I'll start like this: This will be FULL of spoilers. DO NOT READ if you don't want to hear it.
After an amazing first season that has astounded, and made a super powered character actually believable in a big way, I am sad to say I am tragically disappointed in the season finale of "The Flash".
It's bizarre that I can watch a show of a guy who runs hundreds, if not thousands, of miles per hour, and I can maintain a suspension of disbelief. And then simple events occur in that same show, and because they are more bound by the real world, I simply can not maintain that same disbelief for the sake of plot.
The centerpiece of my issue is the particle accelerator.
It has worked as a great prop for a season. In part because not a lot of people know a lot about them, and in part because, especially later in the season, we could conclude that abnormal things it did were made possible by future tech and science provided by Thawne, aka Wells. That came to an end tonight with several things. They may all seem like minor complaints, but they are simple, basic tenants of science we're asked to ignore in order to enjoy the show. And I can't ignore them.
First. The huge, open pipeline. No particles could ever collide in such a system. A particle accelerator is in a much smaller system. The pipeline typically under a a foot in diameter. It is a vacuum, and charged particles are inserted, at high speeds, to collide with each other, releasing huge amounts of energy and sub-atomic particles. The pipeline in the show, you could release hundreds of billions of such particles in either direction and never see a collision.
This matters especially when Barry is running to achieve speed and collide with one particle to create a wormhole. For one thing, the chamber was not a vacuum. It was full of particles. Air, anyone? For another, nothing was controlling its flow. That particle could have floated off anywhere. Lastly, Why would it hitting Barry, even at speed, do anything?
And that brings us to a second point. What would happen if it hit Barry, even if he was standing still? This has been answered, believe it or not. In 1978, a man was struck by a particle accelerator beam. Not a single charged particle like Barry had to hit in the show, but a beam of charged particles. Though damage was done, he survived, obtained his Ph.D, and is married with a son today. You can read more about him at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatoli_Bugorski.
The simple point, however, is that a beam of charged particles won't kill you. A single particle like on the show? It would barely do any harm. Sorry, Joe. Your bug on a windshield analogy? If anything, Barry, larger, and with more mass, would be the windshield.
Now we get to the wormhole and the singularity. First, an apology is due to Caitlin Snow. She works at STAR Labs for crying out loud. To use her as the ignorant mouthpiece to ask "What is a singularity?" to allow someone to educate the watching audience is a grave insult to the intellect of her character. Had a police officer, Eddie or Joe, asked? That would have made more sense without insulting anyone. Why should a cop know physics terms?
Anyhow. We are left to believe that a collision with Barry and a charged particle would put out the energy to create a wormhole rip in time. One question that can be asked is: why? Barry already went into the past once (albeit just a day or so) without the particle accelerator. But let's put that aside. Force is equal to mass times acceleration. And the force of Barry and the particle are supposed to put out this much energy. In a normal particle accelerator, two opposing beams are shot at each other at just under the speed of light. Barry was moving about twice the speed of sound. Even with greater mass than a particle stream, he was going so slow that he would not generate the force needed. Let's remember, twice the speed of sound is .68 kilometers per second. The speed of light is 300,000 kilometers per second.
The one argument that could be made to counter this is "but this had the speedforce itself as part of the equation." It did. So let's pretend the wormhole could happen (even if Barry in the pipeline could not).
What about the singularity?
Well, this issue was a huge deal when the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) was set to begin operation. To basically sum up what was said about that issue? The energy released in the system could never reach a level great enough to create a singularity, and even if it did, so what? A singularity made from a collision in a particle accelerator only has the gravity of the particles that made it. And seeing as Barry was NOT converted into energy, it would only have the energy of the one particle. A singularity of that minimal intensity would consume itself and blink out of existence in fractions of a second. The singularity would never happen.
Oh, and if it did happen? A guy who just barely ran twice the speed of sound could not hope to counteract an event that is essentially black hole, meaning that its gravity is so great that not even light, with all its speed, can escape it.
My last issue is with Eddie's death. Oh, and if you didn't know he died? Well, spoiler alert. I did start the piece warning of those. The instant Eddy died, Thawne would cease to exist. If he didn't exist, he could never have gone back, killed Barry's mom, and put the current situation in motion. In other words, with Eddie's death and Thawne's discontinued existence, everything back to the night Mrs. West died would instantly reset to how things would be had the attack never happened. That means no Flash, and that means no wormhole, and no singularity. And no one even having any clue those events even occurred. Except maybe in Cisco's dreams.
I'm sorry if I seem to nitpicky, but I'm positive I'm not the only one bothered by how this played out. And you don't need to be a physicist to see how this falls apart. I was a highschool drop-out. I've never gone to college. Even if I had, my math sucks, I would never be able to work in physics. And that makes the poor writing even worse. This wasn't something a student, or even a professional, in the field of physics could poke a major hole in. This was something a highschool drop-out who enjoys the occasional special on the Discovery Channel can poke a hole in.
I'm obviously dying for season two. I love the show, and I want more. But I want to make it clear that I AM very disappointed in the lazy research and writing this episode fell victim to, and I hope they try better in the future.