Season 8 of The Flash saw some big shifts for all of Team Flash, but for Barry Allen in particular. Not only did the Scarlet Speedster find himself levelling up in terms of power, but the threats he and Team Flash faced in Season 8 were unlike any faced before — including some heavy losses. But while there were some big lessons learned this season, it's the events of the season finale that may have the most impact on the hero going forward and now, showrunner Eric Wallace breaks down for us Barry's greatest lesson and why it makes him a better hero.
Warning: spoilers for the Season 8 finale of The Flash, "Negative, Part Two" beyond this point.
In the episode, Barry (Grant Gustin) finds himself living his worst nightmare with Iris (Candice Patton) dead thanks to the machinations of his greatest enemy, Thawne (Tom Cavanagh). It sets Barry out to want not to just stop Thawne, but to want actual revenge. Barry wants Thawne to die for what he's done and when the two foes face off again, it seems that Barry will get that chance though their fight starts to literally tear the world apart. Ultimately, Barry comes to realize that this isn't the answer — Iris turning out to be alive and helping him see the light is a major part of this — and finds true power in knowing his limitations. Barry ends up standing down and Thawne, essentially, ends up killing himself having never learned to respect his limits. It's a huge moment, not only for the long-running fight between these two characters, but for Barry as well.
"It really comes down to this: this will be the biggest lesson that I think Barry, up to this point has learned. And the one he needed to learn the most," Wallace told ComicBook.com. "The one that was always built into the season theme of leveling up. We knew where we were driving to from day one. We said, 'All right, he's going to level up He's going to be more powerful than every other…' Almost godlike at times."
He continued, "And everybody knows the story of Icarus who flew too close to the sun. That is the lesson that every hero needs to learn, whether it be The Flash, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern — whoever it is. Every hero, no matter how powerful you become, must realize that humanity is your greatest strength. And not recognizing your limitations as a human being, is your greatest weakness. That is the greatest weakness that most villains have. And that's why the Negative Reverse Flash ends up losing in a big way. Flash doesn't kill him in this episode. He essentially kills himself, which is the other thing. It was very tricky. We had to make sure, I was very adamant, The Flash cannot kill. I don't care what happens, but the other guy can kill himself, in a weird way. So, we got to have our cake and eat it too."
And as for that Reverse Flash death? Wallace confirmed that it will stick — though the series would still love to have Cavanagh come back in some capacity in Season 9.
"We had to go, 'Oh, oops, oh. Hey, he's super dead. How do we come back from this?'" I have no idea, to be honest with you. I'm not going to worry about it, it made for a good ending," Wallace said. "We're going to take a break. We will have some new villains next year. The question is, will Tom ever be the Reverse Flash on our show again? I don't know, man, because just like Frost, the Reverse Flash of a negative Reverse Flash that he became, they are truly dead. But having said that, I can't imagine a season of The Flash without just a little bit of the awesomeness that Tom Cavanagh brings, in some capacity."
The Flash will return for Season 9 in 2023.
What did you think about the Season 8 finale of The Flash? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section!