It is a known fact that season three of The Flash has been the weakest so far, but in recent weeks, the show has made some rather impressive strides. Lately, our favorite hero’s world has been dominated by a little too much of darkness, especially considering how it begun with Barry living with his parents. But, the final episode of the season did a lot to push this darkness away and mold Savitar into an understandable and compelling villain that he should have been a long time ago. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that there weren’t problems in The Finish Line, but it was a decent end to the season and if the cliffhanger is anything to go by, it will be a major game-changer moving forward.
Team Flash was left in a very dark place when last week’s episode ended as Savitar seemingly succeeded in his goal of killing Iris thereby ensuring that he would be born four years in the future. But, the episode didn’t waste any time telling us that it wasn’t Iris who died because H.R. pulled a switch, something that was widely predicted. This is certainly easier to do as they have several other Wellses ready to take H.R.’s place. Moreover, there wasn’t really any point in killing Iris. They have already ended two seasons where Barry ended up losing a family member and repeating it would have been boring and would have plugged the show into further despair and darkness.
After all, they have already shown us what Iris’s death would do to Team Flash and so our band of heroes needed a break desperately that would allow them to have hope instead of be depressed. H.R.’s death accomplished that quite well and brought his story to a fitting end, especially when it became apparent that Harry would be taking his place. However, the showrunners didn’t really pull off H.R.’s death so successfully. Its aftermath felt off, probably because it was shown at the beginning of the episode and the other characters didn’t have much time to react to this tragedy.
Another problem was that the conflict episode wasn’t really clear for a while. Once Iris was saved, they could just sit back and watch Savitar be erased out of existence just like Reverse Flash in the first season. But, this was another one of the scenes where the writers decided to bend the rules of time travel. Sure, Savitar’s clock was ticking, but he had enough time left to wreak some havoc and cause some mayhem. Yet, the most interesting element of the episode was the lonely and scarred man beneath the suit. The uncomfortable reunion of Savitar with his former team members went a long way to humanizing him.
Also, it showed Barry and Iris’s strength as they both were willing to reach out and help someone who had been trying to destroy their lives. It was obvious throughout the episode that the writers wanted to end this season on a lighter and happier note and push out the darkness that had haunted it the entire season. But, Savitar was the big villain so the humanizing effect wore off eventually and he destroyed STAR Labs and went back to his Plan B of becoming a god. As far as Killer Frost is concerned, it turned out to be another strong week for her as she had to deal with conflicted emotions while helping Savitar finalize his plans.
It is better when villains go from being ‘pure evil’ to conflicted and show their own fifty shades of gray. It seems that Caitlin finally managed to triumph as she ended up choosing Cisco over Savitar. One smart move they made was having her refuse to take Julian’s cure. After all the character has been through, it would have been a waste of time to return her to her status quo. Thus, it was a good decision on her part to remain stuck between somewhere good and evil and it definitely makes us wonder what role she would play in the future. She also got to have a bad-ass moment when she dispatched off Black Flash in a few seconds, something that Barry had had to prepare for, which again goes to show that she could have been the season’s villain on her own.
The final showdown between Team Flash and Team Savitar was great as this time there wasn’t just two speedsters fighting. Jay Garrick returned and it was three speedsters, including Wally, and two Vibe-ers, including Gypsy, who took on Savitar and Killer Frost. The conflict’s resolution was also satisfying as Barry once again proved that compassion and hope can always overcome hate. More satisfying was Iris getting some well-deserved revenge as she shot Savitar and put an end to him.
The only character that has been weird all season is Wally who has retrated to the background after coming out of the Speed Force, but it seems that the final cliffhanger had the aim of bringing him into the limelight again by making him the Flash in season 4. The cliffhanger itself seemed a bit tacked on as if the writers wanted to give the show a twist instead of giving everyone a happy ending. It seems that the show cannot end without Barry going into a temporal vortex for some reason or other.
But, there is no denying that the ending did serve a purpose. In fact, Barry said it himself; everything that had happened in the season was because of Flashpoint. His decision to meddle with time had resulted in the things that went wrong like Caitlin becoming Killer Frost and Cisco’s brother being dead. Sure, he did save the day ultimately, but this doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have to pay his penance. So, when the Speed Force came calling, more like wreaking havoc, on Central City as it needed a prisoner to take Savitar’s place, Barry was the one to go.