Now that we’ve had a few days to process everything, let’s talk about that Season Finale of The Flash. The Flash has always been a series that shows no matter how dark times may seem, you can always find the bright side and move forward. This season however took a different approach. Sure there was still humor and warm moments, but you couldn’t shake that feeling that “something is going to break”.
Will Cisco forgive Barry or turn evil? Will Caitlin lose control? Will Iris die? It was a season full of anxiety that put our favorite characters and relationships to the test at every turn! Rather than finding the light in the darkness, this season seemed to find the darkness in the light. Thankfully this all changed in the Season 3 Finale; and whereas it was by no means perfect, there were several key moments that reminded us why we fell in love with this series in the first place!
Capturing A Villain’s Pain & A Hero’s Strength – Savitar & Iris:
Candace Patton was an absolute treasure this episode, and the biggest moment of badasery for her wasn’t when she killed Savitar (though I will get to that) but rather when she was ready to forgive Savitar for trying to kill her. This scene truly speaks to the strength of her character; but the other purpose of this scene is to truly show Savitar as a hurting villain. Watch how Savitar/ Future Barry can’t bring himself to look Iris in the eyes. Sure it’s easy in the armor when her back is to him, but he’s completely shaken by this confrontation. In this moment, Iris reminds Future Barry how much he truly loves her. Though sadly, the love that can redeem him is also the love that drives him away.
We might not know why the Future Team Flash pushed Time Remnant Barry away, but we get a pretty good idea here as Savitar questions his new role. Remember that a Time Remnant is not a clone in the ‘artificially grown’ sense but rather is ACTUALLY you on a fragmented and finite timeline. Future Barry remembers proposing to Iris. He remembers all their loving moments. And yet he still sees her end up with another guy – worse still, ‘another him’.
Have you ever been dumped or romantically overlooked and wondered, “what do they have that I don’t have?” Well in Future Barry’s case, nothing. Place yourself in his shoes. He might get the girl, but it’s not HIM! Why does this other version of you (a version of you that YOU see as alien) get to have everything you ever wanted? In this scenario, even ‘sending time remnant Barry’ to another Earth to be a hero involves him leaving behind everyone he’s ever cared about. This truly adds a whole new level to the phrase “being your own worst enemy” as Future (remnant) Barry lost everything he loved to…. Himself. He literally stole his own future.
No Time For Damsels In Distress – Iris & Caitlin:
Another thing we love about this series is how they always find that “thematic balance”. Much of this season involved Team Flash trying to protect both Iris and Caitlin from their destinies. So it was very fitting that both ladies stepped up in the end and actually saved Team Flash. Notice how Caitlin’s turn to Killer Frost was not her choice, but was rather the result of Julian exercising his wishes over her own – which is why I’m not really a fan of the two together. So in the final moments of the showdown, Killer Frost/ Caitlin refusing to take the antidote (on her own will) and owning her powers to save Cisco was a HUGE win! Killer Frost happened without Caitlin’s control, but now she IS in control of what’s happening and I can’t wait to see where SHE takes her story. Though even before this, Killer Frost showed off her badassery as she took down Black Flash, the very creature Reverse Flash said earlier this season on Legends was unstoppable. Caitlin’s not even a real villain and already she’s outdone three!
Though Caitlin/ Killer Frost wasn’t the only heroine taking down major villains this season as Iris was the one to actually take him down. Much like with Caitlin’s story arc, Iris also had some fun reversals as she was the one everyone was trying to protect from Savitar, and in the end maybe Savitar needed protecting against her. It’s also important to note that Iris killing Savitar is different than if Barry had. Either way, he was still about to be erased from existence in mere moments, but Iris’s decision to shoot him wasn’t out of anger. Barry’s chance to kill him had come after he had “won” and all that was left to do was to wait as Savitar was erased. Iris’s chance to kill came as Savitar was about to kill someone she loved. I’m no Speed Force lawyer, but I’d like to think Iris had every measure of the law on her side.
The Power Of Friendship – Caitlin & Cisco:
Cisco and Caitlin have been at the heart of Team Flash even before The Flash began. So when this season started teasing a fight between them, we were heartbroken. With Caitlin often being defined by her romantic entanglements (first Ronnie, then Jay/ Hunter), it was great to see this season truly explore her friendship with Cisco. These are two people who would do anything for each other even if it means putting the other first. Whereas Julian ignored Caitlin’s wishes and revived her into Killer Frost, Cisco didn’t. Maybe this is why Cisco was able to get through to her a few episodes ago, but then when Julian chimes in with his “I love you” she gets cold again. Either way, you can see that Cisco truly has Caitlin’s interests at heart, and that is why Caitlin saving Cisco was such a great moment.
“If Killer Frost was the result of someone ignoring Caitlin’s choice, it’s fitting that her return to good was the result of someone respecting Caitlin’s choice”
There were a couple of times Killer Frost could have killed Cisco or at least wounded him, but when Cisco had the upper hand, he gave her a choice and walked away. Unlike a lot of other people this season, Cisco isn’t forcing her into anything. He wants his friend back more than anything, but not if it means exercising his will over hers. Whether she’s Caitlin Snow or Killer Frost, he respects her and truly loves her like family. It is this display of love alone that helps Killer Frost snap out of it for good and protect him the way he always protected her. This isn’t a momentary ‘realization’ but rather a full change. As I said in the last section, if Killer Frost was the result of someone ignoring Caitlin’s choice, it’s fitting that her return to good was the result of someone respecting Caitlin’s choice.
You Can’t Spell Hero Without H.R.
Finally, let’s touch upon the most moving part of The Flash Season Finale – HR’s sacrifice. For an entire season, we wondered what HR’s true role was this season. Unlike past Harrison Wells who were villains or geniuses or both, this season’s HR just seemed too… normal. I even pondered if he could be the villain Abra Kadabra, but then the episode by the same name harpooned that theory. In the end, it turns out HR’s purpose was to remind us why we truly fell in love with this show in the first place: it inspires us.
We might not have super powers or be brilliant, but The Flash always found a way to make us feel inspired. The same is true of HR this season as it was Team Flash (especially Cisco) who helped inspired him to greatness. Last episode HR commented on how him ‘bringing out the best in others’ was nothing and he really made no contributions to the team. He was normal. He was a coward who survived despite everything. He fled his own Earth and was always looking to make other heroes stories his own. Though in the end, he made the ultimate sacrifice and is the true hero of this season despite having no powers or genius level intellect. He was normal – just like you and me – and yet he still had the power to change fate. As Snart would say, “there were no strings on (him)”.
Joe primarily covers video games news (i.e.: Pokemon, Spyro & Destiny) as well as the occasional ‘Theory Thursday’ pieces. Before writing for FanFest, Joe was the Creator & Editor of TheInsightfulPanda.com. He is also an illustrator and is currently working on Season 3 of his not-for-profit, fan-art crossover series PokéRangers on Instagram.