The Flash: Finish Line Review
The CW’s The Flash: Season 3, Episode 23: ‘Finish Line’ helped end the third season on an emotional note. Season 3 hasn’t been a strong season throughout, but the show managed to make an extraordinary feat during the last few weeks, moving Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) away from the darkness and giving Savitar a reason why he does what he does, making him become a formidable opponent against the Scarlet Speedster. The season finale had some flaws, but it did wrap up the season with a big cliffhanger that will hold us until the new season begins.
Team Flash was left in a very vulnerable place after what went down with Savitar when he murdered Iris (Candice Patton) in order to fulfill his prophecy foretold in the future. The episode picks up right after that devastating death, only to reveal that H.R. Wells (Tom Cavanagh) switched places with Iris and sacrificed himself for the team. The twist was predictable, so it may not necessarily sit well with some viewers. It was an easier blow on the show to get rid of the alternate Mr. Wells instead of Iris and there’s always a chance to bring any of the other Harrison Wells to replace that hole.
Having Iris killed on the show would’ve just repeated the same pattern that The Flash has had since the beginning. For every major villain, Barry had to lose a family member causing him to go into more grief to make the show darker in tone. We have already witnessed what happens to the team after Iris is gone, and it’s really bad. It’s great that the team had some hope instead of breaking down into depression. With H.R. managing to fit into that role to inspire hope was a fitting way for his storyline to end. It also wouldn’t be so bad if Harry from Earth-2 came back to the team when the show returns in the fall.
It did feel strange how H.R.’s death was dealt with afterwards. Having the death take place at the start of the episode delayed some of the blow from that dramatic exit since it happened so fast and didn’t give anyone a proper way to react. It was difficult to determine what the real trouble is in the episode for a little bit. With Iris safe, it prevents Savitar from ever being created. If that was so simple, why did the team end up making it worse? There is no way they will stay back as Barry gives in to the speed force.
The rules of time travel did change to better adapt the show’s concept of speed. Savitar was about to get erased from existence, but he had some time left to come up with a backup plan. What was good was the show was able to humanize Savitar and allow the viewers to explore the person behind that metahuman armor. The awkward reunion with Savitar and Team Flash allowed showing more of the villain’s humanity. It really showed how much Barry and Iris were willing to give someone another chance at redemption after trying to kill them. With so much darkness in the episode, there was certainly some lightness in it as well. However, Savitar soon reverted back into his evil ways once he destroyed S.T.A.R. Labs. Turning him back into the traditional bad guy ruined whatever potential he had as a character when it came down to the climactic battle.
What truly proved to be a powerful performance this week was Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker) as we got to see her struggle between her friends and helping Savitar in his evil agenda. Proven more successful was when both her and Savitar showed their vulnerable side after letting go of their evil personalities. When it came down to it, Caitlin ultimately chose to save Cisco (Carlos Valdes). She also didn’t end up using Julian’s (Tom Felton) cure, referring to stay within the gray area of who she is now. After everything that Caitlin has gone though, having her change back to her normal self would’ve been too easy. It will be exciting to see what kind of direction Caitlin will go to in the future.
Even though Savitar transitioned back into his villainous ways towards the end of the hour, the final fight between Team Flash and Savitar was amazing. The last two seasons always went down to two speedsters locked in battle but it was cool to see that we had three speedsters as well as Cisco and Gypsy (Jessica Camacho) trying to take down one big one. Seeing everything go down with five heroes against a supervillain was something worth witnessing on screen. Even the return of Jay Garrick (John Wesley Shipp) was just the icing on the cake.
The way this climactic battle ended was also enjoyable when Barry tapped into his dark side but managed to overcome that when taking down Savitar. It was satisfying that Iris got to save Barry for once when she shot his doppelganger. She got her revenge on the time remnant while at the same time, she got to finish the fight once and for all instead of being a damsel-in-distress.
Throughout the whole season, the one character that should get recognition is Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale). Basically, Wally’s role has been strange during this season. After escaping from the Speed Force prison, he was pushed into the background and didn’t have much to contribute in the last few episodes. It seems like he is now being pushed into becoming the new Flash for the fourth season. It would’ve been better if the writers worked on him more this season to prepare for his transition into a full-fledged hero.
The cliffhanger at the end of the season finale left some mixed feelings. On one hand, we ended up getting a twist rather than a happy ending that the team truly deserved. It’s as if Barry can’t ever catch a break on the show after every season ends. Despite that, the unfortunately tragic ending of the season did make sense. It’s as Barry said earlier in the season, everything that has happened to him and his family was due to his mistakes. If he hadn’t meddled with time to create Flashpoint, things would’ve been better. Cisco wouldn’t have lost his brother, Caitlin wouldn’t become Killer Frost, and H.R. would’ve been alive. Even Iris wouldn’t have to worry about her life being in danger for the past few months. Barry did fix things, but he still has to face the music and pay for his mistakes. The way the season wrapped was gratifying and gave some emotionally charged farewell scenes.
The season three finale of The Flash wasn’t a perfect way to end the season, but it was just as satisfying. Emotionally, the episode gave the season a strong close that it really needed. It gave Team Flash the victory that they were trying to achieve and brought Barry’s seasonal journey to an end. It seems like the finale may even bring forth a much lighter fourth season, no matter who keeps the team going or how long Barry will be gone for.
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