Flash reaches its Season One Finale in a blur of unresolved paradox and spectacularly silly comic book science, but our actors fare pretty well.
And they’ve opened a can of wormholes for next season.
Title: “Fast Enough”
Directed by Dermott Downs
Written by Gabrielle Stanton,
Andrew Kreisberg, Greg Berlanti.
Grant Gustin as Barry Allen / The Flash
Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon
Tom Cavanagh as Eobard Thawne/ Reverse Flash
Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West
Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow
Candice Patton as Iris West
Rick Cosnet as Eddie Thawne
Robbie Amal as Ronnie Raymond / Firestorm
Victor Garber as Dr. Martin Stein
John Wesley Shipp as Henry Allen
Michelle Harrison as Nora Allen
Logan Williams as Young Barry Allen
Patrick Sabongui as Captain David Singh
Wentworth Miller as Len Snart / Captain Cold
Ciara Renee as Kendra Saunders / Hawkgirl
We learn some version of Eobard Thawne’s plan, and Team Flash make a deal: send Thawne back to his own time and Barry will be able to restore the timeline. His mother will live and his father won’t be in jail.
Of course, it won’t be that simple. In fact, it’s so complicated, I’m not entirely certain the writers understand.
I certainly have a few questions.
The door has been opened to a multiverse, and that could be a good thing. We may well be seeing Jay Garrick next season.
Some strong performances raised the episode. I address a couple below, but I want to call attention to Rick Cosnet, who has had too little to do in the past, and gets a great moment this week that could have been awful. He handles it thoughfully.
The story plays with that great time-travel question: do we dare disturb what has happened? What will the consequences be? Unfortunately, the ep doesn’t earn either the intellectual engagement or the emotional effect of those questions. Firstly, we’re already in a changed timeline, created by Eobard Thawne, so questions about changing the timeline have been posed by the entire season. Secondly, the episode wants to present the sort of dilemma best-known from Star Trek‘s “The City on the Edge of Forever.” But, whereas “City” gave us a clear, if far-fetched reason to keep a particular timeline intact, The Flash gives us nothing, other than an appeal from his father, who is apparently okay staying in prison, and the notion that Barry’s young mother should be sacrificed because the present looks pretty good. Never mind that Barry became the Flash anyway in some other timeline. Finally, the show’s writers throw away the Grandfather Paradox with a Back to the Future-like disappearance. It seems too easy a way to deal with the death of Eobard’s ancestor. Shouldn’t that change the timeline? Or, at least, if it doesn’t, wouldn’t the consequences of that time-bending death make for a more thoughtful cliffhanger?
Originality: 1/6 The episode includes pretty much every time-travel twist ever done, but it doesn’t do them especially well.
Effects: 5/6 The episode features a number of effects, generally handled well.
Acting: 5/6 The acting is strong this week. Cavanagh makes his character positively Luciferian, while Gustin demonstrates some depth as Barry.
Story: 4/6 The story remains fun, but it was a mess. And while I accept comic-book science in a comic-book show, the writers shouldn’t actively go out of their way to make the science ridiculous.
On the positive side, the story does not clutter itself with additional villains or threats, as sometimes happens in the DCCWTV-verse.
Emotional Response: 4/6 The overall handling of the situation (which may be better-explained next season) muted the response, but a character did get a brave death.
Overall: 4/6 Apart from many SF references by Ramon (including one to Hitchhiker’s Guide), the episode teases Hawkgirl, name-drops Rip Hunter, and helmet-drops Jay Garrick.
In total, “Fast Enough” receives 28/42