Warning: Spoiler Alert
“And one day I’ll find who killed my mother and get justice for my father…that day, is today”. Barry takes a walk to visit Mr. Eobard Thawne since knowing what he knows now. Barry begins with a simple question with Thawne answers but shuffles off to the big question, why did he kill Nora Allen?
Barry: Why did you kill my mother?
Thawne: Because I hate you. Not you now, you years from now.
Barry: In the future?
Thawne: Any future, yes. We are enemies, rivals, opposites, reverses of one another.
Barry: Why are we enemies?
Thawne: It doesn’t matter. It…doesn’t…matter anymore.
(I’m going to believe that it matters very much)
Thawne, amidst their battles and rivalry discovered future Barry’s real name. Here’s the easy part. Thawne could go back in time and kill young Barry, then return to his time and live Flash free. Only problem is, as we saw weeks ago, Thawne lost the ability to reach the kind of speed that would get him back to his time. Future Barry followed Thawne back and they had an epic fight. Then future Barry got young Barry out of the house. This infuriated Thawne so the next best thing was to cause young Barry to feel a loss so significant that he would never recover and thus, never become The Flash.
The only way to get home was The Flash. However, as previously mentioned, the events laid out that night would prevent Barry Allen from growing up to become The Flash. So Thawne had to make him. Finding Barry, training Barry, nurturing his power, was all a self-serving attempt to use Barry to get home. Thawne needed Barry to get fast. The endgame being, if Barry gets fast enough he could travel through a stable worm hole allowing Thawne to follow. Why do this? Because if Barry does, then Thawne will give Barry what he wants. For that night to have never happened. No slain mother, no imprisoned father, no living with Joe and Iris. Everything goes back and Barry gets to grow up the way he was supposed to.
Barry lashes out slamming his fist on the glass. “I want to kill you right now”. This rage is a familiar feeling to Thawne. It’s the same feeling he’s had playing the nurturer to Barry all this time. Then Thawne says he can see what Joe and Henry see in Barry when they look upon him. Pride with love. Pretty much the exact wrong thing to tell Barry right now.
After a breakdown of the consequences of Barry going back and undoing Thawne’s handiwork, Joe decides with little hesitation that Barry must do this. Even if it means that everything they know, they are and they experienced along the way will have never happened. Henry on the other hand is not on board in any way. In Henry’s mind, everything has to happen for a reason. Nora’s death, Henry’s incarceration, Barry living with Joe and Iris, all contributes to the end result that is adult Barry Allen being specifically the man he is. Very powerful performance from Grant Gustin and John Wesley Shipp by the way.
At Star Labs Caitlin checks out Ronnie’s vitals. He is controlling his powers much better now. Caitlin tells Ronnie how much Barry appreciates him coming back to help. That’s when Ronnie drops the proverbial anvil on Caitlin’s head. Ronnie is back, for good. And back before the particle accelerator, Caitlin agreed to marry Ronnie. So that’s happening.
Iris finds Barry at her favorite thinking time rooftop. The decision is a massive one with uncertain implications. Iris even references the “Iris West-Allen” thing. Barry quickly mentions that her name change and their eventual life as husband and wife isn’t assured either. During a long embrace, Barry flat-out asks Iris for her opinion. He needs someone to tell him what to do, ironic as Joe and Henry both told him what to do.
Iris: I think for the first time in your life, you should stop thinking about other people. I think you should do what’s in your heart. Do what you need to do for yourself.
The ‘plan’ is for Barry to use the particle accelerator. Instead of smashing two particles at each other, they will only send one. Which will collide with Barry and create a wormhole that will connect this time will all other times. If Barry doesn’t reach the optimal speed at the point of impact, Barry will die. To make matters worse, Cisco now has to build a time machine (of Thawne’s specs) so that Thawne can return to his time.
Cisco and Ronnie notice a major flaw in the design. Tungsten at these speeds will become flammable. Cisco heads down to talk to “Dr. Evil”. After a moment, Thawne has a solution. Cisco takes that information and attempts to leave. Thawne tries to appeal to Cisco’s scientific mind when he is interrupted by Cisco’s “is that what you told yourself when you killed me?”
Thawne immediately apologizes. Not for killing Cisco but for the mere fact that Cisco can retain information gained from an alternate timeline. This means Cisco was affected by the particle accelerator. Cisco is a meta-human on some level. Thawne seems to believe that Cisco is about to become so much more than he is now.
Dr. Stein takes great joy in explaining to Eddie that he, not Barry or anyone else is the most interesting person in the mix. He is the only one who gets to choose his future, regardless of what Thawne told him. Then Stein finds an omission of catastrophic implications. Last line of that says that there is a chance this event could create a black hole. A potential extinction level event. Thawne has been planning this a couple of decades. He has considered the risk, and to him the risk is minimal.
Barry walks off and Joe follows. This time Joe is not unwaveringly in support of the plan, but still in support of it. Even if this all works and Barry can run fast enough, the end result is that he will save one parent at the expense of another. He could get Henry and Nora back, but if he does he will all but certainly lose Joe.
After Dr. Stein’s talk with Eddie, he decides to speak to Iris. Eddie is the coincidence and therefore, a number of coincidences lead to Eddie meeting and getting romantic with Iris.
Meanwhile Dr. Stein and Ronnie talk about what or how the kids say or don’t say, it doesn’t matter. Dr. Stein doesn’t want himself and Ronnie to fight on their wedding day. Stein skips over the typical wedding ceremony stuff and dives right into his experience with two lives merging as one.
Barry stands in the corridor saying his goodbyes and good lucks. Over the P.A. system Stein reminds Barry that he has only 1 minute and 52 seconds to save his mother and get back in order to close the wormhole before it transitions into a black hole.
As Barry pushes through Mach 2, he begins to see all of this memories at once. With Thawne in his ear, Barry has to visualize the day in question. The coffee in Stein’s mug levitating is the cue to send the hydrogen particle. And just like that, Barry was gone and wormhole in his place.
Barry arrives in his room during the fight. He ventures down to find future Flash looking back at him shaking his head as if to say no. As it was before future Flash takes young Barry out of there. He closes the door and turns his back on the mission. This is agonizing for Barry to sit through. When it ends, Barry goes out to console his dying mother.
Nora asks who he is. At first, he calls himself The Flash, then he removes his mask. Nora says he looks just like her father. He reveals that he is indeed the man her son grows up to be. He turns this entire mission on its ear. He came back to tell her that he’s alright. He and his Dad are alright. He creates closure to an otherwise unexplainable situation and Nora receives it graciously.
Thawne prepares arrogantly to board his time bubble machine when something flies through the wormhole. My knowledge of early Flash is sketchy at best, but I’m pretty sure the object in question is the helmet from the earliest incarnation of The Flash, worn by Jay Garrick but don’t quote me on that one. Thawne takes one look at it and decides this is his cue to leave. Reveling in the moment too long, Barry comes flying back in taking out the pod and Thawne in it.
The wormhole is becoming unstable, so what better thing to do during this moment of peak importance, than to engage in a speedster vs speedster fist fight. Once again, Thawne gains the upper hand. He starts going to town on Barry’s midsection when the other Thawne (Eddie) decides what his contribution will be. The first line of Stein’s speech to Eddie earlier in the episode was, “Maybe you just haven’t found your contribution yet”. I think he just found it. Eddie was the ‘coincidence’ as Stein put it. Then Eddie turned his on gun barrel pressed into his chest and pulled the trigger.
Joe runs toward Eddie screaming “what’d you do”? Eddie responds with, “there’s no such thing as a coincidence” a notion shared by just about every detective in every precinct in the country. Based on the established timeline (if I have this right) Eddie Thawne is somehow Eobard’s great great great great grandfather. If Eddie dies, at this age, then Eobard will cease to exist. Iris arrives just as Eobard sheds his Harrison Wells meat suit. He will die in her arms as the hero.
Eddie (to Iris): I was wrong. It turns out I’m the hero after all.
Eobard Thawne/Harrison Wells vaporizes out of existence. Just then a floating hole begins to inhale the matter around it. Including Eddie Thawne. In seconds, a massive singularity begins to form over Central City. I hope you’re sitting down, I imagine this is the part of the story when the aspiring hero is faced with an impossible task and becomes the hero he’s supposed to be.
Barry races up a skyscraper and with the requisite speed is able to run in circles opposite to the singularity. Roll credits on Season 1.