The Last Thing We Expected
Warning: Spoilers for season 3, episode 23 (Finish Line) of The Flash follow. If you have not watched the episode, read on at your own risk.
When All is Said and Done
I complained a lot about season three of The Flash, but Finish Line delivered far above my expectations. This was the finale I stopped believing in weeks ago. I still do not think that Savitar was a compelling villain. Instead, Finish Line made Team Flash great again. Oh, so great! There are a lot of things that went right that I want to talk about. So, let’s start from the beginning, with H.R. Wells.
It turns out that all of those theories about H.R. swapping places with Iris were correct. I wrote them off, saying that there was no way he had time to make the switch. Turns out he didn’t pull the switcheroo while Flash and Savitar were fighting though. Instead, he did something much more brave and tracked down where Savitar was keeping Iris in order to save her. It was much better that way. H.R. went out as a hero, and Savitar’s fate was seemingly sealed. Without Iris dying on Infantino Street, Savitar would no longer exist. Now, it was a race against time for Savitar and not Team Flash.
I’m extremely happy that H.R. got to go down as a hero. I’m also sad that he had to die, because as far as I’m concerned the more Tom Cavanagh characters running around on the show the better. It was a fitting end though, and one that made a lot of sense for the character. It also completely changed the game. You could even go so far as to say that it was H.R. who defeated Savitar, and not Barry. The only good complaint I have about his death is that it is very similar to Eddie in season one. It worked though, so I’ll keep that to myself.
After realizing his doom, Savitar decided to have Cisco alter the speed force cannon. The plan was to spread himself all throughout time, essentially becoming an all-present god. In effect, there would be no way for the paradox to catch up with him if he was literally everywhere, always. Cisco wasn’t going to go along with the plan willingly though, so Savitar had to threaten Caitlyn’s life, and it seemed to work.
While all of this is going on, Barry and Iris decide that the best thing they can do is try to help Savitar. He is a time remnant of Barry, so there has to be some hope left for him. It’s a noble effort, but it ultimately fails when Savitar uses the philosopher’s stone to cause the speed force to destroy S.T.A.R. Labs.
On to the Final Fight
Back in Savitar’s lair, Cisco finishes his alterations on the cannon. When he presents it to Savitar, Killer Frost is told to kill Cisco but Gypsy shows up to save him. I did not expect that to happen at all, but it totally makes sense. Apparently Gypsy vibed that Cisco was in danger, because they’re connected to each other now. I’m assuming through the power of love, though I suppose that it’s more heavily implied that they are connected from the kiss they shared earlier in the season. Nevertheless, Cisco tells everyone Savitar’s plan so they go to stop him.
This is where things take a turn for the incredible. The final fight is amazing, even if some of the effects seem odd. At first, it seems as if Savitar might succeed in spreading himself throughout time, until the cannon fails and Jay Garrick comes racing out of the speed force to deliver a big hit on Savitar. Yep, Cisco rigged the cannon to free Garrick instead. Then, Barry, Garrick, and Wally fought Savitar while Cisco and Gypsy took on Killer Frost. The battle was pretty huge compared to all the other fights we’ve seen on The Flash, and it was easily my favorite fight the show has given us.
Watching Barry, Jay, and Wally all chase after Savitar was amazing and unexpected. Sure, Jay and Wally were taking out of the fight pretty easily, but that’s alright. There were some sweet slow-motion shots of the speedsters in action that made it all worth it, particularly the shot of all three of them avoiding the trees that Savitar cut down. It was at this point that I realized that this episode redeemed the season for me. In the end, Killer Frost would turn on Savitar to save Cisco, and give Barry the chance to phase him out of his suit.
The paradox would wind up catching up to Savitar in the end, after Iris placed a bullet in his back. For a split moment before that though, I was legitimately worried that Barry might kill Savitar. Instead, he held himself back. It was a great moment, one of my favorites of season three.
After the big fight we catch up with the team at H.R.’s funeral. There are some sweet words said, then we see Caitlyn. Though, she’s still not Caitlyn. She’s not Killer Frost either. She did not take the cure that Julian gave her, but she also was very much not evil. It’s an interesting end for her character, even if it’s not the one that I was hoping for. It’s worth pointing out here that Julian is still very much alive, which means that he successfully avoided the curse of being Caitlyn’s romantic interest. Good for him. I like Julian now, so I’m happy for him to be around.
It also seems like Harrison Wells, the Earth-2 version, will be hanging around for awhile. Which makes sense considering he really has no reason to stay on Earth-2 since Jesse is no longer there. Why not be in a place that could use his talents to their fullest? Earth-2 Wells is my favorite wells, so I’m hoping this means that we will see a lot of him in season 4.
That brings us to the ending, where we learned that the newspaper headline that has been teasing us since season 1 was becoming reality. At some point along the way, Barry’s meddling in time sped up the process. Flash is missing. He vanished during a crisis. We now know that Crisis to be the balance of the speed force. Since Jay escaped, someone had to be there. The speed force was creating a literal storm over the city, causing a lot of destruction. It was bitersweet to watch Barry say his goodbyes to everyone, before walking in to the speed force with his mom.
Honestly though, it was a nearly perfect ending. Barry messed up a lot of things by meddling in time. He admitted it, and now he’s making it right. The speed force, taking the shape of Barry’s mom, said it best. The good news is, it seems like Barry will not be a prisoner in the speed force. Rather, he will be a guest. According to the speed force, his race is done.
It’s hard to believe that The Flash will get rid of Grant Gustin just three seasons in, but I have to say that Barry walking in to the speed force felt extremely final. Like, that was it for Barry. He literally passed the mantle on to Wally before he walked in. It seems like there’s no coming back from this. If he does come back, it will cheapen the emotional but satisfying ending. I’m really interested in hearing everyone’s thoughts on this.
Finish Line – The Flash Season Finale In Conclusion
Finish Line felt like a finale. To me, the ending was not a cliffhanger. It was the end of Barry Allen’s journey as The Flash. I’m sure others will feel differently. Either way you look at it, Finish Line was a wonderful ending to a rocky season. With tons of great moments, it hit all the right notes. It was full of heart and emotion, and exciting action sequences. I’m still not a fan of Savitar, but I am a fan of Team Flash and they were great tonight.