Series 2, Episode 23
The Race Of His Life.
I can't recall if I've talked here before about the fuss one of DC's writers threw over Jay actually being Zoom, talking about how it was disrespectful to the character and his legacy and suchlike. He got really worked up over it, and that always struck me as a bit weird, because, leaving aside entirely the fact that it's an adaptation and The Flash's ability to make changes and spin comics storylines in new ways has always been one of its greatest strength, I don't think that many people actually care about Jay Garrick.
This is relevant because once of the big twists this episode - and, if I'm being honest, a fairly disappointing one - was that the Man in the Iron Mask was the Flash of another world, and specifically, that he was the real Jay Garrick, whose name Zoom had taken when he decided to double up as both superhero and supervillain. This also apparently explained why he could use yellow lightning as the Flash, as he was siphoning off Jay's speed.
In this week's episode, Zoom approaches Barry, telling him that he wants to race him to determine who the fastest man alive is, saying that he'll murder Barry's friends if he doesn't agree. While the team quickly figures out Zoom wants to use the two of them racing to charge up a pulsar that will destroy every Earth except Earth-1, Barry is still intent on going through with the race. To stop him, the team locks Barry up, and attempt to enact their own plan to stop Zoom - with disastrous results.
I'm a bit lukewarm about this episode, if I'm being honest. The stakes never feel that high in it, and the challenge that Zoom presents never feels that heavy or difficult, which is weird, because prior to this episode he's been a pretty terrifying villain.
It doesn't help, perhaps, that the plan to destroy the multiverse seems to come more or less out of nowhere, with our only hints towards it being Cisco's vibe in the previous episode, or that the 'to race or not to race' conflict seems kind of forced, with Barry seemingly not even entertaining other options despite the fact that he has no reason not to. He wants to kill Jay, sure, and he's meant to be blinded with murderous rage, but he never stops and thinks about other ways he could kill Jay that don't involve a race.
Nor does it help that the plot's eventual resolution relies on time remnants, which is a plot device introduced this series that I've never much liked, not least because they make no sense. The show even acknowledges that they don't make sense, by skirting around actually explaining them whenever possible- but if you know that your plot device makes not a single lick of sense, don't hinge your finale on it.
|Apparently Cavanagh will be returning for series three, albeit whether it's as Thawne,|
Earth-2 Wells, or Earth-Insert-Number-Here Wells, or Earth-1 Wells, who knows.
In general, I did enjoy this episode, just not as much as I enjoy most Flash episodes. It had some great action scenes, and I really enjoyed the scenes where Team Flash (minus Barry) are plotting to send Zoom back to Earth-2, even though that plan essentially seems to consist of 'have Caitlin lure him in and then shoot him a lot.' I admit, I have something of a weakness for 'the supporting cast all have to team up to take down the villain,' so that was always going to be a pretty easy sell for me.
All of which leaves me with the ending to talk about. Specifically, our cliffhanger, which is Barry going back in time to keep his mother from being killed by Thawne. I don't think it's lost on anybody that this is leading into a Flashpoint storyline (which might well end with the Supergirl universe, and possibly Earth-2, being worked into one universe), but I'm interested to see how they do that, since the storyline of Flashpoint heavily involved Atlanteans and Amazons, neither of which are features of the Arrowverse just yet.
In all likelihood, it'll involve a slightly less bombastic dark future that'll be resolved in one or two episodes. That said, since we know that there's going to be a The Flash/Arrow/Supergirl/Legends of Tomorrow crossover, and those series are all starting again in the same week, perhaps that'll be what they start of with, stretching the storyline over four episodes in four different shows. That could be interesting.
Anyway, I did really enjoy this series, and I am very much looking forward to the third series. Keep an eye out for that, because I'll probably be picking this show up as an ongoing again come September. If Arrow's story structure is anything to go by, the villain for The Flash's third series will be a slightly upset suburban dad, so that should be fun, I guess.
Incidentally, apparently there's some kind of minor feud going on between Tom Cavanagh and Zack Snyder now. That's - huh. That's a whole thing, there.