Audiences got their first look at a modern, live adaptation of DC Comics’ own scarlet speedster last year with CW’s “The Flash.” With superheroes dominating movie screens in recent years from both Marvel and DC Comics, “The Flash” broke out of the vast array of superheroes to bring us one of the best live-action adaptations of a comic book hero on television. Season one of “The Flash” was the best season one of any show I’ve ever watched, and I’ve watched a lot. It grew considerably better with every episode and brought fun, excitement, drama, twists, turns and one of a kind characters.
So now, season two is finally here with its first episode, “The Man Who Saved Central City.” This is of course referencing what Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) as The Flash had to do in the season one finale. It was such a galactic event it’s hard not to talk about it and the consequences it had for our cast. After seeing no hope in defeating the ominous Eobard Thawne (Rick Cosnett) from the future, also known as The Reverse Flash, Eddie Thawne, our suave Central City detective and accomplice to The Flash, shot himself. This is to prevent Eobard from existing in the future, since they’re distant relatives. This causes Eobard Thawne to be erased from existence, but because time was altered, a gigantic wormhole opens up over Central City. Is that all making sense? Stick with me, because that’s how season one ended with its huge cliffhanger.
Now after waiting for so long, we’re here at the first episode of season two taking place six months after the wormhole invaded Central City. Now the city, believing Allen saved them from ultimate destruction, creates a new holiday known as The Flash Day. But Allen is depressed because of the wormhole’s lasting consequences. We’re shown through flashbacks that Allen, in order to stop the wormhole’s devastation, put himself in danger to run at fast speeds within the wormhole. With the help of Firestorm, a superpowered flame shifter and ally of The Flash, they managed to contain and close the wormhole, but at an expense. When their bodies fuse together, physicist Martin Stein (Victor Garber) and Barry’s friend Ronnie Raymond (Robbie Amell) together as Firestorm. While inside the wormhole, Firestorm had to sacrifice himself in order to stop it. Stein made it out alive, while his other half, Raymond, seemingly perished.
Flash forward to present day now and the members of Team Flash are separated. Allen is alone and depressed, thinking it was his fault Raymond died. Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) is still with the Central City Police Department with the help of tech whiz Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) now aiding the department’s efforts in new technology. Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker), now a former S.T.A.R. Labs assistant, works at Mercury Labs. While at first hesitant to appear at The Flash Day event, Allen shows up at the last minute to receive the key to the city. Things go awry when a big brute attacker disturbs the peace at the event. Known as Atom Smasher due to his ability to grow in size and strength, is played by Adam Copeland and renders Allen powerless. With Team Flash apart, they slowly come together again and agree to help a restrained Allen stop Atom Smasher.
The season two premiere definitely brought with it some strong points as well as some weak points. The cast is as great as ever, with Gustin portraying a different side of Allen. He showcased his ability to portray a more down-in-the-dumps Allen, whom we’ve always seen so bright and cheerful. The whole cast feels more comfortable with each other now which makes the chemistry between them very natural. In the special effects department, we’re used to seeing Flash run at high speeds, and for a TV show that’s doesn’t have as big of a budget as some blockbuster superhero movies, it’s respectable. Although, when it comes to Atom Smasher, some things go down a notch. The effects of Atom Smasher changing in size are sometimes wonky and kind of off putting. The character also didn’t leave too much impact as we didn’t really get to see his character be fleshed out much, other than a required antagonist role for the episode.
The ending upped the ante on what’s to come for the rest of the season. After Atom Smasher is defeated, he reveals that he went after The Flash because a new menace known as Zoom promised he’d get him home after he defeated him. Afterward, when everyone gathers at S.T.A.R. Labs, an unknown intruder comes with a message. The world is in grave danger and he needs the help of Team Flash. The stranger (Jay Barrick, an older incarnation of The Flash) has time traveled to the present to warn Allen and the team. This raises the stakes considerably in what appears to be an exciting season on the horizon.
Overall, the premiere episode was a solid start for the second season. While the cast is as great as ever, the obligatory antagonist in this episode brought nothing but a message, wonky special effects and not much more. If “The Flash” looks to head in the direction season one went, with episodes getting considerably better, it looks like it might have another great run this year.
Rating: 4 stars