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Glenn Walker Reviews The Flash S02 E23: The Race of His Life

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The season long battle against Zoom comes down to a race. That may seem silly at first, and very Silver Age of Comics, but let’s face it, this is The Flash, and really there’s no better way for the Flash to finish this than a race, albeit a very special race, one that could destroy the multiverse… Meet me after the super speed jump for my thoughts on “The Race of His Life.”

Double Death

With the murder of Henry Allen before the eyes of the Flash in his childhood home where he also watched his mother killed by the Reverse-Flash years ago, this is both a déjà vu and an upping of Zoom’s villain game. Barry’s scream last week seems to last all the way until now, when verbally provoked by Zoom, he lunges at him and a pre-race race begins.

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Whether than through rage or experience, the Flash seems to be on the winning side of the race-fight, until Zoom shows up and kills himself. Yep, you got that right. Another Zoom shows up and kills the first. It’s a time remnant like that created to fool Team Flash as Jay Garrick for so many months. It sounds like comic book science, and it is, but if you can go fast enough, you can manifest a speed double and talk it into doing your bidding. Zoom laughs, telling Barry that he can beat him, he just has to learn to kill himself.

Eulogy and Challenge

At Henry’s funeral, Barry is just unable to speak, so Joe takes the eulogy. It’s hard to believe that Henry is gone, and even harder to believe actor John Wesley Shipp no longer wants to be part of the show, or character at least, that brought him his most fame. I was concerned by who wasn’t at the funeral though. Barry made time to go to Black Canary’s funeral, no one from Team Arrow could make the time in between dodging nukes to come to Barry’s dad’s send off? Ah, the perils of a shared universe. I wonder if it will get harder or easier to manage with Supergirl joining next season.

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Oliver, I thought you were my friend…

Barry has a lot on his mind, besides the funeral. Zoom has challenged him to a race, a winner-take-all race. The geek squad at S.T.A.R. Labs have figured out why a race however. The equipment that Zoom stole from mercury Labs is a magnetar, which can be used to create a pulsar, when powered by super-speed, specifically the speed of Zoom and Flash. This pulsar will cause a chain reaction dimensionally, which will not only destroy Earth-Two as seen in Cisco’s vibe at the end of last episode, but every other Earth in the Multiverse. Bingo, you got it. Holy Crisis on Infinite Earths!

Madness

One of the nice things about this episode is the moments between Barry and Iris. Candice Patton’s Iris has gone from having virtually no role in the series early on this season to approaching her proper place – as part of the romance, the relationship, the love that transcends life and death, time and space. Sadly the first of these moments is marred by a truly bad “Jessica Jones” plan. You probably didn’t believe it any more than I did.

Happy Harry

Happy Harry

Joe tries to talk Barry out of racing Zoom, but as usual in these Joe-Barry talks, Barry will have none of it… so Harry tranqs him, and they lock him up in the Pipeline. Madness, total madness. There is just really no reasonable way of rationalizing the ridiculousness of Team Flash stopping Zoom sans Flash, it’s mind-boggling. We have one fun bit before it happens. Jesse wants to go home when all this is over. But Harry can stay – seeing him happy is all she’s ever wanted. Wait, what? This is Harry happy? It’s doubly mind-boggling.

Team Flash Vs. Zoom

Caitlin plays bait, luring Zoom in by attempting to tell him she was wrong, that she should have stayed with him, and that she does indeed feel her dark side, an inner Killer Frost. One could theorize that such a deception is dark already, but I’ll leave that one for the psychologists. It seems as if Team Flash has been taking notes from the last episode of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” as Caitlin is just a distraction via hologram.

Whose plan was this again?

Whose plan was this again?

Her distraction is enough to keep Zoom off guard so Cisco can open a portal to Earth-Two, he can be booted with a neutralizer collar and forced through. I had to wonder at this. Wouldn’t he eventually escape, and can’t he open portals himself? He’d be back in no time. No one thought this through, did they? No matter, something went wrong as all of us probably bet, and Joe is pulled through the portal too. Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, when Wally finds out what they’ve done, he does the only sensible thing, he frees the Flash.

The Man in the Iron Mask

Meanwhile back on Earth-Two, we find Joe is Zoom’s prisoner. Wasn’t Zoom collared? Did Joe take it off? What happened here? Did I miss something? Regardless, while taunting Joe, Zoom is asked about the man in the iron mask, and even though the villain confesses it will be confusing to Joe, he tells him the mystery man’s tale. He’s Jay Garrick, the real Jay Garrick. Zoom kept him as a souvenir after taking over his world, and in a bit of irony, took over his identity to ‘play hero’ for a bit. He also mentions jumping from Earth to Earth and being pursued by the time wraiths.

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When we actually see his face later, it’s John Wesley Shipp, makes a bit of sense as Garrick was Henry Allen’s mother’s maiden name. The costume he wears later is a combination of the Golden Age Jay and the New 52 Jay, nice fit for Shipp. Now my question is did I get it right? I had guessed it was Wally under the mask, but earlier on I guessed Henry Allen. It’s still Shipp, does that count?

The Race to Save the Multiverse

So, with the Flash free, the race is on again. He tells Zoom he’ll race if Joe is released. It’s a deal, but when we see the magnetar, the comics fans among us realized what was really up. It’s very similar to the device Barry Allen died on during the Crisis on Infinite Earths… uh oh… Are we ending this season with a death? Nevertheless, the race is on, and the two speedsters are off, not with a “go,” but hauntingly with a “run, Barry, run.”

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The Flash and Zoom are off with Zoom, as always, keeping a fair lead ahead of our hero, and then another figure appears on the standing loop track – another Flash. As intimated earlier, Barry has created a time remnant of himself, who, while Barry races Zoom, leaves the track to save Joe. Then the remnant starts to speed around the magnetar to short-circuit it, just like in Crisis, and the faster he goes the more he disintegrates, just like Crisis. The first Barry then jumps track and attacks Zoom. When he hesitates killing Zoom, the Dementors, um, I mean, time wraiths come out of the Speed Force and get him. Bye bye, Zoom.

Flashpoint

Harry and Jesse make their plan known to go back to Earth-Two, safe now that Zoom is gone (and that most of their metahuman villains are here imprisoned), and will try to get Jay Garrick home as well, to a world he calls “Earth-Three.” You see, it’s a naming problem. I think I was right with my theory about Two really being Three and Three being Two. Other than that, this episode, and season, ends on the highest note possible with Barry and Iris kissing and telling each other they love each other.

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And then, like last episode and on “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” as well, they ruin it. Barry leaves Iris, and speeds back in time to the point of his mother’s murder… and stops the Reverse-Flash from killing her, just like in Flashpoint. We have seen this scene before here, but it played out differently then. Future Flash stopped Past Flash from saving his mom… that’s not what happens here… as we watch Past Flash fade from existence, we have the whole summer to wonder and debate how bad the damage is…

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About Glenn Walker

Glenn Walker is a professional writer, and editor-in-chief and contributing writer at Biff Bam Pop!. A blogger, podcaster, and reviewer of pop culture in all its forms, he's done stints in radio, journalism and video retail. Ask him anything about movies, television, music, or especially comics or French fries, and you’ll be hard pressed to stump him or shut him up.

Posted on May 24, 2016, in DC Universe, Glenn Walker, television, the flash and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I was speechless with WTF-ery at the end of this episode … In the entire history of impossibly bad Flash ideas, this one tops the lot.

    Everyone deals with loss and grief, but not the Flash, he goes and rewrites history so he won’t have to deal at all.

    So …

    Barry goes back in time and changes history. Changes his entire story arc. Will never become the person he is who will go back in time and change time. Therefore he can’t change the past because he wont be able to go back and change the past.

    All the character growth of the Scoobie Team will be erased.

    I predict one of two things will happen by next season … The Speedforce will give young Barry a swift kick in the pants and tell him to fix the timeline, which he will do in the first couple of episodes then it’ll be business as usual.

    Or it will be business as usual with a few cosmetic changes to the lineup and character growth arcs.

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