EP Todd Helbing previews season 3 big bad Doctor Alchemy's plan
Barry Allen may have reversed Flashpoint, but that doesn’t mean everything is back to normal on The Flash.
After living blissfully in another timeline in which his parents were still alive, Barry (Grant Gustin) began to realize that he sacrificed everyone else’s happiness for his own, particularly when it came to the West family. Joe (Jesse L. Martin) no longer had a relationship with Iris (Candice Patton) for an unspecified reason — and when Barry returned to what he thought was his timeline, that was also the case. What’s really going on in this timeline? EW turned to executive producer Todd Helbing to find out:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: In both timelines, Iris does not have a relationship with Joe. First, are the reasons they’re on the outs in both timelines the same, and secondly, can you tease what’s going on there and how it’ll affect everyone?
TODD HELBING: It is not the same reason, but the reason why Iris and Joe don’t speak right now outside of Flashpoint is due to something that happened in season 2, but that’s all I can tell you.
Now that we’re back in the original timeline, have the outcomes of other past events we’ve seen changed?
So when Barry comes back and what he thinks he’s done is reset the timeline exactly how it was, as you saw at the end of episode 1, but there’s a slight difference. He’ll actually start to see the consequences with multiple people of creating Flashpoint.
Can you talk about some of the other effects of Flashpoint, including with characters like Cisco, who seems not to have a relationship with Barry there?
The STAR Labs team is all the same as it was before he left, but there are small things that have had different outcomes that ripple through our team. It’s kind of affected everybody one way or another. I don’t want go into too much detail and ruin the episode for people, but you’ll see how each character has been affected.
This reminds me of last season’s episode where Barry traveled back in time to ask Wells/Eobard for help, and when he returned he discovered that Pied Piper was now one of the good guys.
Exactly. It’s things exactly like that that have changed. But every time Barry went back in time, he wasn’t able to put it back exactly the way it was, but this is the first time that it has directly affected him and his friends and his family. So, that’s what you’ll see.
Doctor Alchemy is the new big bad this season. How does he compare to villains we’ve seen before, and what can you tease of his motivations?
Well, he is one of the first villains that’s not a speedster, so that automatically makes him different. But, he has this thing called the Philosopher’s Stone and what he’s starting to do is he has the ability to give people the powers that they had in Flashpoint. So, you’ll start to see how that affects Barry, especially, and the team and how that’s going to play out through the rest of the season.
Is Doctor Alchemy aware of the Flashpoint timeline, and if so, how?
Yes, he knows about it. He has memories of it.
Why has he decided to give people their powers back?
That plays into the long term plan and as the episodes go on, you’ll start to realize exactly why that is.
Tom Felton comes on as a rival CSI for Barry this week. Can you tease their dynamic and how Julian will fit into the show moving forward?
We always felt that Barry has this sort of freedom on the show as the only CSI investigator, to go out and get all the information that he needs to help him solve these metahuman crimes. So we felt, to complicate those matters, why don’t we give him a rival in his office space? That was really the idea behind bringing in Tom, [which] was to create this character who was a huge obstacle in Barry being able to get the information he needs that he normally was able to. So, it’s another consequence of Flashpoint. He comes out of it and now there’s this guy in his office who is the lead CSI and is thwarting his ability to get the information he needs to stop these metas.
Since he’s now the lead CSI and Barry probably has no recollection of him, how will that dynamic play out in the season? How antagonistic will it get?
Yeah, it’s very antagonistic. Julian does not like Barry and he thinks that there’s something off about him. Barry has a tendency to just disappear when he’s the Flash and go take down these guys, but Julian isn’t unaware of that. He knows it’s a problem and he knows that Barry’s gone and he knows that people just show up in the lab and to him it’s not cool. That’s not the way you do business. That’s not how you work as a CSI. So, that’s going to be a big issue with Julian and he becomes the huge antagonist to Barry right from the get-go.
Jesse Quick now has her powers. Can you tease what kind of hero she is and whether we’ll see all the speedsters, including Kid Flash, team up in an upcoming episode?
[Her powers] just sort of manifested, so she’s new at this. She doesn’t really know what it’s like to be a speedster and she doesn’t have anybody to teach her, so she’s going to come over and sort of learn from Barry. So, I don’t want to spoil too much stuff, but there will be some team-ups down the road that are pretty cool.
Will those team-ups include all three of them or are you specifically talking about Jesse and Barry right now?
At the moment, Jesse and the Flash.
Will we see Kid Flash further down the road, too?
We just saw a glimpse of the epic four-way crossover in the Legends of Tomorrow trailer. Is there anything you can tease about The Flash portion of the crossover?
That’s really just the first act of a three-act movie. It’s sort of where Barry learns of the Dominators and has to recruit all of the people. I’ll just say that there are some spectacular effects and action set pieces unlike any that we’ve done to date. I’ll also say that in last year’s crossover we were sort of setting up a spin-off, so story wise, we weren’t burdened with that and this really feels like one continuous story that is this epic television movie.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. And check out The Flash himself, Grant Gustin, along with several of his CW superhero cohorts at EW PopFest later this month. Click the banner above for further details and tickets.