly cute and the chemistry was sizzling, but things felt forced in terms of their evolution after Barry introduced himself to her. I won’t deny the attraction that Iris felt – like a magnet, I think that’s just part of their connection – but it seemed too contrived and not organic like we’re used to WestAllen being. But thankfully we’re back to (almost, kind of?) normal.

I think the point of the WestAllen bit we got in Flashpoint was to remind us that Barry and Iris will always find each other. They’re meant to be in any timeline. That part I respected. That part makes me heart go pitter-patter. But it’s one of those things where on paper it works but the execution was off. I’ll admit that I’m more than pleased to be back in the original (although altered because of Barry, Fuck You, Allen) timeline because this is where Barry and Iris’ story began, and it’s where it should end (many years in the future). This version of WestAllen is the one that we’re supposed to carry with us. Now, I don’t know how that’s been affected because of Flashpoint, but once things (eventually) get back to (or close to) normal, Barry and Iris will be where they need to be.

Lizzie: I hated it. So. Much. He was selling the idea of destiny to her and all I wanted to do was yell RUN, IRIS. RUN FAR, FAR AWAY FROM THIS IDIOT. YOU DESERVE BETTER. Because Iris deserves a man who chooses her. A man who puts her first. A man who will make sacrifices for her. Is Barry Allen that man? Right now, he isn’t. And that’s the crazy thing – he’s regressed. He was that man at the end of season 1. He was even that man at some points during season 2. But we’re in season 3 and instead of this show moving toward WestAllen endgame, it’s pulling them apart. How can I root for them right now if I don’t like Barry? I’m rooting for Iris to stay far away.

Lyra: I loathed Flashpoint Westallen. Don’t get me wrong. I love Westallen. It’s developed over time and at the end of last season I could really see something blooming between these two people. Then Barry had to fuck it up and choose another life over spending his with her, then and now. Flashpoint Westallen was like a badly written fanfiction where two people’s eyes meet across a room and all of a sudden they know that the world has been completed and nothing else can compare to this moment. I’ve looked into plenty of stranger’s eyes and never felt this once. Where is this happening? Apparently on Flashpoint.

Iris on her own was badass, funny, and doing amazing things with her brother. Then Barry had to come around and she was spouting things out about destiny and feeling like something was missing until he came around. The only reason why Barry came around is because he was stalking her! He was there for three months and he couldn’t be bothered to check on Cisco or Caitlin? But he had time to stalk Iris 24/7? Iris deserves better and I hope she kicks his ass, or gives him a patented West stare down full of disappointment, when she finds out what he did. Westallen deserves better.

One of the consequences of Flashpoint is the divide with Joe and Iris’ relationship. What are your thoughts on that and other consequences we’ve yet to learn?

Alyssa: Fuck you, Barry. Seriously. The fact that Barry is the one that messed up the timeline and other people have to pay the consequences is all kinds of ridiculous crap. But especially because he messed with Joe and Iris. Because I’m beyond irate. You don’t touch the Wests.

Lizzie brought it up, and I have to wonder, as well, what could’ve happened to make Joe not want to talk to Iris? Of course given the short bit we got it sounded like it was a mutual thing – so Iris isn’t talking to him either – but what the hell could’ve possibly happened to affect one of my favorite relationships on this show?

And don’t even get me started on the other consequences because of Flashpoint. Here’s the thing, we might not know what they are, but I’m sure they’re plentiful and will force me to hate Barry throughout this season. Especially because it’s going to affect Arrow (yeah, I’m so not okay with that.) But the question I have is this: Is there a way for Barry to help reset things the way they once were? The answer, I’m almost certain, is no. Which means that whatever consequences occur because of Flashpoint are going to have to be fixed individually. And Barry Allen better take 100 percent responsibility and help mend this mess.

Lizzie: I hope there are tons of consequences we have yet to learn. Because if that’s the only one this storyline is the laziest, dumbest shit this show has ever done. Barry needs consequences to learn. He also needs to be held accountable for his fuckups. But hey, I’ll settle for consequences. And Iris and Joe not talking to each other isn’t enough. It feels big, but is it? They could have achieved that in a thousand other ways. Did someone die? Is someone alive that was meant to die? Did this do anything BIG? I hope the answer is yes, because if not it was just effectively Barry taking a 3 month vacation to a place where he could talk to his parents, only to then return to real life, with the only caveat that some small things had changed in the past few months, nothing big though, something he can fix. And that’s disappointing.

Lyra: This is what Barry gets. He thought he was scott-free and that everything was alright during his three month vacation, yes it was a vacation! Now he has to face the fact that he did something selfish and changed everyone’s lives for it. He will have to explain, he will have to struggle, and he will have to feel the pain of his decision at every turn. He won’t be able to “flash” his way out of things. Barry will now experience the repercussions slowly and have to take his time to think about someone else besides himself. Welcome to adulthood, Barry Allen.

P.S. Messing with Joe and Iris is the ultimate consequence in my book. You chose a life you never knew for one you loved and cherished? Then fuck you, Barry.

The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW. Join us for another Flash Roundtable next Monday!

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