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The Flash Season 3 Finale Recap and Review - 'Finish Line'

The CW

The Flash Season 3 Finale Recap and Review – ‘Finish Line’

Hey, readers, Christina here! I’m filling in for Shaun Rosado this week. Disclaimer: I haven’t been keeping track of this season, and I apologize if I miss anything. I do have some of Shaun’s notes, so hopefully I’ll be able to string together a pretty coherent review of this week’s season three finale of CW’s The Flash.

Right off the bat, “Finish Line” reveals a huge bait-and-switch. Dying-Iris is actually Dying-H.R. who used his holographic projector to disguise himself. H.R.-Iris is actually on a roof with her already grieving father. The whole thing becomes this rather predictable cop out, negating the emotional and tragic ending of last week’s penultimate episode.

That being said, I understand why the switch had to happen. Iris’ death was the catalyst that led to emo-Barry in the first place, who then became Savitar. To prevent Barry-Prime from going down this path, Iris has to live. On the bright side, no more shall we have to hear about Iris dying, or listen to Barry freak out (again and again) because Iris is going to die, or listen to everyone else cry and moan because Iris is going to die…. It was getting old very quickly.

Season 3 could have easily become one in which Barry put himself and those around him through hell to the point where he himself becomes the true villain of the show. Savitar would then be relegated to a role that resembles more of a faraway harbinger of death than a constant, literal pain in everyone’s ass. This season could have also been Barry’s gauntlet, his rite of passage, his descent into hell from which he would eventually ascend an even better hero than ever before. Maybe that’s still the case, given Barry’s new situation by the end. More on this a little later.

The Flash Season 3 Finale Recap and Review - 'Finish Line'

The CW

Before their inevitable showdown, Barry-Prime has a moment of clarity. Instead of trying to defeat Savitar out of hate and anger, he instead should have been trying to reach out and help him.

Since Iris survived her fateful death, that means emo-Barry’s number is nearly up. Soon, the time paradox will erase him from existence; however, he may have just enough time to complete his plan to become an omnipotent god placed just outside of space and time. To do that, he needs Cisco’s engineering genius.

While Cisco is held in captivity under Killer Frost’s supervision, emo-Barry is meeting with Team Flash at Star Labs. Barry-Prime wants to try to help his future self. I’m sure there was a plan in mind, but I actually wasn’t paying attention. All I remember is that it was so poorly thought through that emo-Barry understandably says, “Screw this,” activates the Philosopher’s Stone and uses its energy to blow up the entire facility. Now we’re back to square one, with both Barrys set on fighting one another. Good job, guys. At least Barry-Prime has seen the error of his ways?

Back at Savitar’s hideout, Cisco is done with his work on the displacement cannon but continues to mouth off to Savitar. Savitar’s had enough and orders to have him killed, but Gypsy comes in the nick of time and portals them both to safety at Barry and Iris’ apartment. But now, our heroes have left the villain alone with a finished device that will further his dastardly plan.

Problem is, however, emo-Barry doesn’t check on Cisco’s work and therefore never realizes that Cisco didn’t re-jigger the displacement cannon to split Savitar apart and spread him across space-time. Instead, Cisco adjusted the cannon’s frequency and called upon another speedster for help: Jay Garrick.

While Flash and friends are duking it out with Savitar, Cisco is trying to get through to Killer Frost. He eventually does and Frost is able to use her powers stop Savitar long enough for the time paradox to finally catch up with him.

The team finally has some time to breathe and relax. They all gather to have a funeral for H.R., and Barry and Iris resume their wedding plans. As for Frost, she no longer identifies herself as Caitlyn Snow. She leaves the team and Julian to figure herself out (she even rejects Julian’s cure, choosing her powers over the person she used to be). Of course, this is a television show about superheroes — something else always happens.

The Flash Season 3 Finale Recap and Review - 'Finish Line'

The CW

The Speed Force starts acting up due to the lack of a Speedster holding down the fort, threatening to tear up the entire city. The only way to calm it down is for a Speedster to enter inside of it and hold down the fort, a task Savitar was forced to do previously. The Speed Force, using his mother’s face, calls for Barry to hang up his boots. Barry accepts.

Okay, this is probably the thing that bothers me the most. I admit that I dropped off in the middle of this season, so this criticism could stem more from the fact that I don’t have the same emotional investment others may have. However, I don’t feel that Barry’s eventual sacrifice was at all earned. Deserved, yes, but not earned.

This is by no means a perfect finale. “Finish Line” is clunky and borders on the nonsensical. It works (to a point) on an emotional level, but the whole episode just feels like it was more concerned with correcting a few mistakes caused by Barry’s selfishness so it can reboot itself later. As a whole, everything felt needlessly complicated and lacked any real heart.

BUT! The Flash finally becomes the type of hero he was always meant to be. The groundwork has been laid to restore Barry Allen to the optimistic and heroic figure that made us all fall in love with him in the first season. Here’s hoping they follow through with that sense of hope.

In the meantime, we have Wally protecting Central City, and that’s okay. It calls back to the better part of two decades in which Wally West was the Flash of DC Comics. I actually hope we get a few episodes of just him as the main hero before barry comes back.

Hopefully, when we come back this fall for Season 4, the show will continue the trend of righting the melodramatic mistakes of this season and take some real chances with the characters.


  • Keeping Caitlin as Killer Frost is a great choice.
  • I sincerely hope Season 4 goes back to basics. That includes developing a villain that has nothing to do with time travel. Also, the next one can’t be a speedster. Let’s get some Rogues up in here, am I right?
  • Actually, we get a little hint that one of the bad guys Team Flash will face next season is a character named DeVoe, aka Thinker.
  • Hey! Grumpy Harrison Wells is back!

About author View all posts

Christina E. Janke

Christina is the co-host of “Intro to Geek” on Shauncastic and Editor-in-Chief at Agents of Geek. Her love of all things Mass Effect knows no bounds. She also carries an obsession with comic books, video games, and quirky television shows. Her heroes are Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Gail Simone. She hopes to be just like them when she grows up.

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