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The Flash suffers from one of its most lackluster episodes yet

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Next week's episode needs to be better

Folks, it is episode three of the new season, and The Flash has already become so predictable that — if this isn't an elaborate fake-out — we're going to regret having invested time in this. Hooray! I love new seasons of something that's already going poorly. I also love feeling bad. Join me, won't you?

Barry is having a hard time working with Julian, who is pretty clearly Doctor Alchemy. Sorry, we're all on the same page, right? This C+ big bad is grabbing people from the Flashpoint timeline and giving them the powers they should've had. We already tried this with the Rival and don't worry your pretty little head over it because that's what we're doing all season. Is it cool if I just start calling Julian by his Alchemy name? Can we, as friends, agree on that? If it doesn't come to pass, we can all rejoice together. Anyway, "Big Bad Working With Barry" is kinda a dick about time. Can you imagine that? We're playing all the cards right up front.

Each time Iris gets reduced by half again, I hate Barry that much more.

Barry is mostly bored with life too, except for trying to finally date Iris properly. Unfortunately, there's no chemistry, even though Barry has finally figured out that maybe he should pay for things he speed-steals. They make a deal for "no Flash talk" but he's always being called away to stop a robbery or whathaveyou. This kinda nonsense won't work, and they know it, so they talk through some problems and fix it. Done and done.

Meanwhile, Wells and Jesse show back up from Earth 2 or Earth 3 or wherever they've been vacationing lately. Maybe we should check the story of people who appear from dimensional portals? Not checking ID is exactly how Gossip Girl went off the rails. Anyway, Jesse is a speedster now after getting hit with dark matter last season. Wally got hit by it too, and now he's super jelly that he's not a super hero. Wells also doesn't want Jesse doing superhero things. This kinda nonsense won't work, and they know it, so they talk through some problems and fix it. Done and done.

A young girl named Frankie is inhabited by a different Flashpoint foe (Magenta) who uses her ability to control metal to practically kill her abusive step-father. Then she tries to blow up his hospital by crushing it with a tanker ship. Barry shows up and talks to her about feelings. This kinda nonsense won't work, and they know it, so they talk through some problems and fix it. Done and done.

For a season that is starting out all over the goddamned place, this episode gets into filler territory so annoyingly fast. Wells is back and Jesse is another speedster to help Barry and relationships are boring and work sucks. The best thing I can possibly say is that we've burned through a pointless episode getting everyone back in the same place again.

Flash

The worst I can say is that season three is it's missing a lot of things that made up the best parts of The Flash. Team Flash is mostly drained of personality and sub-plots of interest. It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but do you remember the third episode from last season, "Family of Rogues?" The episode opened with Iris doing journalism and accidentally uncovering a criminal enterprise, so she jumps out of a building. Barry leaves his lab to save her, and then they go back to their lives. There was a time when these characters all maintained lives and jobs and pursuits and dreams and general depth.

Season three has made it hard right out of the gate to imagine Team Flash doing anything but living in S.T.A.R. Labs and reacting to Barry's ideas that are better than anything the team brings to the table. It's all just distancing us from better versions of these characters that we already spent two seasons building. I know every time Barry disappears into the past we have to hit a giant reset button, but hopefully we can stop now, because each time Iris gets reduced by half again, I hate Barry that much more.

This is a forgettable episode and next week, the show needs to step it up. We can't do a whole season of Alchemy making boring super-powered time remnants out of unwitting folks. We don't need monster of the week in a city full of some of the best and most memorable villains on TV.

This week, Doctor Wells discovered the joke properties of adding "NOT" to the end of statements. Let's not remember this episode and hope for better things to come.