Previously on The Flash, ‘Rogue Air’
“Because I hate you.”
Our usual intro gets a remix as Barry tells his life’s story and makes his way down to the particle accelerator. The day he’s going to get justice for his father is today. Wells confirms his name is Eobard Thawne and he was born 136 years from now. He encourages Barry to ask him what he really wants to know: “Why did you kill my mother?”
“Because I hate you.”
In his time, they are enemies and neither could defeat the other. But Thawne learned Barry’s name and got the idea to go back in time to kill him as a child. When future Barry took his younger self out of the house, Thawne was pissed. And he wondered if making young Barry suffer the tragedy of losing his mother would make it so he never became The Flash.
Okay, I’m not completely thrilled with this. I would have preferred if he did it out of rage – even though he hasn’t really been shown to be an impulsive person; you can’t be to plot what he has for 15 years. But making him kill the mother on the off chance that would stop Barry from being The Flash doesn’t seem like something a methodical person would do either. I feel like we’ve seen him do impulsive things out of rage before, at least more so than we’ve seen him take great risks with making sure his plan works.
Also, why are there no cows in 2,151? What the fuck did we do to the world?
He tells Barry about the horrible irony of having to create The Flash in order to get back home since he lost access to the speed force – still didn’t get a complete explanation on what that is, by the way. He needs Barry’s speed to rip the space-time continuum, and in the process, Barry can go back in time to save his mom.
Barry presents Wells’ offer to the group plus Ronnie and Dr. Stein. Good thing Stein is there because they need a big brain to work through the logistics of this for the simple folk. The night Barry’s mother died already changed the timeline he was on so they’re living in a parallel reality. If Barry saves his mother, everything will change and none of them will even know because they won’t remember.
Joe is on board and tells Barry he has to do it. It’s why he became The Flash – to put things right. After saving so many lives in the pst year, it’s time for Barry to save his own.
That black fatherhood is SO GOOD!
“You were always a hero.”
Barry gets very different advice from his father when he visits him in jail. Things happen for a reason, he says, and his mother wouldn’t want him to do this for her.
Even though there’s a chance Barry will go back in time and change all this shit, Ronnie re-proposes to Caitlin and she says yes.
“I never saw myself as a hyphenator.”
Iris finds Barry on the rooftop and asks what he’s going to do. He hasn’t decided. It’s scary to think once he does it, he won’t be able to undo it. She asks why he would want to: he’d have his family, his career, and her as his wife. She asks if he thinks it’s because they never lived together that they’re married “there.”
Where’s there? Best believe we’re going to talk about this on the podcast tonight.
Barry explains that living with her and being so close made it hard for him to tell her how he felt. Then she fell in love with Eddie. She hugs him and says he should do what’s in his heart. For once, do what he thinks is best for him.
“A great and honorable destiny awaits you.”
Barry meets with Wells again, a full hour later than Wells predicted he’d come to his decision. Barry wants details. They’ll use the particle accelerator, and this time it will work. Barry will run and collide with one particle, opening a wormhole into infinite times. Through this wormhole he’ll have the opportunity to go back in time and save his mother.
The group reconvenes and Stein breaks down more science-y stuff. Barry would have to go mach 2 at a minimum. If not, he’d be like a bug hitting a windshield. Cisco’s not down with helping Barry kill himself. He is down for helping build Wells’ time machine, though, so he becomes down with the other part of the plan by default. Since Wells doesn’t have his speed under control in this time (and he gave up the tachyon device he was using to stabilize it in order to make the quantum splicer which separated Firestorm), he’ll need a time machine to travel through the wormhole.
Cisco doesn’t think he’ll need structural engineer Ronnie’s help, except he does since Ronnie quickly points out they’ll have an issue with some of the material burning. Cisco decides to ask Wells for help on fixing the problem. During this time, Cisco can’t help but let slip that Wells killed him in the day that never was. Wells is fascinated by this development, yet not sorry for killing Cisco. What he is sorry for is having to break the news to his once protege that he’s a meta-human. Cisco can see the vibrations in the universe. Cisco is in disbelief, but Wells tells him he now has a great and honorable destiny. The words Cisco is looking for are, “Thank you, Mr. Thawne.” Wells (I’m still calling him that!) tells him it was given out of love.
“There is no science to coincidence.”
Eddie feels like he’s in the way, but Stein disagrees. He’s the most fascinating person involved since he gets to choose his own future. Not sure how that works. Eddie is a rare coincidence, and a scientist can’t plan for those. He mentions the odds of Wells going back to the town and time of Eddie, and also having to be responsible for keeping Eddie safe to ensure his plan would work.
See! That’s why he gripped Eddie’s up two weeks ago. He was probably not willing to take the chance someone would at least suggest killing Eddie would solve their problem. He’s lucky my ass isn’t on Team Flash. It would have at least been put on the table!
Computers start beeping and there’s a problem: Wells failed to mention that when Barry collides with the hydrogen particle, he could create a singularity. Then Caitlin asks, “What’s a singularity?” And Ronnie looks at her like I looked at Hakeem when he asked his MBA-having brother if he’d ever heard of a hostile takeover.
TL;DR: It’s a black hole and it could suck up the whole world.
Then Cisco drops a line from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the internet lost its mind.
“I believe in you, Barry. I always have.”
They go right to the security monitor to talk to Wells about it. He’s like, “Settle down, noobs. Barry will have nearly two minutes to save his mother and return to this time. But let’s not get it twisted: more than enough time for him to save his mother, but not stop me from going home. Life’s about choices, playa.”
He believes in Barry. Does his family and friends believe in him, too?
“I was born with one father, and tragedy gave me another.”
Joe admits he’s not sure what Barry is going to do is right, but he wasn’t going to be the one to stop him from helping his mom. Barry is worried about losing Joe once things change, and even though Joe has no way of knowing this for sure, he tells Barry he’ll never lose him.
“We’ve all been so focused on Barry’s destiny, I forgot that I have one, too.”
Eddie walks his coincidental ass into Iris’ job and says he’s choosing his destiny and it’s her. Screw the future! Then Caitlin and Ronnie get married outside S.T.A.R. Labs and I was like, “Why?” I mean, there’s no real time factor (in terms of rushing), I guess, but will any of this matter once Barry saves his mom? I suppose all of these relationship decisions are more symbolic than anything else.
That said, I’m surprised everyone is so willing to have their lives completely altered by Barry getting what he wants. What we’re led to believe by Iris’ statement earlier (which I promise we’ll dig into on the podcast), is Barry’s life with a mom (the future Flash’s original life) also has Iris as his wife and Joe is the police chief and all the other stuff we saw in that paper. And that’s cool. But does Cisco ever achieve his successes? Is Caitlin with Ronnie? What about Stein? He has a wife who we know he loves, and 40+ years of marriage under his belt. Are we to believe none of them hesitated to have that all erased for Barry’s mom? I guess.
“Now, run, Barry. Run.”
Barry says goodbye to everyone before entering the particle accelerator. Wells instructs him to run, and he does. He hits mach 2 pretty quickly, which activates the speed force and Barry passes by scenes from his past, present, and future all at the same time. Some things we see are:
- The day Joe tells Iris he brought Barry home to live with them.
- Caitlin looking very goth.
- A building with gold writing and a giant gold statue of a man in front of it.
- Barry in jail! What?!
Barry arrives in his childhood home on the night his mother died and waits to hear when his future self took his younger self out of the house. He’s about to step out when he sees himself vibrating right outside the door. This version of Barry holds up a hand to tell him to stay where he is and shakes his head. Once we hear Barry’s father instruct young Barry to run, the version of Barry in the hall rushes into the next room.
Barry stays hidden and listens as Reverse Flash stabs his mother and leaves. When he enters the living room, his father is knocked out and his mother lies bleeding on the floor. He assures her their family is fine and reveals himself to be The Flash. She has no idea who that is so he removes his mask. The first thing she notices is: He looks just like her father. He tells her he’s Barry and that he and his father are okay. He tells her he loves her. She cries and calls him her beautiful boy. She says goodbye to her son with her last breath.
And then I suddenly developed allergies and those bitches kicked in.
In the present, Wells prepares to get into the time machine Cisco built. He remarks Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill), the man who built the first one of its kind, would be impressed. Then a metal helmet comes flying out of the wormhole and Wells is all, “Gotta go. Gotta go.” He thanks Cisco and gets in his egg time travel thingie. With 30 seconds to spare, he is about to leave, and then Barry comes flying through the wormhole and punches him in the face.
Stein yells for Caitlin and Ronnie to shut down the wormhole. If they knew Barry had to come back in less than two minutes no matter what, why the fuck were they not waiting by where they needed to be in order to close the wormhole?
Wells is furious Barry didn’t take the opportunity to have everything he ever wanted. Barry responds he already has it. They fight and Caitlin and Ronnie manage to close the wormhole with 9 seconds to spare. Ronnie also managed to get shocked so hard it threw him across the room.
Just as Wells is about to kill Barry, a gun fires. Eddie has shot himself in the chest, which begins the process of wiping Wells (Eobard) out of existence. As Iris cries over Eddie, he’s comforted by knowing he got what he always wanted: to be her hero. Wells turns back into Eobard, who taunts Barry by asking what he’s going to do without him since he’s been controlling Barry’s life for so long. Then he disappears.
The wormhole opens for some damn reason (I guess Eddie’s sacrifice was noble, but I imagine it created all kinds of ripples and issues with time. That’s generations altered.) and parts of the time machine are sucked into it. Despite Iris’ cries, they all get the hell up out of there and Eddie’s body enters the wormhole as well. Once outside, they all watch as the top of a building and other debris flies into the wormhole in the sky. Oddly enough: no people!
Stein says more science-y stuff and Barry decides he has to try to stop what’s happening. As they all watch – including his father from his surprisingly spacious jail cell (a cell with a nice view, apparently) – Barry races up the side of the building and into the wormhole.
Thoughts & Questions
- Though I’ve been saying for weeks the show would have to consider killing Eddie as a way to kill Wells, and that they were probably purposely being vague about their exact relationship so this connection would be made in the finale, it was still incredibly sad to see Eddie sacrifice himself (and the lives of his future descendants) to save Barry and everyone else. The more I think about it, I wonder if maybe we all were overthinking it. Maybe descendant means direct. I’m too lazy to hit up dictionary.com. But they kind of did confirm he was one when Eddie mentioned it and Wells didn’t correct him. He didn’t say, “No, I’m your brother’s great, great grandson.” And I’m sure Eddie knows if he has siblings.
- Wasn’t really here for Wells turning into Eobard before he went.
- There’s still something hinky about what happened the night Nora died. The Barry who warns our Barry not to interfere, where the hell did he come from? He can’t be the Barry who traveled back in time with Wells because they are fighting in the next room when he warns Barry. It’s not until he hears Henry tell young Barry to run does he leave. Then we see him scoop young Barry up. What the hell was Wells doing during that time? Running around in a circle alone? So, was that a fourth Barry? If so, he can’t be the same Barry who scooped up young Barry. I’m about 99.9% sure it’s supposed to be the same Barry who traveled back with Wells, but that still means the events are a little shaky. (NOTE: After a rewatch, I am convinced it is not a third adult Barry – 4th Barry on the scene overall when you count little boy Barry – but the same one who traveled back in time with Wells. Still wondering how Wells didn’t realized homeboy was standing in the background, no longer fighting, and making hand gestures.)
- If they thought Barry was going to save his mother and come back in less than two minutes (remember: he needed to do that in order to not create the singularity) how was that going to work for everyone’s lives? Would they have all just magically popped into the lives possible because she lived?
- I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts after I watch this 50’leven more times, but you’ll hear those on the podcast.