It was going to be hard for “The Flash” to top the showdown in episode 22. Barry (Grant Gustin), with some help from Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and Firestorm (Robbie Amell), finally got his man -- Dr. Wells/Reverse Flash (Tom Cavanaugh). However, with the promo for the Season 1 finale promising a time travel-fueled attempt to save Barry’s mom, it would not exactly be smooth sailing in episode 23, “Fast Enough.”
The episode began with Barry interrogating Wells, or should we say Eobard Thawne. Thawne confessed to Barry why he had killed his mother. In the future the Flash and Reverse Flash are hated rivals, endlessly pitted against each other with neither strong enough to ever destroy the other. Then, Thawne learned the Flash’s identity and traveled back in time to kill Barry as a boy. Barry, though, followed him and rescued his younger self, but Thawne killed Barry’s mother in retaliation.
Thawne made his protégé an offer. If Barry would use his speed to open a wormhole to let Thawne return home, Thawne would give Barry a chance to go back and save his mother. However, altering that night would rewrite history. Barry would never live with Joe (Jesse Martin) and Iris (Candice Patton) and, likely, never become Flash and meet Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker).
To Barry’s surprise, Joe suggested Barry take the deal. He wanted him to have the chance to grow up with his real parents. Barry was even more shocked, though, when his actual father (John Wesley Shipp) told him not to do it. Henry Allen said he was so proud of the man Barry had become and would not want to risk him turning out differently, even for his freedom and wife’s life.
A torn Barry talked to Iris, who advised him to do, for once, whatever he wanted to do and stop thinking about other people. For Barry, that meant going back into the past. To do so, according to Thawne, they would have to turn on the particle accelerator, with Barry taking the place of one of the colliding particles. If he went fast enough, he would create a wormhole allowing Thawne to return home and Barry to get to his mother. If he was too slow, though, he would die.
Cisco was tasked with building a vessel that would allow Thawne to traverse the wormhole despite his inhibited speed. Unfortunately, when he came across a heat problem, he had to consult Thawne himself. During the conversation, Cisco confronted his former boss about the alternate reality in which Thawne killed him. Thawne was shocked. If Cisco could remember the parallel reality, then it meant he had been affected by the particle acceleration
On top of that, Dr. Stein (Victor Garber) realized there was another problem. Thawne’s plan had the possibility of creating a black hole that could destroy Central City and, potentially, the whole world. For Thawne, that was a minor risk, but Barry had a lot to ponder, especially since he was leaving so much behind. In a very emotional moment, Barry admitted to Joe how hard it would be to leave a person he considered a father behind. Plus, with Barry considering leaving, Eddie had gotten his mojo back and patched things up with Iris.
Barry then watched as two other people he cared about in his present life -- Caitlin and Ronnie -- tied the knot. Earlier in the episode, in a bit of an out-of-nowhere scene, Ronnie told Caitlin he was back in Central City to stay and wanted to get married after all. Dr. Stein presided over the slightly out of place nuptials.
The only thing left to do was go back in time. Thawne’s plan worked and when Barry reached Mach 2 speed, he was able to run back in time to the night his mother was killed. However, once there, he did not try to save his mother, instead letting Reverse Flash stab her once again while he watched in tears. He did comfort his dying mother (Michelle Harrison) after Reverse Flash left, revealing his identity to her and getting the chance to say a heartfelt and tragic goodbye. Eventually, though, he had to race back to the present before the wormhole closed, having chosen to keep his current life.
When he got back, he stopped Thawne just before the villain was about to take off into the wormhole. The two fought an epic battle, but Thawne gained the upper hand. However, just before he was about to kill Barry, something happened. Eddie, who had received a speech from Dr. Martin earlier about coincidences, realized he was not a coincidence in this story. As Thawne’s ancestor, if he died, Thawne would never be born. Eddie shot himself, erasing Thawne from existence and dying in Iris’ arms a hero.
Unfortunately, their problems were still not over; the wormhole collapsing on itself was causing a black hole that was threatening to swallow Central City. As the finale went to credits, Barry rushed off on an impossible mission to save the city and the world.
What did you think of “Fast Enough?” Tweet your thoughts to @Ja9GarofaloTV.