Today we’re going to look at the reasoning behind Barry Allen creating Flashpoint, because just wanting his parents back is too simple, especially with Barry having been willing to sacrifice his mother to keep the timeline alive in Season 1. People have criticized how Barry could have created Flashpoint after having passed on the opportunity in Season 1. We will explore that.
The main criticism of Barry going back in time and save his mother was the argument that it undid his entire arc from Season 1. This refers to the fact that the entire first season finished with Barry coming to terms with his mother’s death and that he shouldn’t selfishly decide to not only change his life but the life’s of millions. It would make him as selfish as Eobard Thawne. But with the events of the Season 2 finale, Barry basically ignored the entire lesson he learned in Season 1. It’s understandable how people could see this as a big mistake, after all, it basically undid the entire character development of two Seasons.
While this is true. This article will dive into how it works in the context of the story and how it has something to do with religion.
THE SET UP
The episode that set up Flashpoint was the brilliantly directed episode by Kevin Smith, „Runaway Dinosaur“ in which Barry is trapped in the Speedforce. In this episode, Barry has basically something you can only describe as a highly religious/spiritual experience. He learns that the Speedforce is not only an energy source, it’s a living being that’s on his side. Imagine to learn that you are connected to a higher power. Barry says it himself in the following episode
„the Speedforce is on our side, how could we lose? “ – Barry Allen
Barry basically turned from a man who learned to believe in his own strength and the strength of his friends, to a man who believes everything will turn out fine because a higher power is on his side. He even says to Joe that he isn’t afraid anymore.
We have fears for reasons and having none, is very dangerous.Also for those who will say the Speedforce can’t be called a god. Here is a definition of a god being;
a spirit or being that has great power, strength, knowledge, etc., and that can affect nature and the lives of people; one of various spirits or beings worshiped in some religions
I think the version of the Speedforce shown in the Flash fits this description.
Now obviously, that turns quickly against him when his father is killed. Not only does it take away his last living relative, it also crushes the belief and hope he found in the Speedforce. In one scene, Barry not only gets another reason to turn back time but also has a reality check. The Speedforce won’t fix things for him. He is alone. Barry is faced with a cold reality that humans have been facing since the enlightenment. If there is no higher power that cares about us. It means we are alone. The Universe doesn’t care. How Rick and Morty puts it;
Nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, everybody’s going to die, come watch TV. – Morty
This harsh reality just days after having something that can only be called a highly religious experience, lead Barry to basically say screw it. The Universe doesn’t care, I will be selfish and happy. Imagine you met a God who then basically says he doesn’t care. It’s one thing to believe there is no higher power but knowing there is one that doesn’t care, is quite brutal, isn’t it?
And if we look back at the Season 3 Premiere, the Flash writers knew how out of character Flashpoint is for the Barry Allen they have developed. They set it up to be his biggest and hopefully final lesson on playing with the time stream. When Eobard Thawne yells at Barry „Who is the villain now! “And looking at the expression of Barry, Barry looks like a villain.
To conclude. Barry’s actions are selfish and are basically him acting as a dictator of the time stream. Deciding he has the right to change the lives of people without them knowing it. He takes away their freedom. He isn’t saving humanity with this, or a city like in one of the Flarrow crossovers. He is just fulfilling an understandable but completely selfish desire and how Spidey likes to say;
„With great power comes, great responsibility. “
Barry irresponsibility in using his powers, even if it might sound weird to some, is due to a crisis of faith and the ultimate acknowledgment of the Universe not giving a shit. It mirrors the danger we as people also face in a post-enlightenment era. We are at the risk of destroying ourselves through selfish desire and a fall into a nihilistic state that can drive us crazy because that’s what nihilism does, it’s what drove the Joker crazy (an article for a different day). Nothing is quite as scary as a nihilistic culture with access to a nuclear bomb.
Ans just like the Flash, we will never be capable of really going back to a time before the enlightenment.