Monday, May 30, 2016

The Flash Season Two Finale Recap: "The Race of His Life" (2x23)

Spoilers for The Flash. Warning: This episode deals with death, grief, darkness, and destruction.

Zoom has come. He's taken Barry's speed force ability and the life of someone Barry loves. Now he's coming for the world--all the worlds. In order to stop Zoom once and for all, Barry must prove he is the fastest man alive. But can Barry run faster? And if he does, what will he do to stop Zoom?

This is The Flash!

Barry screams as Zoom wrenches his fist out of Henry's body. Barry screams as Henry collapses to the floor. Barry screams as he kneels over his father's body and watches him breathe his last breath. Then Barry is silent, tears dripping down his face, as he looks up at Zoom. Anger ripples through Barry. Zoom taunts Barry, asking him if he can feel the anger making them the same. Barry lunges for Zoom and pins him against the wall. But Zoom only laughs as Barry's action prove his words to be true. Barry releases him, and Zoom takes off. Barry chases him across the city. (This is fantastic!)

Zoom: "I told you family was a weakness. You feel the anger. Don't you, Flash? Now the two of us are the same."

They fight. Barry grapples for control and holds Zoom back. He starts vibrating his fist so he can run it through Zoom's chest just like Zoom did to his father. But then, someone else zooms by and sticks his hand through Zoom's chest. Zoom collapses to reveal... Zoom standing behind him? (Wait, what?) Zoom #2 takes off his mask, which reveals Hunter Zolomon beneath. Barry realizes he had been fighting another time remnant. Zoom says Barry could do that too--create a second version of himself, but he has to be willing to kill himself. (Okay, Zoom is officially crazy.) Then Zoom tells Barry he's almost ready, and he tosses Barry to the side.

At a cemetery, Barry and Team Flash listen to a man give an eulogy for Henry Allen. It's raining. Barry starts to give a few words, but he can't. Instead, Joe does. (I'm not cry--I'm definitely crying.) Barry promises to find Zoom and take away what he stole from Henry. (So... remnants of his chest?)
Joe: "Henry Allen was proof that love can get you through the darkest of days. And that love will keep him alive in all of our hearts."
They return to the West House. Wally talks to Barry about being the Flash. He thanks him and tells him if there's anything he needs, just ask. Barry tells the gang what Zoom told him about being "almost ready." They also discuss Cisco's vibes of doom about Earth-2. Barry leaves the house, still overwhelmed. Iris goes to talk to him. They sit on the porch, and Barry talks about how he's just come to terms with his mother's death, only to have his dad snatched away from him. (Alright, I'm kidnapping Barry, wrapping him in a blanket, and giving him a bowl of ice cream. He deserves so much more than this!!)

(Poor Barry.--source)

Then Zoom races by, taunting Barry. Before Iris can stop him, Barry chases after him. Zoom threatens Barry, saying there are more people he can take away from him. He challenges Barry to a race--whoever wins will get to decide the fate of the world. Zoom wants to know who is the fastest man alive.

Barry returns to STAR Labs and tells them about Zoom's challenge. Harry says being the best isn't the only thing Zoom wants. Mercury Labs has a created a new device, a magnetar. (I can only think of Reptar right now.) The device can become a pulsar--something that can magnify power as a weapon. Cisco says that device is what destroyed Earth-2 in his vibes. Zoom wants to race Barry in order to siphon Barry's energy to power the device. He wants to destroy Earth-2 and all the other earths in the multi-verse. Barry says he has to race Zoom and win.

Cisco: "It's like I'm watching Transformers in 4D, but like ten times more realistic and with much better acting."

Barry leaves the room (he has a habit of doing that in this episode), and Joe chases after him. He tells Barry not to race Zoom, but Barry says he can't wait for Zoom to kill someone else he cares about. Barry says he just has to beat Zoom and he'll save the multi-verse and everybody he loves. Joe asks him if he wants to kill Zoom. Barry admits he does--he wants Zoom to suffer for everything he's done. Barry says they can't talk him out of it, so Harry walks in and shoots Barry with something that knocks him unconscious. Team Flash--the whole gang--locks Barry up in one of the particle accelerator cells. They agree he isn't going to win if he races Zoom with vengeance as his motive. He's too angry. He yells at them, but they walk away. Joe asks Iris if they made the right decision, and she says they did.

Barry: "What? All of you?"
Cisco: "Bro, I went back and forth. I was like a good 60/40 at first."
Wells: "Ramon..."
Cisco: "Yeah, yeah. We all made the decision."

(Squad goals.--source)

Team Flash gets to work preparing their plan to take down Zoom on their own. Caitlin will distract Zoom, which will give Harry and Joe time to tranquilize him. Cisco will open a breach, and they'll send him through. Then they will turn off the magnetar. Before they leave, Jesse asks Harry about what happens after they defeat Zoom. She wants him to be happy, so she understand if he wants to stay on Earth-1.

They arrive at Zoom's location and get into position. Caitlin calls out to Zoom, who zooms over and talks to her. She tries to appeal to what he said about darkness inside of her, luring him closer. It works, sort of. He tells her it's too late, and he tries to stick his fist through her. (He really likes doing that to people, doesn't he?) But Caitlin disappears--she was a hologram! Harry and Joe shoot at Zoom, but Joe's gun jams. He has to physically stab Zoom with the tranquilizer. Cisco creates a breach, but Zoom pulls Joe into the breach with him. The breach closes. (Duh-duh-DUN!)

Cisco vibes, trying to lock on to Zoom, but the vibe is scattered and in flux. Harry wasn't able to stop the magnetar because Zoom did something to it; if they touch it, they are done for. Iris tells Wally about Joe, and he says they have to get him back. Iris tells him Joe made them promise that if they got Zoom off their Earth, they would never open a breach again. Wally doesn't agree--he doesn't want to lose another parent. (Poor Wally. Great acting, Keiynan Lonsdale.)

Joe wakes up chained in Zoom's lair on Earth-2. Zoom tries to mess with Joe, but Joe isn't putting up with any of Zoom's garbage. He asks Zoom about the Man in the Iron Mask, but Zoom says it'll just confuse him. (Tell me!!!!) Joe is doubtful anything would surprise him, so Zoom tells him about becoming Zoom. However, being Zoom and conquering Earth-2 wasn't enough. He created a speed drug, Velocity-9, to make himself faster, better. Velocity-9 gave him the ability to go to other earths. On one of those earths, he found the Man in the Iron Mask--another speedster. (It's Henry, isn't it?)

Then Zoom learned V-9 was killing him, so he brought the other speedster to Earth-2 to steal his speed. It didn't work, but it didn't matter. At the same time, Barry came through via the vortex, so Zoom chased Barry instead. And he won. He says he keeps the Man in the Iron Mask as a trophy and because he gave Zoom an idea--to pretend to be the hero, to be Jay Garrick! (Yesss! I knew the Man in the Iron Mask had to be another speedster from 'Earth-3' and possibly the 'real' Jay Garrick! Yes! Yes!) Zoom says when he beats Barry, he'll put Barry in a cage too, and then he'll have a Flash from two earths to keep him company. (Creeeeepy.)

On Earth-1, Barry pouts in his cell. Then Wally lets him out and tells him about Joe. Team Flash gets an alert about Barry's cell opening, but before they can do anything, Barry races in, enraged. He asks if anybody even knows how he feels to watch someone he loves die right in front of him. Caitlin says she does and that when she was angry and filled with grief, it was Barry who told her to stop and breathe. Harry says if Barry races Zoom to get revenge, he will lose. Barry says he has to race him and beat him, whether they help him or not.

Wells: "Allen, you're not racing Zoom!"
Barry: "What are you going to do? Are you gonna tranq me again?"
Wells: "Don't tempt me."

So Team Flash gets to work helping him. They hook Barry up to Cisco as he vibes like they did with Iris. They send a projection to Zoom, telling him Barry will race but only if Joe comes back unharmed. Zoom agrees. Team Flash meets Zoom at the magnetar device. They call out Zoom's plan--to use Barry to turn on the device and destroy all the earths. But Zoom says they got one thing wrong. Earth-1 is at the center of the multi-verse (of course it is). The pulse will send a shock wave to destroy all the other earths--except this one. Then he can rule here.

(Is that the Stargate?--source)

He zooms off with Joe, and Barry tells Team Flash to return to STAR Labs where it's safe. But they refuse to leave Barry. They say it's either Zoom or all of them this time. Barry gets ready to run.

Iris: "Wait. Barry, kick his ass."

They line up, and Barry asks about the rules. One lap around the magnetar loop will produce a gigawatt of energy. (1.21 gigawatts!) Zoom needs 500 gigawatts to send the pulse. If he reaches 500, he wins. Barry has to stop him. If Barry quits at all during the race, Joe and the rest of Team Flash are dead.

Barry tells Zoom he's ready, and Zoom in his creepy, gravel-voice says, "Run, Barry. Run." They take off. Blue and yellow lightning zigzag around the loop. Zoom takes the lead, which starts to power the device. Team Flash watches, quietly cheering Barry on. Then Barry makes a time remnant of himself. (Aaaahh! This is amazing!) Barry leaves the remnant to chase Zoom while he releases Joe and tells him to run. Distracted, Zoom rockets off the device and knocks Barry over. The other keeps running, which fulfills the amount of energy needed to power the device. Zoom says, "Bye, bye multi-verse." Barry yells and attacks Zoom. The time remnant launches off the device, which is starting to crack through the dimensions, and starts to run around the bottom of the device to create a counter-pulse. But his body can't handle that--he'll die. The remnant Flash begins to dissolve, but his counter-pulse creates a burst of energy that closes the breach and stops the magnetar.

Zoom yells and attacks Barry. They fight. (A+ special effects, people!) Barry flips Zoom over and rips off his mask. Zoom says Barry couldn't kill him before and he won't now. But then a breach from the speed force opens, and the time-wraiths pour out. Barry smiles and says he doesn't have to kill Zoom. The time-wraiths attack Zoom, contorting his body, and rip him away from the earth. (Whoooa!)

(Dude, you fugly.--source)

Victorious, Team Flash returns to STAR Labs, and they try to explain the time remnant concept to Wally. (It's hilarious.) Barry says he created a time remnant in hopes it would lure the time-wraiths out so they'd deal with Zoom. Barry says his time remnant was willing to sacrifice himself to save everybody--because he loved them that much. (Aww...I love you, time remnant Flash!)

(This entire scene is so cute.--source)

Harry and Cisco work together to take the mask off the Man in the Iron Mask. It's Henry Allen, sort of. He's actually Jay Garrick from Earth-3. (I knew it! I knew it! I knew it!) Barry leaves the room, overwhelmed. Joe follows him out. Barry says his dad said his mother's maiden name was Garrick, but he wasn't expecting to see his father again so soon. Joe tells him that Jay doesn't know anything about looking like Henry. Barry says he'll be okay.

(I love you, Cisco.--source)

Jay Garrick cleans him up and dons his 'Crimson Comet' suit. Cisco explains that the mask had a dampener in it, which kept Jay from using his powers. Jay destroys the mask and says Hunter Zolomon stole a lot of his stuff--his powers, his suit, his name--but the metal helmet with the wings on the top was all his. Harry holds it out to Jay and says that on Earth-2, it still symbolizes hope. Jay takes it, placing in on his head, and says maybe he'll take something from Hunter Zolomon for a change. (Aaaah! This is so freaking cool!)

(Heyyyy yeahhh!--source)

Jay thanks them, specifically Barry. He says he needs to go home to Earth-3. Cisco says they can get him to Earth-2, and Harry offers to help him with the rest when he and Jesse go home. (Noooo. I want  Harry to stay!) Team Flash prepares to send the three to Earth-2. Harry says goodbye to everybody--Caitlin, Joe, Bary, Cisco. (I'm so distraught.) Cisco promises to project himself to Earth-2 every once in a while for pranks, of course. Jesse says goodbye to Wally. (Awww... they totally had a thing!) Together, Harry, Jesse, and Jay step through Cisco's breach. (This is so sad.)

They return to the West home to relax after the long day, but Barry can't relax. He leaves, and Iris follows him out to the porch again. They talk about Henry's doppelganger. It didn't make it easier--it made Barry feel worse. He beat Zoom, but he feels like he still lost. Iris says he's lost a lot in his life but maybe them being together can give him something good. But Barry says he can't--he feels too broken. He needs to find peace before he can be anything more to Iris. She says she'll wait for him just like he waited for her. (Aww...) Then she tells him she loves him. They kiss (finally!). And he tells her he loves her too. She gets up and goes inside.

(Seriously. Finally.--source)

Barry stands up and looks in the window. He says he's sorry but he has to do this. He runs and enters the speed force. He flashes by remnants of the night his mother was killed. He travels back to that night and stands outside his house, watching Reverse-Flash race around the house. Then he runs in and stops Reverse-Flash before he can kill his mother. They fight, and he knocks Reverse-Flash out. He turns around and sees a past Flash peering through the doorway. The past Flash fades from existence. (Oh no. Barry, what have you done?)

(Me: Barry, no! Barry: Barry, yes!--source)

He goes to his mother. She cries out in fear, but he tells her he won't hurt her. He tells her she's safe.

(MY HEART HURTS.--source)

Concluding Thoughts
Whoa. This episode--this entire season--has been crazy. Right now, this is my favorite show on the air. The plot twists this season have been fantastic. It never ceases to amaze me how the story has been developed so far. The possibilities they've opened up with Earth-2 (and now Earth-3), time-travel, and the speed force are incredible. I'm pumped for everything that's coming in the future!

The race with Zoom was brilliant. My only problem was that it felt too easy that Barry could just get the time-wraiths to take Zoom away. I wanted to see the moral gray areas of what Barry would do to stop Zoom. But still, it was fantastic. And I'm really sad to see Zoom leave. He was a terrifying villain. The way this show works though, anything could happen. Zoom could return.

The Jay Garrick reveal was amazing, even if I did predict it would happen. The writers were very good at including hints throughout of who he might be, so I'm not surprised that I guessed correctly. It was still exciting to see him don the Jay Garrick suit and helmet. Plus, the possibility of Earth-3 is exciting. I hope they do more with that at some point. I'm still crossing my fingers that Jesse or Wally will get speed abilities.

The ending with Barry changing the future is mind-blowing. What does this mean for everything he knows? Did he create a new universe by doing this? Or has he completely changed everything? The repercussions of his actions are going to be staggering, and I'm freaking out about what will happen. Comic experts have thrown around the word Flashpoint, which refers to a comic series and animated movie about a world without The Flash. Basically: this is going to be good! (And sad because everything we've come to know and love has just changed. Again. Barry might not be friends with Caitlin and Cisco. Harrison Wells--the real Harrison Wells--will still be alive. Joe won't be like a second father to Barry. But Barry will have both of his parents. Alive. Will Barry even have superpowers? Will this affect the other CW superhero shows?)

This season had so much packed into it. It never left me bored, and it never felt dragging. It's one wild race, and I'm looking forward to what's next. Bascially: I love The Flash!

(I am going to miss Harry.--source)

What did you think of "The Race of His Life"? What did you think of Season 2 of The Flash?


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