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TV Review: The Flash - Season 1 Finale Episode 23 "Fast Enough"

05.20.2015

EPISODE 23: "Fast Enough"

SYNOPSIS: In the season finale, Barry comes face-to-face not only with his archnemesis Dr. Wells/Eobard Thawne, but also with the choice of going back in time to save his mother, or leaving the timeline as it is.

RECAP (Beware of spoilers!):

And with that, the powerhouse first season of THE FLASH, all 23 episodes of it, is over. HAS THERE EVER BEEN A BETTER EPISODE OF THIS SHOW/ANY SHOW?! I am so pumped that THE FLASH ended on such a high note, yet also sad that we have to wait so many months for a new episode. But let’s focus on the positives here, and with tonight’s amazing episode, positive words are all I have to say. Seriously, if I could give this episode a higher rating than 10/10, I would.   

Please don’t tell me I am the only one that was sobbing throughout a large portion of this finale. I don’t think I have been so emotional watching a TV show in a long time, if not ever. The writers and actors really, really outdid themselves. Thanks to the moving scenes between Barry and… everyone, and that incredible music score, I was a wreck by the time the credits rolled. Since we first met Barry, he has been singularly focused on righting the wrong of his mother's murder, which includes freeing his father from incarceration. So the emotional toll it took on him to decide whether or not to save his mom and change the timeline, or stay the course and accept the good life he currently has, was especially heart-wrenching.

Grant Gustin is the breakout star of this year’s television season. He was obviously born to play Barry Allen, and his performance in tonight’s episode was nothing short of extraordinary and much deserving of serious award attention. The rest of the cast was also incredible, with a couple of other highlights being Jesse L. Martin’s fatherly advice scenes and Rick Cosnett’s final “hero” speech. But this was definitely Gustin’s time to shine.

As many of us can agree - especially those of you that comment down below - THE FLASH has continuously proven to not only be the best comic-related show on TV, but one of the best action/dramas as well. The pitch-perfect, typically light-hearted tone, mixed with intense action scenes and top-notch CGI, all make for a winning formula. However, it’s the incredible heart displayed in each actor's performance that really gives the show its gusto. Thankfully, unlike cows, which will apparently be extinct by Eobard Thawne’s time, at least we have the consolation that more episodes are coming our way next season! But with such a gut-wrenching finale, and the promise of the Multiverse as an overarching theme of the episode, season two can’t come soon enough.

The last time we saw Barry, he was saving Team Arrow (sans Oliver) from their captivity in Nanda Parbat. But as tonight’s episode opens, Barry is having the Clarice/Hannibal Lecter moment with Dr. Wells (who we will now call Eobard Thawne) that we have all been waiting for. But as Barry is listening to Thawne’s grand plan, he is shocked to hear that his mother’s death had more to do with spite than anything else. 136 years in the future (in the year 2151), Eobard Thawne was born. And in the years following, he and older Barry were mortal enemies, with neither being strong enough to defeat the other. As Thawne describes it, “We’re enemies, rivals, reverses, opposites of one another.” So, when Thawne discovered Barry’s secret identity, which Team Flash finally started keeping close-hold, he decided to go back in time to kill him as a child. But when future Barry also showed up and saved his younger self from getting murdered, Thawne delivered the ultimate deathblow by killing his mother instead.

Thawne thought Nora Allen’s death would be traumatic enough to prevent young Barry from ever becoming The Flash. However, it also seems this affected Thawne’s ability to find his way home and harness the speed force, leaving him stuck in time. His only way back would be to make Barry into The Flash and train him to go as fast as possible to open the speed force once again. Which brings us to the present. Now that Barry is finally "fast enough", Thawne needs him to use his speed to collide with a hydrogen proton in the particle accelerator. This will create a wormhole, or portal, to an infinite number of realities/timelines that will allow Thawne to return home and Barry to travel back in time to save his mom and prevent his dad from going to prison.

But if it sounds too good to be true, usually it is, and thanks to input from Ronnie and especially Dr. Stein, Barry learns the time travel gift could have serious risks (aka the butterfly effect). If Barry travels back in time to save his mom, it will change everything in the current timeline, and they have no way of knowing whether it will be a good change or bad change. Nothing would be as it is today and Barry may not have ever met Cisco or Caitlin.

This time travel business isn’t going to be an easy decision for Barry, especially since both of his father figures have differing views on the subject. Joe says Barry should change the past to save his family. After all, that is why he became The Flash in the first place. He has done so much for others over the past year, now it’s time to do something for himself. However, when Barry goes to talk to his dad, Henry Allen tells him not to do it. Everything happens for a reason, he says, and he doesn’t want to know what the costs will be for changing Nora's fate. What if that huge change in Barry’s life changes him as a person? Henry is so proud of the man Barry has grown to be, and he knows Nora wouldn’t want to be saved if it meant Barry losing what makes him special.

Not only that, but Barry has to think of the price his decision will have on the rest of the people in his life, including Iris. Meeting on their favorite rooftop, Iris and Barry discuss the serious decision Barry is faced with, joke about “the streak”, and talk about their future nuptials. Barry reveals how much he loved growing up with her, but also admits that their closeness was a reason that he didn’t tell her he loved her sooner. Perhaps changing the timeline, including them not living under the same roof, would bring them together faster? But since Barry knows they will marry in the future, being together sooner shouldn’t really factor into his time travel decision, right? Iris reinforces her father’s message to Barry and tells him to think about himself, not others, and do what is right for him.

Meanwhile, Cisco has been tasked with developing a spaceship/time machine for Thawne since he doesn’t have the ability to use the speed force any more. When he has questions regarding what nonflammable material to use on the ship, Cisco has to ask Thawne for advice, and it is in that conversation that it’s confirmed Cisco has superpowers of his own. As we have seen, Cisco is able to see vibrations through the universe (or visions of what happened in alternate timelines), meaning the accelerator must have also affected him. Since Thawne knows the future, he tells Cisco he has a “great and honorable” destiny awaiting him and pretty much confirms he is Vibe!!! Of course, the self-important Thawne has to make everything about him and asks that Cisco always remember he was given that gift, with love, from Thawne himself. :gag:

As the episode progresses, Thawne divulges two other downsides to Barry opening up the time travel wormhole: 1) Barry could die like a bug on a windshield if he doesn’t reach the right velocity (Mach 2) and 2) a black hole could develop from the unstable wormhole, which would basically devour Central City and create a global catastrophe. Are you sure you still want to do this, Barry? Thawne assures the team that as long as Barry is back from saving his mom within 1 minute and 52 seconds of leaving, and they close the wormhole, nothing bad will happen. RED FLAG, TEAM FLASH! With this new information, Joe isn’t as gung ho about the plan, but he still wants Barry to do what is best for himself. In another telling heart-to-heart with his surrogate father, Barry lets Joe know that although he lost a lot the night his mom died, he gained a lot too, in the form of the West family. And that’s the final push Barry needs to say his goodbyes to the team and jump in the accelerator… after attending Caitlin and Ronnie’s shotgun wedding of course. Hey now, hey now, who gets married on the lawn outside of S.T.A.R. Labs?!

Once he’s underway in the accelerator, Barry quickly tops out at Mach 2 and the speed force materializes before him, showing him images of his past, present, and future. Using Thawne’s voice as guidance, he starts to picture the night his mother was murdered and when he finally collides with the hydrogen proton, a wormhole is created, transporting Barry to that time period. With three versions of himself in play, the plan was for “our” Barry to save his mother after the older Barry saves his younger self. But when he makes his way downstairs, older Barry sees him and motions for him to do nothing. In that moment, or perhaps he made the decision in his earlier conversation with Joe, “our” Barry decides not to save his mother and instead gets closure in comforting her as she dies. He lets her know that he and Henry are okay and that he loves her.

Back in the accelerator, Thawne is preparing the time machine to head back home through the speed force wormhole. But just as he is lifting off, Barry comes barreling through the portal and delivers a super punch to Thawne and his time machine. A surprised Thawne tells Barry he can have everything he ever wanted if he saves his mom, but Barry says he already has everything he ever wanted. The two battle it out, and for some reason, although Thawne isn’t strong enough to go through the speed force, he can still put up a fight against Barry. Thawne has Barry on the ropes and is about to kill him until Eddie makes the ultimate sacrifice.

A few episodes back, I wondered why no one on Team Flash thought about killing Eddie in order to get rid of his evil ancestor. But, as it turns out someone was thinking about that, and that person was Eddie himself. Yes, the foreshadowing in tonight’s episode showed Eddie’s demise was imminent. The biggest clue was the Chinese takeout scene, where he confessed his love for Iris and said the fateful words, “Screw the future.” However, that didn’t take away from his character having one of the most heroic moments of the season. Eddie took an earlier, empowering conversation with Dr. Stein to heart (literally) and killed himself so that Eobard Thawne would never live. He not only saved Barry, he saved the entire timeline and made Eobard disappear in front of their eyes. Well, that is until the unstable wormhole opens again, and starts sucking everything into it. The singularity won’t stop even after Earth is gone, so although it is a lot more powerful than anything Barry has faced before, he has to try to stop it. Using his speed, Barry races into the maelstrom, and travels in a counter direction as fast as possible. And that’s where the episode, and this phenomenal season, ends.

 

STINGER: No stinger tonight.

DC UNIVERSE EASTER EGGS:

  • I know this is a DC show, but can we just acknowledge how cool it was that they gave a hat tip to Stan Lee?! Excelsior!!!
  • Our first look at Killer Frost!
  • The helmet that shot out of the wormhole was that of Jay Garrick, the first Flash! His appearance in The Flash #123, in a team-up with Barry Allen, represented the beginning of DC's multiverse.
  • Thawne gave a shoutout to Rip Hunter, an inventor/time traveler who will also be a character on the CW’s new show LEGENDS OF TOMORROW.
  • Cisco says, “So long and thanks for all the fish”, which is the name of the fourth book in the time-travel series “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy”, as well as a great science-fictiony way to say goodbye.  

COOL ALTERNATE USE OF "THE FLASH" POWERS: Barry used his super speed to create a wormhole and access the speed force. As visions of moments in his life (past, present and future) passed around him, he was able to go back to the exact moment of his mother’s death. Although he chose not to save her, this power is going to have a significant impact on the rest of the season (and on the entire DC television universe).

FAVORITE QUOTE: Cisco says, "Ronnie, I love you but this is a time machine, not a book case from Ikea.”

 

FINAL VERDICT:

Source: JoBlo.com

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