Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Cher. All of these great minds have pondered the age old notion “if I could turn back time” and in the season finale “Fast Enough” Barry Allen faces that very same conundrum. If I could turn back time would I do it? With Eobard Thawne / Harrison Wells now imprisoned and the arc reactor he set in motion (to get back to his own time) slowly building in power, now is the time for Barry to decide whether he should go back and change the past. Go back to save his Mother from being murdered, go back to save his Dad from a lifetime of prison, go back to stop Thawne once and for all, but in doing so resetting the future not just for himself but for everyone he has ever known. It is has all led to this, and it’s these very people he turns to to help him make his decision.
For a superhero show this finale is, for the most part, void of any action but it’s a testament to the writers and especially the amazing ensemble of actors that we can watch scene after scene of two people talking about the repercussions of time travel and be completely and utterly invested. Whether it’s Barry and his Dad’s “everything happens for a reason” conversation of Barry and Iris’ “follow your heart” conversation or Caitlin and Ronnie’s “love conquers all” conversation or Iris and Eddie’s “screw destiny” conversation or Stein and Eddie’s “hero” conversation or finally Barry and Joe’s “Father and Son” conversation, every scene is spent with actors giving it their all in tear jerking performance after tear performance. If you didn’t well up for even just a fleeting moment in this episode then you’re a robot, and not a cool one like the Terminator or Robocop but a lame one like in Rocky IV.
It’s great that the hero here has a whole team of confidants to help him in not only his adventures but through his darkest personal moments. It’s a different dynamic to the lone hero shtick we get all too often and it never feels over crowded because these are characters we have slowly been introduced over a whole season, where Arrow took three seasons to accumulate his team The Flash has done it in one and he embraces that friendship instead of keeping everyone at a distance like Oliver would. This episode is the culmination of everything this show does beautifully. Well developed characters we care about, a plot that we are invested in and desperately wanted to know the outcome of, great inventive action, impressive special effects, superb acting and genuine emotion. There was just one heart breaking speech after the other as Barry came to terms with finally facing his past and ultimately embracing his future through the love of his friends and family.
Deciding that it’s something he must do, Barry races back to that fateful night. Standing by helplessly as his future self battles it out before his eyes, he makes a surprising decision at the last second and in true Barry Allen form decides to not save his Mother once again putting everyone else before himself and showing that her truly is the epitome of a selfless hero. Instead he takes his brief 1 minute and 52 seconds in the past to comfort his Mother in her dying moments, assuring her everything would be ok for him and giving them both the cathartic goodbye they never got the chance to have. Considering that his entire life since that night has been focused on righting the death of his Mother and freeing his Father it was monumental for Barry to make that massive decision and the entire impact hits his face in a monsoon of tears streaming down. All that pent up emotion can be seen swelling inside and then flowing out in this incredibly stirring scene, Grant Gustin gives it his all and shines brighter than we’ve ever seen him shine before.
With the episode wrapping up back in the present Thawne hops in a time pod (borrowed from Jurassic World) and prepares to go back to his own time but not before a silver helmet with wings spills out of the time portal. “That is my cue to leave” quips Thawne but Barry springs back to the present shattering his time machine and his dreams in the very same instant. As the Flash and Reverse Flash battle to the death Barry struggles helpless in the Thawne’s grip threatening to kill everyone Barry has ever loved and truly means it. With all hope lost a sudden single gunshot rings out and Eddie falls to his knees sacrificing himself, putting an end to the Barry Iris Eddie love triangle and erasing Thawne from existence. In his last breath Eddie proves himself to be the hero Thawne said he would never be, a satisfying ending to an incredible first season.
But wait, there’s still five minutes left… Instead of using it to wrap up everything in a neat bow the show does the exact opposite tearing a huge time hole in the sky and sucking everything up in it’s wake. Barry suits up and races up the side of a skyscraper bouncing from floating pieces of debris right in to the eye of the storm and then just as you’re on the edge of your seat dying to see what happens …. it cuts to credits! Noooo, leaving us begging for more as the season ends on a massive cliffhanger! I had to check the episode list just to make sure there wasn’t one more episode in the season. What a way to keep us wanting more and what an ending to what is clearly just the beginning for CW’s The Flash.
With the past now well and truly in the past what does the future hold? Scattered throughout the episode were many subtle and some none too subtle references to the upcoming spin-off show DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Rip Hunter name dropped, a glimpse of the Legends together in the time stream facing off against a giant foot and Captain Cold and future Hawk Girl making brief cameos. Hints of Cisco’s burgeoning powers, Caitlin’s turn in to Killer Frost, Ronnie possibly losing his Firestorm powers and the biggest question raised, why did the helmet of Jay Garrick (the first ever comic book Flash) fall out of the portal? Does this mean that we will see Flash’s from other timelines join the show in seasons to come?! I don’t know about you but like this episodes’ title implies next season can’t come fast enough.
Review by Dylan Boaden.