Spoiler warning for those who haven’t watched The Flash Season 1 finale. Watch it!
Wow to the wow, The Flash delivered a season finale that just doesn’t happen that often on TV. One that packed an emotional punch, an intelligent dilemma, and two of the biggest WTF moments of the entire season. Let’s dive into the singularity, shall we?
The first chunk of the episode is dedicated to Barry entering into one of the hardest decisions he’s ever had to make about the entirety of his existence, from the very person who ruined it in the first place. (And we’re going to call him Thawne instead of Wells from this point on.) Thawne gives Barry the option to go back to his past to save his mother Nora from Reverse Flash, which would completely change Barry’s life from top to bottom. He’d grow up with his natural parents, instead of having Joe and Iris as his surrogate family, with his dad never going to prison. As well, he’d never get to adore Iris, and would possibly never do any of the things he did that led him to S.T.A.R. Labs, since there probably wouldn’t be a S.T.A.R. Labs without Thawne-as-Wells there to bring everyone together.
But of course if he does this, he has to agree to build Thawne a time machine that allows him to go back to his own timeline, and it all involves Barry having to run fast enough to not die while colliding with a hydrogen particle, which then causes a wormhole that could get unstable and cause a singularity unless Barry comes back within two minutes. Time travel is so above my pay grade.
So he takes the deal, because who hasn’t thought about being able to live their lives over differently? Only, he doesn’t actually go through with it, as Future Barry – who is saving Past Barry – tells him not to do it. (Another example of this show’s weird causality where the future informs the present.) That was still one rough goodbye to his dying mom, though, as he assures her both he and Henry are fine. She doesn’t flip the hell out like most people would after such an event, but she’d probably lost some blood.
Back in the present, Thawne is getting ready to take off – just after an amazing easter egg occurred when Jay Garrick’s helmet flies into the scene – but his trip is disrupted by a pissed off Barry, who has decided there is more than enough in his current life to make him content. That obviously enrages Thawne, who reverts to Reverse-Flash form, and the two battle in front of the stabilized (and then temporarily absent) wormhole. How does this fight between two nemeses end? Eddie shoots himself in the chest, which then negates his evil Thawne descendant from the timeline. Seeing him turn back into what he actually looks like before CGI-disintegrating was pretty awesome.
To be expected from this show, these two deaths ends up causing an even bigger singularity to open up above Central City, vacuuming up everything below it. (This is where the Legends of Tomorrow characters show up briefly, as they react to the destruction.) Barry then has to get sucked up into it to try and use his speed to close it back up. And then…the son of a bitch Flash logo crosses the screen and the episode ends, leaving me and my poor wounded heart to holler at my TV screen, wondering how Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg could do this to the show’s fans.
In other words, it was a genius ending to an extremely solid finale, but as with most time travel conundrums, I can’t help but feel bummed out that the entire shebang wouldn’t have happened had Barry just realized that trying to change the past was a bad idea. If he would have just ignored Thawne’s offer and accepted Joe’s advice, there wouldn’t have been anything to worry about beyond a nagging regret. (And nagging regrets, as far as I know, aren’t the kinds of things that can destroy cities or the world.) But then, that just wouldn’t have been the sensitive Barry Allen that we’ve gotten to know all season. So, I guess it was inevitable, just like everything else in life. Guys, I wasn’t expecting to learn life lessons from The Flash when it started last year.
I can’t believe we have to wait until next fall to see if Barry succeeded in keeping Central City intact for Season 2 – because of course he probably did – or if something more dramatic happens to the timelines. It’s gonna be a slow, slow summer.