Recap the most explosive finale yet, as the Flash commences his final battle against Zoom in, ‘The Race Of His Life’ !
The season 2 finale of The Flash ‘The Race Of His Life’ , drove home a common theme from the series thus far; in order to surprise us with an ending that embraced and reintroduced season 1 nostalgia in its fullest glory. Having spent the latter half of the season, defining who Barry Allen was without his speed, and with a loving back and forth with the speed force in ‘The Runaway Dinosaur’ he reemerged as the Flash; only to conclude the season with a less than heroic move – in terms of longevity at least. For the preservation of Tom Cavanagh and our (my) undying love for his presence on-screen, one can hope that the timeline is only partially saved.
Before we recap the mind blowing, conceptual-understanding-of-time-travel-paradoxes imploding, events of the season finale, here’s a reminder of what we’ve learnt in the lead up to the finale:
1. Garrick; as in Jay Garrick, is Grandma Allen’s maiden name.
2. Wally; having being saved by the Flash and having unintentionally, ignited a battle of metahumans denser than the trailer for Captain America: Civil War, is trying to find his purpose in life.
3. Zoom, clearly, is back on Earth 1; inspired to continue his reign of terror throughout the multiverse.
4. Iris tells Barry of her newly-realised feelings for him.
5. Barry, with the threat of at least 880 metahumans that make up Zoom’s army, relented to becoming the Flash by dire means. In turn, he embraced the speed force with a worrisome sense of optimism.
6.Though the speed force is on the side of salvation, Zoom sought to unravel Barry’s new-found peace with a timely parental murder. With Henry Allen dead, Barry’s fight creates an internal schism between the battle between good and evil.
7. Both Jesse and Wally were hit by the second particle accelerator explosion.
8. Caitlin lost Jay’s favour as she returned to her Star Labs team.
9. The Meta’s are taken out by a frequency pulse, wherein Zoom reveals his ability to open breaches on his own; allowing him to escape for now.
10. Zoom has a masked prisoner in his Earth-2 lair.
The season finale then has a lot to wrap up…or unravel completely.
The episode opens with Barry’s anguish, as he grieves over his father’s lifeless body. As Jay’s taunting continues, his grief initiates a city-wide fight between our two speedsters. In order to keep up with each other, their time remnants make an appearance, as a way of foreshadowing the season’s conclusion, and forthcoming, duality, of our hero.
As Jay is cornered, he taunts Barry; encouraging him to kill him. Before he can, Jay is revealed to be another time remnant, as real-time Zoom ends things first.
With another taunt, that all heroes are limited by their own goodwill, Zoom exits; graciously allowing Barry ample time to bury his father.
Whilst Wally’s introduction to team Flash was marked by a head-spinning dinner party in, ’Invincible’, any witty banter typical of the show, is marred by Henry’s wake, where Zoom makes another appearance.
Demanding a race, to see who is the fastest man alive, Barry is forced to choose between losing more of his family, or playing into Zoom’s plan to destroy the multiverse.
With the two speedsters set to race, Zoom’s hijacking of Mercury Lab tech – a Magnetar – in order to create a multiverse-wide, planet destroying, pulse; whilst sparing Earth-1 – has Barry choosing between the lives of millions and their doppelgängers, or those closest to him.
With Cisco’s vibe of Earth-2 splitting in half, Zoom’s plan seems infallible to everyone but Barry.
Though Barry resigns to race, he must still save the multiverse; concluding with a decision to kill Zoom before he is successful in his plan. As a result, the Star Labs team imprison him in an attempt to preserve the purity of his role as the Flash.
Having tracked Zoom via the Magnetar, Caitlin is used as holographic bait, in order to lure him close enough, to send him back home through a breach. With ideally enough time to destroy the tech before he returns, things ultimately go awry, as Joe is pulled back to Earth-2 with Zoom.
As even Iris is reluctant to save her father, at the risk of Zoom returning; in light of the news that the Magnetar isn’t so easily disarmed, Wally frees Barry before a new plan is formed.
Elsewhere, Joe awakens in Zoom’s lair on Earth-2. In his bravado, Joe baits Jay into revealing his origins. Having been created like Barry, with the addition of V9; that gifted him with the power to manipulate time and space in order to open breaches, he sought out another speedster to counter the degenerative downsides of the speed serum. Learning that Barry wasn’t his first victim, we discover the masked prisoner is the original Jay Garrick from Earth-3. Though his mission failed without the acquisition of Earth-3’s Harrison Wells, Zoom imprisoned the subject of his fraudulent identity as a trophy. Paying reference to both, the wholesomeness of the original Flash in the comics, and the fan theory that Henry Allen was Zoom, the show meets a compromise in revealing the OG Jay to be Henry Allen’s doppelgänger. With his prisoner’s similarity to Arrow’s Spartan, clearly now a misdirect, the mourning of Henry Allen, ultimately makes this reveal a welcome one.
Though we know Zoom doesn’t succeed, purely because Supergirl – the subject of another earth in the multiverse – got a season 2 (and moved to the CW), our conclusion to the season is still far from predictable.
Running fast enough in his race against Zoom, to generate a time remnant, remnant Barry frees a shackled Joe, as real-time Barry fights a surprised Zoom. As remnant Barry continues on to create his own pulse; to counteract the one made by Zoom and his other-self, he sacrifices himself to the cause.
It is here that we revisit the beginning of the episode wherein Jay’s advice to Barry is all too poignant. Not only did Barry overcome the fear of killing himself, but he lured time wraiths to the scene, in order to pass murder-filled justice, into their hands.
As confused as Wally, in my capacity to comprehend the complexity of time travel and its paradoxes, I follow on with blind faith into the episode’s concluding minutes.
As Jay Garrick returns to Earth-3 with Zoom’s helmet; a notion of hope to cement the comic book image of the OG Flash, Wells and Jesse follow suit in returning home. Later, as Barry and Iris confess their love for one another, despite putting a hold on their relationship in the midst of their grief, closure is still far from realised.
As Barry looks through the window at his family and friends, he apologises for what he is about to do. In a move that will have you retracing every event of the series so far, this season finale completely unravels -literally- as Barry runs back through time and chooses to save his mother from being murdered by Eobard Thawne aka Reverse-Flash.
Giving itself a series reboot, I can only hope that the CW’s announcement of a 4-show crossover later this year, will save the timeline. In my love for Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells, the only alteration I’ll allow is for his return – however, it may come about – alongside that of Rick Cosnett; who portrayed Eddie Thawne.
Following the example of the DC comic’s Flashpoint storyline, season 3 is set to become the ultimate homage to the series’ comic book origins. Also highly anticipated, is the introduction of Wally West as the iconic Kid Flash, and hopefully, Jesse (and Wells as a loving byproduct) as an adaptation of the tropic metahuman, Jesse Quick; for whom she was based on.
The Flash will return with, a third season this Fall on the CW!
[Featured Image Courtesy of Katie Yu/The CW; Source Content for Gifs: The Flash, The CW 2016 ]