The Flash: The Race of His Life Review

The Flash: The Race of His Life Review

The season one finale of The Flash is easily one of best episodes of the show and the only real competition was given by season two’s episode called ‘Welcome to Earth-2’. This meant that the finale episode of the second season had to meet some really high standards and had a pretty tall order to fill. Therefore, it didn’t come as a surprise that ‘The Race of His Life’ was not able to fully meet the criteria. Sure, there were lots of great moments in the episode like they are in usually every episode, but it turned out to be more notable for the cliffhanger for the next season rather than the way it dealt with the entire Zoom storyline.

This finale was diminished a bit probably due to the way the last couple of episode were structured. The events and scenes that usually lend some punch to finales had already happened in previous episodes such Barry’s reunion with his mother or even his farewell moments with Joe. Most of the essential emotional moments occurred in ‘Fast Enough’ and ‘The Runaway Dinosaur’, which meant that the finale was already struggling. Regardless, there was still emotional drama, especially as Barry was mourning for his father who was killed at Zoom’s hands. The problem was that this loss didn’t seem as significant as it did a year ago.

Moreover, another downside that didn’t work in favor of season two’s end is that the writers didn’t disclose Zoom’s master plan until the very end. They revealed his aim well into the episode, which meant that there wasn’t enough time for the tension to build up. Zoom definitely had some powerful ambitions; destroying countless Earths and just leave this one is definitely evil by all standards. But, what would have worked better was if the writers had revealed this a few episodes ago so the tension could really simmer.

This would have been a good buildup to the final race between Zoom and Barry, which ended a bit too soon. It also came as a surprise as to how Barry was able to get the upper hand over his nemesis, something he had struggled to do the entire season. Also, it wasn’t quite satisfying to see Zoom being carried away by the show’s dementors i.e. time wraiths. The result was that the episode ended up cementing Reverse-Flash as the ultimate villain for the show. Over the course of this season, we have seen Zoom’s star rise and fall. Initially, he had served as quite a terrifying presence.

His threat was diminished by a huge extent when he was revealed to be a speed vampire; his goal was to drain Barry’s speed. But, there was considerable improvement in his characterization in the latter half of the season once we found out who he was. His life story was explored and it was explained how he ended up becoming the villain he is or was. Eventually, though, his story turned out to be a bit hollow as his murder of Henry Allen showed that Zoom was nothing less than a twisted mirror image of The Flash.

The idea seemed quite meaningless as Barry had no trouble overcoming his enemy this time around. But, his victory didn’t seem to make a point as it was not a moral one, which meant that there was something lacking. While there were complaints, the finale also had some great moments. The two racing sequences showed the time and effort that must have been put into making the episode a success because they were truly remarkable. There were some beautiful shots of the two speedsters racing for their own purpose. Apart from that, the episode also used Barry’s powers for some really cool purposes and that was fun to see.

It was nice to see Barry deliver some punches with lightning speed, which left his foe a bloody mess, something we have been wanting to see since Zoom beat up Barry in front of the entire city. However, the most interesting element was Barry’s decision to use his speed for summoning a time remnant. It is still difficult to understand how they are supposed to work and how they can be killed without creating a paradox. Figuring out time travel is usually complicated and only leaves you even more confused.

Yet, this scene worked really well because Barry literally sacrificed himself for saving his friends, but still managed to maintain his presence. Another unique twist in this episode was how Barry and Team Flash were on opposite sides. Like in any superhero war, neither side is completely wrong. Barry was aware that he could defeat Zoom and he was yearning for revenge after his father’s death. On the other hand, his friends were aware that Barry’s attempts at confronting Zoom had just led to disaster every time and his anger was only going to make it more certain.

The rest of the team got a golden opportunity to shine with Barry locked up, especially Caitlin. But, their victory was really no victory because Joe’s life was left hanging in the balance and Zoom was still alive. Another reason why the opposing sides angle worked was that it didn’t fully heal once Zoom was defeated. Barry feels distanced from everyone now and this is linked to Thawne’s prophecy that Barry will never be truly happy. It was also fun to see that lots of people were right about the identity of the man in the iron helmet; it was Jay Garrick from another Earth, who incidentally looks like Henry Allen.

Another bittersweet scene was the farewell to the Wells family, especially between Cisco and Wells. Hopefully, we will see them again next season as there is a possibility of Jesse getting powers. As for the cliffhanger, Barry did the unthinkable by going back in time and saving his mother. For a moment, Barry was definitely pleased, but then he saw his younger self fade out of existence, which is an indication that something terrible is going to happen. We have to wait till season 3 to know what that is.

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