If you haven’t seen The Flash’s second season finale, go and watch it now. I’ll wait. Got it? No, you just want spoilers? Okay, I’ll meet you after the jump. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
Let’s run through the episode real quick before we proceed to FEELING ALL THE FEELINGS.
The season finale kicks off right after the previous episode’s cliffhanger; that is, as Zoom kills Henry Allen in front of Barry to emphasize his belief that he and Barry are essentially the same person. Zoom of course, now revealed to be condemned serial killer Hunter Zolomon using the name Jay Garrick (The Flash of Earth-2). A nerve-wracking cliffhanger from the last episode to be sure, since the previous episode was pretty much Barry riding the high of knowing that he was righteous and the Speed Force had his back… which turned out to be hubris, kinda, as Zoom drags him from their victory dinner only to watch his father die.
Zoom then proceeds to demonstrate the power difference yet again, creating a “time remnant” in the middle of the ensuing fight and frustrating time cop fans everywhere as he casually dispatches himself, telling Barry “You’re almost ready.”
In what is probably the most logical showdown between speedsters ever, Zoom later challenges Barry to a race. He cites his obsession with being the best, being the fastest, but we all know that’s utter bullshit as Team Flash uncovers a multiverse-shattering device that Zoom intends to power using the ambient energy both speedsters would generate in such a race; the magnatar. Despite this knowledge, Barry insists on racing Zoom, and they’re forced to toss him into the Pipeline to keep him from doing the stupid thing, then proceed to succeed in punting Zoom back into Earth-2 on their own, except Zoom manages to snag Joe as he gets sucked through the breach. As they wrack their heads on what to do back at Star Labs, Wally, of course, frees Barry to try and make things right as Zoom reveals his full origin to Joe as well as the identity of the man in the iron mask: another speedster from another world, the real Jay Garrick.
Jumping to the final showdown, the conditions for the race are simple. If Barry catches Zoom before the magnatar is fully powered, Zoom lets Joe go and the everyone gets to walk away. Barry tries to sidestep the conditions though, by creating a time remnant of his own that runs off-course and saves Joe, then attempts to contain the magnatar’s pulse as Barry and Zoom clash one more time. Barry finally manages to get the upper hand on Zoom as the other Barry sacrifices himself to shunt the magnatar out of phase, saving the multiverse at the cost of his own life.
Speed Force Time Wraiths then appear (as previously seen on S02E17 “Flash Back”), apparently sufficiently attracted by the gross number of chronal violations in the area such as Barry’s time jaunt and Zoom’s blatant disregard for the timestream. They then proceed to attack Zoom, dragging him away through a portal.
Back at Star Labs, our heroes finally unwind as Cisco and Harry proceed to finally unmask Jay Garrick. Barry is affected, of course, as we find that Jay Garrick is Henry Allen’s doppelganger.
A bit later, after the Earth-2 crew head back home with Jay Garrick in tow with the hopes that they can send him back home to his world from there, Barry and Iris have a heart to heart as they share a kiss. Barry reveals to the viewers that he’s not as okay as we think he is, as he makes the decision to jump into the time stream yet again and save his mother, without giving a shit on the repercussions on the timeline.
…okay, so first up, can I just say how much I enjoyed Teddy Sears’ performance throughout the season? He made a really good Jay Garrick, and he was sufficiently psycho when playing an unmasked Zoom. The obsession with making The Flash “better” feels like a great callout to the Zoom in comics, even if the motivations are different. This leaves a bit of a plothole for me though: if Zoom constructed his Garrick identity *after* he gained his speed, how does Earth-2 know who Jay Garrick is? We even get the impression that Harry Wells is very familiar with Garrick, and even if that was a great mislead, it kind of raises a lot of questions. Time remnants are another bother for me, I feel like this is a plot device that might come back to bite the writers later on, but let’s wait and see.
But speaking of time remnants, the final showdown between Zoom and Barry feels a little anticlimactic, especially after an entire season’s buildup. The payoff is kinda cool though, as we see Barry turn the tables with his own time remnant, with the other Barry going so far as to sacrifice his life to contain the device’s pulse with visuals reminiscent of comic Barry’s sacrifice in Crisis on Infinite Earths.
And speaking of comic book references, that Black Flash tho.
Seeing John Wesley Shipp as Jay Garrick is a great meta nod: If you don’t know by now, John played Barry Allen in a previous Flash live action TV series, and when he was announced to be in the new Flash TV series, people were clamoring for him to play Jay Garrick. Seeing him in the winged helmet was great fanservice, as he’s now the original Flash in more ways than one.
The season ender makes for another great setup though. Much like the singularity from the end of Season One, the timeline alter creates a whole new set of conflicts to explore, since similar to how the comic event Flashpoint changed up the universe drastically, Barry saving his mother causes a whole bunch of causality problems. This could be clever? An altered timeline also means that Season Three can mess around without worrying about continuity with other shows. I don’t know if they’d go that far, but that’s just me thinking off the top of my head. Considering we’ve had a formal introduction to the Speed Force, and we’ve defined more rules for time travel in the series (Barry’s subtle and not-so-subtle dicking with continuity notwithstanding) Season Three’s got more stuff to play with as they explore Barry’s character and the rest of Team Flash.
Season Two started off really well, then noticably lagged in the middle before picking it up again for the ending. With luck, The Flash’s Season Three will keep the momentum going.
The Flash Season Three is scheduled to debut October 2016.
Thoughts? Comments? Theories? More feelings? Let us know in the comments!