The Flash 3×03 Review: Use Your Head

This season of The Flash has been unlike any others that I’ve watched thus far. Of course that’s mostly because of the effects of Flashpoint, but also because of my disdain towards one Barry Allen.

At the start of every Flash episode this season, I find myself saying: Please, Barry, don’t piss me off tonight. And every episode begins, middles, and ends with me being pissed off at Barry.

Trust me, I don’t want to be pissed at Barry. But every week, every change, every consequence is a reminder of the selfish hero that Barry has morphed into.

While a couple of acts went by without Barry managing to piss me off, all it took was Harry calling Barry out on messing time up and Barry saying that he doesn’t need to be reminded to set me off.

You’re damn right you need to be reminded, Barry. Every second of every day you need to be reminded of how your selfish decision has changed the entire universe as you and we know it. When someone calls you out on something that you know is damn well your fault, you nod your head and take it. That’s what you deserve at the very least. Especially considering Barry hasn’t had to pay any real consequences with his decision.

This is once again proof that Barry hasn’t really learned from his mistakes or learned to take responsibility for them. It’s become a joke of sorts, in the writing and between the characters. But it’s far from a laughing matter especially when this new big bad is the result of Barry’s decision.

It was also laughable when Barry decided to dole out advice to Wally about thinking about his actions.

“Use your head.”

Seriously, Barry? Maybe you should take your own advice.

Things just feel too perfect right now. Perhaps that’s an indication that Barry’s consequences will be increased and brought to the forefront. But Barry isn’t getting what he needs right now. He doesn’t need to be coddled and told everything is all right. He needs people like Wells to tell him he effed up to remind him that this isn’t something he can escape.

Every week I’m watching carefully to see how these writers will handle Barry’s response and reaction to these consequences of Flashpoint. What’s the next big consequence? When’s the moment that he finally understands? When’s the moment he finally learns from his mistakes?

It hasn’t happened yet. But I’m not losing hope that eventually Barry will find his way and regain that heroism that made me fall in love in the first place.

WestAllen: The Start of Something Good

While I’ve been slightly let down by how WestAllen was being approached in the first couple of episodes this season, this episode reminded me why I love these two together. Be still my WestAllen heart, cause that was so amazing.

Getting to watch Barry and Iris’ cliché yet adorable awkward first date and the nervousness between them despite them knowing nearly everything about each other was something that I enjoyed immensely. It reminded me of another one of my ships, Olicity, as the simplicity of the situation allowed for the organic nature of their chemistry to thrive. It’s the secret ingredient to successful ships.

But perhaps the most encouraging sign of how The Flash is choosing to approach WestAllen is throwing certain obstacles in their way as Barry and Iris have to understand that Iris isn’t just dating Barry Allen; she’s dating The Flash, too. There’s always going to be times when Barry’s called away to do his heroic duty, and at first it appeared as if it was getting to Iris. But after Barry openly acknowledged that they can’t ignore the fact that he’s The Flash – it’s a part of him now – things fell into place.

We have to remember everything that’s happened in Barry and Iris’ relationship. While Iris never sought Barry out romantically because he was The Flash (it’s Barry Allen she loves), Barry being The Flash allowed certain qualities of his personality – the things Iris loves about him – to shine through. Being The Flash helped guide Barry and Iris toward each other.

But I’ve seen this story before. While WestAllen’s journey certainly isn’t a carbon copy of any other ship’s journey, I have seen the pattern before. Introducing a couple in the beginning of a season, throwing obstacles their way that break them up, and reuniting them by season’s end.

So while things seem bright and optimistic right now, I’m not going to let myself be blindsided or discouraged when things start to go bad. Because that’s how relationships grow stronger. I’d be discouraged it some challenges didn’t happen. But one thing’s certain, The Flash has officially moved forward with WestAllen. And I couldn’t be happier.

A New Speedster in Town

How ironic that I dislike the current speedster protecting Central City only to have a new speedster – a familiar face at that – stroll in and instantly win over my love and respect with her common sense, awareness, and charm.

When it comes to certain familiar characters in Flash comic book lore, there has to be more payoff than merely name-dropping or having them simply exist in a form that they’re not known entirely as. Jesse Quick was always intended to be a speedster. Although that’s not how she was introduced. Jesse was introduced as Earth-2 Harrison Wells’ daughter, whose nickname happened to be Jesse Quick long before she got her super speed.

But that one fateful night when Jesse and Wally were struck with the dark matter, Jesse has slowly been growing into her new speedster self. Hers and Harry’s subsequent arrival back to Earth-1 – where they noticed things had changed – served as a purpose to test Jesse’s new abilities – that were very recent. Although Harry had an ulterior motive. While Jesse was quick – hehe – to embrace her new abilities and the expectations that come with them, her father wanted to shield her from her abilities and talk her out of becoming a hero.

Obviously that didn’t sit too well with Jesse, who once again felt overwhelmed by her father’s overbearing need to protect her from anything and everything. As Caitlin so eloquently put it, if Harry had been open and accepting to Jesse’s abilities then she would’ve gravitated towards him. But instead he chose to talk down her powers and pushed her away. But when Jesse needed inspiration, her father was there to guide her as he realized that he can’t protect his daughter from everything. But also that she’d be safer with him on her side.

I absolutely loved everything about Jesse as a speedster in this episode. She had a quirky charm to her, as well as a dedication and bravery that already shows the kind of hero she can become. Hopefully she’ll be fighting, um speeding, beside Barry for quite some time.

Is Wally the Next Speedster?

When you introduce a character whose superhero persona is Kid Flash you know that his final destination is going to be a speedster. While Wally’s transition has been paced nicely so far (he was only introduced in the midseason finale last season), there’s been more indication that this year is his origin to becoming Kid Flash. For real. As in not in Flashpoint.

With Jesse’s return and reveal that she’s a speedster, Wally immediately felt taken aback when he saw that Jesse had gained super speed and he had not. After all, they were both hit by the dark matter last season that ultimately ushered in her new speedster abilities. It was the first time that we’ve really seen Wally yearn to be a speedster and protect people the way that The Flash does. Seeing Jesse speeding around STAR Labs and getting to live his dream was something that obviously made him very jealous.

Of course Joe wanted Wally to have none of that speedster life, but it was evident in their talk that Wally yearned for a way to protect the people of this city. But there are other ways to protect people that don’t require super powers. But try telling that to a kid who has been having dreams of life as a speedster.

This was something that Wally felt was already a part of him. Only a part that was just out of reach. It was eating him from the inside out. So much so that he threw himself in front of a moving car in hopes that it would jump start his super speed. But even though Wally eventually realized (I think, I hope) that it was a little extreme, that doesn’t mean that he’s given up thinking, hoping, dreaming about being the speedster that we all know he’s destined to become.

The Mystery of Alchemy

Alchemy has so far been more myth than reality as he’s hidden in the shadows and unleashed his work through people in our current timeline. Alchemy’s threat lies in the uncertainty of what he’s entirely capable of. We know that Alchemy has some magical ability to give people in this timeline the powers that they possessed in Flashpoint. It also appears as if he’s got some kind of power over them. Which worries me when it comes to the potential of Wally West getting his Kid Flash powers in this timeline.

Magenta talked about how she started having these dreams that felt more than dreams like reality. And then she had these powers. Wally had mentioned that he had been having dreams of being a speedster. Naturally you’d assume that with Alchemy running around and giving people powers from an alternate, now nonexistent (?) timeline that Wally is next up to bat. But that would also put Wally in Alchemy’s direct line of fire.

With Alchemy being one of two big bads this season, I can see Alchemy serving as a constant reminder of Flashpoint and Barry’s decision that initiated it all. There’s got to come a moment where Barry finally owns up to his mistakes in a way where he’s sacrificing something. That would be when he truly learned from his mistakes. So perhaps Alchemy is a blessing in disguise?

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

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