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The Flash – S2E23 – The Race of His Life

Previously on The Flash, “Invincible”

Images: The CW

The most satisfying part of the Zoom storyline in this finale was the part where it ended. The season-long threat started very strong, became a tad ridiculous, got super confusing, and then felt just as torturous as watching someone you love being dangled off a rooftop.

The build-up to learning Zoom’s identity was great, and this is in large part to the fantastic voice work by Tony Todd. The dark speedster suit with claws, and watching him catch and throw a lightning bolt did the rest. Fan theories raced through the internet – I wasn’t immune – but right around episode ten (after the show was done helping set up Legends of Tomorrow), it became obvious Jay was Zoom. If he wasn’t Zoom, then the show had introduced the iconic Jay Garrick as a sketchy whiner who disappeared for long periods of time, and shot down every idea the team had when he was around.

When you consider that while he was doing this, Zoom’s motives seemed to be all over the damn place, it’s a wonder more people didn’t figure it out sooner. Granted, everything we knew about Zoom in the beginning came from Zoom himself, but his actions never really meshed with what Jay was saying. First, he wanted to be the only speedster on any Earth. That should have been a hint right there because it implied that Jay knew Zoom could travel to (and had been to) other Earths. But if he’s so terrifying (Jay’s own words: “Zoom’s a nightmare you can’t wake up from.”), why was he sending low-level meta-humans to kill Barry? Then he wanted to steal Barry’s speed (with no explanation from Jay how Zoom could do it or did it to him – though he later admitted that he lied about Zoom taking his powers), but first he wanted to fatten Barry “like a Christmas goose.”

After being stuck on his Earth for a bit (minus one hostage in Jesse), he was back to wanting Barry’s speed and Caitlin. Once we learned that “Jay” was Zoom, and we knew Jay was truly dying, his earlier exploits make even less sense because he wasn’t acting as someone who wanted them to work on a cure. In fact, he actively and loudly pushed them to leave Velocity alone. Once he killed his time remnant, he was stuck on Earth-2, still dying and just waiting for Cisco to figure out how to open breaches – though he had no way of knowing they’d even decide to go back to Earth-2 to stop him. We later learn Zoom can open his own breaches so why was he chanting on the other side of the breach for Cisco to make it work?

But, fine, he’s cured, he has Barry’s speed, and he has the girl. However, the girl doesn’t want him so it’s back to Earth-1 to rule it.

Once he brought Central City to heel, he set loose his neighborhood meta-humans to distract everyone while he stole tech from Mercury Labs; tech he needed to use (along with his and Barry’s speed) to destroy the entire multiverse save Earth-1, which he will rule.

When did that hot-ass mess become the plan? Because there were a few moments when he was legit going to kill Barry and others where he damn near killed him, and, oh there’s the time when he took Barry’s speed. Either way, whether all of those things were part of the plan all along or pivots he made for reasons, by the time we got to episode 23, I was exhausted and didn’t even care.

In this finale, after Barry is tranquilized and locked up by his own team, an attempt to send Zoom back to Earth-2 ends with Joe going with him. Team Flash understood the risks and agreed ahead of time they wouldn’t try to save anyone who went through the breach with Zoom. Of course, the two people who didn’t get a vote in this decision – Wally and Barry – disagree, and Wally frees The Flash so he can get their father back.

This means racing Zoom to set off the multiverse-destroying device, but Barry takes a move from Zoom’s playbook and creates a time remnant who is willing to die to foil Zoom’s plan. The Time Wraiths that bugged me in “Flash Back“, finally make an appearance to whisk Zoom into the Speed Force and to his death, presumably.

Good riddance.

The day is saved, but Barry isn’t happy. How could he be? Just as he’d made peace with his decision to let his mother die, he watches another parent die in front of him. To make matters worse, the man in the iron mask is revealed to be the real Jay Garrick from Earth-3, and he’s Henry Allen’s doppelganger. Even though I called this weeks ago, it’s a testament to Grant Gustin’s acting that watching Barry look at the man he just put in the ground was so heartbreakingly effective.

Despite his superhero status, Barry Allen has spent the past 17 years wracking up a lot of Ls. So, it’s understandable that even after finally getting the girl of his dreams, Barry decides to go back in time once more and this time save his mother, wiping out of existence the version of himself that waited in his childhood bedroom last season.

Season three seems poised to explore this new reality – hinted at all of season one – where Barry Allen grew up with two parents and married Iris West. This is a bittersweet development, and not just on the WestAllen front. I like the idea of Wells and Jesse, returned to Earth-2 free from the threat of Zoom, being able to live out happy lives in their world. I suspect we might get to finally meet the true Earth-1 Harrison Wells this fall. Without interference from Eobard Thawne, maybe he and Tess have a daughter named Jesse.

If Barry and Iris are married in season three, what does this mean for the rest of the West family? Did Francine leave when she was pregnant with Wally? What about S.T.A.R. Labs and Cisco and Caitlin? Can we please get Tony Todd in season three somehow?

I’m optimistic that exploring this new timeline will be infinitely better than this season’s Zoom storyline, which was all over the place in two worlds.

Come back to Project Fandom on Friday to read my Flash Season Two by the Numbers breakdown and season three predictions. 

The Flash S2E23 = 9.3/10
  • 7/10
    Plot - 7/10
  • 10/10
    Dialogue - 10/10
  • 10/10
    Action - 10/10
  • 10/10
    Performances - 10/10
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About Nina Perez (1391 Articles)
Nina Perez is the founder of Project Fandom. She is also the author of a YA series of books, "The Twin Prophecies," and a collection of essays titled, "Blog It Out, B*tch." Her latest books, a contemporary romance 6-book series titled Sharing Space, are now available on Amazon.com for Kindle download. She has a degree in journalism, works in social media, lives in Portland, Oregon, and loves Idris Elba. When not watching massive amounts of British television or writing, she is sketching plans to build her very own TARDIS. She watches more television than anyone you know and she's totally fine with that.

20 Comments on The Flash – S2E23 – The Race of His Life

  1. With such a spectacular season 1 in comparison, this season was doo except for two episodes. (the welcome to earth 2 two parter and the reverse-flash returns). So 2 great episodes out of 23 episodes, I can divide, that’s roughly a one hot episode every 10 episode average, and that’s so lame!

    To be honest #westallen isn’t the most important thing to me in the show but either give it to us or give Iris something effective to do. Also Barry needs to stop acting like Iris isn’t a dime and if she is the supposed love of your life stop playing yourself with Patty, wacky kisses and putting her on the back burner because you’re so empty. BRUH LET HER LOVE YOU SHE GOT WHAT YOU’RE MISSING. It’s becoming harder to believe that he loves her like that because he has to shown that he does for most of this season.

    I hate that it looks like Wally didn’t get to use any of his powers at all. So it’s like that blast he and Jessie received had zero effect on him? What was the point especially if Barry changed the timeline by saving his mom?

    Be honest Nina we all would have been better off with Gorilla Grodd every week than the zoom storyline once he took off the mask lol!

    I can’t quite this show because season 1 was so magnificent so this season I’ll call a sophomore slump.

    BTW can we get that premium Flashpoint paradox podcast???

    Thanks for what yall do !!

  2. YES! i am so happy the ending has made you as optimistic about season 3 as i am. If Barry stopped RF that could mean E1 Harry and his wife are still alive *twerks* and they could end up having Jessie *twerks harder* (but wouldn’t she be a lot younger then the Jessie we know since she wasn’t even born when Barry was 11?) And they better fucking give me a full WestAllen relationship after that weak ass kiss. The only thing i am worried about is how his relationship with Joe is going to change in this new timeline. I don’t want Barry to just be that thirsty little boy chasing after his daughter (because you know with Barry having mother alive and his family together he is going to be less Emo and he is definitely going to be trying to holla at Iris in high school.) i would really like it if Joe and Francine stayed together and raised Iris and Wally and then Francine dies because ain’t nobody want Francine on this show. i am so excited for season 3 😊 great review Nina as always, can’t wait to hear your podcast.

  3. FOR THE PODCAST:
    Overall this finale was kinda meh to me. The last 3-4 episodes were. There was some good stuff in them though. Anyway, here are a few comments.
    1. Black Fatherhood – That black fatherhood was in full effect in this episode and these mutha fuckas almost took it from me… I mean us. I’ll be damned if I stand for it again, CW. You sons of bitches BETTER NOT put St. Joseph Of Central City in peril like that again. When he went through that portal with Zoom I fell to my knees and screamed “Lord, Jesus, no!!!!! Why couldn’t he have taken one of these white people?!?!?!?!?!?!”. My heart sank and I was scared that Joe was going to die. That would have crushed me and turned me into a Hodor like man. Without Joe, who will I pretend to play catch with while I watch the show? Did you ever think about that, CW? You ever think about what it means to a 36 year old black man to toss a ball against his living room wall while watching this show as he pretends that wall is actually Joe West? No! No you bastards didn’t think about that shit. You almost made me regress from a man how can say cool shit like “Catch the ball” to one whose only form of communication is some bullshit like “CatchBa”. How dare you almost do that to me. Black Dads matter!!!!
    2. Caitlyn – She gotta die.
    3. Exit Barry/Enter Wallace – I am ready to accept Wallace West as my personal Flash and Savior. Will this show have the balls to make that happen one day? It’s called The Flash, doesn’t say WHO that person is though!
    4. Uncle Denzel aka Jay Garrick – Y’all see Jay looking like a drunk uncle in that Flash uniform? He had it on lock with that hat cocked to the side. You know he had a Crown Royal bag full of dominoes on him.

  4. For the podcast:
    Do you think that this is their way of adding super girl in E1? Could this event merged the two earths or just brought super girl into this one what do you think?

  5. For the podcast

    All I have are questions!!!

    Does that mean speedsters are always members of Barry’s family for the most part?

    Is Barry gonna get in trouble with the Speed Force for doing that? What will be the consequences?

    Will he & Iris still be friends?

    Since the particle accelerator happened later according to Thawne, does that mean everyone will be older when it happens?

    I’m so confused. Either way, thanks for putting out a fantastic podcast despite the show hitting a definite sophomore slump. Last year was so much better but I am looking forward to where they go from here. Can’t wait to hear the podcast!

  6. FOR THE PODCAST:

    Hey girl!

    Caitlin wouldn’t shut the fcuk up. And she still managed to make everything, including Barry’s deadbeat daddy’s death, about herself. I would have been just fine had she been killed.

    I’m giving up on Barry being with Iris. Because My God. She told him she hoped to be the peace he sought in his time of grief and he said “Nah, that ain’t good enough. K bye.” Every single chance he gets to be with her, he manages to fcuk it up one way or the other. And not only did he fcuk up his time with Iris, he fcuked up the entire universe. But whatever. Gotta do it for your mama, I guess.

    Shout out to the demons from the movie Ghost showing back up and taking Zoom away.

    Whatever to this nonsense.

  7. FOR THE PODCAST:
    I was disappointed. Last night I was pissed but today disappointed. Leonard Brothers hit all my main points with the exception of getting rid of Barry (I see you Leonard!). The thing that bothered me the most and the reason this bothered me the most was that this season was a disappointment when following season 1. What happened at the end of this episode for all intents and purposes destroyed the events of season 1, and while they can undo it cause this is The Flash and Barry can travel through time, I hated that they did it-more so because this season has been so lackluster. The main issue after thinking about it for a while is this: Can we go to a different well than “my parents are dead, must avenge, must save at all costs” loop that they seem to have Barry perpetually trapped in? I lost my father tragically to a workplace accident 18 years ago and not a day goes by where I’m not devastated and hurt by that thought. It doesn’t define me forever though, and it feels like Barry, the way he is being written, is destined to only ever be defined by his parents’ passing. That’s a problem for me across many of DC properties. It’s why we keep seeing Thomas and Martha killed EVERY TIME Batman comes around. It’s why week seeing Pa Kent die EVERY TIME Superman comes around. Enough already!

    I’m hoping they fix this. But not this way. You could have just chalked this up to an experiment gone wrong and moved forward. Now we have to do this. I really hope they DON’T do Flashpoint Paradox cause I don’t want to spend another season watching Barry lose another parent and mope over that AGAIN!!

    Keep up the great work, sorry to be a negative Nancy.

  8. FOR THE PODCAST

    Meh. Did Barry go back in time just to save his family and possibly make this season worthless by changing and erasing the timeline? Guess what? I don’t care and yes I know the comics. I’m just salty about Zoom y’all. LOT phucked up the beginning of the season and Zoom while good in certain scenes just wasn’t menacing. Zoom just wasn’t a compelling villain with the mask off and it should have kept that mask on all season. *Just put the mask on like a brown paper bag dammit* Lastly, the way zoom rotten ass died was wack and I don’t want to see him again unless they fix this character; yes I know comics.

    If possible, I want Harry to bring his fine ass back to the screen. Look I don’t care if they have to get the crusty ass time demons to drag his ass back from earth 2, but Harry better be back. And yes, we could get a whole new fine ass Harrison Wells next season, but I need my Harry so fuck whatcha heard. One last thing, the point of Wally and Jesse getting hit in the lab was basically for nothing? I can’t see them getting powers anymore. Is Wally gone for good? Like what? Also, I trust them, I am just a bitter, salty fuck right now. I’ll get over it because despite all the shit I said, I am still excited for season 3.

    Anyway thanks for podcasting

  9. For the pod cast
    Do you guys remember when the writers strike happened and you were watching a show and could tell ….yeah…this is the moment they went on strike . This whole season felt like they shifted gears half way thru. First Zoom just wanted Barry’s speed …then he wanted to rule all the corners #Barksdale…then he wanted to make Barry just like him ? …ok I guess
    So now Joe has a problem with Barry killing a serial killer . Did he forget the the many previous bodies he’s dropped these past two seasons. All Barry needs to do is carry a blade problem solved . All this running and punching it was kinda silly .
    I was getting tired of Barry not calling Joe dad so I was so glad Wally called him out on this .
    What ?!…..Henry was in that mask what a non surprise . So if zoom took his speed how come he still had it after they freed him? Cisco said the mask was dampening his powers , So does that mean Barry’s previous lose of power was temporary? …….Did Henry go into speed force wonderland off screen or something
    So if Barry can time travel now….why doesn’t he just go back a couple of hours and stop Zoom from killing his father .? Yeah sure he wants to save his mother …but then doesn’t that take his powers away? …the powers he almost killed himself to get Back ? Is Nora Allen gonna have a seizure on the floor and say nonsense words for the rest of her life now?
    I don’t know the whole episode was just mediocre to me. This reset still has me interested for next season but I won’t be surprise if this show turns into another Gotham.

  10. FOR THE PODCAST:

    I see y’all got a lot of feedback so I’ll keep it short!! Fuck Barry for not catching that Nubian nootsie being thrown at him!! The only way to get over something is to get under someone else!! It’s written in revelations I’m pretty sure…🤔!!
    That’s all I got can’t wait to hear the podcast ✌🏾️🚶🏾

  11. FOR THE PODCAST: I’m glad that some people are optimistic for S3 but I’m just weary. I would be ok with Barry going back and changing things if 2 weeks ago Speed Force Jesus hadn’t told him, look you get one more chance at these powers but you need to let go of this saving your mom thing, and then Barry agreed and became a Mormon and was preaching the gospel of Speed Force Jesus. For all he knows he could save his mom and then she gets hit by bus because maybe it was supposed to happen. But whatever. I know he’s going to be mighty upset if Iris is with someone else and Joe is calling him Bartholomew and he has no powers to help anyone. Anyways, I’ll be tuning in to see where they go. Edited to add: I do have to say that Iris was amazing this episode. She was leading the team, she assured Joe that taking Barry out of the game was good and she was willing to leave Joe on E2 if necessary. She was decisive and made some hard calls. I loved it.

    Happy anniversary Nina and Donald. (At least Donald understands that the love of a good Black woman can heal anything)

  12. For the podcast

    It must be beauty pageant season because all these shows are trying to be too damn cute with these season finales. Everything was so damn dumb.

    1: Zoom’s 3 episode old “master plan” was dumb. Period

    2: And Team Flash’s plan was to knock Zoom back into Earth 2? Doesn’t Zoom have the power to open up breaches? Won’t he just come back ?

    3: If Flash “suddenly” found the strength to beat up Zoom, why not beat up Zoom and skip the race.

    4: And the body double power that he just learned this episode….man…really? How convenient

    Then that ending…..

    I read an article asking if Barry was the dumbest superhero on TV? Yes, yes he is. I tried to give him a pass last season and just say “he’s just impulsive and a little naive”. Nah he’s a dumbass and a fuck up. How else do you explain doing what he did, when his future self told him “say dawg been there done that, you don’t want these problems”?
    And he does this all the time. He has a bad idea, people tell him it’s a bad idea, he does it, bad things happen. Rinse, repeat.

    Arrow is emo and self absorbed, Supergirl is naive and bubbly and Barry is a dumbass. This is your flashpoint paradox for next season. No batman, no killer Wonder Woman, and no A-list superheroes. Not getting my hopes up for half assed stories

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