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SEASON FINALE REVIEW: The Flash 2×23 “The Race of His Life”

Guys, its happening. Like for real it’s happening and there is nothing we can do to stop Barry from fucking with the timeline. “The Race of His Life” may not reach the sheer emotional impact that we had in last years “Fast Enough”, but it is surely enough to set up all of the imaginable plot lines involving famous flash stories. What this episode does manage to do and manages to make Zoom in some aspect more compelling than Reverse Flash ever was, is that it truly broke the one thing Barry holds dear, his friends. For this entire series we have constantly spoke of Team Flash and how strong the team truly is. They have always managed to tackle all of the problems as a unit as opposed to pieces of an individual. Now with what has happened big changes are on the horizon, and for the first time the team will really be tested.

So as far as egomaniacal psychopathic plans go, Zoom certainly was aiming to go big destroying every possible universe except Earth Prime sure takes the cake. I really loved the scope of Zoom as a villain as he really didn’t care about making Barry a better speedster like Thawne did, only proving that he is indeed the best speedster in the entire multiverse no matter the cost. In the end, despite all of the twists and turns Zoom took as a villain: speed vampire, serial killer, conquer of worlds, he at least had a consistent thread of needing to be the fastest man alive. In some ways he has gotten his wish by becoming the literal incarnation of death in the speedforce in the Black Flash, but damn. The only problem with the whole destroy the multiverse plot line is that it wasn’t introduced soon enough to bring its full effect on the team. If this plot had been introduced a couple of episodes earlier than the threat of having everything destroyed may have been slightly more effective, as of now it was still terrifying just not as scary as I wanted it to be. Excellent work by Teddy Sears and Tony Todd over the course of the season and I can’t wait for their return as Black Flash

What helped to add to the sheer scope of the episode was the action that took place from the first fight with Zoom to the final big race. What made these scenes work was not only the build up to Barry creating the time remnant, but that we finally got to see our hero nearly lacking any sense of restraint. I mean Barry was absolutely brutal what fighting Zoom from the smash into the air conditioning unit to the high speed chop to the neck in the final fight. All of the action was greatly rendered and it made for a much more powerful finish that we got with Eobard last year. Sure, Barry offered mercy to Zoom but in retrospect is it really a mercy to be at the beck and call to kill for the speedforce. Plus the entire magnate race course scene was absolutely great, seeing everything play out figuring Barry’s plan, just top notch all around.

What was working for this episode was the fact that much like “Fast Enough” we chose to focus on the smaller character moments and how the death of Henry effected the whole team. Major props to Jesse L. Martin, Grant Gustin, and Keiynan Lonsdale who nailed all of their scenes and became a driving force for the entire episode. Martin in particular nailed being Barry’s surrogate father and realizing that a reckless Barry is a danger to everyone most importantly himself. Watching him struggle to calm Barry down and talk him off the insanity ledge was just pure awesome and the best part of this all is that Joe, reliable seemingly infallible Joe failed to be the hero in the end. Whatever happens next season we know that there is a breaking point to just how much Barry is willing to listen to his family and friends.What really surprised me was just how solid Wally was in his few scenes and how he has finally connected with Barry, Iris, and the rest of the team. Looking back on Wally’s arc over the back half of the season it was pretty gratifying to see him evolve from a self absorbed brat into someone willing to risk it all for his family and friends.

So, onto the big reveals because these will definitely shape the series going forward in some big ways. First the one we all knew was coming Jay Garrick exists and he is Henry’s Earth-3 doppleganger. Major revelation absolutely not, but John Wesley Shipp is finally where he is supposed to be, a speedster who will be able to mentor Barry and the others moving forward. From the brief glimpse of his personality he seems like the grizzled old speedster we know and love, it will just be a matter of seeing how exactly he adapts to this brave new world. I do wish the writers hadn’t pretended like this reveal was going to be such a big shocker, but right now it is super exciting that we will finally be able to see the classic Flash in all of his glory. Side by side with Barry, Wally, Jesse, and whoever else gains some speed. It does however raise the question if this Earth-3 is where the JSA is from or if Jay is the only hero on this Earth? Oh well we have bigger fish to fry.

I have literally been dancing around this all review so its time to talk about what is to come as Barry made the decision to abandon his friends and family in order to save his mom. To the average show viewer this is a big deal in itself since we know past/future Barry shook off season one Barry from doing this. To the comic informed HOLY SHIT GUYS FLASHPOINT IS COMING. Yeah, so Flashpoint is a huge storyline that will if its comic counterpart is any indication have major ramifications for the entire tv universe moving forward. Barry has made a choice, one he has constantly been warned against making and now people, those he loves will suffer for it. Gustin played the moment of truth absolutely perfect, apologizing through the window to his friends and family for what he was about to do. It was heartbreaking and terrifying in retrospect as Barry was basically saying goodbye to everyone he loves. If we thought Earth-2 Barry’s life was insane I can’t wait to see what is coming next. Also how they are going to modify Flashpoint considering so many major DC characters that supposedly don’t exist in this world are involved.

Overall a really good finale, but an ending that is going to keep us salivating till fall.

Final Grade B+

+Excellent performances from Gustin, Martin, Sears, and Lonsdale

+The team being fractured

+Amazing action around Zoom

+Zoom becoming Black Flash

+Jay Garrick finally being here

+FLASHPOINT

-Zoom’s plan revealed to late

-Jay Garrick reveal was easy to figure out

Extra Thoughts

-So, I am figuring Robert Queen will fill in for the Thomas Wayne roll of the Flashpoint story, no idea about anyone else though.

-Black Flash’s design looks so good, can’t wait for him to hunt down Barry.

-Figuring Flashpoint will somehow lead to Caitlin and Wally getting powers.

-Over/Under six episodes of Flashpoint?

-I was promised Mirror Master last year. I better get Samuel Scudder and a Revenge of the Rogues plot line completely with a Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Heat Wave, Captain Boomerang, Weather Wizard, Trickster team up next season or I will be pissed.

About the author

Scott Swartz