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Recap / The Flash (2014) S1 E23 "Fast Enough"

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Barry makes the decision whether to go back in time and save his mother, risking the world in the process, and if he can trust Eobard Thawne to help him do it.


Tropes:

  • Alternate Self: Barry comes face to face with his alt-timeline self, who warns him not to interfere with their mother's death.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: After Barry quashes Eobard Thawne's chances of escaping to his own timeline, Thawne vows to not only kill Barry but all of his friends and family.
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  • Apocalypse How: The black hole can cause greater than Class X, according to Prof. Stein.
  • Arc Words:
    Eobard Thawne: Run, Barry. Run.
  • Arc Number: Barry has 1 minute and 52 seconds to change the past.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Releasing a single hydrogen particle in a corridor that is distinctively not a vacuum and thus already chock full of particles, including traces of hydrogen. In Real Life, this would do absolutely nothing.
  • Backhanded Apology: Thawne to Cisco, for killing him in an alternate timeline.
    Cisco: ...you crushed my heart with your fist.
    Eobard Thawne: Cisco...I'm sorry.
    Cisco: Yeah, it sucked.
    Eobard Thawne: Oh, not for killing you. I'm sure I had a good reason, I'm sorry for the fact that you're able to retain traces of another timeline.
  • Back for the Finale: Henry Allen, Martin Stein (though technically, he "was" in the penultimate episode fused with Ronnie) and a cameo by Captain Singh.
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  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: It appears that somebody shot Reverse Flash in the back just before he was going to kill Barry...but it turns out it is Eddie, committing Heroic Suicide, which has the same effect anyway.
  • Being Good Sucks: As Barry tries to save Nora the night she was murdered, the other Flash motions for him not to interfere with the timeline. Not only does Barry force himself to not barge in, he cadn't bear to watch as his mom dies once again. At this point, the trope name is merely an understatement.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Stein implies that he has one:
    Stein: ...and I have a mug that says "World's Best Boss." I doubt that my teaching assistant would testify to its authenticity.
  • Berserk Button: When Thawne tells Barry that he has the same love and pride that Henry and Joe have from — it's enough to get Barry riled up.
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  • Black Market Produce: Eobard says there are no more cattle in his time, which is why he loves Big Belly Burger so much. The team later provides him with takeout while he's in his cell.
  • Book-Ends:
    • The opening shot of the pilot shows the sky zooming towards Barry running in the streets. The closing shot of the Season Finale has Barry running from the streets towards the sky.
    • The first episode ends with Barry reversing a twister through his Super Speed. In this episode he tries to do it again, but with a wormhole. This is even given a Lampshade Hanging, and both times have someone tell Barry that it cannot be stopped, only for him to counter, "I have to try".
    • Excluding The Stinger of the pilot, the last shot of both the pilot and the Season Finale shows Barry and Henry Allen.
    • Both the Season Finale and the pilot has Joe ending up with a Dead Sidekick.
  • Brutal Honesty:
    Barry: Why did you kill my mother?
    Eobard: Because I hate you.
  • The Cameo: We see both Snart and Captain Singh briefly as the wormhole consumes the city.
  • Cliffhanger: The episode and the season ends with Barry in the process of attempting to defuse the wormhole.
  • Continuity Nod: As in previous episodes, liquid suddenly rising out of a container is the clue that temporal hijinks have or are about to take place. Martin Stein uses it as the sign that it's time to create the wormhole.
  • Cosmic Plaything: The reason why Joe wants Barry to save Nora. He reasons that Thawne has controlled and screwed around with their lives long enough, so it's time to put an end to that.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Just like last time, Barry is hopelessly outmatched by The Reverse-Flash when he's fighting alone.
  • Dark Reprise: The Opening Narration is delivered slower and the background music is more dramatic. Instead of the usual "I am The Flash", it ends with "That time is now".
  • Deal with the Devil: Thawne makes a deal with Barry: Barry can go back in time to save his mother, while Eobard will finally escape back to the future. None of the heroes question whether Eobard can be trusted, though as it turns out, unlike Barry's deal with Captain Cold, he was indeed sincere.
  • Death by Irony: As it happens, Eddie does manage to do something significant with his life: he just has to kill himself to do it.
  • Defiant to the End: Eobard taunts Barry as he disappears from existence.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Professor Stein has to stay in the Cortex to monitor the singularity's progress, Ronnie is briefly incapacitated trying to deactivate the Accelerator, and Oliver's whereabouts are currently unknown while under his 10-Minute Retirement; thus Barry has no backup this time when he tries to face Thawne.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • When Barry decides not to alter the timeline, he overlooks how to deal with Eobard — the one meta-human he just can't beat on his own.
    • Eddie doesn't quite understand the ramifactions of killing himself to eliminate Eobard.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight:
    • Barry does not save his mom, but at least he was able to say goodbye to her and have some closure with his life.
    • Joe and Iris are cradling Eddie as he dies from his Heroic Suicide.
  • Downer Ending: The season definitely doesn't end on a high note. On one hand, Caitlin and Ronnie finally get married, Reverse Flash is defeated and Barry gets a chance to say goodbye to his mother. On the other hand, Eddie is dead, Barry's attempt to save his mother ended in heartbreak (even if he did at least get to say goodbye), and there's no indication that Barry's dad is getting out of prison anytime soon. Oh, and congratulations on creating a giant wormhole that could destroy the earth.
  • Dynamic Entry: Barry returns from his aborted mission with a supersonic punch that not only hits Thawne, but also destroys the latter's ride home.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • We see a brief glimpse of Hawkgirl before her introduction proper in Legends of Tomorrow.
    • Thawne mentions that the Time Sphere looks like one Rip Hunter would be proud of.
    • Barry's trip into the Speed Force shows Caitlin as Killer Frost, who the creators have indicated will show up.
    • Sara Lance/White Canary appears in one of the glimpses to the future during Barry's trip into the Speed Force; standing alongside Captain Cold, the Flash and the Atom in a clip taken directly the Legends of Tomorrow trailer.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Played straight and subverted. When Cisco tells Eobard that he remembers another timeline, Eobard shows regret, not for killing Cisco, but that Cisco remembered it. Though it appears he does still think of Cisco and Barry as a "son" and in fact remarks that rebuilding the Accelerator would've been more fun with Cisco's help. When Thawne is being erased from the timeline he calls out to Cisco to help him.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good:
    • Eobard assumes that by killing Nora that the tragedy would prevent Barry from becoming the Flash. Likewise he can't understand why he wouldn't save Nora.
    • Eobard obviously never considered the possibility that a family nobody like Eddie would make a Heroic Suicide to ensure that he doesn't leave any descendants.
  • Evil Plan: Eobard's plan is to help Barry go back in time to save Nora so he can return to the future he left.
  • Face Death with Dignity:
  • Famous Last Words:
    Eobard Thawne: I've controlled your life for so long, Barry. How will you get along without me?
  • Flash Forward: When he enters the Speed Force Barry sees glimpses through time, including the future which includes the Flash Museum and Caitlin as Killer Frost.
  • Flash Step: Excusing the pun, Barry does this to different debris near the end to close the wormhole.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The Legends of Tomorrow trailer proves Barry will stop the wormhole and return more or less okay.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Barry's trip to the Speed Force allows him to see multiple Flash Forwards (see above).
    • Jay Garrick's helmet coming out of a wormhole.
  • Good All Along: After all the Red Herrings regarding him turning evil or is Evil All Along, Eddie pulls a Heroic Suicide to save his friends.
  • Go Out with a Smile: She still Dies Wide Open, but Nora, knowing that her child and husband will be OK, is able to leave the world peacefully this time around.
  • Grandfather Paradox: To stop Eobard from killing Barry and everyone else, Eddie kills himself to stop Eobard from being born, which erases him from existence. If Eobard was never born than he wouldn't traveled in to the past, which wouldn't have put Eddie in the position of killing himself. If Eddie didn't kill himself, then Eobard would be born and he would traveled into the past, etc. The result is a blackhole that threatens to engulf the world.
  • Happily Married: Caitlin and Ronnie mid-way through the episode.
  • Heroic Suicide: When Thawne is in the process of killing Barry, and taunting him that he will kill everyone Barry cares for, Eddie shoots himself causing his descendant, Eobard Thawne, to be erased from history when Eddie dies.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Eddie is angsting that he's the only one who doesn't seem to have anything to contribute; he doesn't have scientific knowledge, technical skills, metahuman abilities, or an emotional connection to support Barry, and according to Eobard, is even a complete nobody in his own family. Stein reassures him that he has something unique: the ability to choose and decide his own future. Eddie makes a choice.
  • Insistent Terminology: Eobard is quick to point out that he and Barry are mortal enemies in a future, not the future.
  • Internal Reveal: Thawne finds out about Cisco's ability to remember the changed timeline, and realizes that Cisco also has metahuman abilities.
  • Irony:
    • Thawne killing Nora Allen seems to be right up his comic book successor's alley, but their motivations for doing so are revealed to be complete opposites. Zolomon wanted to inflict tragedy in order to make the victim a better hero, when Thawne here murders her not just out of spite, but he thought the trauma would prevent Barry from ever becoming the Flash.
    • Who's the first to encourage Barry to save his mother (and inadvertently change the timeline)? Joe West, usually the voice of reason for Team Flash.
    • The prison that S.T.A.R. Labs built to house metahumans now houses Eobard himself.
    • Eobard Thawne claims to The Flash "I always win", immediately before he is killed.
  • Karma Houdini: This is Eobard Thawne's plan: he will leave back for his own timeline and Barry will get to save his mother. Of course, things don't go this way.
  • Killed Off for Real: Both Eddie Thawne and Eobard Thawne.
  • Last Episode, New Character: Hawkgirl makes an Early-Bird Cameo before becoming a main in Legends of Tomorrow.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Eobard Thawne appears to be this, as the removal of his existence from the timeline seems to be what causes the black hole in the end.
  • The Maiden Name Debate: Iris reflects on the "Iris West-Allen" future byline, saying she didn't think she'd be a "hyphenator".
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Subverted in that it is a major death. Cisco vividly remembers every detail of his Alternate-Timeline murder. But when he tells Wells how he crushed Cisco's heart in his hand, he merely, though a bit tearfully says that "it sucked".
  • Magic Countdown: Barry's time in the past is supposed to be 1:52 minutes. Just the time between Eobard and Flash leaving the house and the scene fading out is longer than that.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Thawne is on top form, thoroughly manipulating everyone into going along with his plan. Of particular note is when he says he believes in Barry's ability to successfully time travel, and then says that the real question is whether Barry's friends and family believe in him as much as he does. This practically guarantees that they'll support him, and is a really diabolical example of emotional manipulation.
  • Manly Tears: Half (Barry, Joe, Cisco and Eddie) of the (speaking) male cast were in tears this episode, especially Barry. Not that it's not justified.
  • My Future Self and Me: When Barry travels to the night his mother died, he sees both his future and past selves.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Eobard says that Barry will have one minute and 52 seconds to return to the present once the wormhole opens to prevent a black hole.
    • Cisco basically played the same part as Richie Foley from Static Shock, right up to the discovery that he's a metahuman long after the accident.
    • When we finally get our first well-lit look at Future Barry, he is indeed wearing the brighter red Flash costume with the white Chest Insignia from the comics, though he's vibrating all over and thus obscuring any other details.
    • Barry sees himself in the future as a prisoner in Iron Heights, in a jumpsuit and handcuffed, speaking with an unknown person. This is a reference to The Flash story arc "The Trial of The Flash!" in which The Flash is charged with the murder of the Reverse-Flash.
    • Jay Garrick's helmet shows up through the wormhole, which Eobard takes as a sign to return home.
    • Just like in Flashpoint, Eobard Thawne is killed when somebody attacks him in the middle of his Evil Gloating while about to kill Barry Allen.
    • How odd that the season finale would end with a near-copy of one of comicdom's most famous Heroic Sacrifices (namely, Barry's).
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Averted. Three versions of Barry actually are at his house that night — present-day Barry, Future Barry, and Kid Barry. Kid Barry probably didn't recognize Future Barry as himself, but present-day Barry does. He and Future Barry make eye contact, and Future Barry warns him not to try saving Nora.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: While he didn't actually change much in the past, Barry choosing to travel back in time results in Eddie sacrificing himself and a black hole singularity being created, resulting in several deaths and mass destruction. Eddie's sacrifice ends causing the wormhole that Team Flash tried to prevent.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Rivals!: Barry and Thawne's time travel attempt. Thawne would like to get back to the future, and Barry would like to save his mother from being killed by Thawne in the first place and stop his father from going to prison for it. In the end, none of this happens and the only thing they manage to do is accidentally create a singularity over the city and get several people killed.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Had Eobard not recently told Eddie of the relationship between the two, Eddie would not have realized how to defeat him. Of course, Eobard probably could not comprehend sacrificing oneself for this.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Eddie's death erases Eobard from time, but appears to have no effect on anything else...until the wormhole reopens.
  • Non-Protagonist Resolver: Eddie, not Barry, is the one who stops Eobard Thawne. He does so by killing himself to negate Eobard's existence.
  • Not His Sled: The Flashpoint storyline was heavily alluded throughout the season. In the end, Barry ultimately doesn't save his mother because his future self silently tells him not to.
  • Oh, Crap!: A subtle one, but Eobard is not happy when Jay Garrick's helmet shows up. He takes it as his cue to hightail it.
  • On Second Thought: Cisco is not at all interested in a plan that will either have his friendship with Barry potentially Ret Gone or have Barry killed...until Barry tells him he needs him to build a time machine.
  • Portal to the Past: Barry has 1 minute and 52 seconds to save his mother in the past as the wormhole is not subject to the normal rules of time.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: The only reason why going through with Eobard's plan is even considered once the team finds out that there's a chance it will destroy the Earth. By any reasonable standard, risking the lives of the entire human race on the chance of saving the life of a single woman is a terrible idea. That being said, they also don't have any other way to deal with Thawne, besides letting him return to his time.
  • Reality-Breaking Paradox: Eddie creates one (via Heroic Suicide) to erase Eobard Thawne (his descendant) form existence. It works...but then creates a massive black hole over the city.
  • Reality Ensues: Unlike the previous episode, Barry has to fight the Reverse-Flash alone. The outcome is obvious.
  • Red Herring:
    • Barry (and the audience) sees a brief glimpse of Killer Frost and then Caitlin soon thereafter rushes down to the particle accelerator and has to try and shut it down, just as Ronnie did when he became Firestorm, starts fooling around with the hardware, and yet she shuts it down successfully.
    • After a season-long buildup for the Flashpoint storyline, Barry ultimately doesn't save his mother.
  • Ret Gone: Eobard Thawne, in a rather unnerving way: first, his appearance reverts back to his true form, and then he begins to disintegrate.
  • The Reveal: Cisco is a metahuman.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After Barry witnesses his mother die all over again, he becomes determined to not let Eobard Thawne escape scot-free to the future. However, by destroying Thawne's time machine he causes the latter to go on his own Roaring Rampage of Revenge, and unfortunately, Thawne is much stronger and faster than Barry.
  • Screw Destiny: Eddie says this regarding the destiny that Iris and Barry are to be together. Unfortunately...Funnily enough, Eddie still invokes this trope...
  • Season Finale: The first one.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong:
    • Averted. Barry sets out to save his mother's life but then sees his future self warn against changing the timeline. Barry makes the decision not to, consoling himself by being able to say goodbye to her before she died.
    • However, Eddie killing himself can be seen as a form of this.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Strong Family Resemblance: When Barry removes his mask in front of his dying mother, she remarks that he looks just like her father.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: Eobard as part of his Villainous Breakdown when Barry comes back from the past without saving his mother.
    Eobard Thawne : You could have had the life you wanted. You could have had EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED!
  • Team Dad: S.T.A.R. Labs is without an older experienced scientist leading them ever since Thawne was exposed, so Prof. Stein steps in.
  • There Are No Coincidences: What prompts Eddie's Heroic Suicide, which he discussed earlier in the episode with Stein. It just so happens that the timeline spawned from Eobard Thawne murdering Nora Allen is one where Eddie is a member of Team Flash, as Barry's friend, Iris' boyfriend/fiance, and Joe's partner. Thus, he would have a vested interest in making sure Eobard doesn't have his way. Coincidentally, it also leaves him in the right place, at the right time, to kill himself and prevent Eobard from killing anyone else via the Grandfather Paradox. It doesn't take long for Eddie to connect the dots and do what needs to be done.
  • This Was His True Form: As Thawne begins to fade from existence following Eddie's sacrifice, the genetic alterations that transformed him into Harrison Wells' double are undone and he reverts back to his true face.
  • Title Drop: Done by both Barry and Eobard at different occasions.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Cisco finds out he's a metahuman. He does not take it very well.
  • The Un-Reveal:
    • The history between Reverse-Flash and the Flash from their original rivalry (from Eobard's perspective) is never elaborated on.
    • We never hear what happened to the Future Barry to get to that point in his life.
    • Eobard refuses to tell Barry exactly why he hates him so much. Barry asks him, but Thawne says it doesn't matter.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Eobard loses it when Barry doesn't rewrite the time-line and destroys his time machine on his return journey. He beats Barry to a pulp, and gloats he'll kill all his family and friends after he kills him.
  • Villains Never Lie: Unlike Barry's experience last week, Eobard Thawne is perfectly sincere about his bargain with The Flash — Barry gets to save his mother, and Thawne gets to return to his timeline, scot-free.
  • Wedding Day: For Ronnie and Caitlin.
  • Wham Episode: Caitlin and Ronnie get married. Cisco is a metahuman. Barry does not save his mom. Eddie kills himself to stop Eobard from coming into being...which causes a wormhole to form which Barry runs into to stop it.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Jay Garrick's helmet flying through the wormhole.
    • Quite literally with Eddie shooting himself.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Played with: Barry ultimately does not save Nora because of his future self telling him not to. However, Barry does reveal to her that he's the Flash once it's just her and him in the house.
  • White Shirt of Death: Both Nora Allen and Eddie Thawne, complete with blood on their hearts.

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