Season One, Episode Twenty-Three — “Fast Enough”
By Molly Jane Kremer and Jarrod Jones. It’s been a long, winding, and above all else, emotional road for The Flash. The journey that began last October has finally reached its end (for now), and there’s nary a dry eye in the house. It’s no surprise that Barry and Joe cried — those fellas are always sobbing about something. But then Iris started crying. Then Eddie, then Caitlin, and we’re pretty sure Dr. Stein might have squirted a couple of tears when no one was looking. Yep, there was really no way that The Flash was closing up shop without taking someone with it, but we don’t think anybody was prepared for how thoroughly its finale would lay waste to our feelings. And even though they were sobbing for a good chunk of the duration, everyone remained reliably upbeat, even in the face of their own totality. It’s the end of the world as we know it, and everyone looked to be feeling fine.
WHAT WORKED: In the face of temporal oblivion, everyone gets a heart-to-heart, and that takes the episode — to say nothing of the show as a whole — down some complex roads. Barry’s met with a conflict of ideologies from both of his fathers (John Wesley Shipp and Jesse L. Martin) as to whether or not he should muck around with the past (which gives Shipp’s long-incarcerated Henry Allen, who has a chance to never see a day in prison, an added boost of superheroic altruism: he’s against the idea). That informs Barry’s tough decisions later in the episode, and it puts Grant Gustin through an effective emotional wringer.
Barry may have made some tough decisions this week, but his pals Ronnie Raymond (Stephen Amell) and Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) see their impending demise as an opportunity to make things official, and you know what that means: wedding bells. The sequence offered some surprises (Dr. Stein was a rabbi? how about that), not to mention one of the show’s best lines (“you may kiss the bride”, “don’t tell me what to do”). It’s a great scene that gives Firestorm, the Nuclear Man a chance to flex his own narrative muscle. But as we find out, the future may not pan out the way Snow and Raymond want it to. (See Flash Facts.)
Lots of science-babble this week, but Victor Garber’s Martin Stein juggles the jargon well enough that we accept Barry Allen is about to travel through time. (Apparently you only need to achieve Mach 2, which seems pretty slow to us, but what the hell do we know.) Butterfly effects, chronal distortions, and paradox are peppered throughout The Flash‘s mooshy finale, but it further drives home the point that the CW isn’t afraid to embrace the fantastic. That’s what gives its DC Television Universe legs. Now let’s see it really run.
WHAT DIDN’T: Let’s think about this rationally. We’re inside S.T.A.R. Labs, arguably one of the most influential scientific hubs of the DC Television Universe, where Dr. Caitlin Snow — who has worked there for years — stands right next to a superheroic CSI with a strong (but still comparatively perfunctory) knowledge of science, and two police detectives (Jesse L. Martin and Rick Cosnett) who have been established over the course of twenty-three episodes that they know jack shit about science. To whom would you give that “what’s a Singularity” line? That’s what we thought. Now go tell the people who wrote this episode. Eesh.
What’s especially confounding — but no less surprising, sadly — about Danielle Panabaker’s hard-working doctor being placed in a position of intellectual submission is that the show feels that its newly christened scientific elder statesman, Dr. Martin Stein (Victor Garber), is more qualified to direct the Flash towards the swiftly-approaching zero hour. Dr. Snow and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) have been working all season long to keep Central City safe (up to and including one Dr. Martin Stein), but they take a back seat so that the show can give Garber the necessary screentime to tease Legends of Tomorrow. It’s the only example where the CW’s need to further its own very successful universe eclipses its desire to tell a well-rounded (and fairly handled) story.
“What–no Big Belly burger? One of the few perks of living in this place. We’re out of cows where I’m from.” – Thawne.
“Ronnie, I love you, but this is not a bookcase from IKEA.” – Cisco.
“It’s at that moment I plan on shouting something like ‘Eureka!’ Or ‘Excelsior!’” – Dr. Stein.
“We’ve been so focused on Barry’s destiny, that I forgot I have one too.” – Eddie.
“You may now kiss the bride.” – Dr. Stein. “Don’t tell me what to do.” – Ronnie
“May the speed force be with you.” – Cisco.
“You could have had the life you wanted. You could have had EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED!” – Thawne. “I already do.” – Barry.
BEST MOMENT: Barry comes home. The Flash’s visit to the Allen home fifteen years ago didn’t bear fruit the way our Scarlet Speedster had hoped it would (his own feelings, coupled with the Justice League-era Barry deliberately giving him pause, stayed his hand), but that doesn’t mean the Fastest Man Alive doesn’t have the time to send a fist hurtling through the space/time continuum right towards Eobard Thawne’s face. Barry’s been taking it on the chin from the Reverse-Flash (Tom Cavanagh) all season long. Now it’s time for some righteous retribution.
EPISODE’S MVP(s): Barry Allen and Detective Eddie Thawne. That’s right, it’s a tie. The evening began with Grant Gustin pulling out ahead, not only because The Flash has been and will always be his show, but because of his downright beautiful interactions with Tom Cavanagh, Jesse L. Martin, Candice Patton, and the rest of the cast for the majority of the hour. But then Rick Cosnett’s Eddie Thawne pulled up right next to him with his confident confession to Patton’s Iris West, and for a while, the episode was in a dead heat. But it was the finale’s bug-out crazy ending that saw Eddie pull out ahead. The two men meant so much for the episode that we could only call it a draw. (Racing metaphors.)
– There were so many Easter Eggs in this finale that it might as well have been one incredibly long-ass trailer to The Flash‘s second season and/or the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow. Barry’s run through the worm-hole alone might as well be the prologue to the DC superhero team-up show, but who are we to complain?
– Watching that silver helmet fly through the wormhole faster than Mercury perked up more than just our eyebrows: Eobard Thawne took it as a good indicator that he should go ahead and get the fuck out of our time already. (“That’s my cue to leave,” that yellow bastard said.) Why would the Reverse-Flash finally decide to get nervous at that one particular moment? Perhaps he’s been to Earth-2 in the future, otherwise known as the home to the Justice Society and one of its founding members, Mr. Jay Garrick.
– One of the more scintillating blink-and-you-blew-it seconds within Thawne’s wormhole was a glimpse at the legendary Flash Museum in Central City. It even had a giant Flash statue!
– Once the wormhole opens above the city, just before
Iron Man the Flash goes to close it, we spot actor Ciara Renee staring up into the sky as if she’s about to go and hop into it. Of course, we already know that she’d be popping in on the finale as Kendra Saunders/Hawkgirl as a lead up to Legends of Tomorrow (thanks, internet!), but it was nice seeing her first appearance in the DC Television Universe.
– Didja see that? It seems that Danielle Panabaker might be taking a villainous turn in the second season (not to mention a really bad fright wig). Barry spots her as the sinister Killer Frost as he runs through the timestream. That means that Ronnie Raymond’s bride may just become his greatest enemy, and sooner rather than later. Sad.
– It seems that Eobard Thawne has been traipsing about the timestream for a lot longer than what we’ve come to realize. His name-drop of Linear Man Rip Hunter, and the awesome assembly of his time sphere, damn near guarantees it, which might mean we haven’t seen the last of the Reverse-Flash.