So, we have hit the end of season 2! Much like this season, this episode had some great moments, but ultimately I feel that it fell short of hitting its full potential. The episode built to a crescendo that had a fairly predictable ending, but was still filled with excellent acting, and story conclusion that was much needed. The episode was also incredibly symmetrical, but I’ll touch on that in the summary paragraph!
So, this episode began in the old Allen home, right where the end of the last episode left off. Zoom phases through Henry Allen’s chest as a horrified Barry looks on. Barry checks on his dead father before attacking Zoom angrily, with Zoom baiting him into a chase (and there somehow ended up being two Zooms). Barry manages to actually catch Zoom, getting several good punches in…but stops short of killing him. The actual Zoom to appears to kill off his time remnant before taunting Barry once more and disappearing, claiming Barry was almost ready, and that, once again, Zoom was willing to do what Barry wouldn’t (use/kill his own time remnant).
The episode cuts to Team Flash burying Henry Allen, with Joe having to deliver the eulogy because of the emotional state that Barry is in. Back at the West family home, they have a wake, and Iris and Barry have one of a few talks out on the front porch, with Barry stating that he already misses his father badly. Zoom flashes by which leads to Barry giving chase. They stop a bit away, and Zoom tells Barry that he wants one race, to prove who the fastest man alive is. Or Zoom will continue to kill Barry’s friends and family until Barry agrees. With that, Zoom speeds off.
I feel the last two paragraphs were probably the best parts of the show. Showing the aftermath of the end of last episode was gut-wrenching, and it put the viewer through the ringer considering we JUST watched Barry put one of his demons to rest, as he finally found peace with not being able to save his mother.. We also, finally, saw Zoom shine as the sinister villain he is. This episode focused less on humanizing Zoom, and more on the evil, vile things that he is willing to do in order to defeat Barry and carry out his nefarious plans. It made Zoom feel like the big Bad that he is before the plot twist that he is Hunter Zolomon aka “Jay Garrick”. I also felt that Iris was acted to amazing effect by Candice Patton in this episode, as a counter-balance to how angry and torn apart Grant Gustin’s Barry was. Truly well done stuff.
Team Flash convenes at S.T.A.R. labs, and discover that a device was stolen from Mercury Labs that, if powered properly, say, from the energy of two speedsters racing, could destroy worlds. Barry still wants revenge, and says that he will race Zoom, and beat him. However, the team disagrees, going to the extreme measure of locking Barry in one of the anti-metahuman cells at S.T.A.R. labs and devising a plan to take out Zoom themselves.
The team, minus Barry, confronts Zoom where he has set up the stolen device using Caitlin as bait. While they are successful in driving Zoom back through a breach, he grabs Joe and takes him through. The team is forced to confront their decision, and when Wally discovers what they’ve done, he frees Barry. Barry has Cisco vibe a projection of him over to Earth-2, where Zoom has Joe prisoner. The two agree to the race.
I also want to take a moment and say that I loved seeing Team Flash, minus Barry, spring into action here. They were a bit slow in actually telling Barry what they felt, but Caitlin’s character arc finally felt worthwhile, and the chemistry between characters finally shined through. I also loved that they used Wally as the foil to the rest of the team’s ‘logic’, and that was the turning point that got the team behind Barry (well, that and the fact that their play hadn’t gone so well). There was also an excellent scene between Tom Cavanagh’s Harrison Wells and Violet Beane’s Jesse Wells, where Jesse tells Harrison that once they defeated Zoom, she was going back to Earth-2…but if Harrison wanted to stay, she was okay with it because she hadn’t seen him happy in so long. I appreciate these characters’ sparing use throughout this season, but moments like these make me wish they’d gotten a little more screen time.
But we come to the finale of the episode where Barry and Zoom face off with Team Flash and Joe standing by. Zoom has built a large ring around his stolen device that will siphon the energy from their running. If Barry cannot stop Zoom before 500 rotations around the device are completed, the device will be powered; every Earth other than Earth-1 will be destroyed, and Zoom wins. The two begin racing, and much like in the beginning of the episode, we see two speedsters at the last moment…except this time, it’s two Barrys. One stops Zoom while the other sacrifices himself to stop the machine by destroying it. Barry clobbers Zoom a few times, but ends up in the same position as the beginning of the episode. Zoom taunts Barry, wanting him to kill him, but the screech of two Time Wraiths lets Barry zip away as the Wraiths carry Zoom off for his crimes. The seeming end of the episode has two dramatic moments: The first is that we FINALLY discover who the man in the Iron Mask is. It’s the real Jay Garrick, of Earth-3…who happens to be the doppleganger of Earth-1’s Henry Allen. It’s a punch to the gut for Barry, but a neat reveal. The team sends Harrison and Jesse Wells, as well as Jay, back to Earth-2 before leading us into our second moment. That moment is the last scene between Iris and Barry, where Barry tells Iris that he feels incredibly broken, and can’t be with her until he finds peace within himself. She tells him she’ll wait as long as he needs before going back inside. Barry apologizes to her (while she’s inside) before racing off…to go back in time to stop Eobard Thawn from murdering Nora Allen. The end of the episode is Barry stating that Nora is okay, and that no one would hurt her ever again.
I felt the ending of the episode was a bit confusing, and anti-climatic. The split, where Barry used his time remnant, seemingly came out of nowhere. It showed how far Barry was willing to go, but if you weren’t paying close attention throughout the episode it could be considered confusing. I also disliked how Barry decided that the answer to dealing with Henry’s death…was to go save Nora. Which was something he’d seemingly dealt with in the previous episode. From a character perspective, I understand what they are trying to do, but it seems incredibly repetitive and cyclical to have that same plot point used over and over. But, honestly, I felt that way about this season. It had amazing moments that made it hard to disengage from, but ultimately didn’t quite live up to the potential of what was there.