A Closer Look: The Flash – “The Race Of His Life” (Season 2 Finale)

Last night’s Season Finale of The Flash left some fans divided. Whereas Season 1’s finale was probably the greatest Season Finale of all time, Season 2’s seemed lesser – but that’s not a bad thing! Yes, Season 2 had some pretty big shoes to fill so chances are it wouldn’t have lived up to those expectations. Additionally, one or two moments were a little hard to follow; but beyond all that the Season Finale had more in common with the Season 1 Finale than you think.

It brought this season to a close, tied together a TON of themes and revelations we received this season and most impressively brought Season 2 into loop to not only explain a strange moment of the Season 1 Finale; but also kick off the story line fans have been hoping for – and was first alluded to in the Season 1 Finale.

So get ready for a Closer Look at The Flash “The Race Of His Life” and see why this episode was a worthy successor to its Season 1 Finale.

The Flash The Race Of His Life Season 2 Finale Closer Look

Making A Decision As A Team For Once – Flash vs Team Flash:

A Major theme this season, which even started last season, was how Barry making decisions all on his own led to big problems. We first saw this in the Season One Finale when he decided to go back and save his mom, then again this season when he traveled back to Earth-2 to face Zoom. There’s been plenty of times where Barry’s asked for people’s opinion and then did what he wanted anyway. This can even be seen to an extent when he decides to ‘get his powers back’ or the overconfidence he returns from the Speed Force with.

So when Team Flash decides to tranquilize Barry and lock him in a cell, that’s actually the best course of action. Wells and Cisco just explained that Zoom wants to use the momentum of a Barry vs Zoom race to power a Pulsar/Magnetar and destroy the multiverse. Barry – so consumed with rage – thinks this means that his only course of action is to race Zoom and win. This of course stuns Team Flash – and the viewers – as they JUST explained how racing Zoom plays into his master plan. After Seasons of bad calls and disregarded advice, Team Flash has no recourse but to force their plan upon Barry – and it works until the last moment when technical difficulties arise and Joe is trapped in Earth-2 with Zoom. Even though Team Flash did make a united decision, it still wasn’t technically unanimous since it didn’t include Barry – and now Wally who is a part of the team.

This is why it’s so important that the final fight against Zoom is the culmination of all of them agreeing upon this course of action. Barry’s not racing for himself or is the team wondering if this is a foolish plan or not. They all have each other’s backs and that is how they’re finally able to take down Zoom. Sadly, this new unity doesn’t last and as the episode ends, Barry once again makes a decision all on his own. Though this time this is actually decision everyone – including Barry himself – has voted against, and yet he’s so broken by episode’s end he does it anyway.

Saving Nora – Why Barry DIDN’T Undo This Season’s Character Development:

Chances are you ended this episode with screaming “WHAT THE HELL, BARRY?!?!?!” as you saw him disregard everyone’s warnings, opinions and even his own revelations/closure to go back in time once more and save his mom from dying. Why would he do this? Why would he undo everything he just learned? Why didn’t he go back SHORTER in time and save his dad instead? Well these are all very good questions; but rather than immediately think this is BS, take a moment to think through each one of these.

Barry had finally gotten closure; but just as he was settling into that it was taken away from him by Zoom as he lost the only real family he had left. Worse still, it happened right in front of him. Seeing that didn’t turn Barry into the killer Zoom wanted; but it did leave him broken. And even as he starts to appreciate the win, he then realizes there is another Speedster out there that is his dad’s doppelganger. Remember how painful it was for Barry to see Joe’s doppelganger die? Well imagine how painful it is for Barry to know that there is another speedster out there running around that looks exactly like his dad. This is someone he knows he may encounter again (more so than the Earth-2 version of his dad) and Barry can no longer just place the weight of losing his dad in the category of “out of sight out of mind”. Worse still, this version “Jay Garrick” doesn’t even know who Barry is, which all together leaves Barry a fragmented and hollow shell of his former self. He might not be a killer, but Zoom did succeed in placing a darkness within him.

The Flash The Race Of His Life Season 2 Finale Jay Garrick Earth 3 Henry

So why did he go back ALL THE WAY back and save his mom, and not his dad? Well as much as Barry loved his dad, he’s still very much his mother’s son. We saw this a few episodes ago when he met with Nora in the Speed Force and we heard him recite ‘The Runaway Dinosaur’. Barry and his mom were linked to a Maiasaura where the mother-child relationship is key. Add in what Barry told his dad last episode about him ‘never being there’ and it’s no surprise that the last parent Barry remembers being comforted by is his mom makes a lot of sense. Nora is still Barry’s security blanket. And most of all, put yourself in Barry’s shoes. After everything you’ve been through, do you really think that you wouldn’t in a moment of weakness disregard all the advice you had. Yes he’s super, but he’s also human! People backslide in moments of weakness every day and this was Barry’s; but he will soon realize all he’s sacrificed to accomplish this and know it’s wrong to interfere. After all, we saw in the Season 1 Finale that an alternate version of The Flash stops Season 1 Barry from interfering. How could THAT Flash appear and tell Barry “No” if he hadn’t already learned that lesson? This event had to happen in order to complete Season 1, and it’s not hard to figure out that the Season 3 Finale – or Midseason depending on how long they want to run this arc – will end with Barry traveling back to tell his Season 1 self “No”.

Explaining Time Remnants (Part 2) – How Does This Make Sense?

This example of Time Remnants is much harder to explain since it also combines short term time travel – which as we learned last season usually places you back in YOUR body – but the way around this could explain why both Barry and Zoom had their remnants die so quickly. There was a preconceived plan to separate and achieve two different goals, which could have allowed them to remain two individuals; but ultimately had to result in one dying fairly quickly as only one can remain at a time. As for explaining all the other parts of Time Remnants used this episode, let me give this a shot.

You see, the moment the duplication appears ISN’T when the creation of a Time Remnant occurs. If it was at the same time, that’s simply a speed mirage. Here we don’t see the path the ‘out of time’ double took since they’re from a future that we haven’t seen yet. It’s hard to explain in words, so perhaps the below diagram I made can help. So for Barry, he decided to use a Time Remnant but didn’t travel back until moments later when he saw how things were going. Perhaps he fought Zoom, but the multiverse was destroyed. So the future Barry popped back and took on Zoom again while his younger self already knew to save the day. Yes his ‘past self’ died, but only because it was set on a path his ‘future self’ had put into motion.

The Flash The Race Of His Life Season 2 Finale Explanation Time Remnant

Zoom’s trick is easier to explain since he again killed his younger self. Though if Barry HAD killed Zoom it’s hard to say. On one hand, maybe Zoom intentionally made his older self lose – thus again beiong a causal factor – or maybe making Barry a killer would have been enough for Zoom in the end and a cause worthy to die for. Either way, his remnant had to die quickly in order for the close proximity Time Remnant to work. Do these make perfect sense? No, but that’s why they’re so appalling to the Time Line and Speed Force and thus why Barry knew it’d draw the Time Wraiths in.

Season/Series Tie-Ins – Time Wraiths, Zoom’s Punishment, Wally’s Path & More:

  • Again, using a Time Remnant is awful science and is a misuse of the Speed Force. Barry knew this would draw the Time Wraiths in as there were two versions of him for a short time both doing big tasks – while Zoom’s earlier was just a self-contained disconnect. Regardless, Zoom has committed many more perversions of the Speed Force and thus became the bigger target for the wraiths.
  • As for Zoom’s punishment, it’s actually very fitting as he was the man who tried to defy and control the Speed Force. As punishment for this, we see the Speed Force Time Wraiths not only catch up with him but also rip him to shreds and turn him into the fabled Black Flash aka the death speedster. Could this mean that Zoom is now the enforcer of the Speed Force, the Speedster doomed to appear before other Speedsters before their death? If so, becoming an attack dog for the Speed Force is a very apt punishment for the man who tried to defy it.

The Flash The Race Of His Life Season 2 Finale Black Flash Zoom

  • We’ve seen many parallels between Barry and Wally towards the end of this season, but this episode gave us a brilliant one when Wally breaks down about Joe being kidnapped. He says that he’s already lost a mother and he can’t lose his father too. Take a moment and you realize that is exactly what Barry’s already experienced. He’s had his mother taken from him and he’s JUST had a father taken as well.
  • As for how Cisco can open breaches so easily now, remember he was playing with this idea a few episodes ago and since has gained even more control. So having him able to easily open portals between Earths now isn’t that hard to figure out.
  • As it turns out, Zoom’s fib about Jay vs Zoom was actually pretty true, from a certain perspective.

In A Flash – Easter Eggs, Quotes & Other Notables:

  • As for why Team Flash thought Zoom was trapped on Earth-2 when he’s opened his own breeches between worlds before… ok, MAYBE plot hole. But I’m open to an explanation, perhaps I missed something.
  • The funeral scene here was very reminiscent of the funeral scene a few episodes ago on Arrow during a flashback when Oliver couldn’t bring himself to talk about Tommy.
  • Zoom took Jay Garrick’s identity; but now Garrick has taken Zoom’s helmet, which brings his entire costume much closer to the original comic look. I personally still like Zoom’s Jay look better. But since it’s Earth-3 Henry, the look makes sense.
  • “And then I’ll have a flash from two worlds to keep me company” is a reference to the famous comic that introduced Golden Age Flash to Flash, as well as an episode earlier this season by a similar name.
  • Yes, we all called it! The Man In the Iron Mask was the real Jay Garrick, but it was Earth-3’s Henry Doppelganger!
  • Favorite Quotes:
    • “Classic psychopath, why can’t they ever just say what they want to do” – Cisco
    • “It’s like I’m watching Transformers in 4D, but 10x more realistic … and much better acting” – Cisco
    • “One pulse to destroy them all” – Cisco using his LOTR knowledge
    • “Harry does his best Frankenstein” – Cisco using the Young Frankenstein pronunciation
    • “Have you ever worked with a tool before” – Harry to Cisco
    • “I’m working with one now” – Cisco to Harry, I’m so going to miss these two

So what should we expect from Season 3? Well as comic fans know, this is leading into the Flashpoint Paradox, a famous story where Barry saves his mom and returns to find the world VERY different. At best, he’ll eventually set everything back to normal. At worst, he’ll reset the entire universe when he sets things back. It depends on how the writers want to take this; but I’m willing to bet by midseason finale he’ll set everything right again and then deal with some fallout of that for the remainder of the season. That’s my prediction; but if I have to give ‘hopes’ it’s that Harry and Jessie return. The dynamic between Harry and Cisco is just TOO GOOD!!!!

Whatever the future – or past holds – I’ll be here to take a Closer Look. So here’s wishing everyone a happy summer and see you next Season!

3 thoughts on “A Closer Look: The Flash – “The Race Of His Life” (Season 2 Finale)

  1. Question. If Season 3 finale Flash goes back in time again wouldn’t he go there to stop Season 2 finale Flash instead of just Season 1 finale Flash ?
    Because Season 2 finale Flash is the one who stopped reverse-Flash and altered the timeline.

    • Well that’s what we’ll have to see. Since its a new rewriting, perhaps he’ll overshadow that Season 2 Flash like he’s done with other instances. Or maybe when we see him say ‘No’ to Season 1 Barry was actually after a quick NO to Season 2 Flash. Though if he does have to stop Season 2 Flash, then you’ll have to wonder if he’ll remember anything that happened in Season 3. So it depends how they do it, but either way it’s exciting 😀

  2. I LOVED that last fight Flash vs. Zoom…
    And I hope to see Dr. Wells again, in the next season: this bound between him and Cisco was too great, too sweet, too funny. Adorable.
    Just too bad that we never got to see, actually, HOW Barry made his Time-Remnent 😦

    I love this show and can’t wait for Season to air!

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