‘The Flash’ Season 1 Recap, Episode 23, ‘Fast Enough’
Welcome back to Up To Speed, home of the the Flashest Recaps Alive. Here we’ll recap the latest episode of The Flash, dispense some Flash Facts and talk about what works, what doesn’t and where the series might be headed, as we try and keep up with the adventures of the fastest man alive, Barry Allen, more widely known as The Flash.
This week, we're rushing headlong into the first season finale, titled "Fast Enough." This episode has it all: a wedding, hell of deaths, time travelin', Thawne-spawn in guyliner, hamburgers of horror, a gaggle of dads but just one mom, dim sum, dimmer fates, and oh yeah, the end of the world -- all in under 45 minutes. We've got a lot of ground to cover, so let's get this show on the road.
FLASHBACK: What Happened This Week
The episode starts off with Barry's usual voice-over, only this time, he's serious about this voiceover. Stakes is high. The gang's all assembled at STAR Labs: Cisco Ramon, Caitlin Snow, Ronnie Raymond, Dr. Martin Stein, Joe West. (Business Beanie™ isn't in the first bit, but don't worry, it shows up later.) Barry's also here, and boy does he have a serious face! Also, Eobard Thawne/Harrison Wells/The Reverse Flash is here, locked up in the metahuman prison of his own design. Barry heads down to visit him. Wells asks if Barry brought him a Big Belly Burger, cuz apparently there are no cows in the future, which makes me wonder if Eobard Thawne is from the Flesh universe. Bronto-burgers are bangarang, bro.
Thawne then opens the floor for questions, and Barry unloads on him, asking him why he killed his mom. Thawne answers honestly: "Because I hate you." He then monologues his plan: Thawne traveled back in time to kill Baby Barry, but Future Barry also traveled back in time, fought the Non-Wells Eobard Thawne, and saved himself from Thawne's attack. So, Thawne decided to kill Barry's mom in an effort to emotionally cripple Barry enough that he'd never become the Flash. Except after their fight, Thawne got stranded in the past and then had to create the Flash via the Particle Accelerator so he could use his speed to get home. Which explains why Thawne/Wells took such an interest in Barry this whole time.
So, Thawne offers to let Barry save his mom in return for helping Thawne get back to his future. Barry gets all mad, saying he wants to kill Thawne, but we all know he's gonna fold like a card table for the chance to save his momma. I mean, last week he was cutting deals with villains to help him get across town. You dangle his mom --- and by extension, his poor, perfect dad --- in front of Barry and you got yourself a deal.
Back in the main STAR Labs room, Professor Stein explains time travel to the people watching at home who aren't huge nerds who have mainlined this stuff for most of their lives. Parallel universes, time paradoxes, Hypertime; Stein explains the whole shebang.
So, if Barry saves his mom, will he create a reality where he didn't grow up with Joe and Iris? Would he ever meet Cisco or Caitlin or Ronnie? IDK! Let's find out, I guess!
Joe tells Barry he has to do it and then storm off, Barry races after him and they have a heart-to-heart in the hallway. Joe, being the Best, is willing to sacrifice his relationship with Barry in order for Barry to have a happy, normal childhood and no, you are tearing up a little bit thinking about his decent of a guy Joe West is.
Meanwhile at Iron Heights Prison, Barry's talking to his dad, who is terrible. Just a corny cheeseball with a mouth full of inspirational speeches and disturbingly white veneers. Henry West tries to talk Barry out of traveling back in time, giving him a speech while plaintive piano music plays in the background.
At STAR Labs, Ronnie and Caitlin get a little moment to themselves and Ronnie lays it on thick, telling Caitlin that he's not a whole person without Caitlin (and also Professor Stein), and then he re-proposes to her.
On the Thinkin' Roof, Iris finds Barry up there and then it's their turn to have a heart-to-heart. Barry lays it out: if he travels back and saves his mom, him and Iris aren't kind-of-related and maybe he doesn't wait too long to tell her he loves her and they can get married and have one million babies. Iris, who just last week was telling her boyfriend Eddie that he didn't need to listen to a newspaper from the future shown to him by a legitimate super-villain, is now listening to a newspaper from the future shown to her boyfriend by a legitimate super-villain, telling Barry that if he goes back in time, maybe they can get married and have one million babies. On the other hand, Barry says, Joe is a really good dad. It's a real conundrum. She tells Barry to follow his heart. They cry. A-bloo-bloo-bloo.
Cut to: Barry in the basement of the Particle Accelerator, trying hard not to come off too desperate when he tells RevFlash that he wants to help him travel through time. RevFlash explains that he's gonna fire up the reactor and Barry's gonna run real fast towards a hydrogen atom and punch a hole through time and space, into the Speed Force and back to save his mommy. Easy peasy.
Upstairs in the Lab, Stein explains more science stuff. Cisco is bummed because Barry is taking an unnecessary risk and also then they won't be buds, but then Barry tells him he needs him to build a time machine, and Cisco is like, "I love this plan. When do we start?"
He heads to his workshop, but Ronnie notices a snag in their time machine design, so Cisco heads to the one person he knows can fix it for him: Thawne/Wells. They have a chat about science stuff, and Cisco gets all mad at Wells for lying to him and also for killing him in the alternate timeline episode. Wells is taken aback, because Cisco shouldn't be remembering stuff from another timeline, but I guess something like having your Science Dad rip your heart out sticks with you. Wells postulates that this remembering is a latent metahuman ability from Cisco's involvement in the Accelerator explosion. Cisco is all, "No! You're wrong! I'll never rule the universe with you!" and storms off.
Upstairs, Stein is boring Eddie to death about technical nerd stuff and Eddie is busy wallowing in his self-pity because of Eobard's verbal smackdown when he had Eddie tied up in the Thawne Cave. Eddie mentions this to Stein who is all, "Yeah, snap out of it. Make you own destiny, bro. Also, it's kinda weird how you're the Reverse Flash's ancestor, huh?" And Eddie is like, "Hmmmmm."
Just then the computer beeps and Stein tells Barry that if he doesn't do the time travel thing just right, he could create a black hole and, oh yeah, it will destroy everything. Thawne/Wells is all, "Oh, stop being such babies and get back to work making my time machine." RevFlash tells them that Barry has to wrap up his time trip in 1 minutes and 52 seconds (because of course it's 52 seconds) if he wants the time-hole to stabilize. No problem, right? Right?
In the Cosmic Treadmill room, Joe and Barry and Business Beanie™ have another heart-to-heart. Barry's having second thoughts on this whole "punch a hole through reality and help your arch-enemy escape back to his time period" thing, and frankly, so is Joe. Barry is all, "I thought you were 100% on this?" and Joe lets you in on a little secret us parents don't want you to know: We are all faking it all the time, just hoping that we don't screw up our kids too badly. It's a really sweet talk, as usual. ILU, Jesse L. Martin.
At the Central City Picture News office --- which is a name for a newspaper that passed through numerous levels of writers and producers without anybody saying, "This is a dumb name for a newspaper; let's change it." --- Eddie brings Iris some dim sum as a peace offering. They have a little heart-to-heart about how much Eddie loves Iris, future newspapers be damned, and he tells her the story of how they met from his point of view. He talks about coincidence and destiny and hmmm, isn't this all interesting? What could it all mean?
Then Ronnie and Caitlin get married while Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over," plays in the background, which is a real weird choice for a wedding, right? Especially since both the actors involved in the wedding weren't even born when the song was released? Anyway, Professor Stein marries them and Cisco is the ring-bearer. One half of Firestorm and (spoilers!) Killer Frost getting married, kids! Much romance. So love.
Then it's back to business as Barry prepares to run real fast and travel through time. Barry does all his goodbyes and it's really affecting. When he calls Joe "Dad," and they hug, I might have cried silent tears. Barry heads into the Accelerator and Wells/Thawne tells him to run in the creepiest voice because he is a creep.
And we're off. Barry's running, and suddenly, he's in the Speed Force and we get all sort of little Easter egg-y glimpses into the past season and the seasons to come: Joe bringing Barry home after his mom's murder, Caitlin Snow as Killer Frost, The Flash Museum, Barry in an Iron Heights Prison jumpsuit, talking to … Henry (?) on the phone? That scene from the Legends of Tomorrow first look where the robot foot crashes through the roof of what appears to be a dam, and finally, the night his mom died.
Then they shoot the hydrogen atom at him and … he's gone. He watches the RevFlas/RegFlash fight from the kitchen door, but before he can get ready to swoop and save his mom, Future RegFlash waves him back, so he waits and watches it all happen again: the fight, Future Him saving Past Him, RevFlash stabbing his mom and running after Future RegFlash.
He heads out afterward and comforts his mom as she lays there, bleeding. He takes his mask off and she figures out that he's her son. He gets to tell her that he's okay, that her husband's okay; that they love her. And then she dies. It's pretty heart breaking. So heart breaking that I will forgo the usual goofy screencap with text on it.
In the Accelerator, Wells is getting in the Time Sphere and name-dropping Rip Hunter, who we know is gonna show up in Legends of Tomorrow as a quasi-Doctor Who that brings the heroes together so they can fight super-caveman Vandal Savage. Just then, Jay Garrick's Hermes-style helmet pops out the Time Sphincter and Eobard is all, "Welp, time to go."
He hops in the Sphere, buckles up, checks his mirrors and gets ready to fire her up when Barry Super-Punches his way out of the singularity, smashing the Time Sphere and also Eobard's face.
Eobard is pissed. He rails at Barry for blowing the chance to have everything he ever wanted, but Barry's like, "Jokes on you, I already do." and ooooooh sick burn. They have a super-speed punch-up in the Accelerator while a new Black Hole opens up behind them. Caitlin and Ronnie scramble to shut off the power (which they do at literally the last second. Also, Ronnie continues his streak of getting blasted around ineffectually whenever he tries to do something) while Barry gets pretty decently beat up by Eobard.
He starts his hand a'vibratin', but before he can jab it into Barry's chest, we hear a gunshot and… oh snap! Eddie shot himself! He just Grandfather Paradox-ed Eobard!
With his great-great-grandpa dead, Eobard cannot exist, so he starts to disintegrate. Eddie figured out his destiny! It's to die! [spoilers: this is all of our destinies.] Iris rushes to his side, but he dies after saying some touching stuff to Iris, and another black hole opens up and they have to evacuate, leaving Eddie's body behind as stuff gets sucked up into the black hole. It's almost as if that is a set-up for a future storyline. Like, if Eobard's essence were to jump into Eddie's body, you know?
They all look up into the sky at the black hole. Absolute pandemonium. We see a bunch of side players gazing up at the abyss: Captain Cold, Henry Allen, Captain Singh, the lady who's going to play Hawkgirl in Legends of Tomorrow. It's like when that jerk Peck turned off the containment unit in Ghostbusters, only with 1000% less Slimers; so, as usual, Ghostbusters wins this round.
Barry looks up at it and is like, "Okay, I'm just gonna run around it like I did with the Weather Wizard," because dammit, what else is the guy gonna do? So the last thing we see is Barry Allen, running from piece of debris to piece of debris, as he faces down a literal black hole in an attempt to run it to death.
Shine on, Barry Allen, you crazy fool.
FLASH FACTS: Random Observations
- And that's a wrap on the first season. All in all, it was really enjoyable. There were some pretty heavy thuds along the way, but the season's highs far outweighed the lows, and judging by the goofiness dropped on us in the finale, there's a lot more good stuff coming our way.
- Before the finale, I re-watched the pilot, and it's weird, because, while it's a similar show in tone, it's amazing to see just how confident they got as the season wore on. The first few episodes especially tried to cash in on the familiarity of the police procedural structure, with Barry, Joe, and Eddie solving metahuman crimes while the producers injected superhero stuff in at the edges.
- And here we are, with alternate realities, time travel/paradoxes, a pretty beefy and weird supporting cast, and the promise of even more goofy, fun stuff to come. It's amazing the kind of freedom you're given when you have the #1 rated show on a network, huh?
- There's something unsettling about seeing Tom Cavanagh without glasses on. His eyebrows seem darker than they should be and his guyliner is very obvious. My wife compared him to a dark-haired, less swole Carrot Top, and now I can't unsee that.
- I'm still calling it: we're gonna get some sort of Flashpoint-type thingy in the second season. Barry will make it out of the black hole to find a totally different world.
FLASH FORWARD: Future Happenings
While the premiere season of The Flash has wound to a close, there's still more superhero goodness coming to the CW. The Flash will be back this coming fall with its new season, and the recent television upfronts provided us with a look at the CW's mid-season replacement for Arrow and The Flash, the ensemble piece Legends of Tomorrow, which looks like all kinds of fun.
Anyway, thanks for sticking around for the season. You're the best. See you next time? Until then, keep on Flashin'.