This season of The Flash has proven to be just as much of a joy for me, personally, as Season 1 but the events of the season finale for season two, The Race of His Life, did something that I would have never expected. What they did was bold, brilliant and not something I think anyone would have seen coming in the sophomore year of this very beloved show.
As it says in the title, there are spoilers to follow, so proceed with your best judgement.
The opening of this episode picked up right where the last left off, with Zoom having just killed Barry Allen‘s father Henry in an attempt to antagonize and motivate Barry because that’s what psychopath’s do. Through the course of the episode we learn that he wants to race Barry, but not to learn who is the fastest. Zoom wants to use the stolen Magnetar from Mercury Labs to destroy the multiverse and he needs the energy that he and Barry can generate to power the device to do it. (A magnetar is a type of neutron star with an extremely powerful magnetic field. The magnetic field decay powers the emission of high-energy electromagnetic radiation, particularly X-rays and gamma rays. Thanks, Wikipedia!)
Before Barry can decide to run the race to try to stop Zoom from killing everyone else he loves, the gang lock him up in one of their bathroom-less cells in the particle accelerator, their own plan goes south and (SHOCK!) Barry has to run the race.
The Flash writer’s never cease to put in fun Easter Eggs into their show’s, and I was tickled to no end when Zoom is defeated he was seemingly turned into the Black Flash, the Grim Reaper of Speedsters that we have seen in the comics and most recently in the Blackest Night DC Comics saga as the reanimated corpse of none other than Professor Zoom (well played, Flash writers). Although not named so in the episode, Zoom’s face went all Crypt Keeper and the emblem on his chest was turned white with a red lightning bolt as well as the ones on the side of his cowl (just as you see below).
Black Flash was cool, but it wasn’t what blew my mind. The reveal of the real Jay Garrick being the Man in the Iron Mask wasn’t a surprise as well since he was trying to tap out the name Jay the moment we were able to interact with him. I have to say that the reveal wasn’t a shock to me as well thanks to Henry Allen, played by John Wesley Shipp, telling us that Garrick was his mother’s maiden name in the episode Back to Normal. Once he said this, I have to admit that I had goosebumps because I watched the 1990 version of The Flash and I hoped this meant we’d see Shipp in a costume again. Boy, was I NOT let down…
All of this is great, but still not what blew my mind. The last few minutes of this show not only had potential implications on this show, but potentially the other DC shows on The CW (including Supergirl who flies onto The CW this fall). Barry, after suffering the loss of now both parents at the hands of villains and seeing someone else that looks JUST like his father, goes back on his decision to not interfere with the death of Nora Allen in Season 1 and says a quiet goodbye to everyone he knows and loves and saves his mom.
Fans of the comics know about Flashpoint, the DC comic saga that demonstrated that the entire reality of the universe was re-written when Barry goes back in time to stop his mom from being killed. Flashpoint, until recently, was the reason that The New 52 universe was created. DC Animation even did a great direct-to-video animated story based on the concept. A simple event that radiates out to affect things on a global scale.
Race of His Life has indications of a Flashpoint-esque event once Barry saves Nora, because he sees his Season 1 Finale self in the doorway and that Barry fades away just like Marty’s hand in Back to the Future. Does this mean that Barry doesn’t become THAT Flash, or does he fade away because there was no need to come back and save Nora from Reverse Flash because his future self already did? (Oh no, I’ve gone cross-eyed again)
One thing to remember though, is that apparently with the rules of Time Travel on The Flash it would appear that time is a self-healing thing (aside from those Time Wraith‘s that go after Speedsters) with the introduction of the Time Fragment concept (which I won’t go into, just uncrossed my eyes). The entire series started with Reverse Flash coming back to kill The Flash as a child, but instead killed Nora Allen once he failed. After those events, Reverse Flash (also known as Eobard Thawne) discovered that he was no longer connected to the Speed Force so he had to create The Flash years ahead of when history told him The Flash came to be… so Barry Allen becomes The Flash no matter what. (See Season 1, the newspaper that Gideon showed us… oh dear… my eyes!)
I’m just as excited to see what The Flash has in store for us in Season 3 just like I was excited at the end of Season 1 for Season 2. Will Eddie Thawne return? Will Tom Cavenaugh be playing another version of Harrison Wells (because maybe, just maybe the original Wells is now alive)? Will we see Black Flash some time in the next season? Is this how Captain Cold will be resurrected from his DC’s Legends of Tomorrow death? (oops, spoiled another show there, didn’t I?)