When we last saw Barry Allen/The Flash (Grant Gustin, Glee), he had lost his father, Henry (John Wesley Shipp, Dawson's Creek and the 1990's The Flash series), and in a fit of emotion, went back in time and prevented his mother's death. The resulting timeline is one where Henry never went to prison and Barry never grew up in the West household, but it's also one where Barry never became The Flash.
At the start of Season Three, Barry has been living in this alternate timeline, dubbed Flashpoint, for three months. He finds many things different in this world, and for a while, he ignores many of the details that feel off and wrong, primarily because he has both of his parents. For one, while Joe West (Jesse L. Martin, Law & Order) is still a detective, he is dealing with personal issues that don't really make him an ideal cop. Barry starts to learn more and more about the world around him, including the fact that Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale, Dance Academy, The Divergent Series: Insurgent) is Central City's speedster-in-residence known as Kid Flash. When Kid Flash gets injured badly in a fight with another speedster, Barry starts to realize this alternate timeline isn't all it's cracked up to be, and he decides the best thing to do is reset the timeline and allow his mother to die.
While this action does restore many elements of the previous timeline, there are still a few details that are different. For one, Barry returns to find his friendship with Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) strained. When Barry learns that Cisco's brother has just died, he tells Cisco that this wasn't the case in the original timeline and Cisco starts to blame Barry for his brother's death because of The Flash's meddling with the timeline.
Barry also finds things are a little different at work as well. Where he was previously the only CSI for the police department, he now finds he shares his lab with one Julian Albert (Tom Felton, Harry Potter, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), who is apparently the leading authority on metahumans and seems to be very suspicious of Barry's frequent disappearances and apparent shoddy work ethic.
Unbeknownst to the the rest of Team Flash, Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker, Friday the 13th, Sky High) seems to be aware of another change, primarily because Barry doesn't seem to know about a new development in her life. Caitlin seems to have started developing ice-based powers, and while it isn't long before the rest of the group learns of her growing abilities, these early days are filled with the information she has about her Earth-2 counterpart, Killer Frost. Could Caitlin be on the road to the same supervillain fate? This season will test a lot of the characters in the show, but Caitlin's journey is one rife with change.
At least Barry's relationship with Iris (Candice Patton, The Game), Joe, and Wally seems to back on track after erasing Flashpoint, but when a new villain appears and starts giving people who had powers in Flashpoint their abilities in this timeline, Wally's developing speedster capabilities and everyone's desire to keep Joe safe and out of the loop can start to put a new strain on everyone in the West house.
This new villain, Doctor Alchemy, is the main threat during the first part of the season. The masked man appears to be bringing back enemies Barry saw during Flashpoint, the first of which is The Rival, the same speedster that harmed Kid Flash. Barry and team start to see more of these Flashpoint characters pop up and they find that they need all hands on deck in order to track down exactly what Alchemy is up to and why.
It's a good thing that Earth-2's Dr. Harry Wells (Tom Cavanagh, Ed, Love Monkey) and his daughter Jesse (Violett Beane, The Leftovers) return. While the reason for the visit is because Jesse has become a speedster thanks to last season's shenanigans, and she needs training, their presence becomes a major help early in the season. Before returning to Earth-2 though, Harry recognizes that the team needs a Harrison Wells to be with them and sends out a puzzle across the multiverse as a kind of help wanted sign. As Harrisons from across the Earths start submitting their applications, we get to see Cavanagh play a wide variety of this particular character, but the one Team Flash settles on goes by H.R. and is from Earth-19; though it isn't long before the group starts to wonder just how far they can trust the newest incarnation of Wells.
While the team's primary focus early in the season is on Dr. Alchemy, it becomes apparent that he isn't actually the big-bad in charge. Just when they feel they've caught a break, Team Flash learns that he is working for a person called Savitar, the original speedster and the supposed God of Speed. As with past seasons, Barry isn't fast enough to even pose a threat to the new guy in town, but when Barry accidentally finds himself in the near future, he witnesses an event that will force him to push himself harder than before in the hopes of changing those events.
Season Three has a lot going for it. Not only does it touch on the Flashpoint storyline that many fans of this hero will be familiar with, the attempt to correct that timeline has some rippling effects that touch on the other Arrowverse shows as well, including one noted change in Arrow that, when revealed to John Diggle (David Ramsey, Arrow, Dexter), changes the way Diggle treats Barry.
Of course, to share that information, there needs to be a crossover event, and this season's big crossover is "Invasion!" and it presents an enemy that not only brings Team Arrow and Team Flash together, but also the crew of the Waverider and even Supergirl. When aired, this crossover was touted as a four-episode event, though the Supergirl episode was a small point at the end of an episode that was later repeated in The Flash, as it had Barry and Cisco going to that Earth and asking Kara (Melissa Benoist, Supergirl, Glee) for help. The crossover's part in The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow are full episode events and each one has enough of a different feel to it that they fit the style of their respective shows. As for The Flash's "Invasion!" episode, we learn that an alien race known as The Dominators have come to Earth because of the uptick in metahumans. They see any world with superpowered beings as a threat to the rest of the galaxy and aim to stop Earth's development before it can expand. Needless to say, the heroes of these shows have something to say about that.
This isn't the only crossover in The Flash: The Complete Third Season though. Not only are there some one-off visits like Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards, Arrow), but there is also a bigger crossover featuring Kara when the Music Meister (Darren Criss, also of Glee) puts her in a hypnotic state. Kara's friends bring her to Earth-1 to ask for help, and when they arrive, the Music Meister attacks Barry as well. Both Barry and Kara find themselves in a dreamworld that is a musical. It seems Music Meister is trying to teach the two heroes a lesson and they will have to play along in order to get out and that means singing and dancing while doppelgangers of their friends play some rather unusual roles.
Season Three also introduces the character Gypsy (Jessica Camacho, Last Resort, Sleepy Hollow), a bounty hunter from Earth-19 that has the same powers as Cisco, something the resident engineer finds very intriguing. It also has Team Flash facing off against Gorilla Grodd once again as it appears that the parallel world Barry sent him to last season (which is also Earth-19 by the way), is having some problems in Gorilla City and Grodd is in the thick of it.
As before, The Flash: The Complete Third Season comes packed with a lot of special features. In past seasons, these extras have been heavy on the special effects or the actors, but this season's focus seems to be primarily on the musical episode, "Duet." There are four different extras that touch on this subject. Three are about scoring, orchestrating, and performing the songs in this episode, while the other is the part of the episode where Barry and Kara sing the song "I'm Your Super Friend."
The other featurettes in this season talk about the new villains being introduced, what it took to create Gorilla City and its many inhabitants, and even time travel, both from a somewhat scientific perspective and how often the stories from The Flash comic touch on that subject. There is also a featurette on the "Invasion!" crossover, and while there is some repeat information from the related featurette that came with Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Second Season, there are some Flash-specific points in this extra as well.
The rest of the season's extras include the 2016 Comic-Con panel, deleted scenes, a gag reel, and a four minute clip that is an interview with creator Andrew Kreisberg and director Kevin Smith. Smith directed one episode of The Flash this season, as well as an episode of Supergirl. This same extra can be found in Supergirl: The Complete Second Season.
While the show's main story focuses on Alchemy and then Savitar, the sprinkling of other events like the fight against Grodd, or even an episode where Barry loses his memory, add enough variety to the show to keep everything interesting. I feel like there are definitely some aspects to Season Three that makes it go above and beyond the past two seasons and worth watching as long as you are already caught up.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a copy of the Blu-ray. The opinions I share are my own.