Spoilers for the Flash Season 1 finale ahead!
I wasn't sure whether I should call this a review of The Flash finale, an analysis of the finale or a prediction for Season 2. I decided on ‘review’ though because that’s how I’m starting it off.
The episode as a whole was a fitting climax to the entire season. It really wasn't that predictable, which was strange and fun. I honestly thought going into the episode that Ronnie Raymond was the most likely to die (and when he was flung against the wall, my only thought was that flying into a wall would be the lamest death), but who they killed off instead came as a genuine shock, which is a hard thing to come across in this age of spoilers everywhere. Eddie has had a great character arc this season and I honestly loved how his realisation that the future could be changed led to him tying up his story arc with Iris and then making the ultimate sacrifice to save the world. He died a hero’s death and while him being sucked into the wormhole could possibly lead to a revival (Cobalt Blue anyone?), it was still a poignant death.
But on the opposite side of that coin, the Vibe twist was predictable from the moment he had his first vision. But even though the twist was predictable, it still made me punch the air with joy. The scene was very well-written and set up so much more. I’m very much looking forward to Vibe in the future ("I hope that while you're living that great adventure that you remember who gave you that life"). The story was heavy with emotional scenes and the whole episode was well-written, while the threat was brilliantly immense and the stakes were high. The action was great and the effects were phenomenal. If I’d seen that final scene in a big-budget movie, I would be fairly impressed. That final scene made me believe that Green Lantern could come into the universe fine. Something interesting to take away from the finale though is the idea of three men raising Barry differently (Eobard/Harrison, Joe and Henry). The ending was phenomenal, gave me chills and has me incredibly excited for the future.
Each character had a specific role in the episode. Iris was more likable this episode, which was very satisfying as I've been trying to give her a chance the whole season and she’s only had a few moments where I liked her. Grant Gustin as Barry Allen always delivers a stellar performance, but he outdid himself emotionally in this episode. Henry Allen got a good chunk of screentime and as ever, he was a welcome addition to the story, providing the opposite side of Joe’s argument that Barry should go back in time. Talking about Joe, Jesse L Martin as always delivered a fantastic performance and had some great emotional scenes, particularly his “Goodbye son” scene. It really showed how close they had become. Although, he didn't get as much screentime as he deserved, but that’s to be expected with so many character getting large chunks of screentime. This is the same with Danielle Panabaker and Carlos Valdes. I guess it’s because they normally have so much screentime that it feels like they didn't have much, but you could feel all their presences and they both got some very juicy scenes. Cisco’s confrontation with Wells about his death in the alternate timeline ended up being one of the episode’s main standout scenes.
Ronnie got a bit more screentime than I expected (alongside a great line to Stein going something along the lines of “Stop telling me what to do” during the wedding scene) and Victor Garber’s Professor Stein performance was amazing as ever, which really got me excited for ‘Legends of Tomorrow’. He was really funny and had some great meaty lines, particularly what he said to Eddie, which I will talk about when I get to him. Although, I did think the wedding scene was a bit jarring in relation to the tone of the scenes surrounding it (although Victor Garber's performance makes the scene an absolute treat). Now down to the Thawne boys, whom I really thought stood out as significant in this episode.
Matt Letscher as Eobard Thawne was a lot of fun and I would've liked to have seen more of him. His last, almost proud line about how he's controlled Barry's life for so long that he wonders how Barry will cope without him made me so sad to see him go, but as ever, Tom Cavanagh was an absolute stand-out. He was so darkly emotional, but so whimsically funny and his “I hate you” line was a standout one. There was one other scene that stood out for me involving To Cavanagh, where he wonders why Barry didn't save his mother, but in the process of asking, you realise that he is mixing his priorities with Barry’s. The line goes something like this: “You could have had the life you wanted. You could have had everything you ever wanted”. It was very well done. You could really get a feel as to his motivation, his hatred ("Just so we're clear, after I kill you, I'm going to kill them and then I'm going to kill your father") and his remorse.
It was actually the saddest thing rewatching that final scene and seeing the hope in Eobard's eyes as he he murmured to himself "home". He seemed so content, but then I forgot he was the villain and then Barry had to stop him and Eobard died at the very edge of his desire. He was so close, but he had failed. We also see more of his paternal love for Cisco. He then had his final moment of rage where he appeared to make a vow to himself to kill everything Barry loves. The final fight scene may have been slightly short, but it worked. I was honestly so sad when he died as I expected Tom Cavanagh would continue next season, due to his popularity, but there’s still hope. Right? Please tell me I’m right!!!!
Moving on, Rick Cosnett as Eddie Thawne really came to the fore here and made his presence known, tying up his story arc with Iris and dying the hero’s death, sacrificing himself. There was one line Professor Stein delivers to that goes something like “You are the only person in this whole story that gets to choose his own future” and I feel like that became Eddie’s personal mantra for the rest of the episode as he realises just “how powerful a coincidence can be”. He died a hero and his line about always just wanting to be Iris' hero makes you realise that he did what he shot himself because Eobard threatened Iris' life. This scene proves that his love for Iris is one of the strongest things on the show.
Honestly, I watch these shows for the action and the drama to a point and while I feel feelings of pure happiness and awesomeness whenever I watch a good film or television show, it is very hard for me to feel for a character. But Cosnett and Cavanagh gave such strong performances this season and particularly this episode that when they died, I truly felt sad. I already miss them both and this perfectly tied up the Thawne connection. It was very satisfying to know that Eddie could screw over Eobard like that and actually mean something in the Thawne family, although I will miss them both.
Talking about tying things up, this episode took such a perfect bookend approach that the episode really felt like a finale of the story that we slowly saw unfold.
Tying things up
Of course the most obvious reference was the Eobard Thawne line “Run, Barry Run”. This was obviously a call-back to the few times he has said this, particularly in Episode 1 when Barry was facing the tornado that Weather Wizard created. Talking about the tornado, the wormhole being described as “just like the tornado” was an awesome addition. I think the line “I have to try” was also used in episode 1 in reference to the tornado, but I’ll have to re-check. The starting dialogue felt so good. It felt like the whole series was leading somewhere, especially with the line “that day is today”. The scene where Barry goes back in time and says goodbye to his mother was incredibly in-character and felt like the perfect ending to his dead mother arc. He finally got the chance to say goodbye to his mother and the scene was well-written and emotional, especially the “you look like my father” line. To let his mother die for the greater good seems like something Barry would do. I kind of thought that Barry would end up killing his mother in the episode and I’m kind of glad that didn't come true and we instead got a great scene.
The Time Portal
When Barry enters his timeline, he sees the past, present and future. One scene appeared to be Barry in prison, but it could just be him visiting his father in prison. There was also a ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ scene from the trailer. Many scenes from Barry’s past were shown, but the two standouts were the Flash museum and none other than KILLER FROST!!!!! This means so much for the future and it was one of the most exciting scenes in the episode.
The treadmill appeared again and when the group were talking about making a time machine, while what is probably going to be the Cosmic Treadmill was just in the other room. Of course the appearance of the Time Sphere was awesome and that scene where Barry punched it was also amazing. The reference to Rip Hunter was a lot of fun and the appearance of Singh, Hawkgirl, Henry Allen, Heatwave (I think?) and Captain Cold at the end was also very fun. Of course, this could be how Barry discovers his Legends of Tomorrow team. I think the most awesome easter egg though was the Jay Garrick hat, and the fact that Eobard even referenced it means that something is Garrick-related is coming, as Grant Gustin has suggested in recent interviews. I still think that Henry Allen has something to do Jay Garrick though, but we’ll see.
All in all, the episode was a phenomenal one. I didn't even notice that Flash himself hardly appeared. Barry appeared a lot, but his presence was so strong that the Flash wasn't even missed, which was good, considering that the final scene when he looks upon the wormhole about to destroy Earth, a sense of him finally ascending to his comicbook role of the Flash came over me. This was some very good television. It was definitely a very well-written and acted episode and it was backed up by a whole season of greatness. ‘The Flash’ hasn't disappointed all season and I look forward to watching this great show in the future.
Oh hey, I ended up doing a review anyway...