By Nora Dominick ‘17/ Emertainment Monthly Assistant Stage Editor
The Flash ended its inaugural first season this week and it was one for the ages. Last week, fans watched as The Flash (Grant Gustin) teamed up with The Arrow/Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and FIRESTORM/Ronnie Raymond (Robbie Amell) to finally apprehend The Reverse Flash/Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh). In The Flash finale entitled “Fast Enough,” Barry contemplates whether or not to go back in time to save his mother. What ensues is a twitter-exploding, heart-pounding episode that will leave fans jaws on the floor until season two.
Grant Gustin has transformed The Flash into what it is today. Since being introduced during season two of Arrow, fans fell head-over-heels in love with Barry Allen and wanted to know more about his life. This season one finale of The Flash left it all on the table and relied heavily on Gustin. His acting was pushed to the breaking point and showed how far he has come in just a season. The Flash finale begins with Barry finally confronting Wells after capturing him last week. In a scene that has been long awaited, Wells tells Barry that he killed his mother simply to destroy The Flash and everything Barry holds dear. Wells knows exactly what buttons to press, and he leaves Barry with the enticing proposal that if he helps him get back to the future, Wells will tell Barry how to save his mother, Nora (Michelle Harrison). Wells tells Barry, “I am giving you a chance to undo all the evil I’ve done, don’t you want that chance?” Cavanaugh may have created one of the best villains on television this year. He’s the guy audiences love to hate, and this episode showed every side to Harrison Wells.
Two actors this week tugged at the heartstrings and caused fans to sob like babies with nothing but their words. Since day one of The Flash, Joe (Jesse L. Martin) and Barry’s relationship has been at the core. In the finale, Barry struggles with whether or not he should go back in time to save Nora. In the first of many heartfelt speeches in The Flash finale, Joe tells Barry, “This is why you became The Flash, Barry. To put things right. You saved a lot of people’s lives this past year. Now, it’s time to save yours.” Martin further proves that he is one of the key players on The Flash with this small, poignant moment. Martin and Gustin exemplify the father-son relationship on The Flash, and this is the first of many scenes in the finale that Gustin and Martin knock out of the park. They help further prove why The Flash is The CW Network’s most successful show.
Not only does Barry have a father-son relationship with Joe, he also gets to have some of the most beautiful, purely emotional moments with his real Dad, Henry Allen (John Wesley Shipp). In this episode, Barry goes to visit Henry in jail to ask his advice. Of course, Henry would love it if he wasn’t in jail and his family was whole once again, but not if it means losing the Barry he has come to love and be proud of. This scene opposite Shipp further proves how much Gustin has improved, and shows off his outstanding acting abilities. With tears in his eyes, Barry begs with Henry to let him go save Nora. In an emotional speech that fans of The Flash will remember forever Henry tells Barry, “I am in awe of the remarkable man that you are becoming. All the things you’ve achieved, and not just as The Flash, but as you, Barry. Your honesty, your heart. You’re always a hero. And your Mom would be just as proud. And if she had a say in this, if she thought that for one second that you going back to save her would mean you losing what makes you so special, she would never want that.” Talk about an emotional speech for the ages. Shipp delivers this speech with poise and elegance as Gustin strips down to a fragile, Barry Allen just on the other side of the glass. Gustin has transcended all expectations and has become known for not only his impeccable superhero training but also these moments of stripped down, raw emotions.
With Barry going to everyone he holds close to ask their opinion about going back in time, fans waited anxiously for his conversation with Iris (Candice Patton). In a scene that will have West-Allen shippers swooning for months, Iris and Barry have a heart to heart and Iris reveals to Barry that she knows she will marry Barry in the future. In an emotional exchange, Barry tells Iris that he not only wants to save his mother, but in some part of his mind he hopes that if he changes the past he will never have lived with her and Joe, and maybe his feelings for her would’ve come out sooner. This is a moment that had everyone buzzing. Patton and Gustin have unmatchable chemistry and they are taking the idea of star-crossed lovers to a whole knew level on The Flash. Patton has taken Iris to astounding heights and with this only being season one; it is impressive to see this level of character development. The Flash and all of the DC TV shows do an impeccable job at creating female characters that are fully formed, functioning members of the cast. It all started with Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) on Arrow and has emanated to every corner of the DC Universe. Iris is a product of that.
With time ticking on whether or not Barry should travel back in time, he must ultimately make the decision for himself. In a moment episodes in the making, Barry goes to Wells and says he wants to go back in time. Wells then reveals some tiny issues with their plan. Barry will be inserted into the particle accelerator and will have to hit a particle at mach 2 speed in order to open a wormhole powerful enough to send him back in time. And if that wasn’t complicated enough, if Barry doesn’t reach mach 2, he could die and once back in time he only has 1 minute and 52 seconds to get back to the present day before a black hole forms. Talk about a major issue.
The Flash has been toying with the Harrison Wells and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) relationship this entire season and it finally came to a head in this episode. When Cisco learns he must build a time machine for Wells to travel back to the future with, he goes to talk to Wells about the alternate timeline where he kills Cisco, and how that has been plaguing him. In a moment DC comic book fans have been dreaming about since episode 1 of The Flash, Wells reveals to Cisco that he was indeed been affected by the particle accelerator explosion because he can feel the vibrations of alternate timelines. In the DC comic book universe Cisco is known as Vibe, a superhero with the ability to manipulate sonic vibrations and has seismic powers. Could this be the first sign of Cisco turning into Vibe? We hope so!
With Barry ready to go back to the past, he first has to have one final, heartfelt conversation with Joe. In one of the best exchanges this episode, Barry tells Joe, “I never thought I would have to lose another parent… I was born with one father but that tragedy gave me another and I don’t think I can lose you.” This moment will surely make every The Flash fan get on the floor and weep. Martin and Gustin continue to be standouts in this episode alone, and fans cannot wait to see how Barry’s decision will impact their relationship, especially during their goodbye when Barry says, “Goodbye Dad,” to which Joe replies “Goodbye, son.” Cue the waterworks!
This episode wasn’t all death-defying expeditions, The Flash also made time to check in on two fan-favorite couples. Eddie (Rick Cosnett) and Iris have been through the wringer in recent weeks. With Eddie being kidnapped and then finding out the love of his life will eventually marry another man, he has been second-guessing his place on Team Flash. In a moment that will have Eddie and Iris shippers on the floor crying, Eddie tells Iris: “I forgot I have a destiny too and it’s you, Iris West. Every moment of my life led to meeting you. Screw the future.” Cosnett continues to bring out every side of Eddie and this week fans watched as a softer, determined side came to the forefront. Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) and Ronnie Raymond got a happy ending in this finale. The duo that has been struggling since day one finally tied the knot and it was a moment for the ages. The Flash rarely takes time to appreciate the lighter moments; especially in this back half of this season, and it was nice to break up the impending doom looming overhead.
All right, the moment finally arrived where Barry Allen has to say goodbye to Team Flash and jump into the past. While speeding to mach 2 inside the particle accelerator he sees flashes of his past, present and future. This also included a small, DC Comics Easter Egg where fans got to see Caitlin as Killer Frost, her villainous alter ego seen in the comics. In a moment an entire season in the making Barry makes it back in time. While listening to the struggle, Barry peers into the living room only to see his future self telling him not to alter the timeline. Instead of saving his mother, he decides to show his mother that he is The Flash. Gustin shows off his incredible acting chops as he cries over his dying mother saying that he is okay and that he loves her. Gustin is the heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears of The Flash, and this moment not only showed Gustin’s marvelous acting but also the character development of Barry Allen this season.
If fans thought this was going to be a finale that left everything in neatly wrapped up in a bow, they were surely mistaken. In the last five minutes of the episode, Barry comes crashing back through the wormhole and subsequently breaking Wells’ time machine. In their final showdown, Barry and Wells battle it out and as Wells strangles Barry, a shocking, out-of-this world development occurs. With a gunshot echoing throughout The Flash universe Eddie Thawne shoots himself causing Wells/Reverse Flash to be erased from existence. With Iris sobbing over Eddie, he utters “Turns out I am a hero after all… That’s all I ever wanted to be, your hero.” Cue sobbing from every The Flash fan and every character on this TV show. And if that wasn’t enough of a blow, the black hole re-opens and with the biggest cliffhanger ever, The Flash zooms up to the black hole and tries to stop it from devouring Central City. PURE INSANITY.
Fans already prepared themselves for the emotional rollercoaster The Flash finale would put them on, but nobody could’ve been ready for what the writers threw at them. This episode of The Flash may have used some serious special effects however a lot of this episode dealt with the pure, impressive dialogue. The writers of The Flash have an incredible way of hooking fans on every single word a character utters. Everything said in this world is important, and The Flash writers deserve a standing ovation for all of the work they have put into this season. Without these incredible scripts, The Flash would be nothing.
Your move every other superhero show ever! The Flash concluded season one with the best season of any inaugural show in recent years. The sheer talent emanating from this cast and the spectacular writing, The Flash has set the bar for every superhero show. Come next season there are sure to be new characters joining Team Flash, new villains to stop, and beloved characters to mourn. Fans cannot wait!