The Flash: Season 3 review

Time travel is not always all fun and games. It's not always wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey shenanigans in an old police box, as Doctor Who would have you believe; nor is it hooning around at 88mph in a Delorean and coming close to shagging your mum. Sometimes, if you are not too careful, it can mess up the lives of those nearest and dearest to you. Welcome to Flashpoint.

Season 2 of The Flash ended with Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) altering the timeline so that his mother was still alive – she was murdered by the Reverse Flash when Barry was a child. Of course, messing with time has consequences and the altered timeline spells all sorts of new threats for his family and friends. Barry manages to repair most of the damage he caused when he crated this "Flashpoint", but the main threat - a new "big bad" called Savitar, remains. Barry visits a future where he sees Savitar murder his girlfriend Iris (Candice Patton), so Barry sets out to do all he can to change the future and save her. Meanwhile, Iris's brother Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) becomes the speedster Kid Flash and scientist Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) gains ice powers and fears that she is becoming the evil metahuman Killer Frost.

The first two seasons of The Flash were reasonably lighthearted, and in Season 3 the show takes a slightly darker turn: Flash dealing with Savitar and the potential death of the love of his life; Caitlin fighting her dark side and resisting the urge to be Killer Frost; Cisco (Carlos Valdes) mourning the death of a relative; and the Team Flash dynamic almost being torn apart by Barry's time meddling. But it's not all gloom and doom. There's a new foil for Barry in Central City PD forensic colleague Julian Desmond (Tom Felton), who develops a bit of a hatred for our hero. Tom Cavanagh is back, this time playing HR – a version of Harrison Wells form an alternate Earth - and providing loads of comic relief. Also back in a guest role is Mark Hamill as the Trickster - it's always great fun to see him pop up - and John Wesley Shipp (who played Barry/Flash in the short-lived 1990s series) returns as speedster Jay Garrick, another character form one of the alternate Earths.

The doom and gloom is put aside for a wonderful musical crossover episode, Duet, which sees Barry and Kara Danvers/Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) forced to sing and dance for their supper. Both actors have strong singing roots, and they both worked together in the TV series Glee. The episode works really well, with great songs (including one original number, I'm Your Superfreind, written by Crazy Ex Girlfriend's Rachel Bloom) and excellent performances from all involved, including Victor Garber, John Barrowman and Jesse L Martin – all of whom have strong musical theatre backgrounds. There's also an episode early in the season, Invasion!, that is a part of a big four-way crossover between The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow. It's an interesting idea, one that's been done in comic books for decades, but it means that you do need to watch and keep up with all four series.

So three seasons in, The Flash is still one of the best superhero shows on TV. Although this season had a few more downs than ups than the previous two years, it's still a show with interesting characters and fun stories (as well as the musical episode, which I really hope they do more of, there was the terrific Gorilla City two-parter). And it ends on an intriguing cliffhanger that sets things up nicely for Season 4.

EXTRAS: There are deleted scenes on several episodes; the featurette Villain School: The Flash Rogues (7:42); the featurette Allied: The Invasion COmplex (9:48); the featurette Rise of Gorilla City (9:08); the featurette The Flash: Hitting the Fast Note (4:08); a behind-the-scenes look at the recording of the song I'm Your Super Friend (2:43); the featurette Harmony in a Flash (15:34); the featurette Synchronicity in a Flash (20:59); The FLash: 2016 Comic-Con Panel (29:50); the featurette A Flash in Time: Time Travel in the Flash Universe (21:47); a conversation with Andrew Kreisberg and Kevin Smith (3:55); and a Gag Reel (4:04). A more-than decent package.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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