One problem that The Flash has faced this season is the execution of Zoom as a villain. The Jay Garrick reveal twist ultimately felt too close to a case of ‘been there, done that’ with the whole Eobard Thawne stuff that went down last season. With Zoom being yet another speedster, he kind of went out with a whimper rather than a bang, despite showing few moments of promise throughout the series. The way Zoom was disposed of in this episode by the Time Wraiths also felt underwhelming, and then of course Barry decides to go back in time and reset everything at the end of the episode.
This act is certainly something that he should know by now is an extremely bad idea, and with such an impact caused in time like the saving of his mother, who knows where we’re going to end up next season? What changes has Barry caused by allowing his mother to live? All signs point towards a CW adaptation of The Flashpoint Paradox, which could potentially be the focus of the crossover in the Fall between Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow. The reset was frustrating and could also serve as a way for characters like Zoom and Thawne to return, theoretically making the past two seasons effectively pointless, but we’ll have to see what happens next.
The Race of His Life was always going to be up against the Season 1 finale which was one of the show’s best episodes, but ultimately everything fell short, with the emotional impact that came from Henry’s death not quite having the desired effect as it probably should have. Speaking of things that didn’t have the desired effect, the titular race of Barry’s life was so underwhelming and ended so abruptly it almost makes you wish that the writers should have had more time to establish what Zoom’s endgame was. Maybe the show could have brought the reveal earlier in the season instead of using the clichéd killing of Henry Allen as a cliffhanger.
The Man in the Iron Mask was revealed this episode as well, as we learned that it was the Jay Garrick of Earth 2, who was essentially The Flash of that world. Only Jay from Earth 2 had a familiar face, and looked exactly like Henry Allen, meaning that we got to see John Wesley Shipp reprise his role as The Flash from the original TV series in a cool moment where he decided to take Zoom’s hat and use it as his own for his return to Earth 2.
The build-up to the race was solid; we saw the division grow between Barry and his team as he was locked up for his own protection. His friends knew that letting him attack Zoom would be playing right into Zoom’s hands, but leaving Barry and going after Zoom anyway was a costly one because Joe was captured and Zoom was able to escape alive. The rift caused as a result of this between Barry and his friends was effective and it looked like just as he’s about to defeat Zoom and save the day, he can never permanently be happy in his life.
The ending saw Jesse and her father Harry travel back to Earth 2 along with the Jay Garrick of that world, but it is always good to hear that Tom Cavanagh is rumoured to be returning as a Season 3 regular. He’s consistently been the best actor on the show whether as Eobard Thawne disguised as Harrison Wells or Harry from Earth 2, with hid takes on the same character being so radically different. Will we see the actual Earth 1 Harrison Wells next season on The Flash? Or will the Earth 2 one make a return?
Taking everything into account then, The Race of His Life was a solid, if unspectacular, conclusion to the uneven but fun second season of The Flash and it’ll be interesting to see what happens further down the line when the show returns for Season 3 in the Fall. Hopefully, this can mark the start of an improvement as the show should be looking to find some better consistency.