why I liked the season finale of The Flash

June 3, 2015

I’m finally caught up on The Flash and now I’m going to talk about why I liked that finale so much.

And it’s not just because I actually had to leave the room to pull myself together after that one scene, because my friends were there and I was blubbering incoherently, and I usually only do that when I’m by myself.

So last week I spent six days reading unpublished short stories and novel excerpts and critiquing them.  All the writers at this workshop are published, accomplished writers, but one issue comes up over and over again, and that’s pacing and tension.  Are things happening too quickly, not quickly enough?  Is the reader looking forward to what happens next or just plodding through?  Is there too much information or not enough?  Is the tension genuine or contrived?  Get any of these points wrong, the piece usually fails.

And then I come home and watch this episode.  This was actually a sedate episode, action wise:  Barry is going around and asking advice about what he should do.  These all turned into really big conversations about fate, relationships, meaning, regret.  And they sparked conversations among all the secondary characters about the same kinds of things.  One of these conversations led to an instant wedding which was just fantastic and I cheered.

Any one of these conversations could have anchored an entire episode of another show, and I thought it was brilliant that The Flash put them all together — not just that, but each conversation triggered the one after it.  This led to such a build up of emotional energy, that by the time the one big action sequence actually starts — Can Barry run fast enough?  Will he survive? — the tension is almost unbearable.

And then when we think he’s made one decision, he changes it.  It’s unexpected, but not in hindsight.  In hindsight it’s perfect, and all that emotional tension breaks.  And that’s why this scene, which could have been too sappy and maudlin (and maybe was for some people) became so freaking powerful.

And then just when we thought it was all over, there’s one more big astonishing action free-for-all, and I kind of lost it, even more than I already had.

Pacing.  This episode built tension with a bunch of conversations, and every one of them was necessary for the pay off.

AND THEN CLIFFHANGER ARGH!  The only other thing I have to say is that helmet better go somewhere and not just be a throwaway easter egg.

 

4 Responses to “why I liked the season finale of The Flash”

  1. Carbonman Says:

    That helmet was a real kicker. I wonder if it’s going to lead into a multiverse storyline? They’ve faced up to the concept with Cisco’s dreams and Barry’s experiencing different and similar versions of events due to his speed.
    I think next season should be lots of fun. Grant Gustin has proven to be the perfect choice for Barry Allen.

  2. winterelf2 Says:

    huh. I had the opposite reaction to a few episodes I saw of the Flash. I have not seen the season finale because I gave up earlier in the season.

    I watched an early episode where Flash was trying to find out / obsession on mom’s death and came into conflict with this business man. Who was the “bad guy” in cutting corners and more. In the big fight at the end, Flash saves his life. Then in the ending few minutes, Flash’s mentor – the one who’s teaching him and all, shows up, stands up in his wheelchair and casually Kills the guy Flash just saved.

    I was like WTF? WTF? WTF?

    After that I was really soured on the whole ‘arc’ of the mentor being a baddie in disguise? What was the point of all that? What was the point of his gang of pals he was gathering to help him in the superhero stuff?

  3. carriev Says:

    There’s some time travel paradox stuff involved, which the show is gleefully embracing. I think that’s the episode where we realize Wells is a bad guy, and the series engages that: Barry slowly realizing Wells isn’t what he seems, while being unable to believe it because of how much he’s helped. There is a reason for it all!

  4. Jakk Says:

    I thought the season was brilliant, the second best superhero TV show this season, after Marvel’s Daredevil. I was very fond of the original TV show in the 90’s, but I thought this was great TV.


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