REVIEW: The Flash, S3 Ep23 – Finish Line

The Flash‘s third season comes to its inevitable conclusion in this week’s episode, “Finish Line.” Picking up literally seconds after last week’s episode, “Finish Line” almost immediately reveals that Iris wasn’t actually killed, but that HR took her place using the face-altering tech from his Earth. Afterwards Savitar, knowing full-well that his plan to kill Iris failed, still goes about with his alternate plans to become a literal god with the help of Cisco and Caitlin, but Barry has a new idea that might bring Savitar over to his side.

Emo Barry is Emo

If you read my review from last week, you read my theory that HR swapped places with Iris using the face-altering tech. I’m not claiming that I was the first or only person to figure this out, in fact there seemed to be a lot of people on social media who came to this conclusion. I’m sure some people might have been convinced that Iris was really killed off, but I’d like to think that most predicted the switch.

This twist definitely comes off as predictable, though that doesn’t take away from the impact the twist has. HR, who has been one of the most fun versions of Harrison Wells on the series, has perished. While his relationship with the team was brief and his relationship with Tracy Brand even more so, he definitely added something new and interesting to the team, and his passing will leave a hole that won’t be so easily filled.

With Iris now safe, Barry comes up with an interesting idea in order to stop Savitar. Barry decides to use compassion in order to reel Savitar in and bring him over to his side, rather than just fighting him. This decision led to the episode’s most compelling moments, from the emotion behind Barry opening up to Savitar to the tension surrounding Savitar’s unwelcome visit to S.T.A.R. Labs. There’s a part of me that almost wanted to see Savitar’s story continuing this way, with him joining Team Flash and figuring out a better way to prevent himself from being erased from time. Of course, it wouldn’t be a season finale if the episode didn’t conclude with one final battle.

Savitar ditching his temptation to join Barry and returning to his plan of becoming a god wasn’t surprising, but at least the final climax was somewhat entertaining. Barry was able to maintain being a hero by never actually killing Savitar, but Savitar still fell and was erased from existence after Iris shot him, saving Barry’s life in the process. Overall, this was a fine way to end the Savitar story, but also felt obvious and generic. At least we got to see Barry, Wally, and Jay all fight side-by-side.

Savitar is welcomed into S.T.A.R. Labs

With the story now wrapped up with a nice little bow, including a new development for Caitlin which saw her resort to being good but leaving Team Flash, there wasn’t much else to explore. But then there’s the real twist. Since the speed force had lost Jay Garrick thanks to Cisco’s nifty speed force weapon, it went crazy, causing destruction in Central City. Barry ultimately sacrifices himself and turns himself over to the speed force in order to save the city and his family.

This ending didn’t really do anything for me. We all know that Barry will be back in season four’s eventual premiere, so there isn’t much to be worried about here. Like season two’s finale, which saw Barry alter the timeline, we assumed the timeline would be returned to its normal state. Although, as season three commenced and continued we realized that there were lasting ramifications for Barry’s actions. Hopefully, there will be some lasting ramifications from Barry giving himself up to the speed force in season four, but for right now all I know is that Barry is going to be fine.

Overall, “Finish Line” was a decent finale, but paled in comparison to the finales of the series’ first two seasons. While the first and second acts contained the most compelling moments, including the loss of HR and Savitar’s near change of heart, the third act felt typical and inconsequential. In regards to the quality of season three as a whole, it felt on par with that of season two, though Savitar was definitely a more interesting villain, from beginning to end, than Zoom ever was.