the_flash_72003You might or might not know that the Season 2 finale of the Flash ended with Barry making an extremely fateful decision – namely re-writing history by choosing to save his parents from the Reverse Flash. What Barry didn’t take into account – or perhaps he did, and just didn’t care – is the impact of this decision on his timestream.  It might seem strange to be looking down the road when it comes to The Flash, since the CW TV series has kept a frightening pace since the very first episode. While other comic book shows and films tend to only tease their big bads early on, beginning their heroes’ crimefighting careers with lesser foes, the first half of The Flash‘s season saw the character’s most iconic villains introduced and regularly appearing – in the case of the Reverse-Flash, with an even more devious twist than usual.

WHAT WOULD YOU SACRIFICE TO HAVE EVERYTHING YOU’VE EVER WANTED? — Barry (Grant Gustin) is living his dream life – his parents are alive, he’s asked Iris West (Candice Patton) on a date and he can finally be a normal guy as Central City has another speedster, Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale), running around saving the city. When Barry starts forgetting parts of his old life, the Reverse Flash (guest star Matt Letscher) taunts his nemesis and tells him that there will be serious repercussions for Barry and the ones he loves if he continues to live in this alternate universe. In addition to losing his memories, his powers will also start to fade. When disaster strikes, Barry must decide if he wants to continue to live in this world as Barry Allen or return to his universe as The Flash. Jesse Warn directed the episode with story by Greg Berlanti & Andrew Kreisberg and teleplay by Brooke Roberts.

The “Flashpoint” comic series – a major crossover story arc in the comics – will be influencing upcoming events on the show and it sounds like the premiere is going to deal with what’s next for Barry as he’s forced to decide between this new world and his old one. Of course, it’s no secret that this status quo won’t last beyond a few episodes, but the Reverse-Flash’s role in things is very interesting, especially as we know that he’ll be a bad guy in the upcoming second season of Legends of Tomorrow.

The Fury of Firestorm went into full gear as we were introduced to the new half of Team Firestorm and some new developments with our other characters. Besides the return of Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), there was also the aftermath of Francine West (Vanessa A. Williams) coming back into the West family’s lives. There was a lot going on in the episode, but not all the pieces fit together nicely in a package.

The episode started with the search of Professor Stein’s (Victor Garber) new partner as the scientist was struggling with his body’s molecular structure now that Ronnie Raymond is gone. The hunt for the other half of Firestorm turned into an entertaining hour despite Stein facing certain death. The search was narrowed down to two candidates, scientist Henry Hewitt (Demore Barnes) and former athlete Jefferson ‘Jax’ Jackson (Franz Drameh). We were given a little of Jax’s back story at the beginning of the episode where we learned he was a high school quarterback at his local high school team and given a chance at a scholarship. However, he was robbed at the opportunity after the particle accelerator incident. Now working as mechanic, STAR Labs found a likely candidate to take the mantle of Firestorm.

In the present we pickup right after Stein’s collapse last week. Cisco quickly cobbles together a device to stabilize his condition. The team is on edge, knowing it’s only temporary. The race is on to find a compatible meta human to merge with the professor and share the custody of the Firestorm matrix before he dies.   While the team discusses the two most promising candidates – “Jax” Jackson and Dr. Henry Hewitt, Earth-2’s Harrison Wells lurks nearby studying Team Flash.   It was interesting to see Earth-2’s version of Wells appearing in this universe stalking our heroes. It doesn’t help that he is being hidden in the shadows while observing Team Flash, but he was probably aware of the reputation that his doppelganger has in this Earth. But after seeing Wells saving Barry from the clutches of King Shark towards the end of the hour, it looks like he may soon become an ally to the team. Of course it will take some time for Team Flash to get used to having him around after what the other Wells did to them.  Later at the precinct Barry runs into Patty, who is embracing her role on the metahuman task force with vigor. She asks if Barry can run analysis on some shark teeth she found in connection with a possible man shark roaming Central City’s back alleys. The energy between these two is delightful. As a viewer I want to see their relationship develop faster; as a writer I hope they drag it out a bit to keep the show rich and fulfilling for as long as possible.

Drameh made a good first impression as Jax in the episode. He managed to bring some charm and made his character likeable to viewers. Drameh was able to portray the character’s sorrow and frustration of being denied a chance at greatness. It all paid off in the end as Jax was able to get a second chance at following his dreams with the help of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Team Flash.  However, Barnes didn’t impress us as much as Drameh did, due to the fact that there wasn’t enough development for his character. The episode didn’t go into detail building this week’s villain. Hewitt went from an overachieving science genius into a crazed and vangeful supervillain in a few scenes. Without any actual motivations, it was hard to believe Hewlitt going on a rampage against STAR Labs. Jackson takes well to his new abilities and teams up with the Flash to quickly defeat Hewitt, who gets the code name “Tokamak”. With all the build up to finding a match for the matrix this battle seems a little anti-climatic. But the show saves its best for last — as always. Iris makes the difficult decision to meet again with Francine. Using her investigative talents she confirms her diagnosis, but finds another startling secret in her mother’s past: she had a baby boy eight months after leaving Joe which seems like the show is ready to introduce Wally West soon. We should expect to learn more about Iris’ lost sibling as the season continues.

Jackson and Stein depart to train and improve their abilities and prepare for their debut on Legends of Tomorrow. Barry contemplates how to proceed with Patty and gets a two jaw dropping shocks to cap the episode. Patty’s suspicions become startling true as a 9 foot talk shark man grabs the Flash around the neck and is only stopped by a hooded man. The episode took advantage of some great visuals, showing us more of what Firestorm can do. Hopefully, we can learn more of Firestorm’s abilities as in the comics since the show didn’t go into depth the first time around.