clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Flash season 3 episode 22 recap: penultimate episode falls flat

There’s only one more left


With only one episode of The Flash’s third season remaining, between Barry creating his own worst nightmare and trying to defend his greatest weakness, the entire Team Flash has 24 hours to complete their final Hail Mary.

What follows is perhaps the most mismatched, uneven episode of the entire series. And that's not entirely a bad thing.

Divided into a whole network of individual stories, this is the last chance for each dangling plot thread to pretend like it carries the potential to “Save The Girl.” Thrown into the mix are a couple of new stories, including Captain Cold teaming up with Barry to steal from King Shark and look, everything is getting thrown at the dart board in the waning moments of a lackluster season. Why not give the fans three minutes of everything they miss?

Iris says pre-emptive goodbyes to everyone, which really sets the tone for what you can expect. This show never avoids an opportunity to telegraph, and while I'd love to confine this criticism to the episode, the back half of the season seemed set in stone from the beginning. Now, at the end, with a Big Bad who is aware of everything the hero knows and adapts to change the future in his own ways, it renders the last dozen episodes we've drudged through to an even more meaningless position. Without a major twist in the final episode, it seems unlikely I'd ever re-watch this season outside of the musical episode.

There's just so little to say about where we've ended up. We've seen this moment repeatedly for months on end, so even when Savitar finally takes his revenge and strikes Iris down, not even a half-clever emotional framing can elevate the emotional toll beyond a standard "of course."

The Savitar twist canceling out the entire team's effort this season crushed me because of the missed opportunities. If Barry couldn't know the details of defeating himself — and if we spent an entire season focusing teammate by teammate across Flash and friends on building bonds and loyalty that transcend blood — then the only satisfactory resolution lives in the entire team working behind Barry's back to save the day. But it seems unlikely that folks like Joe are good enough at the Murder Poker Face to turn this tragedy into a colossal fake-out.

There's one hour of possibility remaining, and I've never sincerely hoped for more from a TV series. There was a complicated, weird, difficult, unlikable story about community, fate and loss told this season, but without a stellar landing it'll just be a lackluster series of character moments. Flash is so close — it deserves to tie this together into something magic. Or, at very least, let this all fall apart to create a base for next season that's darker than any of the emo futures we've been exposed to in Flashverse.

Do something. Make it big. Make it worth the investment we've put in. Or reject us on a scale so fantastic that we're left in awe. Just don't meander across that finish line.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Patch Notes

A weekly roundup of the best things from Polygon