The Flash ending explained: A New World

The ending of The Flash TV series left viewers with a lot of thoughts and feelings. Let's break down all of the story developments and what they mean.

The Flash -- “A New World, Part Four” -- Image Number: FLA913h_0113r -- Pictured (L - R): Grant Gustin as The Flash and John Wesley Shipp as Jay Garrick -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
The Flash -- “A New World, Part Four” -- Image Number: FLA913h_0113r -- Pictured (L - R): Grant Gustin as The Flash and John Wesley Shipp as Jay Garrick -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

For almost a decade, The Flash dominated the small screen as one of the premier superhero TV shows. There was very little in the genre - or on television, for that matter - that could match the global success of The CW's Arrowverse series. It was a family-friendly and fun show for everyone and its success around the world ensured that it enjoyed a long and fruitful run.

Barry Allen's journey on the small screen came to an end after the show's ninth and final season. The series finale, titled "A New World, Part Four", brought back some familiar faces from the past to help bid the series adieu. What made it even more emotional was the fact that the end of The Flash was also the end of the Arrowverse, as The CW's shared universe of superheroes has now come to an end.

If you have completed the series and would like some answers about the show's complex ending, let's dive into what it all means. Be warned, though, there are SPOILERS ahead.

The Flash creates three new speedsters

The final segment of The Flash's series finale was a full-circle moment for all involved. Barry held his newborn daughter Nora West-Allen in his arms and told her a story. It started with "To understand what I'm about to tell you, you need to do something first. You need to believe in the impossible." It was a callback to the opening line in the show's pilot episode. But that feeling of coming full-circle would continue.

As Barry told Nora that story, we saw him suit up as The Flash, sending a bolt of lightning into the sky. Just as Oliver Queen had told him he was chosen by the lightning all those years ago, it was now his turn to do the choosing. And thus, he decided to share his gifts with others, producing three new speedsters in the process.

The Flash season 9
The Flash -- “A New World, Part Four” -- Image Number: FLA913fg_0011r -- Pictured: Grant Gustin as The Flash -- Photo: The CW -- © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Those three speedsters were Avery Ho, Max Mercury, and Jess Chambers. DC Comics fans will likely know these three characters by name, but if you've watched all nine seasons of The Flash, you probably recognize Avery. The character is played by Piper Curda and she previously appeared in the season 8 episode "Impulsive Excessive Disorder" when she had a moment with Bart Allen.

In the comics, Avery is known as The Flash of China and regularly teams with the Justice League of China. Jess Chambers was introduced into the comic book world in 2021 and made history as the first non-binary Flash.

The most recognizable name of the three, however, is undoubtedly Max Mercury. He's a character that fans have wanted to see appear on the show since it began, so it's awesome that they managed to get him in there. In the comics, he is basically DC's answer to Quicksilver and he has been speeding through the pages of DC Comics for a very long time. His appearance on The Flash marks his live-action debut.

A lesson we learned from the Arrowverse before is that every end has a beginning, so even though The Flash has bowed out, it was pretty cool of the show to use its own ending to showcase the origins of some new heroes - especially heroes fans had wanted to see on the show for a long time. Although we won't get to see them join the team as the series has now come to an end, it's good to know that the adventures of Team Flash will continue off-screen.

Nora West-Allen has finally been born

After years of anticipation from fans, Iris West-Allen announced her pregnancy in the season 9 premiere, setting the stage for the arrival of her and Barry's daughter Nora West-Allen. In a beautiful moment, Iris gave birth to Nora in the series finale, with Barry by her side and holding her hand. It was an incredible full-circle moment that brought one of the show's most beloved characters into the present-day world.

The Flash, The Flash season 9, A New World, Part Four
The Flash -- “A New World, Part Four” -- Image Number: FLA913i_0078r -- Pictured (L - R): Grant Gustin as Barry Allen and Candice Patton as Iris West-Allen -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Nora West-Allen has been a recurring presence on The Flash since the fifth season. But Barry and Iris' daughter wasn't a child; she was a grown woman who travelled back in time to meet her parents in the present. That version of her was subsequently erased from existence after interference from the Reverse-Flash, but an alternate version of Nora showed up in season 7, proving that she still exists in the West-Allens' future. Again played by Jessica Parker Kennedy, she was accompanied by her younger brother Bart Allen (played by Jordan Fisher). However, her return led fans to wonder when she would actually be born.

The series finale answered those questions, but in a rather hilarious (and yet adorable) turn of events, adult Nora was present for her own birth, waiting outside with Joe, Cecile, Khione, and Timeless Wells. It's very Flash, and very sweet all at the same time.

The Negative Speed Force is no longer a threat

Nine seasons after The Flash gained his speed, it all came down to this: One final battle between good and evil as Team Flash battled the Negative Speed Force and its avatars. The Flash went toe-to-toe with Cobalt Blue, a.k.a. Eddie Thawne, while his team battled speed figments of the Reverse-Flash, Zoom, Savitar, and Godspeed.

Barry's battle with Eddie escalated but the Scarlet Speedster won out thanks to a surprise assist from Jay Garrick. It then led to a showdown in the Negative Speed Force between the two, during which Barry ultimately convinced Eddie that he was being used by the entity as a last-ditch attempt to destroy the Positive Speed Force. In the end, Eddie saw through that and destroyed the blue crystal that was controlling him, taking control of the Negative Speed Force himself.

The Flash, The Flash season 9, Eddie Thawne
The Flash -- “A New World, Part Four” -- Image Number: FLA913fg_0008r -- Pictured: Rick Cosnett as Eddie Thawne/Cobalt Blue -- Photo: The CW -- © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

This was a huge moment for The Flash. Eddie Thawne was no longer the pawn in a speedster's story. He was officially back to life and he had taken control of that life.

By becoming the new avatar of the Negative Speed Force (without the crystal whispering chaotically sweet nothings in his ear), he agreed to work with Barry to restore the balance between the two Forces. And with that, the entity that has birthed countless evil speedsters is no longer a threat.

Team Flash can breathe easier knowing that its greatest threat no longer exists. That's a pretty definitive way to end the series.

Caitlin is alive

One of the biggest moments in The Flash series finale was the return of Caitlin Snow. Portrayed by Danielle Panabaker, the long-standing Flash character has been a part of the show since the very first episode, but she wasn't a part of the final season. She was killed off earlier in the season when she tried to bring back her sister Frost and instead ended up creating a new third persona named Khione (also played by Panabaker). However, when Khione ascended in the series finale, Caitlin was free to return to her body.

The Flash season 9, A New World, Part Four
The Flash -- “A New World, Part Four” -- Image Number: FLA913i_0143r -- Pictured (L - R): Danielle Nicolet as Cecile Horton , Jon Cor as Mark, Danielle Panabaker as Khione, Kayla Compton as Allegra Garcia, Brandon McKnight as Chester P. Runk and Grant Gustin as Barry Allen -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

To call the Khione/Caitlin saga one of the most hated aspects of the final season would be an understatement. Fans felt that it was incredibly disrespectful to kill Caitlin off without so much as a mourning period (her friends went out and partied because "it's what Caitlin would have wanted"), while others just thought the Khione character was pointless. Needless to say, everyone was happy to see that Caitlin was still alive in the final episode. It does, however, beg the question: What was the point of it all?

As for how it happened, Khione had become such a force of nature that the goddess was ready to ascend and become the natural order's protector of all things. She no longer needed Caitlin's body to do that, so whenever she said her goodbyes to everyone in S.T.A.R. Labs, she disappeared in an elemental tornado, leaving behind Caitlin - alive and well.

Barry is free from trauma

The final sequence of The Flash features the Scarlet Speedster making one last triumphant run through the streets of Central City. Knowing that he has shared the lightning with others, that his family is safe from the Negative Speed Force, and that he is free from the trauma that has weighed him down for so many years, he smiles at the viewers who have watched his journey for the past decade.

It's a beautiful, full-circle moment that ends the series on a high, and certainly made me shed a tear when I first watched it.

Irrespective of how you felt about The Flash's final season or its final episode, this final moment here - this ending - was the perfect way for the series to go out. We had seen Barry make that run through the city so many times before but this one was the most bittersweet and yet triumphant of them all.

It's how every superhero story should end; a heroic ending for this chapter but one that ensures us the adventures will continue off-screen.

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