The Flash, S2 Ep23 – The Race of His Life

After the tragic conclusion of last week’s episode, which saw Barry’s father killed by Zoom, all hope and optimism Barry gained from meeting the speed force is gone and Barry has only one thought on his mind: revenge. “The Race of His Life” is exactly that, as Zoom challenges Barry to a race to see who truly is the fastest man alive. Of course simply ending The Flash‘s stellar second season with a race would not be fitting, so as the episode progresses we find out there’s more to Zoom’s plan than simply proving he’s the best.

The Flash, S2 Ep23 - The Race of His Life (2)This week’s episode sees Barry at one of his lowest points. He’s angry, vengeful, and wants nothing more than to kill Zoom for what he’s done. Barry just recently got over the fact that he purposely did not save his mother from being killed by the Reverse-Flash, and now, not too long after that acceptance, his father is murdered before his eyes. This vengeful state of Barry’s doesn’t make him the most suitable person to take down Zoom at the moment, and Team Flash takes note of this. Additionally, if Barry’s anger leads him to fail during his race against Zoom, the multiverse will be destroyed due to Zoom siphoning the energy caused by their race to activate a destructive device at Mercury Labs.

“The Race of His Life” takes an interesting turn as Team Flash decides to lock Barry away in a S.T.A.R. Labs prison cell and take on Zoom themselves. Barry is appropriately angry, but as the audience we can easily side with Team Flash as one mistake from Barry could lead to the end of the multiverse, with the exception of Earth-1. Team Flash comes up with a pretty solid plan to take down Zoom and send him back to Earth-2, involving a Caitlin Hologram and Cisco opening a breach. Unfortunately, while they do successfully kick Zoom out of Earth-1, Joe West gets taken with him.

After Wally finds out what went down he takes it upon himself to release Barry from his cell to take on Zoom and save Joe. It was a little jarring seeing Wally act the way he did. It wasn’t surprising seeing the way he took his father’s disappearance, but I would have expected Iris to react more emotionally towards the event than him.

During Joe’s alone time with Zoom, we learn more about Zoom’s origin. Much of what he states has been addressed already, but he also mentions that the Time Wraiths have been after him for messing with the timelines, and that the man in the iron mask is the real Jay Garrick. This was definitely expected, but Jay Garrick’s real appearance revealed later in the episode is what was really surprising.

The climax of “The Race of His Life” sees an epic race battle play out between The Flash and Zoom. Earlier in the episode we are reminded of the idea of time remnants, which comes into play during the race as Barry’s time remnant sacrifices himself to stop the Mercury Labs device while the real Barry saves Joe and takes out Zoom. Conveniently enough, the use of a time remnant draws the attention of the Time Wraiths who make their way to Earth-1 and capture Zoom, ending his reign of terror once and for all. This episode tries to explain the idea of time remnants in the end as Barry explains it to Wally, but as the audience should do, Wally shrugs it off and is just happy everything is fine and back to normal.

With Zoom finally destroyed everyone can now return to their normal lives. Harrison Wells and Jesse make a heartbreaking goodbye to the rest of Team Flash and leave Earth-1 through a breach with the real Jay Garrick. It’s revealed that Jay Garrick is the doppelganger of Barry’s father, which is unsurprisingly hard for Barry to handle as his actual father recently died. In a throwaway line in a recent episode, Henry Allen did state his mother’s maiden name was Garrick. Even with that huge clue being dropped I didn’t expect to see Henry Allen behind the iron mask.

The Flash, S2 Ep23 - The Race of His Life (3)The conclusion of “The Race of His Life” is bittersweet overall. Barry remains broken after what Zoom has done to him, but on the plus side Earth-1 and Earth-2 are safe, Jay Garrick can return to Earth-3, and Zoom is gone for good. Seeing actor John Wesley Shipp wear some form of a Flash costume also serves as a nice homage to the early 90s when the actor played The Flash.

The episode would have wrapped up in a nice, neat package, but Barry just couldn’t leave well enough alone. The episode concludes with Barry traveling back in time and saving his mother from being killed by the Reverse-Flash. This seemingly selfish act from Barry isn’t surprising, and it makes sense that he would do it after seeing what has happened to him in recent episodes. That being said, this act is definitely going to have drastic consequences, more so than anything Barry’s done before. Fans of The Flash comics may have an idea of where the show is headed now, and if the show is definitely going there we’re in for one hell of a third season. Just look up Flashpoint if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

The Flash‘s second season was great overall. There may have been some lull moments here and there, especially during the second half, but this second season started off great and ended fantastic. While I know some people may not agree with me, one of this season’s low points was the reveal of who Zoom was. He seemed less threatening after more information was given about his past, and overall I think Reverse-Flash was/is a better villain. The finale was highly satisfying and emotional, leaving the fate of Barry and Iris’ relationship up in the air and bringing about an unexpected turn for season 3.

So, what did you think of “The Race of His Life” and The Flash‘s second season overall? Feel free to let us know what you thought in the comments below or on our Facebook.