Episode Title: Fast Enough
Original Airdate: 5-19-15
From the very first moment of the pilot episode of the Flash, we knew that it was going to lead up to this moment. The moment where Barry makes the decision to go back in time to save the life of his mother and change the entire world for better or for worse. But what’s almost more important than that is the lead up to that decision. It’s full of emotional moments with everyone important in Barry’s life in one way or another. And not everyone is giving him the same advice. Not only that, but what happened here in this episode will have a pretty big impact on where this show goes forward in season two.
The episode starts out with Eobard in the newly empty metahuman jail with the possibility of time travel floating out there as a way for both Barry to go back in time to save his mother as well as Eobard to go back to his natural timeline far in the future. But before Barry makes that decision, he has to basically hug it out with everyone he cares about in this show with very different forms of advice for him. Surprisingly the usually pragmatic Joe is the one who is the most in favor of him saving his mother even if that would mean that Joe would essentially lose Barry as a son since he would have both of his parents and have no need for a foster father. And on the other end of the spectrum is his biological father Henry, and I have to hand it once again to John Wesley Shipp who really nails this moment of a father who cares so much for his son the way he is that he would rather spend the rest of his life in jail rather than risk the possibility of losing his son forever. Even if it could mean an entire lifetime spent with his son rather than inside a jail cell. And to round things out is Iris who tells him what he really needs to know and that is to essentially make the decision for himself, not for anyone else. And in a way, it actually is Barry himself that makes the surprising decision to allow his mother to die yet again and keep the show’s timeline intact. Specifically, it’s future Barry who has likely already gone through the alternate timeline in the Flashpoint Paradox story, and warns present Barry off of saving Nora. It’s actually quite a big surprise, as the show has been teasing the possibility of treading into the Flashpoint Paradox story for such a long time, and it has shown that it’s not afraid of digging into some of these more bizarre and ambitious comic book concepts like Gorilla Grodd.
But the Flash does what it does best and tosses a curveball while remaining true to the characters that it has created over the course of this season. Eddie Thawne has always been a bit of a curiosity from the get go. His last name and connection to the Reverse Flash, and especially his relationship with Iris. He’s been an obstacle and an ally and this episode finally gave him his due in a heroic sendoff. It was set up so hard in the last episode to make him feel like he’s insignificant in the grand scheme of the future, but he realizes that he has the power of coincidence and has quite possibly seen Looper. I absolutely did not expect him to shoot himself, but as soon as I heard the gunshot in the episode I knew what had happened. It was such a great moment, punctuated with some brilliant looking effects as he disappeared, but he didn’t just disappear, he also reverted to his old face before his final disappearing act. Which means that we may very well have not seen the last of one Tom Cavanagh. While he hasn’t been introduced just yet, Rip Hunter was name dropped and will be a part of Heroes of Tomorrow. But since that show doesn’t start until midseason, he will likely play a part in Flash season two and could save the real Dr. Wells who would likely be a very different character than Eobard posing as Wells.
The end of the episode of course finishes up with a huge cliffhanger in the form of a giant singularity in the sky. We get a very brief glimpse of of Ciara Renee who will become Hawkgirl, though here we just get to see her gaze up into the sky. There was also a great little moment to see the already much more experienced halves of Firestorm working together and Victor Garber and Robbie Amell have some impressive chemistry together. Throughout the episode there were also plenty of little geek Easter eggs, including a Hitchhiker’s reference, Star Wars, original Flash Jay Garrick in the form of his helmet, and even a Marvel slash Stan Lee nod just by saying the word “Excelsior”. Plenty of great moments to add touches of humor to the very heavy episode in terms of emotion. We also get confirmation of why Cisco was able to remember the events of the alternate timeline, it’s part of his own metahuman power as the eventual minor superhero Vibe. All in all, it was a pretty fantastic season finale that wraps up so much of the emotional core of the show while still hinting at an epic storyline and ending on a visually stunning set piece. How long until the season two premier again? It’ll be hard to pick favorites, but come back next week as I wrap up the entire first season of the Flash.