Season Two, Episode Twenty-Three — “The Race of His Life”

© 2016 The CW Network. All rights reserved.

© 2016 The CW Network. All rights reserved.

By Jarrod Jones. Y’know. Something’s been bugging me ever since I recapped the finale to Legends of Tomorrow last week. If the threat of Zoom is so severe, then where the hell is Rip Hunter and his Waveridin’ crew of super-lunks? If they haven’t gone back in time to ensure that Zoom doesn’t zip up the multiverse with his own poorly-constructed crisis, that means all’s well that ends well, right? Takes a bit of steam out of this finale, don’t it?

It’s just one of several narrative hurdles we’ve lept over since this season of The Flash helped launch the DC spinoff series. And while the DC Television Universe has continued to grow, The Flash had, up until Tuesday night, remained fairly aloof about it all.

Of course, Barry’s gone and done the unthinkable, saving his poor mother from death and thus kicking off what I can only assume will be a revamped CW DC TV Universe just in time for Supergirl‘s arrival this fall. Is it a surprising turn of events? Oh, you betcha — especially after Barry decided he wouldn’t do such a thing at the end of The Flash‘s stellar first season.

Retcons are never a clean business — someone always gets the short end of the stick in these situations, and in the case of “The Race of His Life”, the person left sifting through the pieces is decidedly the viewers who made The Flash such an unqualified success last year. For comic book fans in the know, Barry’s actions will likely have dire consequences for the show, which could make for a pretty intriguing third season arc: Barry Allen, Threat. But comic book fans are also probably wondering, especially now that DC Comics has gone out of its way to clear up the mess after its very own, very disastrous Flashpoint, “So, why are we doing this again?” It’s a lot to ask of casual television viewers to accept that everything they ever knew about a show they love never happened. It’ll be interesting to see how this all shakes out later this year.

However, considering how squirrely this season has been (hey, remember Patty Spivot?), any effort to eradicate the bad taste in our mouths put there by Zoom and his ridiculously unthreatening plot to be really, really fast should be applauded. But The Flash decided to merely rip the band-aid off instead of dragging the Hunter Zolomon super-arc out any further. Yes, it develops opportunities for Zoom to appear in the future, yeah, fine, whatever. The fundamental point is that we’ve come so far to see this thing pay off. So why is everybody — save for Grant Gustin, the prince — phoning it in?

Everyone looks like they’ve got better things to do with their time. Candice Patton seems patently bored by all of this — can’t say I blame her, as the “will they/won’t they” between Iris and Barry just got broomed for another season. Jesse L. Martin’s Det. Joe practically fell asleep when confronted by Teddy Sears’ Zoom — and Sears, our villain for most of the season, might have provided us the most empty performance of all last night. Maybe it’s because 24 beacons, and he’s grown tired of wearing a black leather Halloween costume. Who can say.

It makes sense, in a ‘completely off your rocker’ sort of way,” Cisco says. I’m gonna miss you, buddy.

WHAT WORKED: The Man in the Iron Mask stands revealed as Jay Garrick, which should come as no surprise to anyone. But what is surprising, shocking even, is that Jay looks an awful lot like Henry Allen, which puts former Flash John Wesley Shipp in the bright boots of the Crimson Comet, and that just rules. What ramifications Jay’s new lease on life (and the S.T.A.R. Kids’ awareness of him) will have on Season Three are left open to speculation at the moment, but one thing is definitely for certain: The Flash is finally tying into Legends of Tomorrow. That’s a huge leap on The CW’s part to ensure that every show in their DC lineup matters. Now. Which Justice Society member’s gonna pop up on Arrow, I wonder?

WHAT DIDN’T: Zoom’s motivations to truly be The Fastest Man Alive never felt as personal as he’s made it out to be this week. Siphoning Barry’s speed should have been satisfactory, right? Nope — he wants to destroy the multiverse. So why didn’t he just say so half a season ago? Not knowing just what the villain is up to kept us on the edge of our seats when the Reverse-Flash pulled that shady crap last year. But his arc was intricately intertwined with Barry’s, giving the mystery more stakes than Zoom’s one-note snoozer reveal.

Caitlin Snow’s community theater plea to Zoom’s basic humanity certainly didn’t help matters. The major showdown between the S.T.A.R. Kids and Zoom showed us just how flimsy this show can be, both in performances (Teddy Sears being especially wooden) and in writing. (Who made Tony Todd say “Bye-bye, Multiverse” into a microphone? Because they need to be fired.)

Barry’s been locked up, double-crossed by those he loves the most, because they love him the most. (And, shock of shocks, their plan to save the day without The Flash backfires.) It looks like Barry (and Central City, really) could use a super-friend whenever these sort of things happen. But with the rate of which people learn how to use their powers on this show, or discover that they have powers at all, that doesn’t appear to be happening. (No big teases from Wally West or Jesse Quick, I fear.)


Jay may be crazy-pants, but he sure knows how to pick a venue.” – Cisco.

Det. Joe: (to Iris, pointing at Wally) “Is that what I look like when Barry starts to talk about science?” Iris: “Pretty much.”

Well-2: “Ramon, please! Have you ever worked with a tool before?” Cisco: “I’m working with one now.

BEST MOMENT: In the season’s most prolonged mystery, the Man in the Iron Mask stands revealed as the real Jay Garrick. That was a relief to those who thought The Flash had turned one of DC Comics’ most enduring superheroes into a bonafide villain, and it raised tantalizing questions about Season Three. More importantly, it made John Wesley Shipp a TV superhero again, and holy crap, does that make me happy.

SEASON’S MVP: I’m giving it to the Harrison Wells of Earth-2. Tom Cavanagh was my rock this season, even when his character was being a total chode. When Barry Allen was acting the fool, when Martin Stein took a powder, when Det. Joe just didn’t get it, it was Wells-2 who popped up just to remind everyone who the smartest man in the DC TV Universe was. More Earth-2 next season, Show, and more Tom Cavanagh.

© 2016 The CW Network. All rights reserved.

© 2016 The CW Network. All rights reserved.


– If Zoom’s got Earth-2 on the ropes, then why is his little hideaway still in a ding-dang mountain off in the middle of nowhere? Supervillains.

– I’d speculate about Zoom becoming the Black Flash if I totally didn’t care about Zoom at all.

– How many Earths? “Infinite,” says Wells-2, which only further lends credulity that the CW DC TV Universe is heading towards a Crisis, likely of Barry Allen’s making.

– Henry Allen, The Flash of Earth-3? Jay Garrick stands revealed as The Flash of Earth-3, which I’m pretty sure is where Supergirl hails from. Does that mean that the Hourman of Legends of Tomorrow hails from Earth-3 as well? Is Earth-3 where the Justice Society comes from? So many questions right now.

– So there was no Jay Garrick doppelganger on Earth-1, which meant that there was definitely no Jay Garrick on Earth-2, meaning that Hunter Zolomon was definitely telling the truth about making up the Earth-2 Flash. And it also makes sense that Henry Allen would be Jay Garrick’s Earth-1 doppelganger: Henry revealed that “Garrick” was his mother’s maiden name not three episodes ago.

– Of course, with Barry’s “I’m gonna Flashpoint my problems away” closing out this season, it’s likely the ramifications will include blending Supergirl‘s reality with the CW’s, placing National City on Earth-1, thus maximizing crossover possibilities for seasons to come.

– “A Flash from two worlds.” That’s cute, Hunter. But we already did that this season.

4.5 out of 10

Season Two Score: 5.5 out of 10

Before: “Invincible”, here.