Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Flash Season One Finale: "Fast Enough"

All the events in season one of The CW's The Flash have led up to this moment, the moment. Barry Allen finally receiving answers about his mother's death.

My name is Jaime, and I'm The Flash recap writer for TFI. When The Flash began, I dreamed the impossible: more live-action DC superheroes. The CW fulfilled this dream. In one season, I experienced the impossible. To the outside world, I'm an ordinary college student, but secretly I fill my head with useful superhero information and suppress way too many fangirl screams, and one day The Flash will return for season two. This is the season finale. 

This. Episode. This episode was c r a z y. Anything that came before that made this show feel off, feel cheesy or lame, anything that disappointed me with Arrow has been completely wiped clean because of how fan-freaking-tastic this episode was. This is the episode we've been waiting for all season. 

I need to know what's next.
I need the fall to be here now.
I need season two. 

Because that ending...

The episode begins with Barry interrogating Wells Thawne in one of the cells in the pipeline. We learn a lot of useful information in the long conversation. Thawne is from the future--one hundred and thirty-six years in the future. And then, Barry asks the question. "Why did you kill my mother?" Thawne responds with nothing short of "I hate you." He says this hate no longer matters because after all their fighting, all their rivalry, he finally learned Barry's greatest secret: his identity. Thawne's plan was to travel back in time and kill Barry as a child, which would end the Flash from ever existing. However, his plan failed because future-Barry followed him to the past and saved past-Barry before Reverse-Flash could get him (I know, so confusing, so many Barrys. Just wait. It gets worse).

As Thawne wallowed in defeat, he came up with a new plan: give Barry a tragedy--something so horrific he would never become the Flash. So Thawne stabbed Barry's mother and escaped from the house. However, his plan failed further because he used up all his energy and he could no longer time-travel. He was stuck in the past and the only way to return to his correct time was with the Flash (look at how the tables have turned). So he re-created the Flash (talk about paradoxes).

After he tells his tale, Thawne tells Barry his hate for him has changed; he now understands the love and pride Joe or Henry have for Barry (you're still icky, Thawne). Thawne also makes a dangerous deal with Barry: create a wormhole which will allow Thawne to return to his time and Barry will have the opportunity to go back and save his mother (sounds like a tantalizing deal: DON'T DO IT, BARRY!).

Barry discusses this decision with the All-STAR team (it's definitely a toss-up). During this discussion--mainly to weigh the risks involved--they decide they live in a parallel universe and going back to change one thing will bring fifteen years of change. No dead mom means no father in jail, which means Barry doesn't live with Joe and grow up with Iris. Then there's the possibilities he never becomes the Flash, which means he never meets Cisco, Caitlin, or Ronnie. All in all: there's no real way of knowing what Barry's life will be (thank you, Captain Obvious Dr. Stein).

Joe insists Barry should change the past, to grow up with two parents. But Barry is still torn because he knows that would mean Joe wouldn't be a father to him any more. 

Barry talks to his dad, Henry, about the choice. Henry disagrees with Joe. He--in a tear-jerking response (I'm not crying, I just have a father-son relationship in my eye)--tells Barry things happen the way they do for a reason and that not knowing the cost is dangerous. He proudly tells Barry he doesn't want to risk changing the past if it means Barry will change. He includes the heart-ripping, waterfall of tears idea that if Barry's mother had a say she wouldn't want Barry to lose who is by changing the past. (Why does every Barry-Henry moment leave my heart shattered?)

Barry then, of course, discusses the BIG DECISION with Iris (saw that coming faster than the Flash's top speed). Iris brings up the "m" word (*whispers: married*). They talk about whether in the other universe things happened differently and that's why they get married. With the Reverse-Flash's meddling, that outcome might never occur in their universe (ten bucks it still does). Iris tells Barry he should stop thinking about other people and do what's in his heart (aww, so touching).

Meanwhile, Ronnie and Caitlin have an adorable talk and decide to fulfill their pre-particle accelerator promise and get married (correct usage of "m" word; good job, Ronnie). So they do: on the lawn of STAR Labs with their closest friends (both physical proximity and relational connection). Dr. Stein is the officiant while Cisco carried the rings (Cisco, I love you). Ta-da! They're finally married. (*throws confetti*)

Barry agrees to do what Thawne says. They need to use the particle accelerator to release one particle. Barry will then collide with said particle--running super duper fast--which will create a wormhole. (Side effects: if Barry doesn't run fast enough, he dies). Once the wormhole is created, Thawne will travel through to the future and Barry will travel through to the past. Then everybody lives happily ever after (except for small thing but more on that later). While discussing such possibilies, Dr. Stein says he'll shout "Eureka!" or "Excelsior!" (in which I replied in my best Steve Rogers voice: I understood that reference!)

Thus, Barry asks Cisco and Ronnie to build a time machine. This will be used to transport Thawne through the wormhole. After looking over the parts Thawne already collected, they realize they're missing something and need to ask "Dr. Evil" (Thawne) for help. Cisco confronts him, asking how to finish the time machine but also how he fits his Reverse Flash suit into his ring (Cisco, I love you). In addition, Cisco reveals to Thawne the events of parallel universe: that he killed Cisco. With twinkling eyes, Thawne tells Cisco his suspicions are now confirmed: Cisco was affected by the particle accelerator too (aka Cisco is a meta-human).

--pause for comic fangirling--

In the comics, Cisco Ramon is a meta-human named Vibe (I don't think CW Cisco will approve of that name). His powers included the ability to emit powerful vibratory shock waves, which could shatter steel. He was also very agile and a great breakdancer (ha-ha!). Vibe was the first Justice League member to be killed in battle, but this character has been resurrected twice in the comics by bad guys. In 2013, Vibe was re-introduced with interdimensional powers. His shock waves now can interrupt the Speed Force (more on that later), thus making him one of the few characters who could be a threat to the Flash. He's been said--by Amanda Waller, leader of the Suicide Squad--that Vibe might be one of the most powerful meta-humans on the planet.

Well, that's a heavy burden for our fun-loving science bro to carry. While right now Cisco can only remember events from alternate timelines, Thawne hints there might be more to Cisco's powers in the future. I'm excited to see what happens to his character arc.

--resume recap of episode--

Meanwhile, Dr. Stein gives a very important and motivating pep talk to Eddie, who is hanging around STAR Labs in case someone "needs" him. Eddie clearly thinks he doesn't matter in the greater scheme of things, especially when everything is all about Barry. But Stein reels Eddie in and tells him that everyone is important and everybody has a part to play. He goes on to tell Eddie that science doesn't have coincidence, and that the fact that Thawne traveled back in time to this time, to this city, where Eddie lives, cannot be a coincidence either. He tells Eddie that out of all of them Eddie is the anomaly, the wild card; he's the only person who can decide his own destiny (this might be my favorite moment of the episode).

As the team prepares, they realize there's a BIG PROBLEM. Barry's collision with the particle could create a black hole, which would consume the world. Cisco, with perfect timing, says: "So long and thanks for all the fish." (I understood that reference!!!)

Of course, Thawne saves the day with his perfect pep talk about the dangers of a black hole shouldn't be worrisome (okaaay, yeeaaah, let's listen to the bad guy). Thawne tells Barry if he travels to the past and returns in one minute, fifty-two seconds, everything will be fine; the wormhole won't go supernova (awfully weird he knows the exact time span)

Once more, before the big moment, Joe and Barry have a heart-to heart (cue the tears). Joe tells Barry he believes--he knows--Barry can do this, he can save his mom. Barry realizes he lost a lot that night but he also gained a lot--another father (ouch, my heart)

Eddie visits Iris at work and tells her a story of how they met (he rescued Iris' backpack from a mugger). He then tells Iris that every moment of his life led to meeting her (well, he's not wrong). Together, they decide to "screw the future" and do what they want, not what some time-traveling maniac has in his secret room. 

The moment has arrived, and Cisco leads the way by explaining to Barry there will be three "yous" when he travels back in time: past-you, future-you, and you-you (Cisco, I love you). He reminds Barry he has one minute and fifty-two seconds to save his mom after Future-Barry saves Past-Barry. Thawne tells Barry to run. 

And Barry runs.

He runs so fast he sees the Speed Force (an energy field that gives speedsters their powers) and with it the past, the present, and the future all at once (within the "future" portion you can see a blond with superpowers... it's Caitlin Snow, who becomes Killer Frost--a super villain--in the comics. Hmm... maybe Cisco wasn't the only one affected by the particle accelerator). Thawne instructs Barry to focus his mind on the night, on his mother. The team ejects the particle and in a blinding light, Barry collides with it and disappears. In his place, the wormhole begins to form. 

Barry arrives in his bedroom fifteen years earlier. He can hear his past-self screaming for his mom. He peeks out the door to see future-Barry raise his hand toward present-Barry and shake his head: no. Then, future-Barry saves past-Barry, and Thawne stabs Barry's mother (wait! whaaaaat?? Why didn't Barry do anything? Wasn't the whole point of him traveling back to save his mother?)

Instead of saving her, he goes to her and comforts her. He takes off his mask and tells her he's her son. In her final moments, Barry says goodbye to his mother. She tells him he looks just like her father. He tells her that he and his father are okay and that they love her. His mom says, "Goodbye, Barry," and she dies. (beautiful, heart-ripping, torrent of tears falling down my face. Curse you, Flash writers!)

Meanwhile, Cisco and Ronnie prep Thawne and the time machine. Thawne comments that it's beautiful and Rip Hunter would be impressed (I UNDERSTOOD THAT REFERENCE) and that Rip Hunter built the first one of "these" (time machine or model? When is Rip Hunter from then?)

Barry returns from the past just as Thawne's time machine approaches the worm hole. He rips Thawne right out of the machine, shattering it to pieces and causing the wormhole to go crazy. Thawne questions--in a passionate yelling match--why Barry didn't save his mom, claiming Barry could have had everything he wanted. Barry replies: "I already do." Then he lunges for the Reverse Flash. They richochet around the room while All-STAR Team tries to close the wormhole.

Thawne pins Barry down and claims he will always win. Until there's a gunshot...

(ohmygosh, ohmygosh, ohmygosh)

Eddie holds a gun in his hand, but it's not Thawne who is shot: it's Eddie. He shot himself in the chest in order to stop Thawne. The wild card. (WHAT?!?!?) Reverse Flash begins to fade away because without Eddie living, Eobard Thawne never exists. 

Iris (of course) races to Eddie's side, crying and screaming. Eddie looks up at her and his final words are: "Turns out I'm a hero after all. That's all I ever wanted to be: your hero." (Ohmygosh, my freaking heart. ouch, ouch, ouch. I was not prepared for this emotional trauma.) 

Thawne changes from Wells' face to his true face and whispers to Barry, "For so long, I've controlled you life. How will you live without me?" before he disappears into nothing.

This event somehow brings back the wormhole (that Caitlin, Ronnie, and Dr. Stein had shut down). It starts to rip the particle accelerator apart. The All-STAR team gets out, leaving Eddie's body behind (despite Iris' pleas). His body is swept away into the wormhole (ten bucks he'll return somehow). When the team gets outside, they learn that there's a GIANT BLACK HOLE over Central City, and it's hungry. (brief cameo of Captain Cold follows as the camera spans across the city, showing various people noticing said black hole)

The only way to stop the black hole is to disrupt the motion--maybe. Dr. Stein says it can't be stopped, but Barry puts on his hood and says, "I have to try." He races across the city, up a skyscraper, and launches himself into the middle of the vortext (with some hardcore parkour moves).

Cue Flash logo.

AHHHHHH!!! What was that ending??? I didn't expect a lot of what happened to happen. I am bewildered.

Cisco might be a meta-human (yes, yes yes,)
Caitlin and Ronnie are finally together (heart emoticons everywhere)
Barry and his mom


How will Barry stop a black hole? What will Iris do without Eddie? Will Cisco become a hero or villain with his abilities? What's next for Caitlin and Ronnie (and Dr. Stein)? Is Eobard Thawne gone forever? 

Guess we'll just have to wait all summer to find out. Ugh. Come on!

What did you think of the season finale? Are you looking forward to season 2? What about the season as a whole: did it live up to your expectations?

All photos from the CW's The Flash Official Facebook page. 


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