A Closer Look: The Flash – “Paradox”

It’s Episode 2 of The Flash Season 3 and Flashpoint is already over… or is it? Barry is now learning that Time Travel is even more sensitive than he thought as he finds more and more things have changed in his present universe. But are these changes that can only be fixed in the past or can make the most of his present before the timeline ruptures any further?

If last week’s “Flashpoint” helped transition us from Season 2 to 3, then this week’s “Paradox” helped set up the Season to come! Who is Doctor Alchemy? What are his plans? What could these other changes mean for The Flash, Arrow and beyond? All this and more in this week’s Closer Look at The Flash “Paradox”.

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Episode Meaning – “Paradox”: 

When it comes to episode title, we have the literal and the temporal explanations. The literal is pretty self explanatory as Jay Garrick (Earth 3 Henry Allen) took the time to explain it to us and Barry; and the idea goes along the lines of: “If only I knew then what I know now”. Speedster or not, how many times have you thought to yourself: “If only you knew this then you could have gotten that girl, avoid a disaster, won the lottery, etc. “This has been Barry’s way of looking at things recently – and also since the beginning to an extent. Every time he’s messed with time he learned something and thought that it would help make the next adventure back in time that much cleaner. And yet, each time he’s done this the repercussions have been greater and greater.

From the accidental Weather Wizard redo to learning from Eobard/ Wells how to get faster to all the incidents that have happened in the past two episodes, Barry’s known more going into each attempt and yet come out with more dangerous changes. Sure Wells and others have told him this in the past, but this time around he has an actual – and well meaning – Speedster to tell him how things are. And if that’s not enough, then maybe the fact that he’s his father’s doppleganger is enough to make Barry listen and break out of the paradox cycle of “this time will be different”. In reality, the only way to break the paradoxical thought process of “if only I knew then what I know now” is to KNOW NOW that you shouldn’t attempt it any more.

As for the “temporal explanation”, this is what the episode serves as as a whole. You see a paradox is any time anomaly and thus all things that result from it are in and of themselves paradoxes too because they only came into existence because of this change. This episode showed one paradox / major change after another. These are characters and occurrences that would have never come into being if it weren’t for Barry undoing the timeline and some unexplained side events occurring. None of these are supposed to be here, and yet now they are because – as Barry learned this episode – if he were to try to fix things again, even more paradoxes would form. So what exactly were these changes? Well, let’s dedicate the next section to precisely that.

 Changes & Their Explanations/ Potential Repercussions – Vibe, Killer Frost, John Diggle Jr & More:

As we surmised last week – and got confirmation on this week – the majority of the timeline we know remained intact; however there are a few minor and major differences. Whereas Joe and Iris fighting might have been the smallest and easiest to explain/ resolve – Iris DIDN’T take the news of her mom still being alive well – others are a bit more complex and have some repercussions for this season. So let’s take them one at a time.

  1. Cisco Loss & Gain:

First off, Cisco losing his brother Dante is rather poetic as the Barry was only able to get through to Flashpoint Cisco by bringing up memories of Dante. Though by episodes end this seemed worked out and we learned a bigger change, Cisco working on a suit for his powers. There’s still a little time to go, but it seems as though Vibe might very soon be joining Barry out in the field.

  1. Caitlin’s Snow Powers:

Well it looks like we’re finally getting out Killer Frost… or are we? Last season teased the thought of evil Caitlin so much, but in the end proved it impossible… at least it was in that timeline. Now we see Caitlin with frost powers, but is it something to be fearful of? At this stage of the game, Caitlin looked frightened by her powers much like how Cisco was when he first learned of his. And whereas that fear could be used against her, I have faith in our kind hearted Caitlin Snow.

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Personally, I still hope my theory of Earth-1 Caitlin Snow becoming the DC Heroine Ice rings true. After all, this timeline still knows of the Earth-2 Dopplegangers, so she’ll know what to avoid. And hopefully we’ll see a frosty heroine join Team Flash as well.

  1. Sarah Diggle Is Now John Diggle Jr:

This change is actually very important for two reasons. The first is that this change proves the happenings on The Flash will effect the entire Arrowverse. Though whereas this change might piss some people off, it was actually already to be expected thanks to last seasons Legends of Tomorrow episode where we see John Diggle Jr (aka Connor Hawke) become the new Green Arrow in the future. Did the dystopian future Legends of Tomorrow visit already take into account the Flash’s timeline reset? Whether it did or didn’t, this was actually a pretty interesting change.

  1. Who Is Julian Dorn:

As of the moment, we have no clue how or why Julian Dorn is here. I could say he is Doctor Alchemy, but that would be too easy as the past two season’s have seen an initially introduced good guy end up being bad. Then again, Dorn is introduced as a pretty antagonistic character. Like Eddie Thawne, could he end up being a hero in disguise? Could he potentially be Blue Beetle or another time traveler? Or will he turn out to be Doctor Alchemy after all or another major villain this season? Time will have to tell, but sadly it seems that “time” is something another newcomer understands all too well.

Doctor Alchemy’s Potential End Games/ Goals – Supergirl & Convergence?:

We might not know who Doctor Alchemy is yet, but can take some stabs into what his end game might be. His powers are yet to be undefined but he seems to have either energy manipulation powers as we saw in his fight with the Flash; but are these in fact vibrational powers as he seems to appear out of nowhere in the final closing scenes. Add in his ability to seemingly cause a metamorphosis in people to give them powers, and he seems to be a walking encyclopedia of abilities. These could be the result of his practice of alchemy – the science of changing one thing into another – but as of the moment, it might be easier to figure out what he wants.

According to him, he wants to “prepare” the world for what’s to come and thus give as many people as he can powers before then. Though for what purpose? Is he talking about the alien invasion that was threatened in Legends of Tomorrow – or perhaps the other alien invasion that is set to be the crossover event that brings Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow together? Considering he wants the Flash dead and seems to have killed the Rival, it’s safe to assume that might not be it. Then again, what if he’s talking about some type of “Convergence” event.

We know Supergirl is going to join the Arrowverse but don’t yet know how. Considering in the comics, Flashpoint led to the New 52 reality, perhaps they are merging stories here and will have a Convergence style event where Supergirl’s Earth-0 and the Flash’s Earth-1 will merge. Doctor Alchemy seems to have an awareness of other realities and timelines, so it’s not impossible to think he’d be capable to see a universe melding event coming.

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In A Flash – Easter Eggs, Quotes & Other Notables:

  • Favorite Quotes: Winner – Felicity
    • “Slow down, take a breath, you are talking way too fast” – Felicity calling the kettle black
    • “Run me through… walk me through” – Feliicty
  • This episode picked up a day and a half after last week’s episode. Additionally, it was great seeing that Felicity was the person Barry first turned to as it continues their strong relationship. WAIT, was the speedy presence of Felicity’s new boyfriend another side effect of Flashpoint? … probably not
  • We know there’s 3 other skin husks. Were one of those Caitlin’s or were her powers from something else. She seems to have somewhat control over it and yet is still scared so it can go either way.
  • Really Jay? A trip back to 1998 and no mention of N64 or Goldeneye, shame!
  • If you’re wondering when Jay learned of Barry’s history from Harry, remember that Jay dropped Harry and Jessie off back on their Earth so there was some time to talk.

Next week, we’ll have some more familiar faces return with changes – paradox induced or not – as Harry and Jessie return. Though this time Jessie has indeed earned the Quick part of her Jessie Quick nickname, as she’s now a Speedster too! Perhaps Harry can shed some light on these recent happenings. I guess we’ll find out next time on The Flash!

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