The Flash 2×23 Roundtable: 'The Race of His Life'

Every week, Fangirlish writers will be discussing new episodes of The Flash and sharing their thoughts, feelings, and speculation about the hour’s hot topics in a little something we like to call Fangirlish Roundtables.
Today, we’re breaking down The Flash season two finale, “The Race of His Life,” where we discuss that final cliffhanger, WestAllen’s roadblock, and how this finale might ultimately affect the rest of the Arrowverse.

What were your overall thoughts on the season finale “The Race of His Life?”

ALYSSA

I’ll be honest; I wasn’t a fan of this season finale. At all. But most of that had to do with the show’s final scene as the writers seemingly just erased everything that had happened in the past two seasons for shock value. But besides that this whole “race” to determine who wins was anticlimactic and didn’t come close to last season’s emotionally charged season finale. The whole wrap-up with Zoom felt too easy given how big of a threat he has been all season long. The Flash’s second season as a whole was rocky, and this season finale was no different.

LIZZIE

I have a hard time answering this question without going on a rant about how stupid and selfish Barry is. I basically have to divide this episode in two, before Barry was stupid and that time when Barry was the stupidest stupid to ever stupid. The first forty minutes or so of the episode were good, if not great. The Zoom stuff felt a tad anticlimactic, but I think I would have taken anticlimactic over this insanity every day of the week. So, all in all, even though I’ve had days to answer this question …I don’t know what I think about this episode. I wish it hadn’t ended the way it did. I do know that.

LYRA

The Flash season finale was confusing and could’ve done without the race to the death and a little more explanation. The entire episode and it’s details were also forgotten because of “that” unforgettable ending. Pretty sure no ones going let that go. Ever.

Barry sure knows how to mess things up. He essentially changed EVERYTHING in the universe by going back in time and saving his mother. What were your thoughts on Barry’s actions?

ALYSSA

Barry really does know how to screw things up like no other. First he went back in time to try and trick Reverse Flash into helping him get faster only to screw the timeline up. Now Barry went back in time to save his mother and basically rewrite everything that has happened in his life – and others – to this point. The thing with season finales is that your characters are supposed to progress, not regress. But instead of evolving as a character Barry actually regressed with the selfish decision he made that basically reset EVERYTHING. Here I thought he was supposed to learn a lesson from this season, but all he did was regress when things got too hard.

LIZZIE

The level of selfishness that it takes for Barry to do what he did at the end of the episode feels like a regression. I’m mad at him. I’m mad at the show. I’m mad at the notion that everything I invested in for two years was for nothing, since Barry went and changed absolutely everything. I’m just mad. And disappointed. Maybe I’m more disappointed than mad, but it manifests in anger. Because I expected better from Barry, I really did. Everything was fine – sad, and terrible and horrifying, but not that bad. Loss is not a thing that’s particular to Barry Allen, and yet he’s always been prone to take the shitty things in life like a personal affront on him. Henry dying was a tragedy for everyone, especially Henry, and yet what Barry did basically undermines everything his father was and believed in. Ugh, Barry. UGH.

LYRA

Barry was in utter pain over the lose of his father. And instead of looking at everything he had and the second family that surrounded him…he thought of his needs. His pain was the most important thing and his rational conversation with everyone was a cover for how utterly lost he felt. This decision shall forever remain the most questionable thing he’s done.

Now let’s talk about how Barry changed everything in the Arrowverse. How do you think this affects the other shows? Was this a smart decision?

ALYSSA

Here’s the thing: Barry’s decision in the final moment of this season finale should affect the entire Arrowverse. Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow and now Supergirl are all immersed in this same universe so something so big as Barry rewriting history should affect the others. But here’s the thing: it probably won’t. It might affect minor things like how Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity ultimately met Barry on Arrow or how the Legends team knows Barry. Hell, it’s probably going to be used to explain Supergirl’s arrival into this universe. But the thing is it won’t affect it in a grand scale like you’d expect.
The thing that makes me angry about this is that The Flash shouldn’t be able to dictate something this big happening that ultimately affects everything and everyone in this universe. Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow and even Supergirl all have their separate things going on. I understand that The Flash has a more supernatural feel and all of these great comic storylines they want to explore, but doing something like this that affects the entire universe just isn’t smart.

LIZZIE

I imagine they’re trying to go all Flashpoint on us and at some point unite all the Earths, and you know what, been there, read the comics, don’t like the execution. Especially because this has to affect everything. I can sort of buy the “time wants to happen” excuse Legends introduced for it not changing the Arrowverse dramatically, but at the very least, Oliver and co never met Barry, right? Because Barry never became the Flash, not then. How does this even affect a possible 4-way crossover with Arrow/The Flash/Legends of Tomorrow/Supergirl. Does Barry have to fix all of this beforehand? What’s even coming?
Nothing good, that’s what’s coming.

LYRA

It was the most selfish thing Barry has ever done. It borders on stupidity with a side of disregard for everyone he’s ever saved or helped. The world is bigger than your problems Barry! Fortunately I think Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl probably won’t mention it. Wouldn’t make sense to do so since a lot of people don’t watch this show. As for The Flash, they’ll probably explain and fix things before too long. The writers wouldn’t erase two years of development. Right???

Barry was able to defeat Zoom by outsmarting him, and then resisted the urge to kill him himself. What did you think about Zoom’s demise?

ALYSSA

I thought it was anticlimactic. Throughout this season Zoom had been a nearly indestructible force and he went down a lot easier than I ever expected. The fact that Barry and Zoom’s big showdown was a race didn’t help matters. I just expected more for a villain that had been so solid for most of the season. But when it came to Zoom’s ultimate demise, I found it interesting that Barry nearly had to kill Zoom to defeat him. We haven’t really seen Barry kill anyone before, but it’s something that has to be done when the circumstances call for it. But Barry apparently isn’t there just yet as the Dementors swooped in to save him.

LIZZIE

As I said, it was a tad anticlimactic, but Zoom was a very good villain in general, and I’m not sure there was a way to get rid of him that wouldn’t have seemed anticlimactic. So, in this particular storyline I’m going to go with …wasn’t that bad. Could have been better, but it wasn’t that bad. I even liked that Barry struggled with the darkness and seemed to conquer it at the end. Too bad he didn’t really.

LYRA

Dementors killed Zoom right? That’s what happened and I’m sticking to it, because I still have no idea what happened with that finale or how they defeated Zoom. I also don’t understand how Barry resisted the urge to kill Zoom. He’s proven time and time again, that he’s willing to destroy all to get to his goal. Plus he killed Barry’s dad! Don’t forget that Barry! The only way to stop him is to destroy him. The way that things ended…HE’LL BE BACK!

Just when it looked like WestAllen was ready to move forward, Barry told Iris that he wasn’t in the right state of mind to do so. But she let him know that she’d wait for him like he had for her. What did you think of this step back?

ALYSSA

When it comes to Barry and Iris’ relationship it’s always been Barry that has been ready and Iris who took some time to get to that place. When Iris had gotten to that place it only seemed natural that Barry and Iris take that next step in their relationship. Only after Barry lost his father and realized how broken he was inside that Barry understood that he wasn’t in the right headspace to be with Iris. Because he wasn’t whole. Because he knew that Iris deserved better than that.
I loved how Iris not only understood where Barry was coming from but reiterated that just as Barry waited for her all these years that she would do the same for him. It really shows just how much these two mean to each other; how it’s more about being in each other’s lives than being romantic in their lives. These are two people that rely on each other’s presence to calm them, to level them. Now that things have been forever altered, who knows what will happen. I just hope that The Flash doesn’t sacrifice all of the development in Barry and Iris’ relationship just so it can play out a popular comic storyline. You shouldn’t make storyline decisions at the expense of your characters – you know, the reason why the audience tunes in.

LIZZIE

Ugh. I once again had problems with WestAllen this episode, mostly because the kiss should have been magical, and for me it was stilted and, again, how many times I’ve used this word, anticlimactic. I do like the sentiment behind what Iris said, when you know you know, and you can wait. I understand that. I don’t understand Barry being willing to give it all up. But then again I don’t understand anything about what Barry did, even after rewatching the episode a couple of times and thinking it over really hard.
I thought the drama for the sake of drama they cooked up to keep Olicity apart was bad, but this …this is worse.

LYRA

I loved it. Barry wants to be with Iris desperately. He’s wanted to for a while. But he’s not willing to risk their relationship by starting something when he’s not ready. It takes courage to admit something like that. Unfortunately…the entire confession was ruined by what he did two seconds afterwards. He might as well have said nothing and not baited people into believing WestAllen was actually on the rise.

We finally learned that the Man in the Iron Mask was the real Jay Garrick. Not only that but Garrick was Henry Allen’s doppleganger. What did you think about that reveal?

ALYSSA

While I wasn’t exactly shocked that it was Jay Garrick underneath that mask – called that a while ago – I was shocked to see Henry Allen’s doppleganger was in fact the real Jay Garrick. Given that Garrick was his mother’s maiden name on Earth-2 was Garrick, I really should’ve seen that from the beginning. But like Barry it completely flew over my head. The timing of the reveal was interesting as Barry was dealt an emotional blow of seeing his father’s doppleganger alive and well.

LIZZIE

I wish I could be surprised, but everyone and their mother had already guessed the real Jay Garrick was in that mask. The fact that he looked like Henry might have been a surprised, except Henry himself mentioned that being his mother’s maiden name episodes ago, and unlike Barry, I pay attention. So, not at all surprising. Like everything about this finale (except the final minutes) this just felt like exactly what we expected to happen. Like Jon Snow coming back to life. Not at all surprising, but still kinda nice to see.

LYRA

If you didn’t see that coming a mile away, then what show have you been watching? After all the crazy and unexplainable things this season, this was the easiest to determine. In my heart I still wish it was Leonardo DiCaprio. *dreamy sigh* Besides that, I dislike that this reveal was used as a catalyst for Barry doing something utterly selfish and stupid.
What are your thoughts on “The Race of His Life?” Sound off in the comments to keep the discussion going!
The Flash returns Tuesdays this fall on The CW.
 
 



 

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