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The Flash – “The Man Who Saved Central City” Season 2 Premiere Review

by Dean James

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The DC live-action TV universe first kicked off back in 2012 with the premiere of Arrow, but the CW took it to new heights with the first season of The Flash last season. After the outstanding finale way back in May, The Flash is back once again with its second second premiere in “The Man Who Saved Central City.”

Considering we are giving a recap and discussing the episode, you will find plenty of spoilers here, so if you haven’t watched the episode yet, you best speed off and do that right now.

When we last left our heroes, Eddie had sacrificed himself to save Barry from the Reverse Flash, while erasing Dr. Wells from existence. However, this came at the cost of opening a giant singularity in the sky, with Barry racing up building and into the black hole as the season ended.

One would have expected the premiere to pick up right after that moment, but instead the season starts with Barry taking down Captain Cold and Heatwave, with some help from Firestorm. Barry then returns to Star Labs and is congratulated by everyone, including Eddie and Dr. Wells. This of course is simply a dream sequence, as it cuts to a very depressed looking Barry inside the now deserted Star Labs.

At this point, Barry gives the usual opening monologue, this updated to inform us that it is now six months later and he is working alone after the events of the finale. He is still working as a forensic scientist for the Central City Police Department and taking down bad guys as the Flash still, but without the help of Cisco and Caitlin. With Barry working alone, Caitlin accepted a job at Mercury Labs and Cisco started working with the CCPD’s anti-metahuman task force

The city is holding a special “Flash Day” in honor of “The Man Who Saved Central City,” which we quickly learn is not quite the case via flashback. While Barry managed to stabilize the singularity, Professor Stein says that the inner and outer event horizons need to be merged, which can only be done by splitting the two while as Firestorm in the eye. They successfully save the day, but seemingly at the cost of Ronnie’s life. One would think that they wouldn’t do another fake out with Ronnie dying, but I’m almost certain he’ll be back, since he was likely transported to Earth 2, rather than actually dying.

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While initially hesitant, Barry comes to Flash Day as the Flash to accept the key to the city, but not before coming under attack from a new metahuman named Atom Smasher. We get to see how he absorbs energy and grows larger, which looked rather impressive for a CW budget. Atom Smasher seems to have the advantage in the fight, but he eventually retreats. Round two comes a little later, but it goes even worse for the Flash, who barely escapes, which leads to a touching scene between Barry and Joe, both in the present and through flashback to when he was a kid.

Barry also finds out that Dr. Wells left a living will behind for him. He doesn’t want to watch it at first, but with some support from Caitlin, he does so and finds the one thing he wanted more than anything, a confession from Wells that he killed Barry’s mother. Grant Gustin’s acting in this scene was very moving, showing why he is still absolutely perfect as both Barry Allen and The Flash.

This moment is what finally brings all of Team Flash back together, as everyone gathers at Star Labs to brainstorm how to take down Atom Smasher. This brought on a really funny moment where the Flash gets Atom Smasher’s attention from across town with a “Flash Signal.” When asked how he got that idea, Cisco says “I think I saw it in a comic book somewhere.”

The Flash and Atom Smasher have one final showdown, which ends with Atom Smasher dead from nuclear energy overload, but not before revealing that he was sent by Zoom. The strange thing is that typically Atom Smasher is a superhero that is involved with the Justice Society of America and instead he’s turned into a villain here. This is an Atom Smasher from another Earth however, so perhaps the good one is still out there.

With Barry’s dad finally getting free from Iron Heights, he gets a huge welcome home party. However, this also brought upon the strangest moment of the episode that just felt off. Barry is so excited and asks Henry about looking for an apartment together, but instead Henry says he feels he needs to leave town instead. It just seems so out of left field, especially with him leaving right away. He just got out of prison and yet is leaving his son once again so quickly. Hopefully there is more to this than we know, but if it was just a way to write off the character, it was done very poorly.

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While the episode itself doesn’t have a true stinger after the end logo, we get the equivalent of one with the final scene. Everyone is back in Star Labs make some meta commentary on how they have improved the security so that people can’t just walk in. Right on cue, a mysterious man appears from the shadows and says “My name is Jay Garrick. Your world is in danger.”

Offering one of the best first seasons for a series in a long time, The Flash managed to hit all the right notes throughout the first season with story, emotion, and strong character development. That is all still very present here in the premiere, with the episode showing a very natural progression from the finale and the outcome of that with Barry breaking away from his team for awhile.

The character moments are still there throughout, with particularly strong scenes between Barry and Joe, as well as Barry and Henry again. Cisco continues to provide fantastic comedic relief at just the right times, who also gelled really well with Professor Stein in this episode. The presence of Tom Cavanagh’s Harrison Wells is definitely missed, but we did get a little bit of him and know that he’ll be back in some form in the near future.

Overall, The Flash’s second season kicked off with a bang in “The Man Who Saved Central City. Season premieres often struggle with pacing and explaining the events that took place over a few months after a time jump, but this was done very effectively here. The abrupt departure of Barry’s dad was really strange, but the rest of the episode was great and the cliffhanger ending with Jay Garrick really makes the wait for next week’s The Flash all that much harder.

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