- Batman Week on Twitter; Plus Wonder Woman's Motion PosterNovember 1, 2017
- Movie Review: THOR: RAGNAROKNovember 1, 2017
- Kingpin Will Return in The Third Season of Netflix's DaredevilOctober 26, 2017
- Superhero Pumpkin Ideas for Halloween 2017October 26, 2017
The Flash Recap: Fast Enough
May 22, 2015 By Trevor Richardson
I made the mistake of thinking last week’s episode of “The Flash” was the finale. It felt epic enough with the defeat of Reverse-Flash and the emergency team up of Green Arrow, Firestorm, and Flash. If it hadn’t been for my brother keeping up with things and asking me if I’d seen it yet, I probably would have been way off my deadline with this one, busying myself with other work and other projects. Thankfully, I just watched it and “Fast Enough” did not disappoint. Most of what I feel like talking about is the enormous pile up of Easter Eggs in this episode. The story itself spent a great deal of time tying up loose ends and wrestling with the enormity of the biggest decision of Barry’s life: whether or not to travel back in time to rescue his mother.
For starters, this episode gave us an excellent last minute surprise that clearly had been planned from the beginning. In an alternate timeline, Cisco Ramon was murdered by Wells and in the new timeline he is able to remember it in detail. This defied logic and even science if analyzed until, that is, the new discovery. Cisco has a power: an ability to see through time that he obtained from the particle accelerator accident. It was the one major loose end that had been nagging at me and this solves it flawlessly.
Admittedly, there are gaps in my comic book knowledge and this is one that slid by me. After some quick research to see if he would become an established character or something new, I discovered “Vibe.” It’s been there right in front of us all this time. Vibe was created in 1984 and had the same name as our beloved team goofball, Cisco Ramon. While his abilities in the comics and what powers have manifested in the show are still very different, it’s clear that we are getting a rebooted version of a lesser known character and it’s awesome on multiple levels. The original character had the power to create sonic waves, but after a rewrite in 2012 altered his origin story, making it so that he got his Vibe powers from his proximity to an opening Boom Tube, a kind of wormhole technology from the world of Darkseid and Orion and an entire other article to explain it all, Vibe suddenly had a new angle that included the fabric of time and space. This enables him to disrupt the Speed Force and it is likely that the character we get in the show will come out very similar to that rebooted version. Replace “Boom Tube” with collapsing dark matter explosion and it comes out more or less the same. This connection to warping space-time shines a light on how he was able to remember another timeline, but more importantly it means he has an entire spectrum of abilities that he has yet to uncover and explore.
Vibe was one of the earliest examples of a Latino superhero and, given the often panned absence of diversity in comic book characters, that makes this a welcome addition to the DC television universe. He will also be able to bring a lot more to the team and to the show in Season 2 even as he maintains his wit and charm. There were certainly moments that Cisco more or less existed as the last minute go-to for handy gadgets and quips, I for one look forward to seeing more from him next season. That said, he got one of the great lines from this particular episode. When wishing Barry good luck on his crazy mission he said, “May the Speed Force Be With You.”
After analyzing the question of changing history from every possible angle, the risks, the rewards, and the potential global impact, Barry finally decides to go for it. Using the particle accelerator and running faster than he ever has before turned the tunnel of the supercollider into a modified version of the Cosmic Treadmill from comic fame. Entering the Speed Force and colliding with a hydrogen particle would open a wormhole, allowing Barry to go anywhere in time and opening a doorway for Eobard Thawne to go home.
With his speedster abilities diminished, Wells had to use a kind of time capsule in order to traverse the wormhole safely. According to Wells, the capsule was the design of Rip Hunter, a time traveler and the man set to be the leader of the team on the upcoming spinoff “Legends of Tomorrow,” who will be portrayed by Arthur Darvill. Rip Hunter will unite the heroes to battle the villain Vandal Savage, an immortal evil-genius bent on world domination and the usual megalomaniacal behaviors.
As the portal opens, someone tossed the original Flash’s Hermes helmet in through the wormhole, the one worn by Jay Garrick who was the first to don the Flash identity. Wells remarks, “That’s my cue to leave,” meaning he likely knew about Garrick and either didn’t want to deal with facing him or didn’t want to answer any questions like how there could have been another Flash without anyone knowing about it.
Inside the Speed Force itself, as Barry moves through time to select the moment he wants to travel to, a lot of things Flash briefly on the screen that will be seen in episodes and spinoffs to come. We got a glimpse of Killer Frost, an evil ice-wielding baddie that has been an enemy of a lot of DC characters and event he Justice League at large for decades. There was also a glimpse of Barry Allen in handcuffs, clearly in prison which might be an allusion to an upcoming story arc or just a cool image. Another image showed us a marble building with a bronze statue out front that could only be the infamous “Flash Museum” and there was probably tons more that I missed.
Back at that pivotal moment in Barry’s life, he hides in the closet as he waits for his future self to rescue his child self before he goes to save his mother. That’s one of the weirdest sentences I’ve pieced together in a while. A big surprise came when his future self, knowing where to look for him, holds out a hand and shakes his head, indicating that he shouldn’t go through with the plan. Barry, crying conflicted, bitter tears, waits for everyone to clear out and simply sits with his mother in her final moments, telling her everyone is fine and he loves her.
As Thawne gets ready to take his capsule through the wormhole, Barry flies out and shatters the vehicle into pieces. Thawne, clearly shocked and outraged, shouts, “You didn’t save her? You could have had the life you wanted. You could have had everything you ever wanted.”
To which Barry very admirably declares, “I already do.”
Having realized that he neither wanted nor had the right to change the world for his own purposes, he decided to come back and let the chips fall where they may. As he and Thawne have it out, fighting up and down the walls of the accelerator chamber, Barry appears to be outmatched. Thawne holds him by the throat and threatens the lives of everyone Barry cares about. As we wait for Barry to make his move, to do something to stop his worst enemy once and for all, we hear a gun shot. My first thought was that Joe simply shot Thawne while he was distracted, but it was so much more.
Instead, what we got was the surprise of the season. After spending the entire episode building up the mystical, science-defying nature of a coincidence, after Martin Stein explained the improbability of the one man that was the equal and opposite of the Flash getting stuck in the same time, the same city, as his great-great-great-great-grandfather, explaining that Eddie Thawne was an anomaly, a wild card, it all comes together in this moment. Eddie shot himself in the heart to stop his descendant, Eobard Thawne, from ever existing. His dying words, “There’s no such thing as a coincidence…it turns out I’m a hero after all.”
It is at this moment that a blackhole begins to form in STAR Labs that quickly expands over all of Central City. Martin Stein, earlier in the episode, indicated that there was the risk of a singularity in this time travel experiment, but the wormhole is closed in time. Caitlin and Ronnie seem surprised that the blackhole formed, but it seems more likely that the hole formed in response to a major time paradox, what Doc Brown always called one of those “things that could destroy the universe.” Considering that this segment of space-time was already weakened, it is no surprise that ending an entire history of people that led to the birth of Eobard Thawne, not to mention eradicating his history with the team in this past year, caused a tear in the space-time continuum. Imagine space-time like bullet proof glass. It can take a beating, but if the wormhole was a chip in that glass, then erasing the Thawnes from the timeline was a bomb. Maybe the glass could have withstood that bomb under other circumstances, but there was that chip, that tiny flaw in that certain spot and that’s all that it took to bring everything shattering down around them.
As the singularity forms over the city, all seems pretty much lost. We do get a couple of other last minute surprises, however. Ciara Renee, the actress cast in the role of Hawkgirl in “Legends of Tomorrow” is on the scene, looking up at the blackhole beginning to take shape. As the crowd of onlookers gazes up at this new threat, Martin Stein explains that the accretion disc had begun taking form, which is basically a ring of debris caught in the gravitational pull of the singularity. Everyone is thinking this is the end, but Barry just sees a ring of floating debris as something he can run on. “It’s just like the tornado,” he explains, “only bigger and upside down.” The plan to save the world? Run really fast in the opposite direction of the blackhole’s rotation and keep your fingers crossed.
Barry runs into the singularity and that is pretty much where we have to leave him for the summer, but it raises a big question. If this singularity is a tear in space, wear does the hole lead? Where will Barry end up if he goes through it? Will we meet Hawkgirl through her somehow rescuing Barry? Could this hole in space-time introduce the show to DC’s famous Multiverse and could that be the meaning behind Jay Garrick’s Flash helmet flopping into our story? What else might come through and, more importantly, what crazy alternate universe cross-over adventures might be possible?
This season has had one of the most unique approaches to storytelling I have seen in a long time. The pilot appeared to give us too many answers, giving the feeling that it had almost rushed the ideas of the show by cramming them all into one debut. They spent the next half of the season taking away those answers by shrouding them, layer by layer, in more mystery. The back half of season one began to unravel the mysteries that had been so recently woven around our characters. With few mysteries left as of last week, this hole in the universe opens up the potential to give us all new impossible questions for next year. I find this idea to be very promising, especially when compared to the formula of Flash’s sister show, Arrow, which has a pattern of simply hitting Starling City with bigger and bigger threats every year and forcing our heroes to fail miserably in order to create drama. The Flash goes a different route by creating the drama from big questions rather than big calamity. There are so many new questions, but the last one I will ask in this article is this:
If Wells was erased from existence, how could he have done all the things he did this season? Whether you noticed it or not, this season ended on a modified Grandfather Paradox. If your great-great-great-etc. grandfather has to kill himself in order to keep you from killing everyone else, thus preventing your birth, then how could there have been anyone there to make him want to kill himself? The show didn’t say as much, but my instinct is to say that the universe, in order to purge the paradox, opened up a rip over the city and was simply going to delete the entire corrupted file, so to speak. Think about that until your head hurts and then stay tuned for Season 2.