The season 3 Finale of The Flash left us in shock in just the last few minutes. Not only in a twist of fate did we lose H.R., but then in an unexpected turn of events we also lost Barry to the Speed Force! It was a smart and clever move on the part of the writers and yet when you have a series that is based on a main character, it is really hard to sustain the series with only the supporting characters left–no matter how lovable and valuable they may seem. Much like the few episodes of “Arrow” where Oliver was missing and the team was trying to carry on without him, doing any kind of real plot line without Barry simply would not be successful.
Thankfully they were wise enough to bring Barry back in just the first few minutes of the premiere by introducing a flying Samurai villain who only wants to fight The Flash. The real Flash. We then find out that Cisco has been secretly working on a way to bring Barry out of the Speed Force without letting the Speed Force destroy Central City. He goes to find Caitlin, who apparently has overcome her Killer Frost side and although has not come back to the team is working as a Bartender with secrets of her own. She re-joins the team to help save Barry, and it is wonderful to have her back, even though we know that Killer Frost and her personal demons are not gone, even if she is doing a good job of hiding them from everyone else.
Barry returns but he is definitely not the Barry we know. Much as Cisco puts it that he is “in his Beautiful Mind” phase. Where he is talking gibberish, recognizes no one and continues to draw odd shapes and symbols over every surface he can find. After the medical answers that Caitlin tries don’t seem to work at all, Iris makes a bold move to have herself kidnapped by the Samurai in an effort to snap Barry out of whatever odd trance he is in. It seems to work–although no one knows why. Barry remembers nothing in between leaving to go into the Speed Force and rescuing Iris. The Samurai turns out to be a robot, who someone obviously sent to wake Barry up–as is apparent by the robot’s voice saying “welcome back Barry” just as it is fading out. A new villain mastermind(The Thinker) is introduced as the brains behind the robot in the last few moments of the episode, but we have no idea what is his fascination with Barry.
All in all it was a decent season premiere, with an outstanding performance by Grant Gustin. Often we forget that some of these actors on the small screen are just as talent as those on the big screen. Austin did an excellent job portraying a very crazy and deranged version of The Flash. I am sad at the loss of Tom Cavanagh’s and Tom Felton’s characters, and are hoping they will be brought back in some capacity somehow during the season. This season will include the addition of Katee Sackhoff and Neil Sandilands as two of the newest villain The Flash will have to face. Hoping for some more excellent cross-over events this season as well.