“The Race of His Life” Season 2 Finale of THE FLASH (review)

This is the episode we’ve been waiting for – the ultimate showdown between The Flash and Zoom! Who will win (okay, we can guess that, but how?).  Who is the man in the mask? Will we be able to deal with the wait for Season 3? We can answer at least some of those questions right here, right now as we review the Season 2 Finale of THE FLASH!

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD – YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

NOTE: This review is being posted before THE FLASH airs in the Pacific Time Zone USA. If you haven’t seen the show yet, we strongly advise you wait to read this article!

There was an article earlier today on CBR that theorized we were headed to a replay of “The Trial of the Flash.”  That one was off the mark, but we DID have a nod to not one, but at least two MAJOR Flash storylines. Here’s the setup…

Barry is beyond distraught over the loss of his father, and he wants revenge.  Zoom, however, wants a race. Not just any race, but a race with Barry to find out who really is the Fastest Man Alive. Simple, right? Not so fast….

Turns out that Zoom’s raid on Mercury Labs was to steal a Magnetar, a device that when powered up could destroy a planet….or more! Zoom’s REAL plan is to take down the entire Multiverse! He would leave Earth 1 intact as the only planet left, of course taking it over for himself. Wait, destroying the Multiverse? Okay, you CAN guess where we’re heading right?

Barry wants to race, because Zoom will kill everyone he loves if he doesn’t.  He believes he can still stop Zoom, but the team isn’t so sure. In fact, they tranquilize Barry and put him in that famous cell in the Pipeline! He stays there during a failed attempt by the Flash team to stop Zoom, one that results in Zoom and Joe being sent together to Earth 2!

Wally has obviously figured out that Barry is the Flash, but Wally was not in on the plan to seal off the Flash and he’s furious that Joe is now trapped on Earth 2. He frees Barry, and the race will now be on. Barry replies to Zoom with the help of Cisco, whose Vibe powers really hit their peak in this episode. Cisco can now project an image of himself or others directly to Earth 2 (something that will likely be explored more next season), and he gets Barry in touch with Zoom to set the rules.

When they meet, things are looking pretty bad for the home team. But, Barry has finally learned a lesson from Zoom…he creates a time remnant! The time remnant continues the run while “our” Barry frees Joe. Zoom realizes he was tricked and leaves the Magnetar to fight Barry…only Barry is getting the best of this battle. As for the time remnant…

The time remnant Barry is running at a different phase, and he’s destroying the Magnetar to save the Multiverse. But, much as Barry died in Crisis on Infinite Earths, this Barry dies and dissolves while ending the threat.  This was done amazingly well, and this really was a Barry willing to lose his life to save others. It’s the counterpoint to Zoom saying earlier in the episode that Barry needed to be willing to kill himself to be like Zoom…when actually it was Barry’s willingness to sacrifice himself that proved he was not like Zoom

In the end, Barry had the chance to strike a killing blow on Zoom…but he didn’t have to do so, and he knew it. The Time Wraiths showed up – they’ve been tracking Jay for a long time…and they attacked, turning “Jay” into a vision of the Black Flash before taking him away, presumably into the Speed Force itself.

Now, it’s time to release the Man in the Mask. We learned earlier in the episode that this was a Flash, but not one from Earth 2. Zoom was being tracked by the Time Wraiths after his forays into a variety of other worlds, including the one that had this version of the Flash. Once they release the Man in the Mask they find two things…one was that the mask had a dampener that kept this Flash from using his powers.  Oh, and you wanted to know who it was?

Kudos to those who guessed a doppelganger of Henry Allen….the Jay Garrick of Earth 3!

Now, this sort of flips Earth 2 and Earth 3 a bit…with a villainous meta coming from Earth 2 and the “good” Jay coming from Earth 3. But, it was WAY cool to see John Wesley Shipp in a Flash costume again, and the Jay Garrick costume is adjusted a bit from Zoom’s version to be more bright and closer to the traditional costume here.  In a twist, though, the helmet really was Zoom’s.  But, the “real” Jay decides to take it on since a) it was a symbol of hope on Earth 2, and b) he might as well take something back from Zoom after having so much taken away by Zoom.

Jay goes back to Earth 2 with Harry and Jesse, with Cisco now able to easily open a breach. Vibe’s ability to communicate directly with Earth 2 will be a key if we are to see Tom Cavenaugh next season (let’s hope so). Harry and Jesse take the “real” Jay with them, and agree to try to help him return to Earth 3. Everything is great now, right?

Not so fast.

Barry and Iris have a very touching scene…but Barry is too broken to leave good enough alone. For the HUGE season ending twist, he goes back in time and……

 

……

 

……

 

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Saves his mother from Eobard Thawne! And…..

 

……

……

……

The Season One version of Flash (you know, the one who went back in time and watched what happened) fades from existence!  Our present Flash is still here, but what has he done? Are we going to see the “Flashpoint Paradox” just when we are leaving its effects (the New52) in the comics? For that answer, we will have to wait for next season.  Still, what a way to end the season!

SUMMARY: This finale delivered on all levels, with powerful performances, terrific action sequences, and MAJOR twists all the way through! I am a bit worried about the Flashpoint reference at the end, but it they handle it as well as that nod to COIE we should have a terrific season ahead of us. Hopefully we will see the timeline straightened out before too many episodes in Season 3. Still, this was a terrific way to end Season 2, and THE FLASH remains to me the best superhero show on TV!

What do YOU think? Leave your comments here!

14 thoughts on ““The Race of His Life” Season 2 Finale of THE FLASH (review)

  1. HH

    Job well done. I’m riding a Flash high right now with DC Rebirth hitting the shelves and the return of the Wally I grew up with. All is well in Flash-land.

    Reply
  2. Randy

    Love the show but have no interest in investing in watching an entire season of the show that gets … wiped out in the last episode (shades of the infamous Dallas “dream” season in the 80s)? No interest in watching another origin story in season 3…. It’s either brilliant or lazy–no more ideas beyond a reboot of all the characters?

    Reply
  3. Golddragon71

    WHAT

    THE

    HELL?!?

    Seriously, I loved it but now there’s a whole huge kettle of fish that will be opened by this close-out and I can’t believe it but they’ve done it to US two years in a row!
    Will we see Barry in Iron Heights? will we see the true Harrison Wells and Tess Morgan?
    my brain is in such a scramble at all of the possibilities I’m already getting a headache.
    this is going to be a long long long long long long looooooooooooooooonnnnnggggggg
    Five Months!

    Reply
    1. speedforce1

      They are gonna do like the new 52 and merge the universes after a “flashpoint” event. Its convenient now that Supergirl is on CW.

      Reply
  4. Golddragon71

    I looked back at some old posts on the fastest forum alive when it was First announced that JWS was going to play a role on the Flash
    Now Mind you this was long ago prior to the first season…
    No Details Yet as to what Role Mr. Shipp will be playing but It isunderstood that it will be a recurring one.
    this of course leads to all sorts of speculation (the most popular I’m sure is that The Former Flash Star will be most likely playing Henry Allen, Barry’s father.)
    I for one am very excited about this piece of news! (I wonder if they can get Amanda Pays to play Barry’s Mother in Flashbacks lol)
    I really have to credit Mr.Shipp’s original series about the Scarlet Speedster for introducing me to the Flash in the first place.

    Now one person said he should play Jay Garrick
    the next agreed that THAT would be perfect….

    I replied
    Would it be cool? Yes! Absolutely.
    Would he fit the part? Again yes without a question.
    The problem is that it would overshadow the Grant Gustin Flash too much if they made JWS another Flash from the past. (plus JWs is going to be in the pilot episode and Barry didn’t meet Jay until About a year after he started running around as the Flash himself.
    Having JWS play Barry’s father on the other hand could still have a nice nod or two to the original series as well as letting the Grant stand out on his own as THE FLASH of this new series..
    I’m not saying there’s no room for Jay Garrick. I absolutely am in favor of bringing Jay in (but maybe not until season 2) and making references to him throughout season 1. But This new series is a spinoff from Arrow in which they’ve gone to considerable effort to build up Grant as thhe Flash of this world.. To suddenly push JWS as an older Flash is not a nod but an overshadow.

    Well Two Years later and I’m eating my words….sort of.
    I mean i was right when I said that JWS would be playing Henry and his doing so DID give us nods to the original series (Particularly in Tricksters)
    That said, It was really cool to see JWS as Earth 3 Flash Jay Garrick (especially when Zoom made mention of having the Flash of Two Worlds as his prisoners)
    It’s also interesting to note that Teddy Sears Flash costume was very much in Line with the Golden Age costume (with a little Rocketeer mixed in.) JWS’s Jay’s Costume looks a bit more like the New52 Earth2 suit (prior to Earth 2 World’s End)

    Reply
  5. Dallin Turner

    I guess a show like this has to keep having season finales like this. They don’t know who will be able to return, so they leave things as open as possible with a big, reality-warping event.

    True, The Flash is still the best superhero show on TV, but only by default. Daredevil doesn’t count because it’s on Netflix; Arrow has fallen apart; Legends of Tomorrow, Gotham and Agents of SHIELD were flawed from the get-go; and Supergirl … well, I never gave it an honest chance, but the Flash crossover was mightily underwhelming.

    So that leaves us with the Flash. At times it can be amazing, at times it can be frustrating. For Season 3, I’m hoping for more consistency, more classic Flash Rogues, less killing, less CW-style love triangles, and less pep talks for Barry.

    Reply
  6. Naren

    Could anyone explain how zoom/reverse flash killing Nora didn’t have timeline altering effects but only flash saving his mom does?

    Reply
    1. Kelson

      It did have timeline altering effects. We just never saw the original timeline in which Nora lived, Henry stayed out of jail, and Harrison & Tess Wells brought the STAR Labs accelerator online in 2020, presumably after a lot more safety testing than happened in the timeline we’ve been following.

      More importantly, though, none of the people directly affected by those changes mattered, either personally or just in principle, to Thawne. Barry changing his own past is going to affect everyone he cares about, in ways he has no way of knowing.

      Reply
        1. Kelson

          Wait, were you talking about the show or about the comics?

          If you meant the comics, the explanation was that Thawne had a lot more experience with time travel, and was able to make changes surgically with precision, but when Barry tried to change history, he did so clumsily, and broke time.

          It’s still kind of vague, but it makes sense if you think of it in terms of drilling a hole in ice vs. smashing through it. In one case you get a precise hole. In the other, you fracture everything around the change you made.

          Reply
  7. Flashfacts

    THEY FINALLY KISSED!!!!

    The rest was pretty good too though.

    They locked the Flash up for a good ten minutes and this episode STILL felt like it was moving fast enough to crack the time barrier.

    Crisis deaths, Black Flash, Jay Garrick (called it), Wally’s unconditional Flash love, that one scene where they all tried to take down Zoom without Barry and Joe did that awesome double stab jump with the needles….oh yeah, AND FLASHPOINT!

    Once Flashpoint is done (I’m guessing two part opener) I wouldn’t mind some Abra Kadabra love for the big arc next season. Damn good week for Flash!

    Reply
  8. Rocket Jay

    An observation on the “Time Remnants” thing; A lot of people are operating on the assumption that it’s the younger version of Zoom that was dying. Nope. It’s the OLDER version that dies, leaving the younger behind. The younger version, if he has knowledge of his evenual fate (Which Eobard Thawne thankfully didn’t) can apparently then choose to follow a different path–which is exactly the kind of paradox that pisses the time wraiths off, big time (no pun intended). It says something about how sick Hunter Zolomon was that he was willing to die multiple times, just to demoralize Barry.

    As for the implied “Flashpoint” story arc to come, it’s going to have to be a very “broad strokes” variation, seeing as how the Arrowverse has no Wonder Woman or Aquaman, which means no Themiscyra Vs. Atlantis War. Perhaps they can substitute open public warfare between the Arrowverse big bads–Just leave Vandal Savage dead, thank you. And for Pete’s sake, let Barry keep his powers this time–we just went through the whole speed loss/speed regain thing. Too soon guys.

    And it would be cool (no pun intended) for Citizen Cold to be an out-and-out hero this version. Well, okay, maybe a first-season-Arrow type antihero…

    Hmm… What effect would a Flashpoint universal reboot have on the crew of the Waverider, I wonder?

    Reply

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