“I want you to take a moment and think about all the things that define your life. All the people you love.
Your job. Your coworkers. Your home. And now imagine if, one day—in a FLASH—all of that vanished. Would you simply accept your new life and continue on? Or would you do whatever it takes to get back what was taken from you? Because, I can assure you, I will get everything that was taken from me.”
For months we’ve waited for the moment that Barry Allen and the Reverse Flash, aka, Professor Harrison Wells/Eobard Thawne, would face off. After weeks of hit and miss, that day has finally arrived in the penultimate episode of ‘The Flash‘ and…well, let’s hold off a bit on this week’s climax and dive straight into the lead-up.
Iris and Barry meet up at Jitters where the former is still lamenting on Eddie’s disappearance. “Wells took my mom from me,” Barry tells her, “I won’t let him take someone from you, too.” Their conversation is cut short when Cisco comes calling, showing the gang his discovery: the battery powered apparatus built into the wheelchair and the reason Wells has been so much faster than Barry. They don’t get much time with it as the Particle Accelerator is reactivated and the gang’s given the most unexpected surprise; Wells has been inside the Accelerator the entire time. His retreat leads the gang to an exhausted and trussed up Eddie. The beat up detective can only share so much of Wells’ plan but a few beats into the reunion and Cisco discovers what Wells has been up to. He’s integrated a futuristic power source into the Accelerator, one that will go live in 36 hours. Once it’s charged, the Accelerator goes live and every meta-human holed up in the Pipeline goes bye-bye.
Knowing they need to move the prisoners, Barry suggests Lian Yu as a holding facility. He calls Oliver while a reticent Joe is tasked with clearing up a route through the city for the prisoner caravan. His conversation with the DA doesn’t go too well and Joe admits to his discomfort with the arrangement, openly wondering when the lines further blur between them and the bad metas. Though Barry’s got the plan, courtesy of Lilah, they still need back up. Enter Cold. Yes, Barry taps Leonard Snart as his backup. The revelation does not go over well with Joe but their argument is interrupted when the man himself arrives with his piece of the bargain. “Everything there is in this world concerning Leonard Snart,” he said, “I want it destroyed. All of it.” Under the strain of the current situation and Wells still floating around, Barry’s feeling the strain and agrees to do it. After deleting all electronic records, he brings the physical evidence on Snart to the man in question and gets a surprise when Lisa Snart joins the fray.
The uneasy alliance gathers at STAR Labs with a bit more awkwardness but with time running out, Barry, Snart and the others begin the transport of the five meta-human baddies. They’re able to get to the airfield without incident but once there is where things become unglued. The least surprising thing is that Snart and sissy had their own plans; sabotaging the power damper Cisco fitted into the trailer and allowing the bad guys to escape. His reasoning is simple—they will owe him one. It’s the same reason he leaves an injured Barry alive. Before retreating off into the night, Snart reminds our Scarlet Speedster the end results fall to him.
Back at the lab, Barry’s licking his wounds, feeling the guilt of what he allowed to happen. He admits to channeling his inner Oliver, to which Joe reminds him the Arrow is “not the kind of hero you are.” Their moment is interrupted—a lot of that going on this episode—by the ding ding of a fully charged Particle Accelerator. It also signals the arrival of Wells and, despite being outclassed, Barry goes to face his former mentor. Wells applauds Barry’s heroism but also admits he has “only done what [he] had to do.” When Barry declines Wells’ invitation to enter back into the Accelerator, it’s the signal that it’s fight time.
Cue the Arrow and Firestorm’s heroic arrival.
In one of the more disappointingly choreographed final fights, Barry, Oliver, and Firestorm are able to take Wells down. “I got you,” Barry says to an unconscious Wells, a fight he couldn’t have won without the true all-star team up.
- Before delving into two of the finer aspects of the episode (insofar as next season’s concerned), I’d be remiss if I didn’t touch on the demise of the Iris & Eddie relationship. After rescuing the detective from the confines of the Accelerator, Iris discovered the engagement ring he planned to give to her. His hopes for the two of them were destroyed the moment Wells shared with Eddie Iris’s future with Barry. Though she tries convincing him otherwise, the future Eddie was shown was nothing more than a reminder of what he already knew: it was always about Iris and Barry. Eddie’s presence was nothing more than a speed bump, one that would eventually be forgotten in the background when the two childhood friends finally admitted to the unshakable bond between them.
- Stepping back into the fray and away from the fluff though, I will say the fatal four-way, if you will, was quite the disappointing venture, lacking the fluidity and grace of some of the brawls that took place earlier this season and during the last three years of ‘Arrow.’ I shouldn’t be surprised though. Sometimes the big buildup of an epic showdown ends up being nothing more than a sub-par showing. I’m far too familiar with such letdowns. After all, Mayweather-Pacquiao was a little more than a week ago…
- Back to the positive though…Leonard Snart pulled a fast one on Barry and just like our hero, for a split second, I thought Snart would come through for the good guys. After all, he will be an anti-hero in the upcoming spinoff, so why wouldn’t he throw his hat in the ring for the white hats, a precursor to his new role? If you think about it, that line of thought was the perfect camouflage for his ruse, catching a far too trusting Barry off guard. His persona aside, Snart alluded to his betrayal earlier when he tells Barry “First rule of business: Always protect yourself.” It’s a reminder of who Leonard Snart is as a person and plants a deeper seed into his transformation as anti-hero in ‘Legends of Tomorrow.’
- So what’s next for Barry now that Wells has been put down? According to the previews, it’s time to put Operation: Save Nora Allen as the first priority. Seems simple enough, right? Maybe so but we all know the moment Barry tries changing things is the moment it bleep hits the fan. Just how much bleep remains to be seen but the effects will carry over well into next season…