‘The Flash’ Season Finale Review: ‘Fast Enough’ Is the Finale Fans Deserve
Recap and review of The Flash – Season Finale – Fast Enough:
Season finales aren’t always about getting closure. Lord knows, The Flash doesn’t give us any here. But hot damn, “Fast Enough” is one of the best finales of this TV season, and a perfect capper to this incredible freshman run for The Flash.
Of course, when I say the finale gives us no closure, I don’t mean that as a negative. What we get with “Fast Enough” is a finale in which Season 1 character arcs are brought to a reasonable end point, while larger plot threads remain dangling in such a way that they tease Season 2. For me, there wasn’t a feeling of disappointment when the finale ended on the cliffhanger of Barry (Grant Gustin) charging headlong into a cyclone to prevent the black hole at its center from devouring Central City. Instead, there was a sense of eager anticipation for Season 2, and genuine curiosity over how, exactly, the story is going to get itself out of this situation. Wells/Thawne (Tom Cavanagh) is dead, but only because Eddie (Rick Cosnett) shot himself in the heart to ensure Thawne is never born in the future. The Reverse Flash is essentially erased from history, which creates a whole new batch of continuity problems that could rip this universe wide open. How can Barry become The Flash without Wells to catalyze that transformation with the particle accelerator? Will Eddie even stay dead, since the circumstances of his death have been erased? Will Barry’s mom remain dead now that her killer has been wiped from history? Or is there a loophole that will allow Thawne to return? These are all interesting questions that have me chomping at the bit to get a look at Season 2 now. But even without those questions, there were plenty of other great moments in this finale to suggest that the sooner Season 2 comes, the better.
At the top of my personal list — and I know this review isn’t going to have any real structure to it, because I’m mostly just fanboying out here — is Barry viewing the Speed Force while surpassing Mach 2 in the particle accelerator. Basically, in order to go back in time and save his mother, Barry has to actually fulfill Thawne’s plan by creating a black hole that will allow the time traveler to return to his own time. With the help of Dr. Martin Stein (Victor Garber), Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Thawne himself, Barry is instructed on how to accomplish this task without killing himself. However, in the process of time traveling, Barry views a compressed version of his timeline in the Speed Force. His past, present and future all lay bare in front of him, and it shows us some interesting glimpses into what may come in Season 2, although it can be difficult to know what’s the past and what’s the future. Well, except for one thing: we get our first look at Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) as…well, I’ll just let the image speak for itself…
The notion that Barry, Dr. Stein, and Ronnie (Robbie Amell) aren’t the only members of the STAR Labs team to have been affected by the particle accelerator explosion isn’t entirely new to us by the time the Speed Force shows us this possible future: when Thawne learns that Cisco can actually remember his death in the alternate timeline, it confirms for him something he’s always suspected — that Cisco was affected by the particle accelerator too. To what degree, we’re not entirely certain, although it looks as though he could be lending Barry a hand out on the field sooner rather than later, provided his powers prove useful. But here, it’s his intelligence that is valuable, as he, Dr. Stein, and Caitlin help Barry get back into his own past. And this represents the major emotional climax of the episode — and of the season, as a whole.
In the past, another version of Barry (presumably from even farther into the future) appears, wordlessly warning him against saving his mother. We don’t know why, but it stands to reason that Future Flash has a good reason for preventing his past self from changing history. The result? Barry’s mom dies, and we get an absolutely heartbreaking scene in which Barry comforts his mother in her dying moments with the knowledge that he’s okay, that he’ll have a good life even after she’s gone. It’s a scene that completely wrecked me, emotionally, and it was one of many that anchored the episode, from Joe (Jesse L. Martin) parting as “dad” and “son”, to Barry telling Iris (Candice Patton) that, no matter what happens, he’s had a good life. There was also Barry’s father, Henry (John Wesley Shipp), attempting to talk Barry out of changing the past, in a brutally honest heart-to-heart conversation in prison. Just wonderful stuff, from one of the best acting ensembles I’ve seen in a show of this nature, as everything is given gravitas (Gustin and Martin are the highlights here. Just magnificent stuff from both of them, even in the smallest moments). Hell, even the ancillary characters were given A-material, as Dr. Stein serves as the voice of reason to Eddie’s doubts about his destiny, while Eddie ends up delivering a poignant, stirring speech to Iris about the power of coincidences. This is character development that works on every single level, and it brings many of these arcs full circle. Maybe they aren’t better off than they were when they started this journey, but they’re all wiser, more headstrong, more determined, and more complex and well-rounded. I absolutely adored this finale, from its emotional highs, to its action climaxes (Flash vs. Reverse Flash is brief, but it’s great). Even its epic, cinematic closing moments deserve high praise. I had high expectations for this finale, and they were somehow, miraculously, exceeded.
“Fast Enough” is outstanding television, and marks the evolution of The Flash as a series. For my money, this was the finale fans of the show deserved, as it wrapped up an absolutely outstanding first season. There needs to come a point where critics stop referring to this as “great for a comic book adaptation” and instead just recognize it for what it is: great TV.
But what did you think of the finale? Sound off in the comments!
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