In the season 3 finale of The Flash, Barry and Team Flash deal with the fallout of losing a loved one and Barry prepares for a final face-off against Savitar. Meanwhile, Cisco battles Killer Frost, several familiar faces return, and there is one last twist to set up for season 4. Take a look back at the most memorable moments from episode 23, “Finish Line.”

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H.R. Dies

As the episode begins, everyone reels from Iris’ supposed death. Yet soon enough, the big reveal happens and the team learns that it was H.R. — not Iris — who died at Savitar’s hands. Flashbacks reveal how H.R. used the piece of Savitar’s armor to track Savitar’s location in an attempt to rescue Iris. Alas, when their escape was thwarted, H.R. used the transmogrifier to switch places with Iris. The real Iris was then knocked out and left behind so she didn’t arrive until after Savitar’s attack. (How great was Candice Patton at playing H.R. posing as Iris?)

Back in the present, H.R. says a loving goodbye to Tracy and passes along a message to Cisco before he dies. Barry, Iris and Joe then head to the time vault and discover that Iris’ byline is back on the 2024 article, meaning that they have successfully changed the future.

Barry Makes a Surprising Decision

With Iris’ death averted, Team Flash realizes that future-Barry will never create time remnants to fight Savitar which means that Savitar will never be born. Once the time paradox catches up to him, Savitar will be erased from existence. However, it will take a few hours to work and Savitar could do plenty of damage before then, especially since he stole the speed force bazooka. The team realizes that they need to find a way to stop him now.

Later, Barry tells Iris that he doesn’t think anger will get the job done this time around. He’s realized that he can’t just speed-punch his way out of this mess. Instead, he plans on doing the last thing Savitar would ever expect. To that end, Barry meets with Savitar and offers to help him survive the time paradox if he lets Cisco and Killer Frost go. Barry then uses memories of their past to get through to Savitar, and the villain agrees to Barry’s offer.

Savitar Kidnaps Cisco

Before Killer Frost can end her battle with Cisco by killing him, Savitar arrives and tells her to keep Cisco alive because he needs Cisco to build something for him. Savitar quickly realizes that something has changed and Iris is still alive thanks to H.R. The villain then takes Cisco back to his lair where he tells Cisco his plan to survive. He wants Cisco to turn the speed force bazooka into a intradimensional quantum splicer and then shoot him with it so he will be fragmented throughout every moment of time. This will give Savitar the power to beat the time paradox and basically make him a god.

Of course, Cisco initially refuses to make the splicer, but Savitar threatens to murder Killer Frost if he doesn’t build the device. While Savitar is busy with Team Flash, Cisco tries to get Killer Frost to see that the villain will turn on her one day. Savitar returns and orders Killer Frost to take Cisco out, but Gypsy shows up in time to save him! To Cisco’s surprise, she says she was able to figure out that he was in trouble because they share a connection.

Julian Comes up with a Way to Save Caitlin

After being off-screen in the previous episode, Julian returns with good news for Team Flash: with help from Caitlin’s mother, he was able to create a cure to turn Killer Frost back into the Caitlin they know and love. Later in the episode, Cisco takes Killer Frost down during a fight, but he refuses to kill her. He then gives her the cure, allowing her to make the decision on whether or not to take it. She repays him for that gesture by saving his life when Savitar tries to kill him.

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Barry and Iris Try to Help Savitar

Team Flash is shocked when Barry brings Savitar back to S.T.A.R. Labs. While everyone else argues, Iris uses her eternal connection to Barry Allen to get through to Savitar. It’s clear in the way Savitar closes his eyes and relaxes at Iris’ touch that he still loves her. Iris assures him that they will find a way to help him, and Wally suggests that Tracy may be able to assist with that. Initially, Tracy refuses to help save the man who killed H.R., but a talk with Earth-2’s Harry about H.R.’s heroic sacrifice has her reconsidering that decision.

While Harry tries to get through to Tracy, Savitar is reminiscing about his memories of S.T.A.R. Labs. (This includes a reference to a villain Team Flash will presumably face next season.) Yet, despite Barry and Iris’ sincerity in wanting to help him, it is clear there is no place for the time remnant in their lives. Knowing that the real Barry will be the one by Iris’ side seems to override whatever humanity Savitar has left and he reverts to his original plan. Once out of Barry and Iris’ sight, Savitar uses the Philosopher’s Stone to set off an explosion that destroys the breach room, almost killing the team in the process.

Savitar Is Defeated

With the splicer complete, Savitar opens a breach into the speed force and has Killer Frost shoot him with the device. (Prior to using the splicer, Savitar has Killer Frost take out Black Flash, who was sent by the Speed Force to deal with Savitar for messing with time.) Unfortunately for Savitar, Cisco tweaked the device just enough to turn it into a speed force skeleton key instead of a splicer. Rather than fragmenting Savitar through time, the device frees Jay Garrick from the speed force prison. Jay then joins the rest of Team Flash in facing off against Savitar and Killer Frost.

The team plays divide and conquer with the villains, as the speedsters take on Savitar while Cisco and Gypsy deal with Killer Frost. After Savitar initially bests the speedsters, he promises Barry that he will kill of all Barry’s loved ones before the time paradox gets him. Barry’s fear for those he loves gives him the push he needs to beat Savitar. He phases into Savitar’s suit, thus pushing the time remnant out and stripping him of his advantage. Barry then has the chance to kill Savitar, but he doesn’t because giving in to the pain and the darkness would make him no better than his enemy. He settles for destroying Savitar’s suit and knocking him out.

Alas, when Barry’s back is turned, the time remnant makes a move to kill Barry, but Iris intervenes. Iris ends up being the one to finish Savitar off by shooting the villain in the back just before the time paradox erases him from existence. (It is a great moment, but it doesn’t make up for the lack of agency she’s had for most of this storyline.)

Team Flash Mourns H.R.

After Savitar is defeated, the team holds a funeral for H.R. Iris gives a touching eulogy in tribute to the man who saved her life, and Barry tells Cisco that H.R.’s last message was to credit Cisco for giving him the strength to be a hero. To everyone’s surprise, Caitlin shows up at the funeral. She gives Julian back the cure because, while she may not be Killer Frost anymore, she isn’t the old Caitlin, either. She says she needs to go off on her own to figure out who she is and her friends eventually let her go.

Barry Sacrifices Himself to the Speed Force

As the episode comes to a close, Barry and Iris are celebrating Iris’ survival by planning for their future. Sadly, their happiness is interrupted by something like a series of earthquakes. It turns out that these “earthquakes” are actually the speed force becoming unstable because there is no longer an occupant in the speed force prison. Barry realizes that the only way to save Central City from this instability is for him to enter the speed force. As Barry begins to say goodbye to his loved ones, the Speed Force takes on the form of his mother to tell Barry that he’s reached his “finish line.” Iris pleads with Barry to stay, but Barry believes this is his penance for creating Flashpoint.

After sharing heartbreaking goodbyes with Joe and Iris, Barry leaves his loved ones behind and heads into the speed force. Thanks to Barry’s sacrifice, the speed force stabilizes and Central City is saved. (While it is obvious that Barry will return in season 4, probably even within the first episode, it was fitting for him to be the one to make the ultimate sacrifice this time around. It also packs quite the emotional punch thanks to the show’s talented cast.)

What was your favorite moment from the season 3 finale of The Flash? Was the Iris-H.R. switch too predictable? Are you disappointed that H.R. was killed off, or are you relieved that it was him because the show can simply replace him with another Wells in season 4? (I, for one, am hoping we get to keep Harry around full-time next season.) What did you think of Barry’s attempt to save Savitar by playing to his humanity? Were you surprised that it was Iris who ultimately took the villain down? What did you think of that season-ending cliffhanger and what are your hopes for season 4? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

The Flash will return to The CW with season 4 later this year. Want more news? Follow our The Flash Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of the CW)

Megan Cole

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV