The Flash The Race of this Life

After a season of back and forth, death, and torment, it’s finally come down to this. Barry Allen. Hunter Zoloman. The Flash versus Zoom for all the marbles. At stake? Friends, family and, the multiverse.

Zoom doing what he does best: being a cold-hearted bastard...
Zoom doing what he does best: being a cold-hearted bastard…

But first…the death of Henry Allen.

We watched last week as Zoom, the Flash’s greatest villain (as of Season 2), plunged his arm through Henry’s chest. The finale picks up where that scene left off. An incensed Barry chases Zoom through the city, finally gaining the upper hand but, before he can take down the evil speedster, Zoom kills Zoom. What? Yep, another example of Zoom using a time remnant to facilitate his plans. Before he flees, he leaves Barry with the cryptic “you’re almost ready.”

Cut to a rainy day as the gang surrounds Henry Allen’s headstone. Though he cannot express words just yet about his deceased father, Barry swears vengeance on Zoom. Step one is figuring out what Zoom’s up to as well as arresting the Earth-2 collapse Cisco pictured. Like a bad penny or a meta-enhanced coach roach, Zoom shows up at the most inopportune time. His demand is simple: he and Barry race for all the marbles. “All I wanna know,” he tells the angry Flash, “is who’s the fastest man alive in either world.”

It’s almost too simple a request for such a villain but Harry eventually deduces Zoom’s plan. With the Mercury Labs Magnatar—or power amplifier—Zoom wants to use the culmination of speed generated through his race with Barry to end the multiverse. As plans go, it’s pretty straightforward. Psychotic, true, but straightforward. Barry’s ready to take on the challenge but when Joe corners his adopted son, he sees the grief and rage clouding Barry’s judgment, one that would see him kill Zoom. “I have to be ready to do whatever it takes,” he tells Joe who then does the unexpected: he tranqs Barry and, with the support of the entire gang sans Wally, they throw Barry in the Pipeline, citing that in his current state, Barry would lose.

So it’s time to take down Zoom without a metahuman at their side. Luckily, they have Zoom’s kryptonite, better known as Caitlin. Again, it’s simple: use Caitlin to distract Zoom, hit him with everything they have and send him back to Earth-2 with Cisco’s transdimensional vibing powers and, finally, shut down the Magnatar.

Barry and the gang The Flash
Barry and the gang

The start on the plan and, after they hit Zoom with the power nullifier, Joe readies to tranq him but, of course, the gun jams. Joe heroically delivers the tranqs with a manual shot as Cisco opens the breach. Harry delivers the coup de grace but, being that he’s so close to the baddie, Joe tumbles through the breach along with Zoom.

Back at the lab, Cisco’s having little success in locating Joe and, worse, Harry can do nothing to shut down the Magnatar. Wally—the poster boy for being kept out of the loop—is filled in on his dad’s current situation and, when he finds out what they did to Barry, he’s not at all happy. Owing his life and new direction of focus on the Flash, Wally frees Barry who then tells the gang he’s ready to face Zoom, mano y mano.

Before we get to the race, let’s head to Earth-2 where a trussed up Joe gets a deeper understanding of Zoom’s quest to be the fastest man on any Earth. Turns out, Earth-Prime wasn’t his first stop and the man in the mask, another speedster by the name of Jay Garrick, is a trophy from his adventures into other Earths.

Enough of the backstory and lead-in, it’s time for the race. Zoom lays out the stakes: if he wins, all but Earth-Prime will be destroyed (courtesy of the Magnatar), closely followed by Barry’s friends. The two speedsters line up and Zoom says the three words our titular hero has heard throughout two seasons: “Run, Barry, Run.”

Barry vs Hunter. The Flash vs Zoom. Winner take all.
Barry vs Hunter. The Flash vs Zoom. Winner take all.

As the race between speedsters tend to go, it’s fast and furious. Knowing the odds are stacked against him, Barry does the unexpected. He introduces a time remnant who, while he takes down Zoom, counteracts the pulse Zoom started and successfully shuts down the Magnatar. Despite the setback, Zoom thinks he’s still won, knowing Barry won’t kill him. Too bad he didn’t think about the time wraiths who storm in and own Zoom, body and soul.

With Zoom defeated and the multiverse saved, it’s time for everyone to pick up the pieces and move forward. This seems even harder for Barry when the face of the man behind the mask is revealed to be “the real Jay Garrick”—Henry Allen’s Earth-3 doppleganger.

Though he never tells Jay the truth, Barry is there to say goodbye to Harry and Jesse, who are returning to Earth-2 along with Jay, who they’ll help return to Earth-3. It’s a bittersweet moment that, in a conversation with Iris, Barry summarizes. “We just won; we just beat Zoom. Why does it feel like I lost?” Iris tries comforting him with the thought that their potential relationship may be that beacon to help Barry find solace but he tells her that, as feels more broken than ever, there’s no way he can give her what she deserves. He has to find the strength to rebuild himself. Iris promises to wait for him, where ever he may go.

Iris and Barry have their moment--but it's interrupted by the reality of Barry's pain.
Iris and Barry have their moment–but it’s interrupted by the reality of Barry’s pain.

So where does he go? What does he do?

Despite everything he’s learned, Barry returns to the moment that changed his life more than any other; he runs back to that night 15 years ago and stops the Reverse Flash from killing Nora Allen.

“You’re safe,” he tells her, “you’re safe now.”

Flash facts

  • Can something be both okay and wonderful at the same time? My sentiments for the Season two finale falls on both sides. Zoom’s grand scheme was unoriginal—following the handbook for psychotic comic villains—but understandable considering his madness. The race itself was also meh but Barry’s subterfuge in recruiting his own time remnant was brilliant.
  • Despite knowing who was behind the mask—or having a strong inkling—it was still heartbreaking to see Barry’s reaction to his father’s face. But it’s not something that lasts as the real Jay, along with Harry and Jesse, are returning to their respective Earths. While I may love Cisco, Caitlin, and Joe (Iris is another story…) things just won’t be the same without Harry in the fold. With that in mind, Tom Cavanaugh HAS to return next season in some capacity. His leadership and ingenuity—not to mention his back-and-forth banter with Cisco—are necessary to Team Flash.
  • Finally, Barry does the one thing he absolutely knows he shouldn’t do. A friend of mine commented on just how bad Barry’s decision making is and I cannot agree more.  Yes, I get the horror he’s been put through but just after accepting his mother’s death he decides to muck up the timeline? C’mon B Allen! So where do things go from here? Portions of Season Two addressed some of the Flashpoint beats but when Season Three returns, will we see this play out in total? Looks like we’ll have to wait until September to get those answers .