Season Two, Episode One — “The Man Who Saved Central City”
By Jarrod Jones. That’s right, kids. The Scarlet Speedster returns. It’s been an interesting six months without the CW’s premiere dynamic duo highlighting our weeks: with Arrow and The Flash working on each of their follow-up seasons, we learned that Legends of Tomorrow, a spin-off series featuring a plethora of DC Comics heroes, is coming. With established characters like the Atom and Captain Cold making their leaps into an uncertain television future, while newcomers like Hawkgirl and Rip Hunter join in on the crazy, where does that leave our main fella, Barry Allen? Whither the DC Television Universe?
It looks like the premiere episode of The Flash‘s second season has most, if not all, of the answers for us. So what we’re given here isn’t so much a springboard for what’s to come, but a rather maudlin epilogue to last year’s incredible first season. And that’s fine. Because while it makes sure to lay old plotlines to rest — while giving it the gravity it deserves — it makes double-damn sure to tease the future. And in a show like The Flash, buddy, it’s vital that we always think about the future.
WHAT WORKED: There’s still the small matter of how Barry wrapped up that little problem with the Singularity –you know, that giant wormhole that threatened to eat the entire damn world last season? — and thankfully (amid some just okay CGI) the answer comes, but it comes with some heart-breaking news. Rest in peace, Ronnie Raymond. I hope you finally made it to that big spin-off in the sky, pal, because
you’re one hero too many — er, I mean, this ain’t Justice League Europe, damn! What’s wrong with me? I mean, Ronnie! Guy! Thanks for showing up. Now stay out of sight until the mid-season.
It’s more than comforting that The Flash hasn’t lost its emotional momentum. Its life-affirming chats with Det. Joe West and Barry Allen still tug at the ol’ heartstrings, and the chemistry between Jesse L. Martin and Grant Gustin is just as natural and sweet as I remember. I don’t think we need to have a “you can do it, son” conversation damn-near every week like we did last time, but it’s important we remember what kind of a man Barry Allen is. And Detective Joe is just the fellow to light the way.
WHAT DIDN’T: Getting all the stars aligned for this season seems to be the only thing on this episode’s agenda, which is fine. But it causes some rather awkward moments to pop up, and often: consider Barry and Joe’s “let’s talk about Flash Day!” conversation at a crime scene, over a victim who was only just murdered hours ago. Ick, guys, can you maybe walk ten feet away before you start spitting the hot exposition? And maybe not talk about the Flash and Barry like they’re the same person in a room full of police detectives? Guys?
Okay, people. If you don’t have the cash, or the time, to get CGI flesh right, then give the Atom Smasher some sleeves (at the very least). Because whenever he grows he ends up looking a bit… gooey. And what was with that final fight sequence? They kept cutting away during what could have been the more exciting action this episode ultimately never had. Hey, Warner Bros! Do the right thing — cut that kid Snyder’s budget, and throw some extra cash at the CW! They’d at least have a practical use for it.
“I would think this meta was really cool if everything about him didn’t just terrify me to my core.” – Cisco.
“Thank you. Welcome to the team.” – Cisco, to Prof. Stein.
“You carry a handkerchief now? What are you, eighty?” – Caitlin, to Barry.
“Let’s get out of here.” – Barry. “I’ll race ya.” – Henry.
BEST MOMENT: A tale of two Flashes. Yeah, next week’s episode is called “The Flash of Two Worlds”, but let’s slow down for a moment and tip our collective hat to John Wesley Shipp of CBS’ The Flash, who gives a tear-jerking farewell to his TV son, Grant Gustin. “You have to let me go. And you have to say it’s okay,” Henry Allen says to his boy, after finally getting the freedom that was rightfully his. Shoulda seen my cheeks. Niagara Falls.
EPISODE’S MVP: The Flash, duh. Grant Gustin may have spent the majority of this opener moping around — and given what this show has thrown at our hero, who could blame him — but Gustin is the nucleus of this whole entity. And it’s awesome to see how much he’s grown into the role.
– “Don’t, please, report on the news, Iris.”
– waitwaitwait. If nobody’s ever actually seen the Flash, then how come his logo is all over that park?
– Looks like Cisco is, er, “vibe-ing” again. More of this, please.
– Cisco’s comment on the rather crummy security over at S.T.A.R. Labs was one of those fist-pumping moments where we’re made aware of how self-aware this show actually is. Read the Tweets most every Tuesday night, and it was a recurring gripe: who’s protecting S.T.A.R. Labs??! Don’t we have, like, forty crazy-pissed supervillains locked in the basement? Hire a turnkey!
– Barry: I’m not gonna watch that. Okay, lemme watch that.
– Harrison Wells’ confession sequence was the most vindicating and heartwarming thing I’ve ever seen that included the words “I stabbed her in the chest with a large butcher knife from the drawer to the left of the sink in the kitchen.” And I also hope it’s the last.
– Stein christens the Atom Smasher? If Cisco’s cool with it, so am I.
– “Hey, Joe. No, I didn’t say that on purpose.”
– I love the shade that comes from Cisco’s “maybe I read it in a comic book somewhere” line in regards to the Flash signal. In the DC television wars, Gotham ain’t holding a single candle against The Flash.
– Did… Barry… just kill Atom Smasher? Looks like it. But not before we got the name-drop heard ’round the world: Zoom.
– Maybe it’s just me, but I prefered the red and yellow logo. Looked way more classy.