‘The Flash’ Finale Ended in Crisis With a Time-Splitting Cliffhanger
The Flash has officially run “Fast Enough” to close out his first season, but all is far from well in Central City. Not only did Barry’s big mission to the past yield an unexpected (and emotional) outcome, but the team said goodbye to one of its own as time itself threatened to pull Central City into oblivion. Find out who survived, what DC heroes popped up, and what timey-wimey shenanigans went down with our full review of tonight’s Flash finale!
You’re warned of all the major spoilers from tonight’s Flash finale “Fast Enough” from here on out, but we certainly can’t say we saw that coming. Barry Allen may or may not have saved the day, racing to stop a singularity that threatened to pull all of Starling City with it, and we didn’t even see the results! For all its promise of answers, The Flash left us on a cliffhanger. Uncool, but how did we even get there?
[Ed. Note: Ryan, your usual Flash aficionado is away on business this week, but given all the juicy events of tonight’s finale, I’m going to go through some of the highlights and burning questions before getting in deeper with the review below.]
So, Did Barry Go Back and Save His Mother?
Close, but not quite! Following a tense confrontation with the incarcerated Harrison / Eobard, Barry gave weighty consideration to the Reverse Flash’s proposal, in which Barry would use the particle accelerator to facilitate his trip back in time, saving his mother, but also enabling Harrison to return to his own time 136 years in the future. Grant Gustin put it all on display this week, weighing the possibility of changing his entire existence, and likely severing relationships with Joe, Caitlin, Cisco, Ronnie and Dr. Stein in the process.
Even despite his father’s urging, Barry ultimately opted to follow his instincts and return to the past, sharing heartfelt goodbyes with the entire team, particularly Joe (seriously, Gustin killed it this week, but Jesse Martin also got in some gut punches admitting his fears to Barry). With a bit of coaxing from Harrison, Barry easily surpassed Mach 2 running around the accelerator ring, while a single hydrogen particle fired by Dr. Stein enabled Barry to punch open a wormhole to the past, spying all manner of past and future events on his trip through the vortex.
Upon arriving back in his childhood bedroom, Barry raced downstairs to find the battle between Reverse Flash and his future self already in motion, though the redder-suited future hero silently cautioned Barry against any interference. Heavy-heartedly (did I mention how much Grant Gustin destroyed me this week?), Barry opted to remain in hiding until after his mother was dealt the mortal blow, though in her dying moments Barry emerged and unmasked, quickly explaining his noted resemblance to her father. Nora quickly recognized her future son, and Barry finally at least got to say goodbye, assuring his mother that both he and Henry were okay.
Shut up, you’re crying.
Did Reverse Flash Go Back to the Future?
Again, close! After striking a deal with Barry, the erstwhile Harrison Wells coached Cisco and Ronnie through construction of a “time sphere” that would enable him to return in the same window as Barry’s mission. The future villain dropped a few vibrating bombs along the way (more on that later), but seemingly held up his end of the bargain and prepared to head home (noting that Rip Hunter would be proud of the device), before Barry suddenly returned from his mission with a timey-wimey supersonic glass-shattering punch!
Enraged at the loss of his ticket home, Wells suited up in his yellow costume once more and battled Barry all throughout the accelerator, threatening to kill everyone else thereafter. Barry didn’t have to best his opponent in the end however, as Eddie turned a gun on himself, ringing out a fatal shot that ended the Thawne line then and there. Having been given a boost of confidence from Dr. Stein to choose his own destiny earlier in the hour, Eddie opted for a heroic end, undoing the Reverse Flash’s very existence, and saying one last goodbye to Iris.
And stop the Reverse Flash he did, as the yellow-suited villain reverted to his original appearance, before shattering into a million glowing pieces, Matrix-style.
Of course, the troubles didn’t end there, as a second, more unstable time singularity opened in Thawne’s wake, quickly spreading to pull in pieces of Central City (among them Eddie’s body, hmm) and threatening worldwide destruction. Uncertain how to stem the singularity’s spread, Barry again opted to run counter-clockwise against it (it’s the solution to everything!), springing from floating debris to debris to gain enough speed. Of course, we last saw Barry plunging into the hole itself, but with no sense of his success. Seriously, uncool!
What Other Surprises Were There?
Hmm, how about that Cisco’s a metahuman?! Wary of Wells’ plan from the start, Cisco snuck in a confrontation with his former mentor over the alternate reality that saw Wells plunging a vibrating fist through his heart. A surprised Wells shrugged off his counterpart’s motivation to do so, but seemed intrigued by Cisco’s ability to remember. Instead, Wells suggested that Cisco had been affected by the initial explosion after all, and could now “see the vibrations of the universe.” Guess we’ll come back to that in Season 2.
Of course, Cisco won’t be the only member of Team Flash suiting up in the near future, as Caitlin Snow got to don two long-awaited garments throughout the hour. Not only did Caitlin and Ronnie finally tie the knot in an adorably sweet outdoor ceremony, but whether or not Barry noticed, Caitlin could clearly be seen in a future apparition of her Killer Frost persona. Or…would that be an alternate timeline? Can’t we leave it at “happily ever after”?
Need we mention, the hour also saw brief glimpses of Captain Cold chillin’ in Central City before the big wormhole, flanked by our first official look at Ciare Renee’s Hawkgirl (dressed down as Kendra Saunders for now). Even Golden Age comic Flash Jay Garrick’s helmet put in an appearance, belching out of the first singularity, and alerting Wells it was time to skedaddle. Who knew?
So, How Was It Overall?
I’m not enamored of the cliffhanger, particularly as the hour spelled out so many possibilities for alternate timelines and characterizations, and we didn’t even see any resolution to the proper timeline’s peril. Also a bit undercooked was Barry so quickly accepting his future self’s silent warning to let Nora Allen die, though Grant Gustin pulled off such multifaceted fear, heartbreak and doubt throughout the hour to quickly sell the moment.
You could also break your brain in half-attempting to connect some of the time-travel logistics (if Eddie stopped Eobard from being born, wouldn’t that stop Reverse Flash from returning to the past in the first place?), but “Fast Enough” drew a clear line in the sand to focus on the emotional stakes, rather than the narrative. Especially impressive was how well the hour served everyone, including Eddie, Iris, Ronnie, Caitlin and Dr. Stein, while still juggling the heavier emotional beats of Barry deciding between father figures, or Cisco confronting the reality of everything Barry’s mission represented.
However the cliffhanger shakes out, tonight’s finale also gave us plenty of mysteries to chew on for the immediate future, breaking plenty of emotional (and physical) barriers to get there. Rarely do you see a freshman season with as much charisma and excitement as The Flash, and “Fast Enough” more than made up for any logistical shortcomings with a tense, heartbreaking hour to remember.
Well, did “Fast Enough” satisfyingly close out The Flash's first season? What did you make of all the timey-wimey shenanigans, or the Legends of Tomorrow setup? Stay tuned for more on The Flash's latest twists, and word on Season 3 from cast and crew to come!
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