It’s been hours after The Flash dropped one of the most jaw-dropping finales in recent memory, and I’m still barely able to can. In typical “Rip My Heart Out, It’ll Hurt Less” fashion, Team Flash turned in another universe-preserving victory against formidable crackpot, Zoom, Barry professed his undying love to Iris, and then there was that ending.
Beware of spoilers below…
The episode opens exactly where we left off last week, with Zoom killing Henry West. My inner masochist actually wished Henry’s death had been more gruesome. It’s hard to relate to what getting “vibed” through the chest feels like. It looks like it tickles harshly. But Barry’s reaction sells it, and his teary-eyed, blood-curdling scream sets the tone for the most intense and ambitious episode in Flash’s, albeit short, but impressive history.
Zoom challenges Barry, a vengeful wreck, to a footrace. But Zoom wouldn’t be a deliciously sociopathic villain without a diabolical endgame. Mercury Labs has invented a magnetar, a device that amplifies power. When paired with the energy created by Barry and Zoom's superspeed it can be used to lay waste to the multi-verse. Zoom maybe be a deranged serial killer, but he's also admirably ambitious.
This grief-stricken Barry is a soul-crushing contrast from the affirmation-spilling Care Bear that emerged from the Speed Force in last week’s “Invincible.” Once Joe realizes how determined he is not only to race Zoom but actually kill him, he executes an honest-to-goodness grounding for his superhero son by tranquilizing him and locking him the particle prison. Team Flash (sans Wally) goes forward with another plan to boot Zoom back to Earth 2 for good.
We’ve already established that we can’t have nice things, so it takes only a jammed gun for the otherwise clever Plan B to descend into mayhem. Zoom escapes into the Earth 2 breach and drags Joe with him!
It must be noted that when presented with the threat of losing her father, her rock, Iris doesn’t budge, not even when Wally begs. She isn’t the normal superhero girlfriend who’s blinded by emotion and shirks big decisions. This is a brave woman who can understand the greater good even if that means sacrificing her only remaining parent. Iris West (and Candice Patton) is a gift to a us all.
It’s Wally, a newly-minted member of Team Flash, who lets Barry out of the cell. And though he’s angry, he seems a little more focused.
The race with Zoom features some pretty wicked visuals as the two speedsters zip around a sciency-ferris wheel. Their combined speed powers up the magnetar and tears a hole in the universe, but impossibly, a second Barry shows up to lend a hand! Barry has finally achieved such mind-boggling speeds that he has created his own time remnant (Please don't ask me to explain exactly what it is. Only Neil deGrasse Tyson and Sheldon Cooper are qualified to do so)! He de-magnetizes the device and gets disintegrated in the process as if that wasn’t traumatizing the first time around. Sadly, the original Barry doesn’t kill Zoom, he lets the wraiths have their way with him. Zoom’s face withers and melts as they drag him somewhere into the multi-verse. Is it sad that I hope we see him again? Zoom's still badass.
Cisco and Harrison have one last bickering session as they release the real Jay Garrick from the iron mask. Barry, who’s still so raw, explodes like an emotional grenade. Jay Garrick from Earth 3 is Henry West’s doppelganger! Thankfully, Jay, Harrison and Jessie soon return to Earth 2.
Later, Barry and Iris have another quiet rendezvous on the porch. And their finale scene is the sparkling dreams that ships sail on before the SS WestAllen careens into a whirlpool infested with krackens. Iris understands that Barry has lost so much, she hopes that their love can give him something good. Barry’s response is honest and breathtaking: “I wish that I was in a place where I could try that with you. But I feel so hollowed out inside right now. I feel more broken than I’ve ever felt in my life. If I’m ever going to be worth anything to you, I need to fix what’s wrong with me. I need to find some peace.” Who needs Shakespearean sonnets when you have Barry Allen Truth Bombs Of Love?
She understands, though it’s obvious she doesn’t know how loaded her words are. “Wherever you need to go, whatever you need to do, do it. And when you get back, I’ll be here. I love you.” “I love you, too. And I always will,” Barry confesses, and it feels oddly final.
With one last look at his extended family, Barry bolts into the Speed Force, and runs back to the day his mother dies, and saves her life despite the future Flash's warnings. Thus, resetting The. Entire. Timeline.
Everything we know about Barry Allen stems from that terrible night his mother was killed—his career as a CSI, his relationship with Joe and Iris, the fact that he’s The Flash, Wally’s presence in their lives, and his extended network of friends. Ostensibly, when The Flash returns for season 3, Barry will be a powerless geek, Iris might just be a girl he went to high school with back in the day, and even worse, Joe West could be just a merely a stranger.
Is it weird that I’m more heartbroken about the loss of the dynamic duo of SuperFeels than WestAllen? Barry and Iris's love has already proven it can withstand multiple universes and timelines. They will always find each other. Barry and Joe have little reason to connect again. If Joe never adopted Barry, then Joe could just be that gruff detective Barry sees on the news or at Jitters.
“The Race Of His Life” is ultimately a time revenant in itself. It features callbacks from the show’s pilot and season 1 finale while tossing a grenade into the future season 3. Is Barry Allen destined to become The Flash in this new timeline? Will we ever see Nora Allen do more than just a die a lot? Do Barry and Iris even know each other? Will Joe still need his Barry Allen? If I send Grant Gustin cookies will he promises to stop sucker-punching my feels whenever he cries? Will season 3 move forward with a storyline inspired by the 2011 Flashpoint series from The Flash comics? Since we’re not gifted with the Speed Force, we have to wait five hellish months to find out.
I honestly can't say enough about Grant Gustin's acting in this episode or the entire season. When Barry is happy, Grant makes him float. When Barry is depressed, Grant makes him look like he's dying. He emotes with his entire body, not just with facial expressions, and it's truly a thing to behold. While the entire cast is applause-worthy, Gustin, especially, may very well be on the verge of superstardom. Everyone involved in this show should be proud of the fantastic art they've created in season 2. Bravo.
What did you think of The Flash season finale? Sound off below. Here are some epic fan reactions below:
Small Screen Girl
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