Released September 11th, The Flash Season 3 blasted forth onto Blu-ray/DVD/Digital. That’s right, Barry’s back with more time hopping, universe changing fun as we start the series with none other than ‘Flashpoint’. An event so huge within the Flash comics continuity that few casual fans would be unaware of the name itself.
It’s important to say that The Flash still retains what many have latched on to even after a bit of a wobbly third season. The characters you love are still loveable, and their dynamics retain that joyous to watch charm that previous seasons have been peppered with. There’s still a case for The Flash being the poster-child of the Arrowverse.
So, If you were – as we were – left pondering on the exciting cliffhanger from Season 2, where Barry once again goes back in time to try to stop the death of his parents, only to end up initiating ‘Flashpoint’, then you’re in luck. The first 3 episodes of Season 3 deal with the fallout from that directly. And whilst it feels as though such a momentous event was dealt with too soon, its ramifications are felt within the shows later episodes, showing that it’s not exactly as cleanly resolved as is infuriatingly the standard for many ‘mini-arcs’. Though what could have been a ballsy restructuring of key character dynamics feels all too quickly sidelined as the status quo of the show quickly returns to the norm. Though two new villains – Alchemy & Savitar – did arise out of these events, they either proved inept and castrated of any real menace, or lacking up until the final few episodes (and what a final few episodes they were indeed!). It’s probably a testament to earlier seasons then, with Reverse-Flash and Zoom proving to be such compelling viewing that the third seasons offerings pale in comparison, especially when taking into consideration Reverse-Flash’s links to Barry’s origins; the new guys were always going to have a tough job in winning fans over, though Savitar ultimately does, solidifying himself as a highpoint in the series come the finale.
In many ways, frustrations seem to arise from Reverse-Flash/Eobard Thawne’s words to Barry in the Flashpoint arc – “Who’s the villain now, Flash?!“, because the crux of this series lies with Barry’s meddling with time, and the fallout that causes with Team Flash (and further to that the Arrowverse itself, with characters like John Diggle being affected by the events of Flashpoint) The core dynamic here is changed as we are no longer encouraged to be on Barry’s side; sure, he’s his likeable self and it’s true, much of his meddling is completely understandable, but, as he learns, it’s his selfish quest to change his past that results in the misfortune his friends suffer. In one of this seasons great moments, Barry is accosted by Jay Garrick (another version of The Flash, played once again by John Wesley Shipp) and told that he must live with his mistakes. Indeed, much of Season 3 is spent in dealing with these interpersonal fallouts created by Flashpoint. Iris and Joe are estranged, Cisco is in mourning and Caitlyn and Wally are left dealing with their new powers. It’s a nice change up, and in fact, much of this posturing is necessary for what is admittedly and extremely gratifying payoff in the finale; going much of the way in making this series necessary but also more world breaking than Season 2’s finale, even.
The second half of this season is where the show finds its footing; now with a much less ponderous direction and a much clearer reason of why so much focus was put into all of the changes each member of Team Flash had to go through. It quickly becomes entertaining viewing, especially, as I recall, in the crossover episodes, which are the biggest they have ever been across any show in the Arrowverse; Fans are even treated to a musical crossover episode featuring both The Flash and Supergirl where each is both trying to navigate their own relationship problems through the power of song. It’s goofy stuff like this that typifies why I enjoy both Supergirl & The Flash so much more than Arrow which I often find too dour and self involved.
It’s safe to say that the magic is still there with this show, though there were definitely a few more missteps in this season than in previous. But The Flash still retains the elements of what make it great escapist television, and when the story does gain its focus, its every bit as great as Season 1 and 2.
Extras include – Villain School: The Flash Rogues, Allied: The Invasion! Complex (The Flash), Rise of Gorilla City, The Flash: Hitting the Fast Note, The Flash: I’m Your Super Friend, Harmony in a Flash, Synchronicity in a Flash, The Flash: 2016 Comic-Con Panel, A Flash in Time: Time Travel in the Flash Universe & A Conversation with Andrew Kriesberg and Kevin Smith. With the obligatory Deleted Scenes & Gag Reel!
Joe Crouch is a crusty mollusc with delusions of grandeur and pretensions of artistic endeavour. His tea is served between two and four. He tweets, infrequently @itsJoeCrouch and Instagrams his food @Sourcrouch.