What a season, you guys! At its end and coming off a tearjerking cliffhanger, The Flash brings us “Finish Line” where, with nothing to lose, it’s time to end things with Savitar.
We pick up directly from last week as Barry is holding her dying beloved, Iris West, on his arms. The mystery takes no time in solving because Iris, right away, picks up a transmogrifier and reveals herself to be HR Wells. Yes, our nerdy asses were right: feeling a load of guilt over telling Savitar where Iris was, HR used the talon to locate the villains lair and tried saving Iris, but as his plan got foiled, he used the device to pass himself as Iris before Killer Frost incapacitated the real Iris as HR and took her hostage “back”.
It’s a very emotional response from everyone — Joe, who had started falling in despair hugs his daughter once again; Tracy, who had to deal with the guilt over the Bazooka not working, started her descent into grief as she realized the one she was impossibly fast in love with had died; and Barry, who picked a message from HR to Cisco, dealt with his friend dying before reuniting with Iris. Oh, also, they notice Savitar took the Bazooka with him.
Meanwhile, at the Killer Frost v. Vibe side of town, KF is right on the brink of killing her former friend when Savitar stops her as he needs Cisco to build something for him which is odd because, at that point, he hadn’t gotten the memories from Infantino Street yet.
Julian comes back from his one-week hiatus with a cure for Killer Frost which he worked with her mother to get — look, I know Julian loves Caitlin, but he left Team Flash right during the week of Iris’s murder? That’s cold. Barry explains to Joe that, thanks to the future change they just witnessed the shift should take care of Savitar for them, but it will take a couple of hours for the time paradox to catch up with him.
Team Flash does know, however, that Savitar must have a plan B which is handed to us: he wants Cisco to alter the Bazooka into an intradimensional quantum splicer as he wants to be fragmented throughout all time, preventing the paradox from reaching him because he would become a part of every moment in time. Or, if you prefer, immortal, becoming the god he always intended to be. In order to get Cisco to agree to do his bidding, he threatens to kill Caitlin.
Having talked to Iris about his kindness being his strength, Barry tries going the unpredictable way: somehow, he manages to convince Savitar to allow Team Flash to help him escape from the time paradox because they still see him as the version of Barry who can be redeemed. The two return to STAR Labs and Barry gets the rest of the them to go with their plan, except for Tracy who is far too hurt from HR’s death to even consider helping him.
Iris gets Harry from Earth-2 to come down to talk to Tracy and convince her to help Savitar. He talks about HR’s bravery in not running when he sacrificed himself to save his friends. Savitar goes down memory lane with Barry and Iris, and he talks about remembering everything — he even makes this’s season second reference to a future villain, DeVoe/The Thinker, who would be contained by a cerebral inhibitor. He starts asking questions about how is his life supposed to go, but the truth is that Barry doesn’t have all the answers yet.
Through her kindness, Iris convinces Savitar to bring Caitlin and Cisco back to STAR Labs, but it proved to be just a semi-ruse, as he apparently sets up the philosopher’s stone to blow up the facility. Cisco finishes up with the Bazooka and reminds KF that Savitar needs something from her before he’ll betray her. Savitar arrives at his lair and considers going to STAR Labs with Barry a failure as he expected (in the end, he just didn’t believe that Barry and Iris could help him out). Savitar orders KF to kill Cisco, but he is saved by Gypsy, who vibed him from the multiverse, at the last moment.
Savitar opens the breach to the speed force and gets Killer Frost to kill the Black Flash that came out of it to handle Savitar. He then has Caitlin to use the Bazooka on him, but the desired effect isn’t achieved as it, somehow, reached the speed force and released Jay Garrick from it. Team Flash arrives in time, and Cisco explains he “reversed the polarity” of the weapon to work as a skeleton key to the speed force.
Trying to end this, all three current good speedsters go after Savitar, but the villain seems a bit “better”. Cisco refuses to kill Caitlin and gives her to cure to use if it is what she actually wants — yay for personal agency! So now Savitar reaches Cisco and threatens to kill him, but it is Caitlin who stops him and saves Cisco. Now that there are only a few minutes left for Savitar, he intends to kill everyone around, but with a new surge of adrenaline, Barry manages to run inside Savitar’s armor expelling evil-Barry and turning the armor’s shine red.
Barry makes a move to kill Savitar, but the latter taunts him with the “you kill me, and you become me, either way, I live”, which is totally dumb for a villain to do because that actually hits Barry in the head, propelling him not to kill Savitar and, instead, vibe so hard he destroys the armor. Savitar makes one last attempt at Barry’s life, but Iris shoots him in the back, saving her boo so that team Flash watches as Savitar is dusted off reality.
Holding the funeral for HR, Iris delivers a heartfelt speech with a story about John Lennon. Barry tells Cisco the message HR left for him: his final move, saving Iris, was due to the strength Cisco had given him. They spot Caitlin a bit away as she appears to not be under the influence of KF anymore, but still keeping the blonde wig. She explains she is neither Caitlin nor Killer Frost Frost and she needs to figure out what she is on her own.
At the West-Allens, the couple allows itself a moment of levity, talking about Iris having a future again and a wedding to plan (!!!!!!!). Barry makes a speedster delivery of their Save The Date, and she gets her ring back, but before the two can kiss, Central City starts shaking like an earthquake, but with the sky pouring down lightning as well.
They head out to STAR Labs to figure out what it is and, soon enough, they do: it’s the Speed Force, whose prison was left empty and bleeding energy into Earth. Barry-esque-ly, he decides to sacrifice himself, being trapped forever. He says his goodbyes to the gang before walking into the SF, which uses Barry’s mother to talk, saying that the prison will not be his hell, but that his finish line has arrived, being both his punishment for messing with Flashpoint, but also his redemption.
His final goodbye is to Iris and, well, it hit all the emotional heartbeats of poetic irony/borderline semi acedia as, in the end, Iris was saved, but Barry has to leave. He makes her promise that she will keep “running” and enters the void with his mother.
So, it was almost mean to do that to the fans and the narrative. As Joe pointed out, saving Iris culminated in losing Barry. For a while there yesterday, I truly believed that this could mean Grant Gustin would depart the series which would suffer a soft reboot focusing on Kid Flash. However, given no new announcements, Grant referring to the current period as his “hiatus,” and the fact that they showed the article from 2024 to make a point of Iris being saved, I have changed my mind.
Maybe it won’t happen right away, but I think it’s fair to say that it’s really not the last we’ve seen of Barry Allen. Maybe his time at the Speed Force will be for training or something like that. What’s important to remember is that The Flash, while still dividing fans who claimed this finale was underwhelming, still can tap into humanity, hope, and well delivered emotional beats because, even with a seemingly destroyed WestAllen, we can still expect better days.