WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for The Flash Season 3 finale
Believe it, fans of The Flash: Iris West yet LIVES, while things have taken a tragic turn for H.R. Wells. After the previous episode seemed to show Team Flash's plan failing, and Savitar succeeding in his mission to execute Iris West before Barry Allen's very eyes - as it always has, and always will take place - the finale reveals the truth. It's a victory in the sense that Iris West survived the death that fate had chosen for her... but a heartbreaking tragedy, since another member of Team Flash died in her place.
We suspected that the show was offering a number of clues suggesting H.R. Wells had taken Iris West's place with help from his identity-changing technology, and the show confirmed it. But that doesn't make his sacrifice any less meaningful or powerful... and it doesn't mean Savitar will simply lay down and be written out of existence quietly.
The truth was a bit less complicated or clever than our own theory - which, unfortunately means The Flash's most mindless action sequence wasn't hiding anything at all - but is easier for fans to get up to speed with. H.R. Wells was determined to show he was no coward, and make up for his mistake in leading Savitar straight to Iris's secret location. It cost him his life... but fans will likely agree it made him a hero like few before him.
The secret reason why Wells paid close attention to the severed finger of Savitar was a plan to use it exactly as Team Flash had with Jesse, previously. Using it to track Savitar to his hiding place, H.R. found where Iris was being kept, and made their escape. Knowing that they wouldn't actually be able to outrun Savitar once he noticed their absence, H.R. fired up his handy transmogrifier, allowing him to swap appearances and places with Iris. Not a moment too soon, either, as Killer Frost soon shows up with her sights set on freezing the attempted interloper solid.
H.R. steps in (as Iris) to beg that her would-be rescuer just be allowed to leave, since Savitar still has the prisoner he wants. Frost agrees, allowing Iris to make her way to the event of her expected death. She arrives moments too late to do anything, appearing on the rooftop occupied by Joe West to see H.R.'s still-disguised body in Barry's arms. She undoes the deception for them both, leaving H.R. to give his last words to the heroes he counted himself lucky to live among. Specifically, to tell Cisco that what he did "took strength, and you gave it to me." Curtains.
The rest of the finale honors H.R.'s sacrifice in a few ways, far beyond the funeral attended by his closest friend and recent love, Tracy. H.R.'s sacrifice sticks, with Iris West's death no longer what's needed for Savitar to finally complete his devious plan. So regardless of how many misadventures or threats the team may face in the future, the gravest danger - the predestined, unavoidable murder of Iris West - wasn't solved by a superhero at all. That credit goes to H.R. Wells, a novelist among heroes - who turned out to be the bravest of them all. Not a bad story, if we're being honest.
How did you fans of The Flash take this twist? Were you happy to see Iris West survive, even if it meant saying goodbye to H.R. (at least until another version from a parallel Earth returns to restore the balance)? Let us know in the comments!