The Flash Review by Henry Tran

The Flash 3.23: Finish Line

The Flash 3.23: Finish Line

Written By:
Aaron and Todd Helbing
Directed By:
David McWhirter

I've been debating in my head the past few weeks about what the high points of this third season of The Flash were. It was hard for me to think of many. Some parts of the Flashpoint timeline maybe, a couple of new, more interesting Rogues, although that fizzled out just as quickly as many of the season's other subplots, and the sight of Gorilla City. Also can't forget the complete transformation of Caitlin into Killer Frost.



Notice what's largely missing from that paltry list: The main plot of Savitar and the murder of Iris West. The reveal of Savitar's real identity was botched.  The development of Wally West into Kid Flash. The high point of the season is a tie between the musical episode "Duet" and the show's contribution to the four show, four part "Invasion!" crossover event. Both episodes had nothing to do with the main arc of the season. Which demonstrates to a tee the multitude of problems and general malaise that has taken over this show since the end of its first season. There was the hope, however small it was from myself personally, that the season finale could correct some of these problems (asking it to correct all of them would be too much) and perhaps restore whatever goodwill is left to salvage from the debacle. Yes, I'm being overly negative on this show, but it's for good reason. The show hasn't recognized its deep issues and taken the necessary steps to course correct during its run this season. It took news from outside the show proper to generate that bit of optimism. The show will do a hard reset next season, with a villain who isn't a speedster for Barry and company to challenge.


But that's for the near future. Here, the characters on the show have to wade through a bunch of nonsensical gobbledygook about time travel and changing the present to change the future, all to essentially pull a fast one (no pun intended) on the audience. It turns out, Savitar didn't really kill Iris. He killed H.R., who disguised himself as Iris via his face-switching or face-disguising tech in order to make the ultimate sacrifice. He preserved the integrity of the team, and created some sort of time paradox that Savitar, aka Evil Barry, has to outmaneuver before it catches up to him.



Or something. I have to admit this: I had a real hard time fully understanding the mechanics of the time travel paradox both Evil Barry and Present Time Barry laid out for us. At least with Legends of Tomorrow, it recognized the goofiness and folly of figuring out how time travel worked so that it could shift its focus onto other things. The Flash has been drowning in this kind of stuff for a while now, probably since Barry first went into the future and saw Savitar kill Iris in front of him. Being mired in such confounding plotting obviously leads to viewers like me zoning out until a clear resolution can eventually reveal itself.


That said, the climax of the episode was rather effective. Present Time Barry tries to appeal to whatever good is left in Evil Barry by having the members of Team Flash talk him into some form of forgiveness. Which is difficult to come by since he did kill H.R. It all sorts itself out by having Evil Barry kidnap Cisco, force him to adjust the Speed Force Bazooka to "fracture" Savitar enough so that he occupies all points in time. Yeah. This show was never much for logical consistency. But you learn to go with it. The showdown near the end of the episode makes wading through the nonsense worth it somewhat. Cisco changes the Bazooka to briefly fracture Savitar (in a rather cool image of multiple Savitar fragments appearing before a portal), then it becomes a "Speed Force skeleton key" that allows Jay Garrick to free himself from the Speed Force Prison to fight Savitar. Eventually, Present Barry takes over the Savitar suit (which looks much more intimidating when glowing red) to distract Evil Barry enough to allow Iris to shoot him. He then fades away along with the Savitar suit.



Team Flash gets its happy ending, though that's not entirely true with regard to Caitlin. She's now in an unknown place within the series itself. She's not Killer Frost, but she also chose not to ingest the formula that would turn her back into the old Caitlin. It's not quite hitting the Reset Button Plot, but it also leaves the character stuck in neutral. Just another thing for the show to have to resolve for next season. The happy ending doesn't last too long, as a Speed Force storm hits Central City. Here's where the show taps into the emotional core that it ignored for practically the entire season. It's always been the show's most effective side, which makes the writers' ignorance of it that much more galling. Barry sacrifices himself to the Speed Force prison that Jay once occupied. It's the rightful penance that he has to do to correct his selfish decision to create the Flashpoint timeline. The lack of consequences for that action has long been a sticking point of mine as this season went on. So it's great for the show to acknwledge that and work it into the narrative. It doesn't make up for the multitude of errors and bad decisions made during the bulk of the season, but it gives hope to the thought that the writers can plan a better season.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • HR will be sorely missed, as he went from annoying to part of the family in short order
The Bad:
  • The time travel and paradox elements are beyond confusing to the point of ridiculousness
  • Much of this season lacked cohesion and tension, and that makes the big resolution less effective

Henry Tran is a regular contributor of review for Critical Myth; The Critical Myth Show is heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @HenYay

The Flash by - 5/26/2017 7:33 AM191 views

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