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So, I've admittedly only seen the film adaptation, but I've read the synopsis of the comics and I'm still confused. Barry originally went back in time to save his mom, which caused the major shift in the timeline. Fair enough.

But then, why is he so confused when he sees his mom alive in the new timeline? Why does he not remember going back to change things? Am I missing something completely obvious?

  • To the best of my knowledge (have the comics, and the movie!), Barry doesn't consciously go back to save his mum. He runs to let off steam, he was in a state of emotional turmoil and ended up going back in time and somehow saving his mum. The vibe you get (from both the movie and comics) is that he feels like he just fell asleep at his desk, after (I imagine) returning from his little run around to let off some steam. – Stormie Aug 4 '15 at 13:56
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I believe the sort-of-official explanation is that the person who did the time travel and participated in the timeline shift retains memories of the previous timeline, and they are replaced by the new memories slowly.

If I remember correctly that's even mentioned in the film, when he first talks with Thomas!Batman. Or am I mistaken?

  • 1
    It is mentioned, but he also explains that he still remembers his old timeline as well, extremely clearly. – Cliff May 17 '15 at 18:20
  • Perhaps add a reference, if you can find one – nine9 May 18 '15 at 5:59

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