Savitar may be the God of Speed, but Team Flash still pulls a fast one on the guy. In “Finish Line,” the Season 3 finale of The Flash, Team Flash bait-and-switch the evil speedster (while still paying a price), thereby avoiding the creation of Savitar. With only a few hours left until he’s erased from existence, Savitar does all he can to destroy Barry Allen’s (Grant Gustin) life. And eventually, he does.
Spoilers for the Season 3 finale of The Flash are below.
In a shocking turn of events, H.R. (Tom Cavanagh) uses his fancy face-changing tech from Earth-19 to switch places with Iris West (Candice Patton). True, someone from Team Flash still dies, it’s just not Iris. To H.R., death is penance for revealing Iris’s location to Savitar last week, which is a really severe reaction, but at least Cavanagh doesn’t have to play with drumsticks anymore. And naturally, Tracy Brand (Anne Dudek) is heartbroken, but there’s no time to mourn just yet. Now, it’s time to finish Savitar, and he doesn’t have much time left.
For a season finale, “Finish Line” lingers until the wham-bam climax and the explosive epilogue. Barry Allen tries to reach out to help Savitar instead of further hurting his evil doppelgänger, but Savitar doesn’t buy any of it, opting instead to continue his plan to spread himself across time and become immortal. That’s when other Team Flash allies come in, including Harrison Wells of Earth-2, Gypsy (Jessica Camacho), and most importantly, Jay Garrick (John Wesley Shipp), fresh from imprisonment in the Speed Force. Barry, self-assured he’ll never embrace darkness, defeats Savitar while Iris straight up kills him with a bullet to his back. But the less said about murdering her fiance’s time remnant the better.
In the end, there’s no rest of The Flash. While Savitar is gone, the Speed Force is unstable without a speedster prisoner. Out of nowhere, Barry Allen elects himself, telling Iris that Central City will still have a Flash in Wally West. The whole scenario feels reminiscent of the 1985 series Crisis on Infinite Earths, in which Barry Allen sacrifices himself and Wally West takes up the mantle as the Flash.
Season 3 might have rushed the idea of the Speed Force needing a prisoner (was that ever a thing in Season 2?) as well as H.R.’s face-changing tech from last week during the break-in at A.R.G.U.S. But thanks to Grant Gustin’s on-screen charisma, his empathy for his damaged mirror self is touching and proves The Flash is still a smart, complex show in its exploration of far-out concepts that speak universal truths. Savitar isn’t just another villain, he’s Barry. Savitar also lost his parents, Savitar is also friends with Supergirl and the Green Arrow, and Savitar also sang to Iris when he proposed to her. It’s heavy watching a version of Barry that’s been carelessly discarded, and “Finish Line” accomplishes what “I Know Who You Are” from several weeks ago should have.
Last year, the Flash created Flashpoint. This year, it appears Barry might have created a crisis. Maybe it’s a good thing that Barry won’t be around for awhile, at least until Season 4 rolls around.