Spoilers ahead for "Finish Line," the season finale of The CW's Flash!
The short version: We learn what really happened during Barry's face-off with Savitar. Turns out HR swapped places with Iris, and dies a hero saving her life. Savitar gets desperate, and tries to disperse himself across all of time. It backfires, Team Flash takes him down, and he poofs into the time stream. But! Barry has to go into the Speed Force because Savitar's prison is now empty, which is causing a dangerous Speed Force storm. Cliff, meet Hanger.
The good: H.R. saving the day, the twists, the cameos, the Season 4 set-up
Tom Cavanagh is so great that they literally invent alternate-universe versions of Harrison Wells to keep him in the cast, and the latest version was a bit of a mixed bag. H.R. has been annoying at times, though he's had his moments along the way. But this episode was his greatest — and final — one. When the penultimate episode ended with Iris seemingly dead in the street, you knew there'd be a lot more to that story in this episode. And there was. As many fans had guessed, it involved H.R.'s hologram face tech (which was all-too-conveniently reintroduced during Barry and Snart's heist).
For H.R., it was a fitting and natural conclusion to his arc. He'd spent most of the season trying to figure out where he fits on Team Flash, and grappling with the fact that he's the only average mind on a team of geniuses. But, after accidentally telling Savitar where to find Iris, he decided to set things right in the only way he could — take her place at the pointy end of Savitar's blade. Whatever you've thought of H.R.'s quirkiness this season, there's no denying he went out in a blaze of glory. Despite his faults, he finally found his inner hero in the end. His message to Cisco was also a tearjerker.
They pulled out a few of the big guns for the final fight with Savitar, getting everyone from Jay Garrick to Gypsy and Harry (welcome back, the gruff and awesome version of Wells) to help put Savitar down for good. Gypsy was an interesting move, and establishing the multiverse-spanning connection with Cisco means we could be seeing even more of her in Season 4. Busting Jay Garrick out of the Speed Force prison also brought that story to an end (which included an awesome, surprise Speed Force Punch), after putting it on the back burner for a while, now.
Oh, and there was also a big, shiny easter egg for Season 4: Savitar's comments about "DeVoe," aka Clifford DeVoe/The Thinker, a genius inventor who is a classic Flash rogue. With the creative team aiming for a non-speedster Big Bad next year, he looks like the most obvious option at this point. The Flash creative team is nothing if not deliberate when it comes to easter eggs. Can't wait to see how things work out with that cerebral inhibitor.
The bad: The timey-wimey-ness, that WTF cliffhanger
If The Flash has one critical fault, it's the way they handle all the time-travel shenanigans. It's enough to make your head hurt. Here it gets even more insane. Since Savitar killed H.R. instead of Iris, he's being erased from existence. Later, Barry says killing Iris after that moment wouldn't help him. Umm, what? Sure, it makes sense it's tied to this "fated" moment, but wouldn't Savitar make a mad dash to kill Iris before the paradox catches up with him? So what if Iris dies an hour later than normal, it'd still push Barry to the point he needs, right? That plot point made literally no sense. At all. Like, Savitar is standing in a room, five feet from Iris. Would't he just kill her, and give it a shot? Yes, he was having (or at least faking) second thoughts, but he's still committed to his Become A God Plan. That whole plot point just made no sense.
Also, he's dumb enough to just assume Cisco will make the Speed Force Bazooka do what he wants, putting all of time at stake? And he didn't even test it, or anything, first? C'mon, man. Savitar has been 10 steps ahead all year, but that just felt like a boneheaded move. He may be evil, but he still has Barry's strategic mind, right? With a boatload more experience? Savitar's smarter than that.
Then there's the big finale, with a Speed Force storm blowing up all over the city. The only solution? Barry has to go into Savitar's empty cell to make it stop, a decision he's totally cool with after about 5 seconds. Umm, what? There's no discussion of a way to avoid this? Or anyone else to jump on that grenade in the interim? Then, the Speed Force arrives and says it has to be Barry … and again, he's totally cool with it. After talking about how he couldn't wait to spend his life with Iris about five minutes before. Yes, he needs to attain for Flashpoint, but this just felt rushed. It was a surprise twist, sure, but it came out of the blue. Plus, c'mon — it's Barry's show. We all know dude will be back fairly early in Season 4. Though, here's hoping Wally gets a few episodes to shine as the de facto Flash, first.
Lines of the night:
"I couldn't be a coward. I'm not a coward." - H.R.
"See you later, Hunter." - Killer Frost
"This took strength and he gave it to me." - H.R.
So, we have a cure to change Killer Frost back to Caitlin, but she decides not to take it, because she's found some of her inner-good as the ice Queen? It was an interesting move, so does it mean we'll have a good-ish Killer Frost on Team Flash next season? If so, that could actually be cool. They've struggled to give Caitlin a good story for a while now, but that could be one to finally sink some teeth into.
So, wait — the Black Flash, aka Hunter Zolomon — is dead, now? That was a quick freeze and bust move.
Up next: A long, slow summer. See you all next season!