The Flash Season 2 Finale, "The Race of His Life"

Last week we watched Zoom stop Henry Allen’s heart. This episode picks up at the same point, with Barry’s best Luke Skywalker “Nooooooooo” impersonation.

In further Star Wars analogies, our buddy Zoom pretty much turns into the Emperor, telling Barry to let the hate flow through him. This is followed by a chase and fight scene through Central City that has some of the most impressive sfx work this show has done. Rarely do we get to see two speedsters actually fighting while in running form (usually they just race until someone gets knocked down, and then they physically fight).

Unbelievably cool SFX in this entire fight scene!
The fight ends weirdly though, as Jay produces a time remnant of himself, and apparently is perfectly willing to sacrifice himself just to screw with Barry’s head. Mission accomplished.

After Henry’s funeral, Wally tells Barry how much he appreciates his heroics and sacrifices. I adore that Wally is an unabashed Flash fanboi. Team Flash tries to discuss how to end Zoom, but Barry is too stricken to deal with it. Iris and Barry have a heart-to-heart but Zoom shows up to taunt him. Jay demands a race to determine once and for all who is the fastest man alive. Sounds like a terrible idea to me.

Harry figures out that the thing Zoom stole from Mercury Labs is a device that can destroy the multiverse, and that it can be powered by siphoning the power off the speedsters while they race. Predictably, Barry wants to race, even though everyone knows this is a terrible plan. Team Flash decides to put Barry in check.

After all the dumb things this team has done (and allowed Barry to do), it was a nice change of pace for them to betray him for his own good. Still, it was pretty vile and difficult to watch as they all lock up Barry in a cell. Grant Gustin’s look of betrayal is heart-wrenching!

How's a man supposed to sleep with all these creeps staring at him?!
Without Barry, Team Flash rides off to take care of Zoom. Things go south (of course), and Joe falls into a portal with Zoom. Afterwards, Wally shows up and gets the bad news. He is not pleased to hear that the team locked up Barry (and that they are prepared to sacrifice Joe to get rid of Zoom for good). Probably to no one’s surprise, Wally ends up letting Barry free, because he’s totally loyal to the Flash! Yes!

But seriously... can I have your autograph, Barry?
With Barry free, Cisco vibes him into Earth-2 to tell Zoom that he’s willing to race in exchange for Joe.

So the silly race of the century commences, while the thing gets energized. Barry has to stop Zoom before the magnatar is fully charged, and during the race (which is another instance of fairly impressive sfx), he uses a trick he learned from Zoom and creates a time remnant of himself. The time remnant runs circles around the magnatar to knock it out of phase and dies, saving the multiverse. The remaining Barry proceeds to kick the crap out of Zoom, but instead of killing him, he steps back to let the Dementors Time Wraiths deal with Zoom, who has sufficiently pissed off the Speed Force to get carted off to his death.

Flash has retrieved the Man in the Iron Mask from Zoom’s prison, and we finally get to see who it is. Turns out it’s Henry Allen! Except not… his name is Jay Garrick (the latter being Barry’s paternal grandmother’s maiden name). He’s from Earth-3. Barry freaks out at seeing his Not!Dad.

Not a joke: it's really cool to see classic Flash put on the suit and the hat. 
Sadly, not only is Henry Allen’s doppelganger going back home to be Earth-3’s Flash, but Harry and Jesse also decide to go home.

With everyone back on their respective Earths, Barry and Iris have a difficult conversation about their relationship. Iris says she’s ready, but Barry says he’s not because he’s a mess. But they still love each other, which is why Barry totally regrets what he has to do next. He shoots off through a portal and returns to where it all started: his mother’s death scene. This time, he decides he’s had enough of losing all the time. Nora Allen survives the encounter with Reverse-Flash.

And that’s where season 2 ends. If you’re a fan of the comics, you might be thinking you know where this is going. And if you have Netflix, you need to check out an amazing DC animated film: Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. Go watch it now, we’ll wait. And then tell me Whiskey Batman isn’t the greatest thing ever. I am really hoping that’s where this show is going in season 3, because that would be badass. Probably not, but a girl can dream.

Actually, my real hope and speculation is that Barry has temporarily erased himself as the Flash, and that Wally will get a turn at Flashing instead, and he'll have to set things right.

Iris and Caitlyn were highly visible this episode, which was a nice change of pace. Besides helping the team with Zoom, Caitlyn has several snappy and intelligent bits of dialogue. My hope is that the writers of this show utilize Caitlyn a great deal more next season, especially since we’ve apparently lost Harry, thereby making her the smartest person around.

Iris is interesting in this episode. I’ve complained before about how she’s been under-utilized this season (other than her great story arc involving her mom and brother early on). This week it seems her role was, as usual, either that of Barry’s cheerleader, or that of his therapist. I wouldn’t say those are inappropriate considering the circumstances— her dialogue was certainly well-written, and Iris showed her value. Barry needs her in his life to balance him, romantically or not. I was surprised and pleased when it was clear she had been one of the major decision-makers in locking up Barry when he was freaking out. She was quietly powerful in this episode, without needing to be physically badass, and Candice Patton has never looked better in the role.

My genuine hope for both of these great characters is that we see more of them next season, and that they get to really shine. The Flash hasn’t had the best track record for representation of women, especially this season, so it was particularly important to see Caitlyn and Iris end on a strong note.

On another note, color me disappointed that neither Wally nor Jesse show their speedster powers.

What did you think of the season finale?

Ivonne Martin is a writer, gamer, and avid consumer of all things geek—and is probably entirely too verbose for her own good.