Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Geekcap: The Flash "The Race of His Life"

Barry rushes to his father’s body to find him dead. Zoom stands over him, remarking that after watching Henry die Barry can become like him. Barry, in his anger, fights Zoom as they race around the city. Zoom then sends a time remnant of himself that fights Barry. Barry finally stops the Zoom but remains hesitant to kill him. The real Zoom then kills the remnant himself, warning Barry that he will never be ready until he has the strength to kill himself.

The team then gather for Henry’s funeral. While Barry is at a loss for words, Joe speaks on behalf of all of them. He remembers Henry as a man who lost both his wife and son in the midst of being accused of a crime he did not commit. Still, Henry was a man who proved how love and hope can triumph. Once Joe’s speech ends, the group returns to the West house after the ceremony. Wally talks to Barry after learning that he was the Flash. After learning about what happened to Henry, Wally offers to help Barry in any way that could make him feel better. Barry thanks him for the offer as the rest of the team tries to come up with another plan to stop Zoom. They ponder what Zoom could mean by being ready as well as Cisco’s vision of Earth-2’s destruction. Barry, meanwhile, excuses himself to get some air.

Outside on the porch, Iris comes to talk to Barry. He tells her that, after his encounter with the Speed Force, he felt that he had finally come to terms with his mother’s death. Now, he must go through all the emotions once again in his father’s death. Iris states that while she knows he’s in pain he must find a way to move past it in order to live his life. Before they can go further, Barry spots Zoom racing past the house, forcing Barry to follow.

Barry corners Zoom who claims he was allowing Barry to grieve his father before meeting up again. Zoom then reveals what he really wants from Barry: a race to see who is truly the fastest man alive. If Barry chooses not to race, Zoom threatens to take down everyone he loves.

Barry informs the team about Zoom’s offer, wondering why Zoom would just want a race. Harry, however, discovers Zoom’s real motivations for the race. He has tampered with Mercury Labs’ magnatar generator. With the power utilized from the race, Zoom could turn the machine into a pulsar weapon that could effectively destroy the Earth-2 universe. Barry nevertheless insists on running the race in order to have a chance at Zoom and protect the others.

Joe then talks with Barry to try and convince him out of the race. He argues that running the race would be fighting on Zoom’s terms, already losing an advantage. Barry insists that this is his only chance to get his hands on Zoom without risking the others. Even so, Joe recognizes that Barry is mostly after revenge for what happened to Henry, an allegation Barry confirms despite sounding irrational. Since Barry refuses to compromise, Harry knocks him out with a tranquilizer. When Barry comes to, he sees that he has been locked inside the pipeline. Harry confirms that everyone, including Joe and Iris, decided that if Barry wanted to race against Zoom, the best decision would be to take Barry out of the equation. Barry pleads for them to change their mind, but they leave Barry in the pipeline to work on a new plan. Joe questions Iris on whether they made the right call, though Iris believes they have.

In the lab, the team track Zoom’s movements to the machine near the magnatar, and they go over their new plan. Caitlin will distract Zoom long enough for Joe and Harry to place the boot onto him. Then, Cisco will open the breach for them to toss Zoom back into Earth-2. After that, they will destroy the weapon. Despite her previous experience with Zoom, Caitlin agrees to go along with the plan since she can reach him. Meanwhile, Jesse confronts Harry on what they plan to do after they catch Zoom. Though Harry hasn’t thought about what could happen after, Jesse wonders about leaving STAR Labs. She tells him that she’s seen him at his happiest when he’s helping the team while she misses her friends back home in Earth-2. She suggests that, once everything is clear, he could stay in STAR Labs while she returns home, giving him a chance at happiness.

Cisco: Classic psychopath. Why can’t they ever just say about they’re gonna do.

The plan works in motion as Joe, Harry, and Cisco mind their positions while Iris and Jesse keep an eye in the van as Caitlin moves to the weapon. She calls out for Zoom, causing him to appear. While he reminds her that he would show no mercy if she betrayed him, she claims that she was wrong. He was the one who had her admit that there was a darkness inside her. She states that she wants him to be the only one who understands her again. Zoom states that it’s too late, but, as he moves to kill her, Caitlin is revealed to be a hologram with the real Caitlin still in the van with Iris and Jesse. Joe and Harry quickly move to boot Zoom with Cisco opening the breach. Once Zoom is knocked into the breach, though, he grabs onto Joe, dragging him into Earth-2.

Back at the lab, Cisco tries searching for Joe through his visions, but the image keeps shifting due to Zoom being on the move. Wally then arrives to have Iris inform him on Joe’s kidnapping. He asks for Barry to see if he can do anything, but Iris reveals to him their plan to lock Barry up as they capture Zoom themselves. Wally wonders how they could have thought to defeat Zoom without the Flash and then asks if they have a plan to save Joe. Unfortunately, Iris also reveals that the team agreed that if they succeeded in trapping Zoom in Earth-2, they would not open the breach under any circumstances.

Joe is now trapped in Zoom’s prison when he comes to consciousness. Joe states that if he wants to kill him he might as well now, but Zoom has other plans. Joe then spots the man in the iron mask and asks who it is. Zoom reveals that in his quest to become faster he developed the drug Velocity 9 and worked in traveling through dimensions and timelines. In his travels, he came across a world with another speedster acting as a hero. Zoom kidnapped the man and attempted to take his speed. However, his efforts to siphon the man’s speed failed, leading Zoom to take him prisoner as a trophy as well as a way to ward off the time wraiths in his tests. After capturing the speedster, he then came up with the idea to play the hero in Earth-2 by stealing the speedster’s name: Jay Garrick. Now he plans to do the same to Barry.

Meanwhile, Wally lets Barry out of his cell in the pipeline, stating that he never agreed to trapping Barry. Barry admonishes the team from preventing him from taking on Zoom despite their protests on his anger. Caitlin reminds him that when she felt the same anger and hollow feeling after watching Ronnie die, he advised her to take a breath and calm down before acting. Barry insists that he isn’t angry and emphasizes that the only way to get Joe back is to agree to the race. Harry then hooks Cisco to the machine that allows Barry to project himself in Earth-2. From there, he agrees to Zoom’s terms on the race for the sake of Joe’s return.

The group meets at the magnatar to face Zoom. They reveal they know Zoom’s plan to create a pulse wave, but Zoom goes further. Since Earth-1 is the axis point for the multiverse, he plans to use the weapon to destroy all alternate universes, leaving Earth-1 as the only in existence. He then settles the terms for Barry. Each lap around the machine charges it by one gigawatt, with the system needing 500 gigawatts to work. If Barry can stop Zoom before that, he can save the multiple universes. However, if he stops at any point in the race, then Joe will be killed.

Zoom: Run, Barry. Run!

The race begins. Zoom continues to elude Barry as the machine continues to gain power. As Barry keeps running, however, he then forms his own time remnant that escapes the race to rescue Joe. With Joe safe, Barry takes on Zoom, stopping the race. Unfortunately, the machine is already powered and ready to destroy the multiverse. Quickly, the time remnant that races around the centerpiece, causing his own pulse to cancel out the machine. However, the effort disintegrates the remnant, effectively sacrificing his life. Barry then corners Zoom who taunts him on the inability to kill. Fortunately, Barry responds, he doesn’t have to this time. Suddenly, the time wraiths emerge from a rift and set their grasp on Zoom, changing him into a black skeleton speedster before whisking him away.

The team returns to STAR Labs as Barry attempts to explain to everyone what happened. Using his speed, he traveled back to a few seconds prior to the race, thereby creating a duplicate of himself. When the world was threatened, the remnant sacrificed himself. In the meantime, Harry and Cisco manage to remove the iron mask from the captive Jay Garrick. Once it is removed, he introduces himself, revealing Jay Garrick to be a doppelganger of Henry Allen.

Barry leaves into the hall as he breaks down seeing his dad alive once again. Joe reminds him that Jay does not know about Barry’s dad, making him a different man. Although Barry is hesitant to watch his father leave again, he knows that Jay needs to return home.

Jay dons his old costume, the one stolen by Hunter Zoloman, as he prepares to leave. He remarks that Zoloman stole the Jay Garrick look for him, except for the helmet that belonged to Zoloman’s father. Harry responds that the helmet on his world represents hope, leading Jay to take it as his own. He requests the team’s assistance to return him to his universe which he refers to as Earth-3. Cisco offers to take him to Earth-2 while Harry offers to help him from the other side. Both he and Jesse plan to return home to their world.

At the breach, Harry says his goodbyes to the team individually. He remarks that Caitlin is a brilliant doctor but an even better person. Cisco admits that he may use the machine to check up on Earth-2 as he tosses Harry’s stuff around, leading Harry to call him by his first name for the first time. Finally, he confides in Barry that he was a better man since coming to Earth-1, and he owes that to Barry. Meanwhile, Jesse says her goodbyes to Wally, who also mourns the fact that they likely can’t message each other in alternate worlds. Finally, Jay takes Harry and Jesse as they whisk back into Earth-2.

The family returns to the West house with Barry remaining on the porch. Iris once again speaks to him as he mourns that he doesn’t feel any better after Zoom’s death. Iris understands that seeing his father as a different man was sure to shock him but offers to help him through the rough times in their new relationship. Barry is glad to hear her confirm her love but believes that he is not ready for a relationship with the broken sense he feels now. Despite that resolve, Iris offers to wait for him, just as he waited for her, leading the two to share a kiss. Iris then returns inside, but Barry remains on the porch. He takes one last look at the family inside before running away.

Barry runs through the city before going through a breach in time. He quickly finds himself back to his childhood home on the night of his mother’s death at the hands of the Reverse Flash. Just as his future self rescues his child self, Barry rushes in and beats the Reverse Flash into submission. Barry looks over and sees his other self, the one who jumped one year earlier, upon saving their mother. Satisfied, that Barry evaporates as the timeline is changed. Barry then goes over to his mother, assuring her that she is finally safe. 

Flash Notes

  • John Wesley Shipp reprises his role as the Flash in the episode but this time as Jay Garrick! They even use the traditional Flash theme for his look!
  • Jay's not the only speedster introduced in the finale. As the time wraiths take Zoom, he begins to change into what looks like the Black Flash, otherwise known as a grim reaper for speedsters. Perhaps this might not be the last time we see Hunter Zoloman.
  • Comic book fans should recognize Barry's return to save his mother. Looks like season 3 will feature the Flashpoint Paradox!

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