The Flash “The Race of His Life” Review (Season 2 Episode 23)

This was an uneven season finale, one that fit well with what has been a fairly uneven season of The Flash on the whole. There were definitely more good moments than bad here, but “The Race of His Life” failed to be as satisfying a finale as last year’s, owing a lot to an overall lackluster villain.

Zoom started the season as a legitimately terrifying threat, one who seemed to have a laser focus on destroying The Flash. This came to a head all the way back in episode six, with Zoom’s beat down of Barry. However, following the reveal that Jay Garrick was actually Zoom, the narrative became a bit blurred. He still wanted to be the fastest man alive, but as his ambitions turned to wiping out the multiverse, the personal stakes were lost. And despite Teddy Sears’ committed performance, Zoom ended up just feeling like a maniacal madman.

Fortunately, the personal stakes were there for Barry, as he struggled with the death of his father. I noted last week that Henry’s death felt hollow, but it was clear how hard it was for Barry, particularly as he expressed his desire to kill Zoom. Of course, his friends weren’t willing to let him cross that line, and it was good to see the others finally keep Barry from making such a terrible decision; there’s no questioning he’s made a ton of them already this year.

By the end, though, it did come down to a final confrontation between The Flash and Zoom, and the final battle felt like it came down to a few too many conveniences. Not only was the battle itself a short one, but Barry’s sudden ability to create one of Zoom’s ill-defined Time Remnants came out of nowhere. On top of that, there was the random return of the Time Wraiths, arriving in order to kill Zoom and take him out of the picture. It all just felt coincidental, leaving things feeling a bit anti-climactic.

We also got the reveal of the Man in the Iron Mask tonight, finding that not only was he the real Jay Garrick, but also the Earth-3 version of Henry Allen. I’d guessed this reveal a few weeks back, but it was still cool to see former Flash actor John Wesley Shipp suit up again. Plus, certain reveals in the Legends of Tomorrow finale mean we could be seeing a lot more of this hero next season.

As for next season of The Flash, well… Barry’s impulse control continues to fail him. After a heartfelt one-on-one with Iris, Barry decides to throw out everything he learned in the last finale by once again returning to the night his mother died. This time, however, he stops Reverse-Flash and saves her life. Though it sets up some potentially fun parallel reality hijinks for next season, it feels far more out of left field than it would’ve last year, when the Big Bad was actually his mother’s killer. It’s a selfish decision on Barry’s part, and one that leaves me a bit down on the Scarlet Speedster leading into the summer hiatus.

Overall, though, it’s been a fun second season, if not as all-around an exhilarating ride as the show’s freshman outing. I’m excited to see where the show takes things next year, and look forward to getting back to it in the fall. In the meantime, definitely let me know your thoughts on this season in the comments, and feel free to continue the conversation with me on Twitter!