The Flash Review: The Finish Line (Season 3 Episode 23)

With nothing left to lose, Barry (Grant Gustin) takes on Savitar in an epic conclusion to season three.

The Flash Season 3 Episode 23, “The Finish Line,” ended in what was a fairly emotional and very spectacular finale. Everything came together as Team Flash worked together to finally put an end to Savitar’s threat as they came to grips with who they are and what they can become. It wasn’t wholly perfect, but was still a satisfying finale nonetheless.

H.R’s Sacrifice 

I speculated last week that there seemed more to Iris’ ‘death’ than we were led to believe and wasn’t too far off from the truth. It seemed pretty convenient that they introduced that identity phaser almost at the last-minute in Barry’s heist and the payoff was seeing H.R. having taken Iris’ place to die by Savitar’s hand.

Though the twist wasn’t really surprising, it still dealt a good conclusion to H.R.’s season long story. After finding out he was not the genius other Wells’ have been, his story arc has really been abut him fitting in with the team and finding ways to be useful. That became a huge point in the previous episode after he accidentally revealed Iris’ location to Savitar. To see him make the ultimate sacrifice Barry, Iris and the rest of the team capped off his arc and showed Tom Cavanagh can portray these different versions of Wells.

Barry and Savitar 

For the whole season, we’d seen Savitar act supremely confident in his actions since he was always ten steps ahead of Flash. ‘The Finish Line’ brought about a different version of Savitar; for the first time, he was actually unsure of what he was doing and much less cocky now that the future had changed. Grant Gustin was able to convey a different kind of tension within Savitar, as did Tobin Bell, the man who provides Savitar’s suit voice.

However, it was actually great to see Barry reach out to Savitar on a personal level. Not only did it show how much Barry himself had changed in his dealings with his enemies, but gave a bit more nuance to Savitar’s personality. His uncomfortable awkwardness around the team really showed, thanks again to Gustin’s ability. For a few moments it really seemed like Savitar might have decided to take a different path.

I’ve been critical of the decision to reveal Savitar’s identity so late in the season (we’ve only had 4 of out 23 to really digest it), but its at least good that the show has been making us feel some small amounts of empathy for the would-be god.

Everyone vs. Savitar

The Flash has done some pretty stellar sequences throughout its time, but very few have been more rewarding than the grand finale. It was almost ripped from the comics as Barry, Wally and Jay, three generations of speedsters, went up against Savitar. It was an intense and visually stunning set piece, showcasing Cisco and Gypsy tackling Killer Frost as well.

Barry’s decision to spare Savitar also helped cap off one part of Barry’s own arc. This season has shown him the perils of embracing darker instincts and ‘The Finish Line’ seemed ready to bring back the lighter Flash that Barry used to be. But the real conclusion to Barry’s season long arc came in the final minutes.

The Cliffhanger

Barry’s decision to alter time by creating Flashpoint had some severe repercussions for himself and his friends. This season has delved into those repercussions and Barry’s rather selfish irresponsibility. Now he has to pay a very real price for his mistake by entering the Speed Force prison. It was a bit surprising, but a good, if tragic, end to Barry’s arc and character development.

This also leaves the door open for a very different Season 4 when it comes back. Though I’m sure Grant Gustin won’t be gone for long, I hope they’ll spend a few episodes on the new format of the team with Keiynan Lonsdale’s Wally West taking up the Flash mantle. Not to mention that Caitlin now seems to be a merger of both Caitlin and Killer Frost, leaving a whole new direction open to her. Just hopefully next season won’t sideline Candice Patton nearly as much as this one did.

All in all, The Flash Season 3 Episode 23 gave a very satisfying conclusion that paid off its character development and story arcs. Based on the cliffhanger, it will be a long wait for Season 4.

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