When season 2 of The Flash ended with Barry Allen saving his mother's life from murder at the hands of the Reverse-Flash, comic book fans immediately recognized the episode as the setup for Flashpoint.
The comic book miniseries by that name was a five-issue (plus tie-ins) mega-event that rebooted the DC Universe, changed status quos for hundreds of DC heroes and villains, blended the company's publishing imprints under a shared umbrella, and ultimately set the stage for 2011's The New 52 reboot.
The TV show...well, it was a bit smaller in scale. The world changed in fairly small ways, although some of them were pretty important to Barry Allen, and ultimately that motivated him to travel back and fix time...as much as he could.
Comic book fans were left wondering why do Flashpoint, if the story was fairly small in scale, and the showrunners aren't entirely dismissive of that sentiment.
"I think anytime you do a story like Flashpoint, something as iconic as that, with the character restrictions that we had, it's going ot be different than everybody expected," executive producer Todd Helbing told ComicBook.com. "I think for us from a story point, when we talked about it originally it was going to be more episodes but what happens more often than not is that when you break the story you find that it would be a lot better and a lot more satisfying if you pulled up a lot of that information and put it in that first episode....It just became a much stronger episode if we just made it one as opposed to four or five, and then we could really kickstart the rest of the season after that. But Flashpoint or not, there are consequences going forward for Barry for what he did and those ripples he's going to explore throughout the third season."
But fans who have been with the show will remember that Harrison Wells was outed as the Reverse-Flash in the first season way earlier than most fans expected -- so much so that some expected a double-cross coming by the end of season 1. And the show has thrown a lot at the wall in its two seasons and change, from infinite earths to time travel to numerous speedsters from different timelines.
"I think it's just -- as Greg Berlanti has said multiple times -- there's always more story," Helbing said. "I think with the breadth of the Flash comics, there's so much to pull from, and we like the pace of the show, where we've dialed in, is faster. For us it's really exciting to just get on with it. Personally, I feel like the speed that we're going is the best version of the show....We just want to keep the fans invested and excited and keep throwing more questions at them."
Ultimately, it's relationships that will drive the season forward. Helbing told us that Caitlin Snow -- who is on track to become a version of Killer Frost at some point this season -- will have to question her feelings about Barry and his pure motives when she realizes that what's happening to her is, in part, his fault. He also confirmed what seemed obvious from the first couple of episoes: the Barry and Iris romance will dominate a lot of the season.
"A lot of the story is kind of centered and spins off of what's going on with [Barry and Iris.] It's a great love story, and to have that influence this season, I think people are going to love it."
But Barry's not the only Flash around, right? Even if he doesn't have powers yet in the main timeline, Wally West was the Kid Flash in Flashpoint, and at some point that's bound to come back around, especially with Alchemy seemingly giving powers to people who had them in the alternate timeline.
In the comics, meanwhile, right now Dan Abnett's Titans is re-establishing the relationship between Wally West and his pre-Flashpoint wife, Linda Park. Park (played by Malese Jow) appeared in a few episodes of The Flash last season, but could we see her again -- possibly as a romantic foil for Wally?
"I don't know. I would say yes, because on The Flash, we certainly love Malese. She's fantastic. We don't have any plans right now, but she's fantastic and Doctor Light's awesome so I wouldn't be surprised if she shows up," Helbing said.
The Flash airs on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW. Tonight's episode is titled "Magenta," and features the return of Harrison Wells and Jesse Quick.