After the hiatus per its season 1 conclusion (more a cliffhanger, really), The Flash is back on TV. Airing on the CW, the premiere is titled “The Man Who Saved Central City”. The show took little time to soar full-speed after its explosive, game-changing season 1 finale.
The big questions left unanswered after the finale: How the hell was the Flash going to close the singularity event hanging above Central City? Did he even succeed to save the city? Only the latter question gets answered immediately within the first few minutes of the episode. After a daydream section involving the Flash team—including Dr. Wells!—taking down Captain Cold and Heatwave, Barry is shown alone in an empty, darker STAR Labs, looking a bit worse for wear. Yes, he did save Central City, but at what cost? We knew that Eddie Thawne took his own life to erase Dr. Harrison Wells, a.k.a. Eobard Thawne, from existence. But was his death the only price to pay in exchange for the safety of the city?
The scene shifts to a crime scene, where Joe West and Barry discovered Al Rothstein’s body. Seems like your regular ol’ murder, but comic book fans would be scratching their heads. Wait, what? We thought Atom Smasher was going to appear. Why is he dead? Those questions aren’t the only one surfacing in the scene. As Barry is leaving the area, a yet unknown man is shown surreptitiously taking pictures of Barry.
The episode further takes on the effects of last season’s final events. STAR Labs appears to have been shut down, and Cisco Ramon is now working for the CCPD. Caitlin Snow, as mentioned in a conversation, has gone to work at Tina McGee’s Mercury Labs. Iris arrives in the precinct, leading to a discussion regarding Barry’s emotional state. It’s been six months, and Barry is still struggling to deal with guilt, choosing to work alone now instead of with the team. Iris goes to talk to Barry, and it’s during this scene that we finally find out about what really went down in the culmination of the season 1 finale. Barry’s superspeed wasn’t enough to close down the gaping black hole. Firestorm had to feed it with energy, and after yet another good-bye between Caitlin and Ronnie, the latter and Professor Stein went into the black hole. A sense of dejá vù hits; Ronnie Raymond didn’t make the return again.
The interior of the ruined Jitters cuts to a brighter festivity. It’s declared Flash Day in Central City, and the mayor was due to hand the Flash an award for saving the city. Only, the party was cut short as a meta-human arrives, claiming to be sorry he rained down the Flash’s parade. It’s the Atom Smasher. Present officials tried to take him down to no avail; even Cisco’s new toy, the Boot, can’t take him down. Cisco gets his own “holy shit!” moment here. We knew, in the comics, he eventually becomes Vibe, and hints of his brewing power have been teased in the previous season. It’s teased again, this time more prominently than ever.
Joe and Barry, having gotten a glimpse of the meta-human’s face, realize it’s Al Rothstein, the man they’ve found dead a while prior. The guy didn’t have a twin brother; plus, he wasn’t even in the city during the particle accelerator snafu. Cisco visits Caitlin in Mercury Labs, trying to get her back in the game by handing her a piece of evidence to be investigated. Meanwhile, Barry gets a visit from an attorney, who gives him a thumb drive containing a “living will” from Dr. Wells. Barry ponders whether to watch the video.
Back in the old STAR Labs complex, the team insists on helping Barry take down the Atom Smasher—the name given by Professor Stein, surprise—but Barry leaves the comm. behind before he confronts the meta-human, nearly killing himself in the process. Afterwards, Barry has a heart-to-heart talk with Joe and leaves to see Caitlin, leading to another talk between the two. Caitlin offers to watch the video Dr. Wells left together with Barry, and holy hell. In the video, after the regular “I’m not really your enemy but I’m telling you, you won’t be truly happy” speech, Dr. Wells confesses to murdering Nora Allen, thus ensuring Henry Allen’s release from prison.
Team Flash, with Barry finally accepting his friends’ help, goes on to take down the Atom Smasher, luring him into a nuclear facility. By feeding him more radiation that he could absorb, the Smasher is finally defeated. In a post-fight talk, Al Rothstein said that Zoom would take him home if he kills Barry.
Question #1. Who the hell is Zoom?
Question #2. Home? Home where?
Luckily, those are the two questions we can easily answer. A quick trip to the Net would tell you that Zoom is a villain in the comics and is confirmed to appear in this season of The Flash. The answer to the second question can be easily deduced from the news surrounding the general arc around which season 2 will revolve, involving parallel universes and all that jazz. It could then be deduced that this Al Rothstein is from a different universe.
Henry Allen is coming home! The welcome party in the Wests’ home is as emotional as it s cheerful, but soon it takes a sudden dive towards the former when Henry tells Barry that he’s not staying around. “When you need me, I will be here. But right now Central City doesn’t need you to be Henry Allen’s son. It needs you to be the Flash.” Call me mushy, but I shed more than a few tears during this scene.
The episode assumes a lighter mood as the team is reunited in STAR Labs. The place belongs to Barry now, as per Dr. Well’s instructions. With Caitlin agreeing to come back, members Joe and Cisco backing up the team without a doubt, and the new additions Professor Stein and Iris becoming full-fledged members, the future is looking bright for team Flash, as bright as the upgraded suit, with the new white background of the sigil on the chest. Cisco claims that the complex is a lot safer with the new security improvements, but of course, the world just needs to prove him wrong.
A stranger walks into a room, and at that moment, everything just clicks. I start to freak out even before the man speaks.
[INSERT INTELLIGIBLE FANGIRL WORDS HERE.]
Needless to say, the cast gave us an exceptional performance as always. As a WWE fan, I’d been waiting for Edge’s performance ever since it was announced that he would be making an appearance in the show, and since the first appearance was as a corpse, I didn’t really notice it at first. It only clicked during the Flash Day scene, and from then onwards, I was busy fangirling over the fact that he really was making an appearance in a show I love. Shame that he didn’t spear anyone, though.
The episode really convinced me that we will have a great season waiting for us in the future. The Flash is still that light-hearted family show I’ve grown to love, and season 2 returns with just enough dark emotional juice to keep it interesting. The overall tone of the show was still the same, only with the added spice of what’s yet to come, things are crazier in a damn fine way. The idea of exploring parallel universes is right exciting, especially when I thought they wouldn’t get on this quirky theme as quick as they are doing it now.
Season 2 really was off to a great start, and I’m all for the ride for the future episodes. I have a lot of hope for The Flash, and judging from the wonderful first season and the intense premiere episode, I’m banking on the assumption that I will not be disappointed.