The Flash, S1 Ep23 – Fast Enough

Last week’s penultimate episode, “Rogue Air”, concluded with Barry finally taking down the Reverse-Flash with the help of Firestorm and The Arrow. As this week’s season finale commences, the Reverse-Flash, a.k.a. Eobard Thawne, is securely locked away in a S.T.A.R. Labs prison cell. With Thawne now safely contained behind bars there is only one thing left for Barry to do this season, and that’s go back in time and attempt to save his mother from being murdered. Of course, any effort to do so could lead to some serious repercussions.

The Flash, S1 Ep23 - Fast Enough (2)Much of the first half of this season finale sees Barry struggle with deciding whether or not he should change the past. On a scientific level, there’s no telling how much damage saving his mother will do to the current timeline. In saving his mother he could lose Joe West as the surrogate father he’s had and completely change or erase the current relationships he has with Iris, Cisco, Caitlin, and everyone else. Everyone Barry goes to for advice has a different interpretation on how to go about approaching this dilemma. In one of the the episode’s more heartfelt moments, Joe tells Barry he should go back in time, despite the fact that they would lose their father/son relationship. A lot of credit has to go to both Grant Gustin and Jesse L. Martin for their performances during these scenes, but tears don’t stop there.

“Fast Enough” continues to pack on the feels as Barry confronts his father and Iris about his choice. There are so many elements for Barry to contemplate before making his decision, but he finally does make it after talking with his loved ones. Barry’s speed, along with the particle accelerator, serve as a means of creating a wormwole that can send Barry back in time. In turn, Thawne is able to go home via a time machine completed by Ronnie Raymond as part of their agreement  for giving Barry the opportunity to save his mother.

Despite the risks Barry goes through with the time travel, but as he sees the alternate versions of himself and the Reverse-Flash battle it out, his alternate self makes a simple hand gesture telling Barry to stop. It’s here that “Fast Enough” gets almost too heart wrenching as Barry lets his mother die, hearing Thawne stab her through a closed door. While Barry decided not to save his mother, he at least gets to see her right before she dies and gives her the goodbye he never could. The scene is is absolutely heart wrenching and bittersweet. Grant Gustin gives his best performance of the entire season, crying over his soon-to-be deceased mother.

The Flash, S1 Ep23 - Fast Enough (3)Eddie has some great character moments in “Fast Enough” as well, that tie directly in to the finale’s final moments. Eddie decides to ignore the supposed fate of Barry and Iris marrying each other and decides to take his fate in his own hands, deciding to get back together with Iris. While I know comic book fans want to see Barry and Iris get together in the end, I never had hard feelings towards Eddie. He always seemed like a stand-up guy worthy of Iris’ affection. Unfortunately, even though Eddie decides to take matters into his own hands, the finale’s conclusion has something else in store for him.

The conclusion sees Barry re-enter his timeline through the still open wormhole, punching through Thawne’s time machine in the process. What ensues is a battle between the two as The Flash has once again prevented Thawne from returning home. By the end it seems Thawne has the drop on Barry, informing him that once he kills him he will kill all his loved ones as well. It’s here that Eddie takes matters into his owns hands again, and shoots himself in the chest. Eddie selflessly sacrifices his own life in order to stop the Reverse-Flash from ever being born. The Reverse-Flash then disappears, erased from existence. Afterwards the wormwole opens up bigger than it was before, leading to a catastrophic event in Central City. Taking cues from the tornado he stopped in this season’s premiere, Barry leaps into action and attempts to run around the wormhole, letting “Fast Enough” end on a amazingly epic cliffhanger.

Time travel is a common theme used in science fiction series and comic books. The thing about time travel is we don’t know exactly how it works because it’s not real. As long as a series obeys its own rules, it can present a time travel story however it pleases. Technically, the Reverse-Flash being erased from existence should mean that he never traveled back in time to kill Barry’s mother, thus never got stuck in the past and had to build the particle accelerator to create The Flash. In other words, The Flash shouldn’t exist if the Reverse-Flash never came to be. But “Fast Enough” does make mention of alternate timelines and even makes it clear that the timeline we’ve been seeing is not the original one. There was a timeline where Barry became The Flash without any help from the Reverse-Flash. We got to see that Flash when Barry went back in time. There’s also the possibility that had Eddie not shot himself in the chest, the wormhole wouldn’t have grown to catastrophic proportions. Maybe the universe couldn’t handle a paradox that over the top.

The Flash, S1 Ep23 - Fast Enough (4)

On top of delivering an amazing science fiction story with an epic conclusion, “Fast Enough” also offers some insight into the future of other characters. While running through what is known as the “speed force”, Barry sees Caitlin as a meta-human. It looks like we’ll be seeing her make an appearance as Killer Frost sometime in season two. Also, being that Cisco was the only one who can remember a certain timeline, Thawne states that Cisco was also affected by the particle accelerator making him “see through vibrations in the universe”. This hints at his evolution to becoming the hero known as Vibe. Lastly, a tin hat does make its way into the particle accelerator. This is the tin hat worn by the original Flash (in the comics) Jay Garrick. This could be the show’s way of hinting at a multiverse being that in the comics, Jay Garrick is known as The Flash of Earth-2. DC fans should love this.

“Fast Enough” was absolutely incredible. The finale was effectively emotional throughout and led to an epic conclusion that leaves fans wanting more. If I had any complaints it would be that the wedding between Ronnie and Caitlin seemed a little shoehorned into the rest of the plot. The season as whole was very strong and highly satisfying as well. While I love Arrow, DC/Warner Bros. has pulled out all the stops for its sister series, bringing us a show that isn’t afraid to be more comic booky and goofy, while also maintaining a respect to the original source material. With The Flash successfully concluding its premiere season, there is sure to be a lot more in store next season, as we don’t know what will happen to Barry, there are meta-humans and a giant telepathic gorilla loose in Central City, and I’m sure we’ll see a crossover or two with Arrow and The CW’s next spin-off, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. I can’t wait.

While no new footage of the second season will be seen for a while, producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg delivered a brief tease of what’s to come in The Flash this fall when it returns. Check out The CW’s season 2 teaser for The Flash below and feel free to let us know what you thought about “Fast Enough” in the comments.

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