In this episode, the finale of the first season, Barry makes a pact with Wells–he will help Eobard get back to his own time and in the process Barry will be able to go back and save his mother. All that Barry is, and that we have seen in this series, rests on this one event. Can Barry do it?
After Wells being defeated and captured in the last episode it was difficult to see what was being saved for the finale. Grief. That was being saved for the last episode. The Flash has plucked at the emotions a couple of times this season, what with Barry’s childhood, and with Cisco’s alternative timeline murder, but this episode had several proper yanks on my emotions. Last episode nicely set-up Barry being mistaken in trusting an enemy, not that we really needed our doubts to be stirred when it comes to working with Eobard/Wells.
The whole idea that really, the life our Barry had led up to this season has been shaped by an intervention in the timeline, and that Barry could undo this was a big thing to deal with, and a bold move for the writers if they chose to go in that direction. The scenes where Barry looks to Iris and Joe for what he should do were nicely played, but it was his scenes with Joe that stood out. Joe is the best screen dad-figure. Their relationship has shone throughout this season, and next to Barry, Joe has been the main source of heart for the season what with his relationships with Barry, Eddie, and Iris.
But Joe and Barry’s brief exchange about what Barry should do was only the start of the emotion. Barry travelling back to save his mother. Loss of a parent is tough enough, but to know that you have a shot of saving a parent? Barely imaginable what Barry was going through, but you don’t have to imagine when you see Barry’s torment over his mother. I don’t know how he could decide to do what he did, but clearly there’s a reason–that’s not for sharing just yet.
Then there was the resolution of Barry and Eobard’s fight. It was a way out I had thought of–but hadn’t thought I would see it. Wow. That was tough watching. A big loss. One that we weren’t given much time to process. No wake of an ending for us. Just a very hungry black hole threatening to engulf everything. Which is pretty much grief for sure–except this was a literal hungry black hole threatening to engulf everything. An impressive effect in a scene full of excitement that managed to distract me from such cynical thoughts about how this really can’t be a threat–they can’t destroy everything at the close of season 1… Although they could undo a lot of what we know…
An impressive end to a strong first season. At several points this series I’ve marvelled at how developed the show felt, to the point where it didn’t feel like this was just the first season. I’m prone to being a harsh judge of new shows and giving up on them early on (Arrow–can you feel my shame?) but from the opening ‘My name is Barry Allen’ I was happy. Udoubtedly helped by the soft launch on Arrow. With the exception of Iris and Caitlyn the characters were quick to adopt. It was a shame that Caitlyn was underdeveloped and Iris was too developed in the princess bitch department. It’s balanced being formulaic (villain of the week–and that’s no criticism), a little silly (Bug-Eyed Bandit), fun (Arrow crossovers), awesome (Arrow crossovers), and involved (everything time-travel) to an impressive degree. It’s hard to criticise the show, when at it’s weaker moments it’s ‘just entertaining’ instead of ‘really good’. Arrow being a bit sucky this season probably helped too…
Can’t wait for the next season. Which I guess is going to be quite a different world for Barry… He’s either going to have to deal with his choice, and not being the one to save the day, or he’s going to be in another reality… Or maybe something else completely. Looking forward to finding out.