From “Flashpoint” to “Finish Line,” The Flash Season 3 took its hero, Barry Allen, through various emotional states after deciding to save his mother at the end of last season. The highs and lows ended with the ultimate sacrifice– Barry gave up his life for his mistake.
The recurring theme of this season has been Barry’s poor judgement and willingness to continually mess around with time and the speed force. Going into The Flash season finale, it appeared the hour was going to be a showdown between Barry and Savitar Barry in the aftermath of Iris’ death, only nothing was as expected from the first moment to the last.
Even though it initially looked like Savitar killed Iris on “Infantino Street,” it was actually HR who was impaled by the villainous speedster. After giving up Iris’ location to Savitar, HR used the shard of Savitar’s suit to find Iris and traded identities with her using transmogrifiers from his Earth. (Shout out to TV Editor Allison Keene for being correct in her theory.) HR sacrificed himself in order to save Iris and to change the future. Only his sacrifice wasn’t enough to bring a happy ending to this journey.
The episode took an odd turn when then Barry decided to take a friendly approach to the Savitar Barry problem. It felt like a false reality. The best way to describe it is either a Truman Show-style false happiness or that of a Hallmark Channel movie. While it was unexpected and didn’t really feel realistic (even for The Flash), it did provide some touching moments for Savitar with both Barry and Iris. There was a tinge of hope inside the remnant speedster, just not enough.
The nice guy approach ended when Savitar blew up STAR Labs and returned to Killer Frost to finish what he started. He wanted to be a god more than anything else. The ultimate showdown between Barry and Savitar did not disappoint. It really was a face-off of Good Barry and Evil Barry. In the end, good triumphed because Barry wasn’t alone — he had the support of his team.
Savitar failed to kill Iris, which would have secured his continued existence, so it was fitting that Iris was the one who shot him before his existence disappeared. Savitar was eliminated, which should have meant the future was corrected, only this is The Flash and nothing is ever simple.
The Speed Force is a fickle thing. With Garrick suddenly released, the Speed Force needed another speedster for it to remain stable. Barry heeded the call. After a season of manipulating time and messing with the Speed Force, the speedster finally acknowledged his part in all of it and took responsibility for the mess he created with Flashpoint.
While it was frustrating to see Barry continually mess up all season, the decision to go into the Speed Force for his penance was unfortunate. It’s not just his life he was sacrificing, but it’s his family and team’s lives too. At least, Team Flash will continue with Kid Flash protecting Central City, Cisco leading the team, plus Harrison Wells. Barry’s goodbye was heartfelt, touching and full of humility which was sad, yet refreshing to see. Perhaps when Barry returns, he will have a newfound understanding and respect for the limits he should follow with his powers.
The biggest problem with the “Finish Line” ending is that it feels a bit of a retread of what happened in Arrow Season 3 when Ra’s al Ghul “killed” Oliver. The consequence of his death was discounted due to his continued presence on the show and quick return to life. Hopefully, The Flash won’t make the same mistake and bring Barry back too soon.
So ultimately, Iris didn’t die, but HR did. There were consequences to what happened, but the price wasn’t as high as it could have been. Sorry, HR, but it’s true. And, the same would be true if Barry gets out of the Speed Force too quickly. That would mean that Barry again got away with breaking all the rules. What would prevent him from continuing down that path in the future again?
A new Team Flash would be refreshing to see, though Barry and Iris are destined to be married. The future has been foretold. It’s just a matter of how and when we’ll see Barry Allen in Central City again.
Episode Rating:★★★★ Very good
Season Rating: ★★★ Good
— RIP HR!
— Cisco: “Fix what? The Speed Force bazooka? Hey, I didn’t name it, I didn’t make it. And if I didn’t make it, I don’t know how it works.”
— Iris: “So what are you going to do?”
Barry: “The last thing he’d expect.”
— Iris:“We’re going to help you. Okay?”
Savitar Barry: “Thank you.”
— The nice guy really does finish last, doesn’t he? Savitar Barry wasn’t partaking in the kindness.
— Gyspy: “I can’t believe this is the thanks I get for saving you!”
Cisco: “This isn’t thanks! This is the opposite of thanks. Wait a minute. How did you vibe that I was in trouble?”
Gyspy: “Because we are connected, jackass.”
— Nice move by Cisco to convert the Speed Bazooka into a Speed Force skelton key.
— Hello, Jay Garrick!
— The Savitar fight scene was visually pretty slick, especially the tree slicing.
– Barry: “I’ll never let the pain, the darkness, determine who I am. I will never be you.”
– HR’s Message to Cisco: “This took strength and he gave it to me.”
– A kinder, moral Caitlin meta could be a good addition to Team Flash next season.
– Barry: “Are you ready to be Iris West-Allen?”
Iris: “I’ve always been Iris West-Allen. I’ve always been yours.”
– Speed Force: “Barry isn’t going to hell. But like all runners must eventually, he’s reached his finish line. His race is over.”
– Barry: “This, all of this, it started with my mistake, with Flashpoint. This is– this is my penance. This is my redemption.”
– Barry: “Promise me you’ll run, Iris.”