The Flash "Fast Enough" (FINALE REVIEW)
written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
With 22 episodes in the can, this is the moment we’ve been leading up to since day one. CW’s inaugural season of The Flash has been a rollercoaster of everything that makes the Flash an enjoyable superhero, and then some! Last week’s episode closed out a bit of a surprisingly at the end, with the proto-Justice League consisting of Flash, Arrow, and Firestorm successfully capturing the Reverse Flash (thanks to an indirect Ray Palmer assist).
The finale opens up with Barry Allen visiting a now in custody Eobard Thawne/Harrison Wells. After one of the best back and forth conversations all season and Thawne proclaiming that the reason he went back in time to attempt to kill a young Barry Allen was simply because he hated him… plain and simple… unadulterated hate is what fueled Eobard Thawne to commit so much evil. In his super villain monologue, Thawne did bring up a proposition… for Barry to help him get back to his own timeline and to go back in time to save his mother. To keep all the science-mumbo-jumbo out of it, basically they have to reactivate the particle accelerator and force one particle in while Barry acts as the other one, colliding into it at a high enough speed to rupture a hole in space and time and make his way into the past to save his mom.
This plan isn’t without its risks, if Barry doesn’t run fast enough the collision will simply vaporize him… and if the wormhole they create proves to be unstable, then it would create a massive singularity with the potential of wiping out Central City… perhaps even the whole world. Though, everything worthwhile holds with it an equal amount of risk… equivalent exchange.
Before this whole operation goes into affect, we do get a bit of closure on some of the storylines all season. Ronnie and Caitlin finally get married, right outside of Star Labs with Martin Stein officiating; as far as Eddie Thawne goes, after speaking with Martin Stein about his role in all of this, he reconciles with Iris while they both proclaim to screw the future. The family theme ever present through the entire season bleeds through in the finale. While the plan to save Nora Allen would give Barry back both his parents, he’d be losing all that time he had with Joe as his surrogate father, to get back his mother he’d have to sacrifice a father. This whole exchange was heart-wrenching, before venturing into the pipeline Barry says to Joe “goodbye, dad” with Joe replying with tears in his eyes, “goodbye, son.”
When they begin the operation, Thawne says to Barry an eerily familiar line… like in the pilot episode when Barry was facing a tornado, before he takes his blast to the past he says to him, this time in a more evil sounding cadence, “run Barry, run.” This episode was littered with Easter Eggs, most of while occur when Barry begins his run for the past. In an earlier scene, Cisco confronts Thawne about getting killed by him in the alternate timeline Barry reset. In previous episodes it didn’t really dawn on me, but why is it that Cisco was the only one who retained any memories of that alternate timeline? We can’t say it was linked to Thawne/Wells because Caitlin also had a little run in with him that episode too… not to mention Iris doesn’t “remember” kissing Barry and Joe doesn’t recall getting kidnapped by Mark Mardon.
It looks like this particular conversation was meant to unveil how the particle accelerator explosion affected Cisco as well. For the comic book initiated, Cisco Ramon is the JLA member Vibe. His powers have evolved over the years, and in the recent New 52 reboot he’s been considerably powered up, going from affecting sonic vibrations to having his sonic vibration powers rooted in inter-dimensional physics. With Cisco being able to retain memories from an alternate future’s distortion, it leads me to believe they are going this route with his eventual powers.
As far as the other geekilicious tidbits go, most come from the scene when Barry begins his run for the past. Flashing (hehe, ya see what I did there?) visions of his past along with his eventual future. The creation of the Flash museum, a time when Barry is incarcerated at Iron Heights, and a scene from Legends of Tomorrow. The most interesting tidbit flashed (hehe) by so quick I didn’t notice it until my second viewing. A glimpse of Caitlin Snow going darkside after awakening to her meta-human powers and becoming Killer Frost. As much as I would love to see this come to fruition, it holds leaves a bittersweet taste in my mouth. I love Caitlin as part of Team Flash and to push her to the background as just another villain feels like loss to me.
One final bit though, for those who didn’t get the significance of a silver helmet adorned with golden wings. It confirms that the DC multiverse will play into this series. Another bit of comic book knowledge, Barry Allen was actually the second Flash… created during the silver age of DC comics as a reboot for the original golden age Flash, Jay Garrick. How Jay Garrick fits into this series is yet to be determined, but with all the wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey-ness of this first season, it seems fitting that the next season will delve into the multiverse, connecting more of CW’s DC comics television shows.
When it comes to Eobard Thawne, a finale wouldn’t be complete without an all out battle between the Flash and the Reverse Flash (I still wish they called him Zoom). After disrupting Thawne’s plans to go all Marty McFly, the two engage in an epic battle with Barry still not able to really beat him. Eobard Thawne of course is defeated though, the bad guy can’t win… this is a superhero show after all. How though, is something I’ve been predicting all season. After it was revealed that Harrison Wells was in fact the Reverse Flash, then his true identity was Eobard Thawne, I knew that Eddie Thawne would play into the finale. In a scene that made my jaw drop with a gasp followed by an “oh no,” Eddie Thawne makes the ultimate sacrifice, shooting himself in the heart and making it so Eobard Thawne would never be born. It’s depressing, and with how well they developed Eddie’s character all season it makes my heart physically ache. Just because a death was necessary, doesn’t make it any easier to digest.
The finale closes with another crisis, of course it can’t just end on Eobard Thawne vanishing from existence. The fear of a singularity big enough to swallow the world was realized. With team Flash running out to asses the situation, it again harkens back to the pilot. Like the tornado but in reverse, Barry has to run in the opposite direction of this singularity with the hopes of diffusing it. With Central City’s Scarlet Speedster running headfirst into the most dangerous situation this young hero has ever faced… the credits roll.
This was hands down the perfect finale for an already stellar television series. Recurring themes from the pilot episode, all those delicious easter eggs peppered in, and a cliffhanger that literally has me wishing I was the fastest man alive, so I can just build myself a particle accelerator and run myself four months into the future and watch the season two premiere. The resolution of the whole Reverse Flash arc was bittersweet, satisfying but leaves me feeling a bit empty inside. As far as that cliffhanger goes, I haven’t anticipated a season premiere this much since the finale of Smallville’s first season. This was a season to remember, and The Flash fast became my favorite show on TV. With every episode getting exponentially better, I worried that the finale couldn’t keep up, I guess CW's The Flash really was fast enough.