The first episode of The Flash’s third season, while enjoyable, delivered a very loose adaption of the comic book storyline it was named after – Flashpoint. Despite the fact that the episode did, better than most self-proclaimed comic book aficionados, explore the core of the original year-long Flashpoint comic book arc (Barry’s choices and how they effected Barry…), some fans still had hoped for a longer, more accurate-to-source, take on the storyline; that is what’s proposed below.
The Flash’s second season ended with a bang, despite the fact that everyone on Team Flash seemed to finally be in a good place: Zoom was beaten; Harry and Jesse headed back to Earth-2 ; the man in the iron mask had been freed and revealed to be the true Jay Garrick; the West family finally seemed to all be happy together – Barry Allen still struggled with all he had lost.While a mere two episodes prior to the finale Barry, from within the Speed Force, finally came to terms with the loss of his mother, the sudden and shocking loss of his father put him over the edge after he had beaten Zoom – prompting Barry to travel back to the night of his mother’s murder, saving her and seemingly causing the CW’s take on comic book storyline, Flashpoint.
Flashpoint was a comic book storyline produced by DC Comics that consisted of one, five issue, main story arch that detailed an altered universe in which only Barry Allen – who eventually was revealed to have caused the changes – only recalled the previous timeline. Outside of the main story arch various tie-in comics, that typically ran one to three issues, detailed the now changed universe that Barry Allen had created when he fractured the timeline saving his mother. The key arcs of the story included Cyborg attempting to find himself as a hero and leader of the resistance, an all out war between the government, the people of Atlantis (led by Aquaman) and the people of Themyscira (led by Wonder Woman), Superman being held his entire life by the government, and Thomas Wayne becoming Batman after the death of his son, Bruce (there were various other side arcs, such as Green Arrow Industries, but those are even less important to the core theme of the story than the rest).
Take note that the following piece is not my thoughts as to how the CW should have executed their version of Flashpoint, they chose to completely reshape the story as a means of pushing how important his past life was to Barry; I’m merely laying out a more true-to-comic version of that same conceptual idea.
Fans familiar with changes made after Flashpoint know that, in stopping himself from saving his mother (and preventing Flashpoint) Barry Allen also merged three universes and created what is called “the New 52”. Given the fact that the TV-show arc almost has to end in a similar manner – with Barry realizing saving his mother was a mistake – fans have also begun to hope, as aforementioned, that the post-Flashpoint world that exists on TV would not only include changes being made to Arrow, but would also help to incorporate the new CW show, Supergirl.
I’d like to clarify now that my ‘pitch’ does not bring ‘Earth-CBS’/’Earth-Supergirl‘ into the same universe as th other DCTV shows, issues within this rationale of thought run rampant, as good as it sounds at first glance, those changes being made really don’t serve the network well. Not only would episodes of all shows need to be taken to clarify what is and is not canon anymore, but also significant changes to canon would need to be made, Superman’s existence, Supergirl’s existence, etc. would have had an effect on the previously established CWverse. I’m not saying Supergirl shouldn’t eventually migrate into the same universe as The Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow, but I am saying that her ‘migration’ should be on an episode-to-episode basis; if they need her, Barry can go get her from her own Earth.
What people don’t seem to realize is that, much like other comic book storylines, Flashpoint doesn’t inhabit a world that takes place in real time. The series itself lasted from May of 2011 to September of 2011 but the main series simply called, Flashpoint, only lasted five issues and detailed what equates to about one week of Barry Allen’s life in real time (maybe more, give or take a few days). Similar things have happened in the past, and it’s unfortunately something that people overlook when reading comic book storylines; Blackest Night, a comic storyline that was published from June of 2009 to May of 2010, took place over the course of ONE NIGHT in the world of comic books (the main series at least), but took nearly a full year for the story to be told.
That’s why I think The Flash is best suited doing two things differently then the comic books did when it comes to Flashpoint. The first, the arc should take up maybe five episodes at most in the show’s third season, and the second, is that there should be no major post Flashpoint repercussions. Five episodes allows for the exploration of the story of Barry Allen, in a world he doesn’t know, as he fights to get home as well as the ability to tell the story of other characters (in that same world) within each episode.
A five-episode arc allows for Barry to not only return to his timeline, but gives ample amounts of time to set up the Season 3 villain(s) prior to the mid-season finale and ample time to set up for the four way crossover that will likely come with the show’s 8th episode as it has in the past. Considering other shows once again, if Arrow were to inhabit the “Flashpoint timeline” for the first five, even nine, episodes of it’s 5th season not only would episodes after Flashpoint make the first five (or nine) episodes seem like a waste of time, but they would also need to rush in setting up the new big bad, and to fulfill flashback promises made in the shows first season.
To clarify what I’ve said above, essentially I think that post-Flashpoint repercussions are possible on all of the shows, although they’ll be messy, but actually having Flashpoint-arcs on every CWverse show has no payoff. I say all of this because the biggest issue lies within the fact that Barry, and no other characters, grow from Flashpoint. During Flashpoint and after Flashpoint (for the most part) Barry recalls the events of the Flashpoint timeline and is able to learn from that experience. That said, Oliver doesn’t recall his Flashpoint counterpart, nor do any other heroes/villains. And the same would have to apply to the show as well. So if you have 5-10 episodes of “Flashpoint Arrow” and then the timeline resets you’re left with zero character development for all characters, essentially it’s the equivalent of having a few episodes revolve around a dream sequence that none of the characters recall when they wake up; if they don’t remember it, they can’t change and grow as characters from it.
Point being, Flashpoint lasts for five episodes on The Flash; other characters shows can and should appear in their “Flashpoint incarnations” but outside of The Flash the timeline is otherwise untouched.