Before The Flash returns for its third season, you may have a lot of questions about what happened before the show took its summer hiatus. Trailers out of San Diego Comic-Con and elsewhere paint a picture of what’s ahead in Season 3, but some might need a refresher about what happened in Season 2. If it’s not on Netflix, did it really happen? (Yes, but you get the point.)
As Barry Allen races back onto the CW, here’s all you need to remember about The Flash before it begins all over again on October 4.
Back to the Beginning
Much of Season 3, dubbed “Flashpoint” for the Geoff Johns arc it’s loosely based on, is actually dependent on how The Flash began: the death of Barry’s mom.
To quickly recap: Barry’s mother Nora was killed by the Reverse-Flash — the “man in yellow” — and the murder was blamed on Barry’s father, Henry (played by John Wesley Shipp, from 1990’s The Flash). This motivated Barry to become a forensic scientist to prove his father’s innocence, but it’s also how Barry became the Flash, surrounded by chemicals when the Particle Accelerator at S.T.A.R. Labs exploded and caused a storm that sent a lightning bolt down into his lab.
The Reverse-Flash, of course, was secretly Barry’s mentor and S.T.A.R. Labs head Harrison Wells … who was actually a man from the future named Eobard Thawne who was using Harrison’s body. Yeah, it’s complicated, but trust me, it’s great.
The Season 2 Finale
At the end of Season 2, following Barry’s defeat of Hunter Zolomon (aka Zoom), Barry went back in time to stop Reverse-Flash killing his mother, motivated by Barry’s lost sense of direction and hopelessness after Zoom had killed his father and the war was over. Although Barry gets to keep his speed, the world around him and the life he’s lived has changed, maybe forever.
When Season 3 begins, three months will have passed, and the new reality gradually erases Barry’s memories from his alternate life. He’ll forget Iris, Joe, Caitlin, Cisco, and even S.T.A.R. Labs — or at least the versions of them we all know from Seasons 1 and 2.
Caitlin and Cisco also lead totally different lives. Cisco is a jerk billionaire who’s made S.T.A.R. Labs his source of fortune, while Caitlin is a medical doctor instead of a scientist. Note her cute little name tag near her chest: She looks like a pediatrician in this alternate world.
There’s also another speedster hero in “Flashpoint”: Wally West, Iris’s estranged younger brother, who races as the Flash but will earn the moniker Kid Flash, Wally’s title in the comics before he inherited Barry Allen’s mantle.
And Wally is STILL not the only new fleet-footed metahuman. The Rival, real name Dr. Edward Clariss who was first introduced as an enemy of Jay Garrick in Flash Comics #104 in 1949, will be one of the chief antagonists of Season 3. But the big enemy of the season will still be Eobard Thawne, who will also be in the Legion of Doom in Season 2 of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
Somehow, Season 3 will reveal that Thawne was really behind the timeline alteration. This was the twist in Geoff Johns’s Flashpoint arc: that Thawne compelled Barry to go back in time. But we saw it happen right at the end of Season 2. How Thawne is actually behind it is the new mystery this season on The Flash.
The Flash returns October 4.