It feels a little strange that we’ve now come to the end of the first season of The Flash.
Not bad strange. In fact, it’s an ending that does what any good season-but-not-series finale should: it leaves you looking forward to more. It’s more just that moment of going ‘that’s it, the ride’s over for the next few months.’
That said, I would like to take this moment to commend the show on being both DC’s strongest television offering this round but also arguably one of the better superhero shows to come out of the current boom.
Going right from the leave-off point last week, this finale brings a lot of plot points from this season to a head: the Reverse Flash, Eddie and Iris, Barry’s mother, all get brought to conclusions and – surprisingly, they’re all pretty satisfying wrap-ups.
Watching this, I found myself going back to look up some of the dates as far as this show’s behind the scenes information went. Cause watching the way this season went off, it carries itself like a finale where they aren’t sure if they’ll be getting another season, so they figure ‘we’ll leave it open, but send everything off with a bang’.
Without giving too much away, the crux of the finale hangs on one last gambit by Wells – he offers Barry a chance to go back and save his mother’s life. It’s an interesting idea, since the show has already dabbled in the questions of changing the flow of history to this point, especially with this episode confirming that the incident that started everything was, itself, a botched attempt by…you know what, let’s just use his real name now, Eobard Thawne, to remove the Flash from history – an event that backfired so badly as to require him to then have to recreate his enemy.
A lot of this episode goes to the questions and implications raised by the idea of Barry ‘fixing’ history, and honestly, it’s some of the best writing the show has had this season. Everyone gets their moments to shine, whether it’s from exploring just how safe the whole thing is, facing the possibilities of what an alternate history could hold, or just taking stock in what they have in the here and now.
It’s a very good balance to send the season off on – taking a patently comic book idea like Barry using his powers to change time and finding the very human side of it all, a task this episode accomplishes in a big way. There’s a lot going on here in terms of characters being faced with their roles in a malleable history, and it leads to some strong, but surprisingly satisfying emotional beats. I even gave this one a rewatch before doing this writeup just for the Hell of it.
I’m trying hard not to get too much into details because I don’t want to give anything away, even though I know a lot of people have already seen this. Even the parts of this that were, on paper, kind of predictable, are executed in a way that still gives them the impact they need to really land.
I’m genuinely impressed with how far this show has come in just its first season. It started off in a pretty good place, albeit with a few small things to iron out. As it gained more solid footing, it really started to become a solid series. As of now, it’s closing out its first season on a stronger note than I was expecting.
Also, one thing I really want to give this show at this point – for all the jokes about DC being dour and humorless, largely thanks to the ridiculous statements from their film division, The Flash has been a series that seems to exist in part to defy that principle. Barry has his moments of doubt, but he’s not a dark, tormented individual. Even his enemies aren’t all overly dark. The show is a pretty unabashedly optimistic take on a superhero setting, and with the way DC’s movies are going, it’s a relief to know their television division doesn’t feel bound to the rule.
With this, I think my biggest complaint – if I could even call it that: the wait for the next season. There’s plenty of directions they can go from where things left off, but it’s anyone’s guess to see what lies ahead for Barry and his assorted friends and allies.
One thing’s for certain. I’ll be among those waiting. Hopefully I’ll see some of you guys there too.
-Great wrap-up to several overarching storylines from this season
-Leaves on a note that could easily be its own conclusion while also setting the stage for some promising new material
-For getting a credit in the opening, Snart’s wordless ‘…and then there’s me.’ appearance was funny for all the wrong reasons
-I’m gonna miss Harrison Wells next season. Cavanagh really did a bang-up job making a memorable antagonist out of him (when my cons still turn into roundabout praise, that should tell you something here)