Even after screwing up the timeline on multiple occasions and endangering the fate of the universe as a result, Barry Allen still hasn’t figured out that it’s simply best to not mess with fate. While this week’s Flash season 2 finale was still a good episode, Barry’s outright stupidity in those last two minutes was pretty frustrating.
Picking up right where last week’s episode left off with Zoom slaughtering Henry Allen right in front of Barry, it was a given that the scarlet speedster would be emotionally unstable in the finale. After an initial showdown between the two in the middle of Central City, with Barry fuming with rage, Zoom appeared pleased with his opponent’s sheer anger and recklessness, seeing in him a younger version of himself.
Upon Zoom’s escape, we then transitioned to Henry’s funeral scene. Here, Wally offered his condolences to Barry, now knowing he’s The Flash. While he and Jesse have yet to discover their powers, the writers have dropped too many Easter Eggs for it not to happen in season three. Shortly after, Zoom faced Barry with a challenge: race him to determine who is the faster speedster. If he refused, Zoom threatened to kill the rest of Team Flash.
Fueled with a lust for vengeance, Barry tells Joe he was not only intent on accepting Zoom’s challenge, but also determined to kill the monster who murdered his father. Knowing Barry’s emotional state made him a danger to himself and everyone around him, Team Flash made a tough decision to lock him in a cell in S.T.A.R. Labs, while they went to stop Zoom themselves. Though their plan, which was to use Catelyn’s hologram to lure Zoom and then open a breach to send him back to Earth Two permanently, ultimately did succeed, Zoom managed to take Joe with him as he was being sucked through the portal. Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Wally, who was left out of the plan, frees Barry and is furious when the team returns and tells them about Joe. Despite the fact that Joe and the others agreed to close the breach no matter what once Zoom was gone, Barry knew that the only way to end this was to race Zoom.
As the two faced off for the epic speedster showdown, Barry knew that Zoom’s ultimate plan was to use the energy from their race to power a super weapon so he could destroy the multiverse. What’s interesting was how Barry counteracted this plan. Knowing that he couldn’t win by himself, he summoned the aid of one of his time remnants, thus harkening back to the speed force episode from a couple weeks ago. While the time remnant sacrificed himself to destroy Zoom’s weapon, Barry beat the living daylights out of his nemesis before unleashing the time wraiths upon him. It was a somewhat bizarre climax, but it proved Barry was smart enough to not walk right into Zoom’s trap. If only the ending hadn’t made him such an idiot.
Before that mind-boggling twist however, the episode gave us one of the best fanboy moments in the entire series by revealing that the man in the iron mask, who had been imprisoned in Zoom’s lair, was indeed the real Jay Garrick and Henry Allen’s Earth Two doppelgänger. Though the writers kind of spoiled this a few weeks ago when Henry dropped the line about Garrick being his mother’s maiden name, it was still pretty awesome to see John Wesley Shipp suit up, given that he played The Flash in the 90s live-action series. As he, Wells and Jesse bid farewell to Team Flash and returned to Earth Two, Barry was understandably on an emotional roller-coaster, which brings us to those last moments.
As he and Iris shared a tender scene outside the West household, in which Iris offered to be more than friends, Barry declared that right now all he needed right now was to get away and do some soul-searching, to which she understood. Now, for a normal person, this would mean getting out of town for a while to clear one’s head. For Barry Allen however, finding peace meant traveling through time to prevent his mother’s murder, and thus creating a new timeline. Did you learn nothing over the course of two seasons of time traveling Barry?!
Now, this was now doubt a surprising twist, and certainly paves the way for the writers to do the iconic Flashpoint storyline from the comics; but because of this one rash decision Barry has altered the course of his life, and everyone on the show. Heck, it could, and probably will, impact this entire universe. Beyond that, it will make it difficult for me to empathize with him in the future when bad things happen to him, given that whatever happens from here on really will be his own fault. I simply have mixed feelings on this ending. On the one hand it’s a clever move on the part of the writers in providing a gateway for Flashpoint and the return of Reverse-Flash; but on the other hand it’s frustrating to see Barry make the same mistakes over and over again.
Aside from this twist, the episode did do a nice job with concluding the Zoom arc, and delivering an epic final battle scene. Though the time wraiths are impossible to distinguish from the dementors in Harry Potter, I’m glad the writers gave them a reason for appearing earlier this season.
Plus there were several good emotional scenes throughout the episode. I’ve enjoyed all the interactions between Barry and Wally this season, and seeing Wally gradually develop into the hero he’s destined to become. Particularly with DC’s latest comic relaunch Rebirth, the character is once again being brought to the forefront of this universe, which makes it the perfect time for him to become a speedster on the show. Likewise, Wells and Jesse were able to share a warm father-daughter moment prior to the climactic battle, in which Jesse declared that she would return to Earth Two once this was all over. Tom Cavanagh deserves a special shoutout here for flawlessly portraying a radically different version of Wells than the one from season one. Every week I go back and forth between him and Joe in terms of who is my favorite character.
Overall this was a satisfying finale, and a great sophomore season for Flash. While it’s entirely unclear where the show will go from here, given that the continuity of the last two seasons has been erased, I look forward to seeing what Andrew Kreisberg and company have in store for us come October.