‘The Flash’ Season 2 Finale Review: ‘The Race of His Life’ Changes Everything
Recap and review of The Flash – Season 2 Finale – The Race of His Life:
It’s strange to have a season finale that actually alters the status quo, since it feels so rare in this day and age. But The Flash accomplishes this with “The Race of His Life”, an episode that not only brings the Zoom storyline to an end, but also loops back around to Season 1 with a game-changer of a move on Barry’s part. This was an exhilarating finale for what it could mean for the show, moving forward.
So we finally saw the end of Zoom (Teddy Sears), who finally enacted his plan to essentially destroy the multiverse by forcing Barry (Grant Gustin) into a winner-takes-all race. It’s kind of obnoxious how simplistic the ending is though, considering it mostly comes down to the Time Wraiths, who whisk Zoom off to Lord only knows where. I don’t anticipate this is the last we’ll see of the villain, but I’m at the point where I’d be happy for an overarching villain who isn’t a Speedster. Say what you will about the overall quality of The Flash, and I still think its quality is pretty high, I hope the show breaks from its formula for Season 3. Because we’re on two seasons now of Barry facing off against a Speedster with the help of a mentor who turns out to be bad, who then threatens Central City with a time/world-ripping catastrophe, with Barry also returning to the past to debate whether or not to rescue his mother. It’s not a bad formula, but it’s not something the show can necessarily repeat infinitely.
I also think the show has more potential with the mysteries it solves on the way to that Time Wraith conclusion. On the one hand, we learned the truth about The Man In the Iron Mask: it’s the REAL Jay Garrick, who looks exactly like Henry Allen (John Wesley Shipp). It’s a natural reveal, and probably not as shocking as the show intended for it to be, but it opens up a bunch of interesting possibilities. With that said, I still feel like this Zoom plotline went on about five or six episodes too long. Part of it is the issue faced by non-procedural, serialized network shows, which are forced to fulfill a 22-episode mandate. The Flash and Arrow each have to satisfy a 23-episode criteria, and I feel like that results in certain storylines being prolonged past their expiration date.
Of course, I say this, and yet I’ve actually been a big proponent of the Zoom storyline, at least more than the Damien Darhk story on Arrow. Seeing Barry’s race with Zoom seemed silly at first, but it feels like a culmination of a season-long arc to determine who is truly the fastest man alive. And seeing Zoom get taken by the Time Wraiths seemed to satisfy the conditions of Barry’s revenge, particularly that Zoom should suffer for what he’s done.
In addition to closing the door on Zoom, we get some other developments that fundamentally shake up the status quo: Wells (Tom Cavanagh) and Jesse (Violett Beane) opt to leave Earth-1 alongside the real Jay Garrick, resulting in an emotional departure in which Wells and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) say goodbye for the last time. It’s unfortunate to lose a performer like Cavanagh, who’s been one of the strongest assets to the show across two seasons, but I don’t feel like this is truly the end for him on the show. At the very least, I hope the writers can find more from him to do, particularly if Jesse becomes Jesse Quick. Still, this game-changing development ends up being overshadowed somewhat by the shocker that closes the episode: after finally exchanging “I Love You” with Iris (Candice Patton) and also sharing a kiss, Barry excuses himself to go back in time….to save his mother?! It’s kind of crazy that the finale comes to this point, and yet it feels sort of inevitable. Even though he knows there are potential damages to the timeline that could result from such an action, Barry is just plain sick of losing people. In a way, this is his opportunity to see how the other half lives, albeit in a potentially irreversible way. Would Barry be the same guy if his mother had lived? Would his life be as profuse with tragedy? It’s hard to know. Hell, he could end up making his life worse. The big draw of Season 3 is seeing how things change as a result of the choices Barry made here. And, frankly, I’m exhilarated by that. “The Race of His Life” totally delivered, in my opinion. And I can’t wait to see what The Flash has in store for Season 3.
But what did you think of The Flash Season 2 Finale, “The Race of His Life”? Sound off in the comments!
And for more on The Flash, read our review and analysis of last week’s epic, penultimate episode, “Invincible”!