Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 23 - The Race of His Life

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


With Henry Allen dead and Zoom's plan to destroy the multiverse revealed, Barry is more determined than ever to stop Zoom once and for all. Unfortunately, the rest of Team Flash have a plan of their own that an angry Barry Allen could only hurt. In the end, Barry Allen will have to race to save not only his world but all worlds and prove he really is the fastest man alive!


The Man In The Iron Mask (the masked man whose identity is kept secret by the villain), Star Wars (the villain trying to corrupt the hero who manipulates the same force as him), Crisis On Infinite Earths (The Flash needing to use his powers to contain the energy of a device capable of destroying multiple universes), the film Ghost (the Time Wraiths coming for Zoom), Back To The Future (the alternate past Barry fading out of existence after present Barry prevents his mother's death), Flashpoint (Barry Allen goes back in time to prevent his mother's murder) and every classic The Flash comic involving a race against the villain.


So after all the talk a few episodes ago about how there was no way they could possibly stop Zoom without Barry getting his speed back, suddenly Team Flash comes up with a plan to do that in less than a day?

How exactly was Team Flash's plan to stop Zoom without Barry supposed to work when Zoom can fashion controlled breaches on his own now? Sure, they could have knocked him out of Earth One for a little bit, but he was bound to find his way back eventually...

The science behind how the Time Remnants work is hand-waved as Barry tries to explain what append to Wally and then basically says to forget about it.


Grant Gustin offered a varied performance through the episode. For the first time, we see Barry Allen truly enraged and you honestly believe he could easily kill Zoom at this point given half the chance. The final scenes in which Barry gives in to his anger but finds a way to focus it are as frightening as they are thrilling and showcase Gustin's range as an actor like nothing else in the series so far.

Danielle Panabaker also gives an amazing performance, playing Caitlin Snow as she tries to throw Zoom off guard with her talk of finally being ready to embrace the evil within her. It's a tricky thing for an actor to play someone who isn't an actor trying to act (we saw something of this last week when Caitlin impersonated Killer Frost)  but Panabaker does it well. She also nails the tone needed to drive home to Barry how out of control he is by pointing out that yes, in fact, she DOES know what it's like to see someone you love die in front of you.


The opening chase/fight between The Flash and Zoom is a triumph for the special effects team and the greatest speed-sequence ever... up until the race between Zoom and The Flash tops it.

Flash Facts

Instead of the usual "My name is Barry Allen..." opening, the introduction to this episode covers the major events of Season Two.

There's a long tradition of stories in which The Flash must run a literal race in order to save the world. One of the more famous is The Human Race by Grant Morrison and Mark Millar, in which a cosmic being amuses himself by forcing the champions of various worlds to race, with the loser's home-world being destroyed.

The Mercury Labs magnetar resembles the anti-matter cannon built by the Anti-Monitor in Crisis of Infinite Earths. This was the story in which Barry Allen apparently died in order to save the multiverse, burning out his life force creating a speed vortex capable of containing the blast of the anti-matter cannon.

Harry Wells also refers to Crisis on Infinite Earths, saying the number of Earths in the multiverse is infinite when Caitlin asks how many worlds Zoom could potentially destroy with the magnetar.

Zoom is said to be hiding out in an industrial park on Leawood.  In the original DC Comics universe, Leawood was the name of a blue-collar residential district in Central City and home to Central City Stadium.

The idea of one Earth being the main nexus around which all other universes are based has been key to most of the incarnations of DC Comics Multiverse.  Before Crisis on Infinite Earths, this central Earth was Earth One, which became the basis of the post-Crisis unified universe.  Following Infinite Crisis, the multiverse was restored with the central core Earth dubbed Earth Zero or New Earth. After Flashpoint, the central Earth was dubbed Earth Zero, New Earth and Prime Earth.

In the DCTVU, that central Earth is Earth One.

The death of Barry's time remnant is a direct reference to how Barry Allen died in Crisis of Infinite Earths.

When Zoom is taken by the Time Wraiths, his body begins to molder and disintegrate. Between this and his torn costume, he resembles The Black Flash - the angel of Death for speedsters in the DC Comics Universe. (Thanks to Michael Bartosh for pointing this out.)

Jay Garrick refers to his home-world as Earth Three. In the pre-Crisis and New 52 versions of the DC Comics Multiverse, Earth Three is home to the evil counterparts of the heroes of Earth One.

The ending of the episode mirrors the events at the start of the story Flashpoint - a mini-series where Barry Allen's traveling back in time to save his mother's life creates a divergent timeline where the world is quite different.


Zoom stole a magnetar from Merucry Labs that is capable of acting like an artificial pulsar. A pulsar is a highly magnetized, rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation.

Harry says the magnetar will act as a power amplifier, with a highly magnetized dense rotating core. It could be easily weaponized and Cisco confirms that the magnetar is what he saw in his visions of Earth Two being destroyed.

The magnetar is capable of destroying a planet - perhaps more with the right power source (i.e. the energy siphoned from two speedsters racing).

Zoom says that Earth One is at the center of the multiverse - the access point to every other Earth. One trans-dimensional shock-wave there will destroy all the other Earths.

One lap around the inside of the magnetar loop will produce about one gigawatt of energy. Zoom needs 500 plus gigawatts to power the magentar enough to unleash the shock-wave that will destroy the multiverse.

Barry's time remnant creates his own out-of-phase pulse to counteract the one generated by the magnetar. His body cannot handle the strain, however, and the time remnant burns himself out, sacrificing his life to stop the magnetar from destroying the multi-verse.

Barry went back in time moments before he left, creating a copy of himself - a time remnant. This attracted the Time Wraiths, which Barry lured towards Zoom.

A power-dampener inside the iron mask prevented the real Jay Garrick from using his powers.

Dialogue Triumphs

Joe: Henry Allen. Henry suffered two great losses in his life. He lost his wife, Nora, and he lost Barry. He suffered guilt, embarrassment, ridicule, shame and everything that comes with being blamed for a crime he didn't commit.  Henry Allen was proof that love can get you through the darkest of days. And that love will keep him alive in all of our hearts.

Barry: When I was in The Speed Force, I felt like... I had finally come to grips with her death. With not saving her when I went back. And then, the moment... where I'm finally at the place where I can move on, my father is taken from me. How am I supposed to ever find peace with that?
Iris: I don't know, Barry. But you're gonna have to find a way to do that or it's gonna tear you apart.
Barry: I just miss him so much already...

Joe: Bare? Don't race him.
Barry: It's not that easy...
Joe: Yes it is! You just say no! We find another way to stop him. Together. Like we always do!
Barry: And do what, Joe? Just sit around and wait for him to kill somebody else? Wally? Iris? You? No! No way!
Joe: He needs you, Bare! He needs your speed again to get what he wants! We have the advantage here!
Barry: All I have to do is beat him, Joe. That saves the multiverse! This whole city! All of you! I won't let another person I love die when I can prevent it.
Joe: This... isn't just about racing Zoom, is it? You want to kill this guy.
Barry: Of course I want to kill him, Joe! I want to do a hell of a lot more than just kill him! I want him to suffer! For everything that he's done! And he's going to!
Joe: C'mon Bare! Think about what you're saying.
Barry: I have to be willing to do whatever it takes. I'm sorry, but I'm racing him whether you want me to or not.
Joe: And I can't talk you out of it?
Barry: Not this time.
Joe: Then I'm sorry too.
(Harry shoots Barry in the back with a tranquilizer dart.) 

Caitlin: I made a mistake. I am so sorry that I abandoned you. But you have to understand what you said to me - that there was a dark side of me? That I was more like Killer Frost than I knew? I didn't want to accept that. I tried to lock the darkness inside of me. But you knew that was already a part of me now. And you're the only one who did. And now, I'm ready to accept who I really am.... I am so sorry that I hurt you. But now, I want to be that one that only you know. Please Jay. Let me try.
Zoom: I will say, if anything, Barry sure has an ample number of fathers to kill. 

Cisco: Barry, look at yourself right now. You're not okay! 
Barry: Cisco, my dad was just killed in front of me! Do you have any idea how that feels?!
Caitlin: Watching someone you love die? Yes, I do.
Barry: Cait...
Caitlin: Look, Barry... I know how cold and angry and distant that can make you. But when this happened to me, you were the one who kept me in check. You told me to stop and take a breath and that's all we're telling you to do now...

Barry: What are the rules?
Zoom: One lap around the inside of this loop will produce about one gigawatt of energy. And I need 500 plus to power the magentar enough to do the job. Once its full, I win.
Barry: So all I have to do beat you is to stop you before that happens?
Zoom: Yep. It's that simple. But if, at any point, you decide you don't want to race anymore, Dear Old Dad Number Two is a dead man, as well as your little fan club.
Barry: They're not my fan club. They're the reason that I'm running. And why I'm going to beat you.

Joe: I see Jay - excuse me- Hunter stole your color scheme too.
Jay: He took a lot of things that were mine. (pointing to the winged helmet that belonged to Hunter Zolomon's father) Except for that. That's - um- that's all him.
Iris: He said it was his father's from the war.
Harry: Ironically, on my - on our Earth (looks to Jesse), this helmet stood for hope.
Jay: Yeah?
Harry: Yeah.
Jay: Well, maybe I can continue that sentiment. Take something from him for a change. Make it my own.
(Jay puts on the helmet and tilts his head back.)
Caitlin: It suits you.
Jay: Thank you. All of you, for saving me from Zoom. (looks to Barry) Especially you, Flash. 
Barry: You're welcome... Flash.
(Jay tips the brim of the helmet to Barry.)

Dialogue Disasters

Candace Patton's flat delivery of the word "Dad!" as Joe is knocked through the breach by accident.


Zoom created another time remnant, whom he kills in front of Barry.

Henry Allen's tombstone bears the inscription "There is no better world than the one with you."

Barry refers to his going back in time to save his mother from The Reverse Flash in 123.

Caitlin refers to Zoom's line about measuring success by the number of victims from 219.

Zoom refers to his threat from 221 to show Caitlin no mercy if she abandoned him.

Cisco is able to fashion a controlled breach using his powers.

Cisco is unable to clearly vibe on Zoom when Zoom is on the move. Attempting to do so gives him a headache and he compares the visions he has to it being like his brain is channel surfing.

Zoom confirms that he created Velocity 9 on Earth Two, but that his continued use of it was slowly killing him. He tried several things to cure himself, including manipulating The Speed Force. This resulted in Time Wraiths being sent after him for breaking The Speed Force's rules.

The Man In The Iron Mask is confirmed to be another speedster from a third Earth called The Flash, whose real name is Jay Garrick

Caitlin refers to Ronnie Raymond's death in 201.

Cisco uses the device from 221 used to broadcast Iris into The Speed Force to help Barry send a message to Zoom across dimensions.

Earth One is revealed to be the central link between all Earths.

Zoom says the line, "Run, Barry, Run."

Barry creates a time remnant, who sacrifices himself to generate a pulse that disables the magentar.

The real Jay Garrick is revealed to be the Earth Three doppelganger of Henry Allen.

Barry recalls that his father told him that his mother's maiden name was Garrick in 220 when he sees the real Jay Garrick.

Jay Garrick's costume as The Flash is just like the one that Zoom wore when pretending to be Jay Garrick, save that the original Jay Garrick didn't wear a helmet.

Jay Garrick elects to take Hunter Zolomon's father's army helmet and make it a part of his costume, restoring it's original intent as a symbol of hope.

Jesse and Harry Wells return to Earth Two. They take Jay Garrick with them and promise to help him find a way to return to his Earth, which is dubbed Earth Three.

Wells calls Cisco by his first name in stead of Ramon for the first time.

Barry tells Irish he needs to get his head together before he can think of starting a relationship with her. She agrees to wait for him.

Barry goes back in time and stops The Reverse Flash from killing his mother. The episode ends with Barry trying to comfort her.


Zoom's lair on Earth Two.

Untelevised Adventures

Zoom refers to how he fought and defeated The Flash of another Earth, whose name was Jay Garrick. It was in parody of this hero that he posed as Jay Garrick/The Flash of Earth Two.

The Boomerang Factor

Honestly, the whole of Team Flash come off as sort of stupid trying to take on Zoom without Barry after how much has been said about them needing Barry, with his powers, to stop Zoom. This isn't quite as stupid, however, as Barry's decision to jack around with the timeline once again given everything he's learned so far about why time travel just makes things worse.

The Bottom Line

A largely disappointing conclusion that will ultimately be remembered for what it set up rather than what it accomplished. The battles with Zoom are just set-up for the reveal of the real Jay Garrick and the revelation that Season Three will likely be based on the Flashpoint storyline.  This begs the question... will the other CW shows be affected by this immediately?  Will this be the means by which Supergirl is brought into the main DCTVU?  The possibilities, sadly, are more exciting than this episode. But at least it will give us fans something to talk about all summer.

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