Flash Season 3 Overview (Spoilers)


Written by Ang:

In the past three years, The Flash has proven itself to be a show worth watching over and over again. New enemies, new allies, and immaculately crafted plots have become the normal and, with any luck, Season 4 will continue in this tradition.

Before Season 4 can begin, however, a review of Season 3 is called for not only because it has bearing on what is to come this October 10 when The Flash returns, but also because it was a fantastic whirlwind of a season in its own right. Plus it kicks off with a significant story straight from the comics: Flashpoint.

At the end of Season 2, we saw Barry Allen/The Flash lose his father to Zoom/Black Flash/Hunter Zolomon. In his grief, Barry travels back through time to once and for all prevent the death of his mother at the hands of Eobard Thawne/Reverse Flash, who he imprisons. This in turn leads to the creation of an alternate universe where neither of Barry’s parents die, but produces a completely different reality for everyone around him, both good and bad.

While Cisco Ramone and Caitlin Snow fare well enough being a tech mogul and pediatric ophthalmologist respectively, Joe West is a washed up cop that his daughter, Iris West isn’t speaking to. Wally West is among those more fortunate in Flashpoint as he possess super speed and took on the mantle of Central City’s own Kid Flash. He and Iris form a sibling crime-fighting duo akin to Team Flash from the pre-Flashpoint timeline.

After living in this reality for a while, Barry is forced to confront the fact that, overall, Flashpoint is no better than his original timeline and in many ways it is even worse for his friends. This point is hammered home after the Kid Flash/Wally West is injured in a fight with Edward Clariss/The Rival, another Speedster. Barry eventually allows Thawne to go back in time and kill his mother all over again to restore the timeline and erase Flashpoint from history.

For the most part, this returns the timeline to what Barry remembers before Flashpoint although its effects have rippled across the whole of the Arrowverse. Significant changes to Barry’s world include Cisco recovering from his brother Dante’s death (which Barry refused to go back and fix), the fact that he has a new disagreeable coworker at CCPD, Julian Albert, and, no, Iris isn’t talking to Joe in this timeline either.

Not directly tied to Flashpoint, Harry Wells and his daughter Jesse return from Earth-2 to reveal that Jesse now possesses the Speed Force from a dark matter explosion. While it was Harry’s desire to have Team Flash talk Jesse out of becoming a Speedster hero, that plan fails miserably and she eventually becomes Earth-2’s “Jesse Quick.” Before the Wells leave Earth-1, Harry helps the team track down a doppelganger of his from a different universe to fill his spot in the team. This leads to the introduction of H.R. Wells, the sci-fi romance writer from Earth-19.

After some agreements and forgiveness – especially where Joe and Iris are concerned – Team Flash is forced to deal with a whole new enemy wreaking havoc on the streets of Central City, a hooded man named Alchemy who grants metahuman powers to a select few. These select few turn out to be people who had powers in Flashpoint, such as Clariss who regains his Speedster powers but is quickly captured by Barry and Cisco before he can cause any real damage.

The powers granted by Alchemy are not just limited to evildoers, however, as Wally begins to have dreams of Flashpoint and being the Kid Flash, dreams similar to those Alchemy used to lure Clariss into restoring his powers.

Alchemy continues to restore the powers of the metas from Flashpoint all the while calling Wally to him. The Team eventually put Wally in a prison for his own good, but then realize that they can use Alchemy’s pull over Wally to track the metahuman-creating maniac down. Barry, Wally, Joe, and S.W.A.T. all head to Alchemy’s lair to be greeted by an entirely new threat: a speedster calling himself Savitar, the so-called “god of speed”, which only Barry can see.

Savitar – who has one of the coolest character designs of The Flash in my opinion – overpowers Barry with relative ease, eventually dragging the Flash through Central City’s streets.

While Barry is being taught a painful lesson in Speedster hierarchy, Alchemy convinces Wally to pick up his weapon that was dropped during the police raid which looks like a glowing rock. Wally does such a thing, instantly being encased in a cocoon-like shell. Savitar eventually is defeated by Barry and Caitlin.

Throughout all of this, Caitlin begins to develop the cold powers of her Earth-2 doppelganger, Killer Frost, which slowly begin to manifest themselves. Caitlin eventually goes to her mother, Carla, for help, but the only answer is that the more Caitlin uses her powers, the more like Killer Frost she will become. She eventually lets Cisco in on her powers and he vibes the future to see he and Killer Frost in a head-on battle.

Despite this warning, Caitlin continues to use her powers to aid in the mission against Alchemy, although she is not just tracking him down for the menace that he is. Instead, she hopes to find him and his metahuman-creating abilities, assuming that he would be able to remove her cold powers and prevent Killer Frost from taking Caitlin over. In an ill-fated attempt to interrogate one of Alchemy’s acolytes, she is caught using her frost powers by Julian, whom she convinces to help her by kidnapping him.

Unfortunately, Killer Frost gets a hold of Caitlin and the rest of Team Flash is forced to imprison her and rescue Julian. Seeing as Kill Frost is very much as cold hearted as her name would imply, she reveals that Cisco’s brother did not die in the original, pre-Flashpoint timeline. This, of course, splits up the team temporarily as Cisco is even more angry at Barry than earlier. Caitlin eventually uses metahuman power dampening cuffs and later a necklace to keep her powers under control.

Joe eventually breaks Wally out of his cocoon (which has been moved to Star Labs) out of frustration. Wally is released possessing the Speed Force powers he had during Flashpoint. Since Wally did not complete his stay in the cocoon and thus his transformation to Speedster, he dashes off in a confused daze, unable to really control his powers. Team Flash track him down to the house where he grew up and The Flash and Joe stabilize his powers, and so Kid Flash is born in this post-Flashpoint timeline.

Back to Killer Frost’s debut as a kidnapper, Barry confronts the recovering Julian about keeping Caitlin’s secret. In return for keeping such a secret, Julian forces Barry to resign from CSI.

And then it is revealed that Julian is actually Alchemy and under the control of Savitar.

The havoc wreaked by Flashpoint across the Arrowverse is felt especially during a three-night crossover event with Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow that, in short, involves aliens called the Dominators, mind control devices that leave the Arrow and Flash vs. all of the Legends and Supergirl, and alien abduction. Plus, Barry eventually has to confess to going back in time and being responsible for the changes that were made to the timeline.

Back to The Flash proper, Barry recruits Jay Garrick from Earth-3 to help him take down Savitar. Jay and Barry eventually defeat Alchemy and capture the stone he uses to create metas, placing inside a special box. This action makes Savitar disappear completely just before he can kill Jay, leading Team Flash to the conclusion that everything is all connected. In his defeat, Team Flash also learns that Julian is, in fact, Alchemy.

As it turns out, Julian is an expert on the legend of Savitar and the Philosopher’s Stone, the rock that Alchemy uses to create metahumans. He explains how, four years ago he went on an expedition to find the Philosopher’s Stone after being visited by his late sister who informed him of its existence.

This causes problems because Cisco has been seeing visions of Dante, similar to those described by Julian. Cisco, under Dante’s coercion, almost opens up the box with the Stone, releasing Savitar once again. Caitlin manages to stop him in time and the team develops a way to communicate with Savitar through Julian. Savitar gives the foreboding prophecy “One shall betray you, one shall fall, one shall suffer a fate worse than death”.

After this, the team decides that the only way to ensure that Savitar is gone for good is to throw the box and thus the stone into the eternity of the Speed Force, a situation similar to throwing it into outer space. Barry and Jay open up a portal to the Speed Force and Barry throws the box in, only to have a massive explosion hurdle him forward in time, about five months to be exact.

The scene he arrives at is Savitar holding Iris – who is finally dating Barry at this point – captive. Future Barry, a few yards from Savitar, is unable to prevent the god of speed from murdering Iris right before his eyes. This, of course, puts Barry in a tailspin and the entire team has to come up with a way to save Iris before the time runs out.

They do this by utilizing a newscast Barry saw in the future to change the events of the past in hopes of altering the timeline enough so that Savitar does not kill Iris. For example, one of the headlines details Plunder/Jared Morillo’s capture by The Flash, so the team decides to let Kid Flash capture him instead. Wally succeeds, thanks in no small part to H.R.’s coaching, and establishes himself as Central City’s newest Speedster hero.

In speaking of H.R., a vibe-powered bounty hunter named Gypsy arrives at Earth-1 with the intention of taking H.R. back to Earth-19 for him to stand trial for the crime of interdimensional travel, punishable by death. Cisco, immediately in love with Gypsy, challenges her to a duel for H.R.’s freedom per the laws of Earth-19. Cisco is, of course, way out of his league, but with some help from the rest of the team, he manages to defeat her and win back H.R.’s freedom.

Meanwhile, Iris is wrestling with the ramifications of her impending doom. This includes recklessly going after a high-tech gunrunner with Wally as back up. While everything works out, Joe is concerned about Iris’ behavior. Caitlin also invites Julian to join Team Flash since he is not only familiar with Barry and his real identity, but because he is an expert on metahumans. He eventually agrees.

Barry, realizing that he simply is not fast enough to cross the distance between himself and Savitar to save Iris, decides to train Wally for the job since the Kid Flash demonstrates a speed that rivals The Flash.

During Wally’s training, Jesse returns to Earth-1 to recruit the team into helping rescue her father who was taken prisoner in Gorilla City on Earth-2. Barry, Caitlin, Julian, and Cisco all head to Earth-2 to rescue Harry. They are themselves captured by the gorillas and come face-to-face with the hyperintelligent gorilla Grodd who, way back when, was banished to Earth-2 and Gorilla City by Team Flash.

Grodd unveils the plans of the gorilla king, Solovar, which involves an invasion of Earth-1 by an army of gorillas. Grodd then makes a deal with Barry: defeat Solovar, let Grodd take his place as king, and Grodd with call off the invasion of Earth-1. Barry does defeat Solovar but, against gorilla tradition, does not kill the now former king. Grodd still takes over, but considers his deal with Barry null and void, if he ever considered it viable in the first place.

It is at this point that Barry realizes that it was not Solovar that wanted to invade Earth-1 and Central City, but Grodd, by using Cisco’s ability to vibe across dimensions. While Cisco bravely volunteers to die instead of be used by Grodd to invade Earth-1, the team comes up with a different plan of escape by faking Barry’s death. They rescue Harry and return to Central City.

Back on Earth-1, Jesse agrees to move to this earth to be with Wally, much to the chagrin of her father (he even tries to guilt Wally into thinking he is dying and Jesse needs to stay on Earth-2; not cool, Harry). On the Irarry/Baris front (they have no easy ship name), Barry actually proposes to Iris, to which she says yes, and everything is golden.

The team assumes that the gorilla threat is over and that they have once against changed the future, but unbeknownst to them, Grodd has telepathically taken control over Gypsy, who was on Earth-2 hunting an Earth-19 fugitive. Through her powers, Grodd brings his gorilla army to Earth-1.

The team unravels Grodd’s plan to utilize nuclear missiles from a nearby base, forcing Grodd just go for the normal invasion. Even with Jesse Quick and Kid Flash, Barry is unable to make any headway in defeating the gorilla army, so Cisco enlists the help of Gypsy to find Solovar and let the dethroned king to fight Grodd in a one-on-one battle which is arguably one of the coolest fights of the season, if a bit short. Solovar wins, he and his gorillas are taken back to Earth-2, and Grodd is turned over to A.R.G.U.S.

Back to the Savitar problem, Barry and Jesse continue to train Wally and get his speed fast enough to save Iris. While they do succeed in getting him fast enough, Wally reveals that he has been seeing Savitar in visions and even got into a fight with him. This leads the team to a conversation with Savitar via Julian, in which Savvy boasts that the Philosopher’s stone was, in fact, not completely lost to the Speed Force.

Caitlin reveals to Julian and the rest of the team that she actually kept a shard of the stone, hoping that it could be somehow used to remove her metahuman powers. While the team is initially angry, they realize that Savitar cannot leave the Speed Force without that piece of the Stone, meaning that, in a way, Caitlin saved the day. Unfortunately, Wally is not around for this conversation.

Savitar appears once again to Wally, this time taking on the form of his late mother. He manipulates Wally into taking the shard and throwing it into the Speed Force in an attempt to get rid of Savitar completely. This, however, is exactly what Savvy was hoping for; Wally is pulled into the Speed Force portal as Barry stand helplessly by, unable to do anything as Savitar finally emerges.

Barry and Savitar fight across Central City until Barry is finally stabbed and defeated. This is not before Savitar explains where Wally is, a Speed Force prison that must have an occupant at all times. Savitar had been trapped there for an eternity by Barry from the future. Barry also breaks off a piece of Savitar’s armor (the blade that stabbed him) and takes it back to the team for analysis.

Barry and Savitar fight across Central City until Barry is finally stabbed and defeated. This is not before Savitar explains where Wally is, a Speed Force prison that must have an occupant at all times. Savitar had been trapped there for an eternity by Barry from the future. Barry also breaks off a piece of Savitar’s armor (the blade that stabbed him) and takes it back to the team for analysis.

Of course, Barry isn’t going to sit idly by while Wally suffers in what Savitar describes as a Speed Force chamber of torments, so he decides to enter the Speed Force itself and rescue Wally. The Speed Force is none too happy about this, much in the way they are none too happy with Barry breaking his last promise to them, which was to not run back in time and save his mother, thus creating Flashpoint.

The Speed Force appears in images of people who sacrificed themselves in Barry’s stead in some way or another, such as Eddie Thawne, Ronnie Raymond, and Leonard Snart, who, inspired by Barry’s heroism, died protecting his fellow Legends from the Time Masters. Their message is clear: it must be Barry that saves Iris, not Wally.

After defeating Hunter Zoloman/Zoom, Barry makes it to the Speed Force prison that Wally is kept in. Before he can break Wally out, the Speed Force Snart tries to stop him, only to be stopped by Jay Garrick from Earth-2. Jay tells Barry that he was summoned by Cisco to help Barry and together they free Wally from the prison. This freedom, however, comes at a price because the prison must always have an occupant. While Barry is willing to take Wally’s place, Jay insists that this is his burden to bear; Barry still has to save Iris from Savitar.

In returning to Earth-1, Barry realizes that his proposal to Iris was not as pure as it should have been. Although he loves her dearly, he proposed as an attempt to change the future because in the scene where Savitar kills her, she was not wearing a ring. So he declares that they need some time apart.

This lasts all of one episode before he and Supergirl are trapped in an illusion put in place by the Music Meister, an alien with almost innumerable powers. The illusion is based around the concept of a musical, which both Barry and Kara have soft spots in their hearts for, and involves much of the Arrowverse cast singing, dancing, and being shot to death.

In the end, Iris and Kara’s boyfriend Mon-El must enter the illusion to rescue Barry and Kara with the power of love (note: this is as tropey as it sounds but it is also a fantastic episode if you’re not expecting the normal brooding nature of The Flash). Barry then re-proposes to Iris not because of what he fears of the future, but because he really does love her.

The next big break in the Savitar case is when the 64th century criminal, known as Abra Cadabra for his high-tech magic tricks, comes to Central City and begins stealing various technical components from prominent tech companies. Gypsy and Team Flash eventually catch him and, for his freedom, he offers the team Savitar’s true identity. Gypsy outright refuses this offer due to the fact that Cadabra killed her partner some years back.

Joe attempts to fulfill Cadabra’s wish and releases him at gunpoint. Unfortunately, the deal goes sour as Gypsy charges into the room and Cadabra escapes without telling Joe who Savitar is. In Cadabra’s escape, Caitlin is severely injured but cannot go to the hospital for fear of them finding out her metahuman powers. Instead, Julian performs the surgery under Caitlin’s guidance (conscious and guiding someone through her own surgery. Can we talk about kick-keister?).

The team eventually stops Cadabra from accomplishing his goal, which is to build a time machine and return to the 64th century and Gypsy is able to get her revenge by dragging Cadabra back to Earth-19 to stand trial. Caitlin, although seeming better after Julian’s surgery, suddenly loses consciousness and is essentially dead. In an attempt to save her, Julian removes her meta-power dampening necklace, allowing her cold powers to heal her wound.

Unfortunately, it unleashes Killer Frost, who promptly attacks the team and escapes.

Barry then decides that the best course of action is to travel to the future, 2024 to be exact, a date he determined to be after he imprisons Savitar. The 2024 he travels to is dismal, depressing, and Flash-less as he seeks out the other members of Team Flash. The first member he finds in Cisco who, after a battle with Killer Frost, lost his hands and, thus, his powers. Cisco leads Barry-2017 to Barry-2024, the latter of whom is hiding out in the shell of Star Labs after pushing everyone away.

The two things that Barry-2017 was able to learn from the future is that Killer Frost meets Savitar shortly after she recovers from the injury that Cadabra caused her and the fact that the Speed Force prison that Savitar once occupied was created by a scientist named Tracy Brand who could prove to be useful in the 2017 fight against Savitar.

Barry-2017 also manages to bring the team back together – H.R., Joe, Cisco, and Julian; Caitlin was, of course, Killer Frost, and Wally was catatonic after a last-ditch fight with Savitar – for a mission against Top/Rosalind Dillon and Mirror Master/Same Scudder who rule Central City in 2024. Even the brooding, emo Barry-2024 joined in and both Top and Mirror Master were defeated.

Back in 2017, Barry, Cisco, and H.R. seek out Tracy Brand who they discover is burning all of her work on the Speed Force, although she doesn’t know that it is the Speed Force she is studying. Unfortunately, Savitar does not want Tracy to succeed in studying the Speed Force and aiding Team Flash, so he sends Killer Frost to collect her. At this point, Killer Frost knows who Savitar is as he revealed himself to earn her trust.

Killer Frost ends up kidnapping Joe’s girlfriend, Cecile, in order to establish an exchange. This plan fails due to the fact that Team Flash manages to free Cecile and keep hold of Tracy. In a battle, Killer Frost is rendered unconscious and Cisco manages to get a sample of her blood for testing. Savitar then shows up and takes Killer Frost away, paying no mind to Tracy who he had appeared to want dead and was standing right there.

Something about Savitar’s ability to know exactly what is going to happen begins to eat away at Barry and he eventually goes out to demand Savitar’s attention. Savitar responds and Barry confronts him with his suspicions as to what the god of speed’s identity may be. Savitar responds by confirming that he is, in fact, a future version of Barry.

More specifically, Savitar is a time remnant of Barry which his future self created to defeat, ironically, Savitar. This remnant survived the battle with Savitar and then, when shunned by Team Flash because he was not the “real” Flash, eventually becomes Savitar. The reason he needs to kill Iris is to force Barry into a dark and depressing place, thereby assuring that the battle with Savitar happens and the time remnant is created.

After a quick fight with Savitar, Barry is back at Star Labs in an attempt to put this new information to good use. Cisco develops the rather insane plan of preventing Barry from creating new memories as a way to shield what happens next from Savitar. If past Barry can’t remember, then future, time remnant Barry won’t be able to either. Unfortunately, Cisco is not the biologist Caitlin was and instead of keeping Barry from creating new memories, he accidentally wipes all of his memories completely.

In a way, this has the desired effect as Savitar is just as much the amnesiac as Barry is. The price, however, is that Wally never gains his powers because now Savitar never gave them to him through the Philosopher’s Stone. It takes the team plus Killer Frost – who did not like seeing her new employer Savitar be without his memories – a while to develop a way to return Barry’s memories. In this time, Barry (now known as Bart) gets to re-explore his life that he can’t remember and completely botch a trial that Barry-With-Memories was supposed to testify at.

This releases the pyromaniac Lucious Coolidge who immediately uses his newfound freedom to set fire to a high-rise.

Barry eventually regains his memories with the help of Cisco and Iris and saves the high-rise from being completely destroyed with the re-powered Kid Flash. Unfortunately, now Savitar also has his memories back.

All this time the newest member of Team Flash, Tracy, has been developing a way to defeat Savitar. Utilizing what she theorizes his armor to be, she develops a “Speed Force Bazooka” – named by H.R. – that is completely functional, but is lacking any sort of real power source. Team Flash scours the planet for any kind of power source that is strong enough for the Speed Force Bazooka, eventually finding a piece of Dominator tech buried deep within A.R.G.U.S.’s vaults.

And guarded by King Shark. Because who else is going to guard alien tech?

After Lyla Michaels refuses to turn over the power source, Barry decides to break in to A.R.G.U.S. and attempt to steal it. Of course, nobody on Team Flash is exactly an experienced thief, so he travels to 1892 where the Legends make a stop and convinces Snart to help him out. The Barry and Snart duo make it all the way into A.R.G.U.S. and past King Shark, but are captured by Lyla trying to leave. In a piece of deus ex machina, Lyla gives them the Dominator device anyway, seeing that Barry was not just stealing it out of avarice.

The Dominator tech is able to power the Speed Force Bazooka and Barry separates himself from the team and has Joe take Iris far away to a place he has no knowledge of so that Savitar can know as little as possible about what Team Flash is planning to do. Joe takes Iris and Wally to Earth-2 where they attempt to wait out the coming disaster. In an unexpected-but-it-shouldn’t-have-been plot twist, Savitar learns of Iris’ location by pretending to be Barry – which he technically is – and getting it out of H.R. who immediately feels guilty.

Savitar manages to capture Iris and the final showdown begins. While Cisco goes off to fight Killer Frost/Caitlin, the rest of the team gets in position near Infantino Street, where Barry saw Iris die. A short fight ensues and its discovered that Tracy’s Speed Force Bazooka is ineffective against Savitar and his Philosopher’s Stone, which is made out of calcified Speed Force. In the end, Savitar stabs Iris just as Barry saw.

But, of course, that isn’t the end.

While Barry is distraught over Iris’ death, he discovers that it wasn’t her that was stabbed but, instead H.R. who used an imaging disguise he brought from Earth-19 to pretend like he was Iris. He had actually tracked Savitar down using the fragment of his armor that Barry had taken after Savvy was finally freed and attempted to rescue Iris, but failed. Instead, he switched their appearances so that he looked like Iris and she looked like him. H.R., sadly, does not survive.

Since Iris did not die, Barry did not suffer the same emotional torment that led him to indirectly create Savitar. Per the logic of time, Savitar only has a limited time before the paradox catches up to him and he is erased from history.

In this limited time, Savitar kidnaps Cisco and reveals his Plan B – which actually may have been his Plan A all along – which is to modify the Speed Force Bazooka so that, in concert with a portal to the Speed Force, Savitar can be scattered across the whole of time and space, existing in every moment that ever was. In Savitar’s mind, this will lead him to the godhood he so desires.

Barry manages to get through to Savitar at least somewhat, even convincing him to let Team Flash help figure out a way to preserve his life from the paradox. Savitar plays along for a while, but ultimately uses this chance in Star Labs to destroy it with the Philosopher’s Stone. This gives Cisco time to finish the modifications to the Speed Force Bazooka and Savitar to begin Plan B.

Gypsy returns to save Cisco from Killer Frost who Savitar ordered to kill him. Savitar opens up a portal to the Speed Force and allows Killer Frost to dispatch of the fairly zombified Hunter Zoloman/Zoom that comes speeding out of the portal. After which Savitar takes up his position in front of the portal and Killer Frost activates the Bazooka.

But the only thing that it does is release Jay Garrick from his prison, Savitar, of course, putting too much trust in the fact that Cisco would actually modify the Bazooka how he wanted.

This allows the rest of team Flash to arrive on the scene. Jay, Barry, and Wally take after Savitar while Gypsy and Cisco convince Killer Frost/Caitlin to turn from Savitar.

The Savitar vs. everybody fight goes as expected with Savitar having the upper hand. It isn’t until Barry phases through Savitar’s suit, kicking his time remnant out and taking control of it that Team Flash finally scores a win. After being removed from his suit, Savitar is essentially beaten but makes one more last-ditch effort to beat Barry Allen, only to be shot by Iris West and finally erased from all of history.

Team Flash mourns H.R. as a brave man and Killer Frost begins to look a little more like Caitlin. In the end, however, she decides to go off on her own to figure out exactly who she is, being not fully Killer Frost or Caitlin Snow.

Everything begins to look up for Team Flash and Baris/Irarry until a massive Speed Force storm erupts over Central City. Barry realizes that the problem is the empty Speed Force prison, which has to have an occupant. As something of a penance for his sins (mostly the time travelling and Flashpoint), Barry enters the Speed Force prison and the storms subside.

And thus The Flash Season 3 ends, paving the way for hopefully an excellent Season 4. If the writers stick with the same themes that they have for the past 3 seasons, such as the consequences of Barry’s time travelling, new Speedster enemies (Godspeed, anyone?), then it is bound to be a success. This said, it could be interesting if they switch things up a bit, perhaps having Barry’s next nemesis be a powerful non-Speedster; but, then, would that be The Flash?