Oh man. The feelings are all over the place right now. If there was any doubt The Flash wasn’t the premier superhero show on TV, this season’s penultimate episode, Invincible, effectively ended the debate. Nothing else is even in the race at this point.
With a mix of inspiring heroics, great action, genuinely funny moments, terrific surprises and one incredibly shocking final scene, the showrunners are going to have to pull out some major stops to top this episode. Not just in next week’s season finale, but perhaps the extent of the series’ run.
In a lot of ways this season has mirrored Season 2 of Arrow, that show’s signature season. Like Barry, Oliver was battling an enhanced former friend turned hated rival who dealt an unrecoverable blow to our hero. And just like Season 2 of Arrow, regardless how the season finale turns out this is likely to be the season fans will use as the measuring stick going forward.
Even if there wasn’t another episode left, Invincible certainly delivered like it was the season finale right from the start. Barry was scrambling to stay one stop ahead of Zoom’s meta-powered Earth 2 minions. These guys actually had some formidable powers, but none a speedster couldn’t handle.
Still, Barry wasn’t prepared for Zoom’s big gun — Black Siren — the Earth-2 doppelganger of Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy). It struck me how odd that The Flash did a far better job of handling Black Canary’s powers than Arrow ever did.
Fresh off his journey through the Speed Force, Barry is more optimistic and assured that Team Flash will defeat Zoom. Barry absolutely does not need to be the emotional, defeated somber superhero so it was good seeing him once again rallying the troops. Wells was concerned Barry’s overconfidence would prove his undoing and Henry, Joe and Iris tried to get Barry to be a bit more cautious, but how is a confident superhero a bad thing?
Wells and Cisco’s banter about a device to knock out Earth-2 invaders was hilarious. Bringing Wells back seemed like such a weak move as it appeared to undercut the impact of his betrayal from last season, but he’s been such an asset to this season I hope he remains a permanent resident. Wells’ chemistry with Cisco could not be better and their scenes would have been the highlight of a lot of other episodes, but it only a great moment in an episode full of them.
Barry was set to run fast enough to trigger the device, but Black Siren still needed to be dealt with so Cisco and Caitlin cosplayed as Reverb and Killer Frost! A lot of shows would have shied away from working in so many humorous scenarios and while this could have gone off the rails, it was really funny watching Cisco and Caitlin channel their inner villains. Black Siren saw through the charade, but as she went to attack, Cisco hit her with a sonic wave. He wasn’t able to get another one off though — he must complete the training — but the E2 device kicked in and knocked Siren and all of Zoom’s minions out.
The writers have done a commendable job with Wally and Jesse. Regardless if they actually get powers thanks to their exposure to the particle accelerator, the seeds have definitely been sown that they have heroic qualities and want to do more. They’re anomalies as they didn’t need some tragedy to befall them to spark their desire to be heroes. And as usual, the show writers are smart enough not to have Joe and Wells attempt to squash their children’s heroic spirit. We may see their powers revealed next week, but they’re all set either way. I loved Wally rescuing Barry from Black Siren and being so stoked he was able to help his hero.
Initially, it seemed like a questionable idea to have Flash fight another speedster after last season’s emotionally complex battle with The Reverse Flash, but Zoom definitely proved up to the task of establishing himself as a legitimate best Flash villain at this point. Despite the Black Flash attire, Zoom has steadily been evolving more into his comic book counterpart determined to make Flash experience real tragedy to become a better hero. While I’ve liked Tony Todd’s haunting voice, Teddy Sears speaking in his regular voice ironically makes Zoom seem that much more frightening.
And when Zoom came crashing the dinner party, you knew it was going to be bad. The odds were certainly against Henry even with the tease of a connection with him and Dr. McGee. In fairness I was rooting for Henry to get nabbed since this show wouldn’t be the same without Joe. To be a complete bastard, Zoom took Henry to his parents’ house so Barry could experience watching both his parents die at the same location.
It was heart wrenching hearing Barry plead with Zoom while Henry tried to calm him with a reassuring farewell. Zoom wasn’t making another empty threat and killed Henry. Henry seemed like dead meat the moment he told everyone he was sticking around so it was a credit to Grant Gustin, John Wesley Shipp and Sears that this scene still carried the appropriate emotional weight. This beautifully tied in to the warning the Speed Force shared with him through his mother’s image last week — as fast as he is, Barry won’t be able to save everyone.
As if he needed any more reason to want to beat Zoom, Barry has it now. But how will his father’s death affect his newfound confidence? And is Barry actually fast enough now to finally beat Zoom? And oh yeah, there’s still that guy in the iron mask…
Rating: 10 out of 10
The Flash is speeding to its season finale with more momentum than ever thanks to this riveting and thrilling episode.
Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW
And here’s next week’s episode trailer: