- "Look, I've learned all this stuff that I didn't know before, okay? I'm not gonna make the same mistakes—"
"Mistakes. Yeah, what you just said right there? That is the paradox of time travel, and also the paradox of life. I mean, if I only knew then what I know now."
"Why have these powers if I can't go back and fix what I broke?"
"We're not gods, we're men, who, for whatever reason, have been given extraordinary abilities. The question you need to ask yourself is, what kind of hero are you gonna be? Are you just gonna take a do-over every time you make a mistake? Or will you live with them and move forward?"
- —Barry Allen and Jay Garrick
"Paradox" is the second episode of the third season of , and the forty-eighth episode overall. It aired on October 11, 2016.
|Barry realizes the effects from Flashpoint are much greater than he thought. Meanwhile, Barry meets new co-worker Julian Albert and is surprised by Julian's immediate disdain for Barry.|
- Grant Gustin as Barry Allen/The Flash
- Candice Patton as Iris West
- Danielle Panabaker as Dr. Caitlin Snow
- Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon/Vibe
- Keiynan Lonsdale as Wally West
- Tom Cavanagh (credit only)
- Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West
Special appearance by
Special guest stars
- David Lee Forts as Patron
Barry runs to Star City and finds Felicity alone in the Arrowcave. He begins to explain what he did, and how many things are now different. He explains to Felicity the events of the day, and how his teammates are not what they used to be: Iris and Joe aren't speaking to each other and Cisco hardly talks to Barry. On top of everything, Barry now has a co-worker, Julian Albert, who has worked with Barry for over a year, but Barry doesn't know him and Julian doesn't like him. Barry wants to fix it all but he doesn't know if he can. Barry also checks if things are still same with Team Arrow. They are, until he sees a picture about John, holding a baby boy, John Diggle, Jr. Felicity wonders how Barry doesn't know it, making Barry realize that his meddling with time has caused John's daughter, Sara Diggle, to be erased from existence. Felicity encourages Barry to be himself and fix all of this.
Barry learns that Cisco is attending a support group, after his brother, Dante, died in a car crash caused by a drunken driver. Cisco meets Barry and tells him to leave.
Edward Clariss has an another mental encounter with Alchemy. He eventually meets him face to face.
The next day, Barry attempts to learn what is going on with everybody. He first focuses on Iris and Joe, and manages to get them as well as the rest of the team to have dinner that night. The dinner is awkward and Barry admits he set it up in order to get the team like they were. Barry finds out that Cisco hardly talks to him because he asked him to go back in time to save Dante but refused.
The next day, Joe and Barry arrive to a scene, where Julian is already investigating a husk, apparently left by a metahuman. Barry is denied of taking a sample, but he does so anyway with his speed, without Julian noticing. He leaves it to S.T.A.R. Labs to examine. The following night, Barry encounters Edward Clariss aka the Rival. Barry is baffled about how he can exist in this timeline, and he seems to remember everything that passed in the Flashpoint. Barry defeats him, but he escapes.
Later at S.T.A.R. Labs, everyone has noted how Barry has been acting strangely and Iris pulls him away and shows him camera footage from his fight against the Rival. She indicates that Barry has encountered him before, while the team has never seen him before. She demands to know what is going on, or else there won't be anything between them. All Barry says is that everything that is going on with the team and the Rival is his fault, and he thinks he can only fix it with one way. He attempts to travel back in time again, but is pulled out from the Speed Force by Jay Garrick from Earth-3, into the year 1998. He takes him to a diner and explains about the consequences of altering time. Even if he would undo what he did, time will never return exactly the same as before, and asks Barry, if he attempts to change things again, or will he move forward.
Barry returns to S.T.A.R. Labs, and starts to explain to the team, what he did. No one believes him at first, but when he draws a picture, everyone realizes that Barry's time traveling caused the things to be different. Cisco is torn. Barry goes to talk with him, and Cisco tells him that the only thing he wanted from Barry is for him to go back in time and save Dante. Barry says he is sorry, but he can't go back again, because if he does, Dante may be alive, but something else for someone else might have changed dramatically, and Cisco doesn't want that on his conscience.
Barry encounters Rival again, alone, and also comes head to head against Alchemy. Meanwhile, in S.T.A.R. labs, Iris attempts to convince everyone, that Barry made a mistake, just like they all have, when it comes to people they care about, citing Cisco's experience, when Leonard Snart froze Dante's hand so he would do what Snart wanted from him. When the team comes to realize this, Iris and Joe immediately reconcile and Cisco understands that Barry didn't mean any of this to happen. Caitlin accepts it, and suddenly notices that Barry is in trouble. They track him and as Barry is about to lose against Rival, Cisco shows up and they defeat Rival together. Cisco calls Barry friend again.
Back at S.T.A.R. labs, Barry informs them about Alchemy, who apparently is attempting to give metahumans from Flashpoint their powers in this timeline. The team eventually leaves in good spirits and Barry tells Caitlin that she probably has had the least effect from the Flashpoint. After Barry leaves, Caitlin's arm begins to glow and emit cryogenic vapor, like Killer Frost.
At their house, Barry and Iris have a moment together and officially start to date. In Iron Heights, Edward Clariss is in his cell when he hears Alchemy. Suddenly, an arm appears and starts to strangle Edward.
- Barry says he has kissed Iris twice and erased both times from existence, when really he has kissed her three times in now-erased timelines, in "", "", and "".
- Alchemy claims that Clariss "failed" because he was unable to kill The Flash. However, Alchemy restored the powers of metas from Flashpoint so they could serve his master Savitar, the God of Speed, not so they could kill Barry, which would actually hamper Savitar's plan. Presumably, having the metas fight Barry was only so they could prove their loyalty.
- This is the second episode of the series where Tom Cavanagh doesn't appear, or the first if you count the archive footage used in "" as an appearance.
- This is the first episode since Season 1's "" that Felicity Smoak appears without Oliver Queen.
- When Barry and Jay are in the Motorcar Diner in 1998, Dawson's Creek is playing on the TV. John Wesley Shipp played the title character's father on Dawson's Creek.
- The title episode references the Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox title along with the previous episode.
- Jay teaches Barry about time travel, using the example of a coffee cup being like the space-time continuum, breaking whenever you travel through time. Barry would use this same technique to Nora in "", also reusing Jay's line, "We're not gods. We've just been given extraordinary abilities."
- As with the previous episode, the way Barry explains what he has done to the timeline is extremely reminiscent of the way Doc Brown explans the alternate timeline in Back to the Future Part II.
- When Rival bounce towards the water, there was a man with a black hat next to the tree on the right.
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