The Flash/Arrow Recap: Midwinter Finales

It’s midwinter finale week and that means it’s the holiday season in Central City and Starling City! Not everyone was feeling the holiday cheer though, because really, when do our beloved superheroes ever get a break? The answer: pretty much never. Regardless, the midwinter finales were full of action and my full recaps are below the break!

The Flash, “The Man in the Yellow Suit”

When Barry and Iris exchange gifts, she’s touched by his present of a replica of her mother’s wedding ring, since the original was lost on a fifth grade field trip. Later, Eddie suggests that maybe Barry gave her such a touching gift because he likes her, but Iris brushes him off, and Eddie changes the conversation by gifting her a key to his apartment. As Caitlin leaves the store after buying a gift for Dr. Wells she encounters a mysterious metahuman – the man who can light himself on fire – and her presumed-dead fiancé, Ronnie. That night a man in a yellow suit, with super speed, attacks Mercury Labs, and Barry knows immediately that it is his mother’s killer. West admits he’s known the killer had returned, but that he hadn’t told Barry because the man had threated Iris. The team figures out that the man in the yellow suit was probably going after their tachyon radiation, and they decide to set a trap for him. Caitlin goes to see Iris and asks her about a post on her blog talking about a ‘burning man,’ and Caitlin tells Iris that if she thinks Barry is keeping something from her, she should just ask him herself. Barry and Dr. Wells meet with the woman in charge of Mercury Labs, hoping to borrow her tachyon prototype as a lure, but she refuses. When Cisco notices Caitlin acting weird, she tells him she saw Ronnie, and needs his help to find him.

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Barry thinks back to the night of his mother’s murder, and Iris calls his name several times before he hears her. She tells him she’s agreed to move in with Eddie, and brings up Eddie’s worry that Barry likes her, which Barry denies, saying he just hadn’t realized how far along in their relationship they were. Barry looks like a very sad puppy as she walks away, and as he stares out the window, he spots the man in the yellow suit, and runs after him. The man challenges Barry, saying that he will have to catch him if he wants to know why he killed his mother. They race around, Barry never quite catching up, and the man tells him that it is his destiny to lose to him, just as it was his mother’s destiny to die. Barry manages to convince Mercury Labs to loan them the tachyon prototype, and Eddie forces West to let his Flash-capturing task force be a part of the investigation.

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Caitlin and Cisco go in search of Ronnie but he insists that he isn’t Ronnie, and whispers “Firestorm” before running off. Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, the trap is set for the man in the yellow suit, but West and Wells tell Barry they don’t want him there. Cisco finds Caitlin crying down by the particle accelerator, and she tells him she wishes Ronnie had just died in the explosion. Barry goes to see his dad, who tells him that it’s time for him to live his life – he shouldn’t let the man in the yellow suit take any more from him. Barry goes and tells Iris the truth about his feelings, and she just cries and shakes her head, at a loss for words. Cisco’s force field trap works briefly, but when the man in the yellow suit breaks out, he grabs the tachyon prototype and starts beating up Dr. Wells. Caitlin texts Barry to come help, and he begins a second showdown against the man in the yellow suit. Ronnie/Firestorm saves Barry at the last moment, and the man in the yellow suit gets away. Ronnie/Firestorm tells Caitlin not to look for him again, and then takes off. Eddie is in shock, wondering why the man in the yellow suit didn’t kill him, and West explains to him that the man was a metahuman, and that the two of them need to keep them a secret. When Eddie asks if West knows who the Flash is, West tells him the Flash is the one who saved both their lives that night.

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While Caitlin patches up Dr. Wells’ injuries, he confronts them about Ronnie being alive. Wells says he isn’t mad, and promises Caitlin that they will bring Ronnie home. West and Barry have a heart-to-heart, and Barry says he’s been afraid of the man in the yellow suit his whole life. West tells him that Barry joining his family changed his life, and I was almost sobbing along with the two of them at this point. There’s a happy Christmas gathering at Detective West’s, and Cisco pulls West off to the side, and tells him that he thinks the man in yellow may have been one of two people with super speed present the night Barry’s mom was killed, based on how it looked when Barry and the man in the yellow suit were fighting. In our final moments, Dr. Wells goes into his secret room, puts on a ring with a lightning bolt, and looks at a yellow suit in a case, putting the tachyon prototype on it and saying in a speed-changed voice: “Merry Christmas.”

Arrow, “The Climb”

Oliver is ambushed and captured after delivering a tied up criminal to Captain Lance at the police department. Nyssa says his time to track down Sara’s killer is up and in 48 hours the League of Assassins will begin ‘cleansing’ the city – under Maseo’s command, as he is now a member of the League. Laurel goes to her sister’s grave to wish her a merry Christmas, and when Thea runs into her at the gravesite, Laurel tells her the truth. Ray Palmer goes to see Felicity and she asks him to just pretend like the kiss between them never happened, because she assumes that he regrets it ever happening. Oliver calls together the team in the Arrow cave to pass along Nyssa’s plan. In Hong Kong flashbacks, Maseo and Oliver use info from the man Oliver tortured to track down a powerful biological weapon, but Chien Na Wei had a man on the inside and stole it before they got there. They torture the man, but realize that Chien Na Wei must have drugged him. While they are out, Chien Na Wei comes after Maseo’s wife. When Oliver and Maseo return to the apartment, Maseo’s son tells them that the “white-haired woman” took Maseo’s wife.

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In present day Starling City, Felicity gets back the DNA analysis from S.T.A.R. Labs, only to find that Oliver is the match. Felicity starts trying to find proof that Malcolm Merlyn was setting Oliver up. Laurel’s mom comes to town for the holidays and Laurel and her father stammer out an excuse for Sara’s absence. Oliver and Roy acquire security footage that proves Merlyn (and Thea) were present in Starling City the night Sara was killed. The rest of the team begins to speculate that Thea may be Sara’s killer, but Oliver won’t hear it. Ray comes to Verdant looking for Felicity, and says she was wrong to assume he regretted kissing her. Ray tells Felicity he reacted strangely after kissing her because he lost his fiancé the night of the mirakuru soldier attack. Oliver confronts Thea about her coming back to Starling City while she was supposedly in Corto Maltese, and she denies it. Laurel has coffee with her mother, who can tell something happened. She guesses that Sara is dead, but Laurel begs her mother not to tell anyone. When Nyssa and Maseo meet with Ra’s al Ghul he tells them to return to Starling City and make good on their vengeful promise. Oliver says he asked Thea and she denied it, and Felicity suggests he asks her again, as the Arrow. When Thea fights back, Oliver is shocked. Malcolm Merlyn comes to see Oliver at Verdant and sends him a video of Thea killing Sara, warning him that he wouldn’t want the League to see that. Merlyn tells Oliver that if he accepts guilt for Sara’s death and defeats Ra’s in a trial by combat, Thea will be safe.

Oliver relays what happened to the rest of his team, and tells them that he will defeat Ra’s because he will be fighting for Thea. Oliver goes to meet Ra’s and claims guilt for killing Sara. Oliver challenges Ra’s to trial by combat, and Ra’s accepts. Oliver and Maseo meet, and Maseo gives Oliver the information about where the showdown will take place, noting that Oliver is as stubborn as ever, but he doesn’t believe he really killed Sara. Laurel promises her mother at Sara’s graveside that she will track down Sara’s killer and make them pay. Oliver goes to see Thea before he leaves and tells her she is his family and he loves her. Felicity goes to see Ray and demands he tell her the truth about his secret projects. He shows her his design for the A.T.O.M. exosuit, and asks for her help. When Felicity gets back to the Arrow Cave, Oliver is saying his goodbyes. Felicity asks Oliver to kill Ra’s when he wins, so that Ra’s won’t come after him. Oliver says he doesn’t know if he can be a killer again, but he does know two things: he will do whatever it takes to save his sister, and he loves Felicity (I was definitely tearing up at this).

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Interspersed through everything so far is Oliver making his way to meet with Ra’s al Ghul on top of a mountain for their big showdown. When he gets to the top he is instructed to take off his shirt, and choose his weapon. Ra’s gives a speech that I didn’t really care about, and Nyssa says she is envious of Oliver because he will see Sara again before her. Oliver and Ra’s begin to fight, Oliver starting off with two swords and Ra’s unarmed, but Ra’s quickly steals one of the swords from Oliver. It isn’t looking good for Oliver, and Ra’s stabs him pretty badly. Oliver’s family and all the people he care about flash through his mind, and Ra’s pushes him over the edge of the cliff, while I loudly screamed “WHAT?!” at my computer screen.

Final Thoughts

It felt to me like Arrow’s extremely dramatic ending overshadowed any big developments that might have happened in The Flash, but that also may have just been my perception based on the order I watched them. While I enjoyed The Flash’s information reveals about the night of Barry’s mother’s murder, and the possible hint about Dr. Wells’ true identity, you can’t really beat Arrow pulling a Reichenbach Falls kind of move with their main character. I think they were both solid midwinter finales, which will do a good job of keeping me excited for when the shows return in January.

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