The Flash, one of the strongest comic book shows on television, returned for its second season with a decent start. It wasn’t quite as good as the last few episodes of Season 1, instead feeling somewhat clichéd. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: following some major events in a hero’s life, the hero himself has reverted to working on his own and shutting out the rest of his teammates, who are all going through their own problems, and only by putting the group back together, can they overcome their difficulties and save the day. Sound familiar? You’d be right.
The premiere picked up six months after the finale of the previous season which ended with Barry heading into the skies to stop the Singularity above Central City. Through this, we learn that whilst Barry did save the city, it was only through the help of Professor Stein and Ronnie Raymond, who merged together as Firestorm and then had to promptly split apart at the heart of the Black Hole. However, we learnt pretty quickly that only Stein made it out alive, and as a result, despite saving the city, things were left on a pretty dour note. Caitlin wasn’t working with STAR Labs anymore. Neither was Cisco, who is the resident tech-expert for the Anti-Metahuman task force in Central City’s PD, which is headed by Joe Wells. And Barry is coping in his own way, by doing as much as he can to rebuild the city after dark.
The show introduced a new villain pretty early on, called The Atom Smasher, who suffered from a problem that most of the villains, with a couple of exceptions, from Season 1, also suffered from. They weren’t simply developed enough, and that was the same case here. He felt cheesy and very much one-note, but it’s clear, like with most Flash episodes, the villain isn’t always the central part of the series. It’s the characters, and it’s fantastic to have them back on-screen after a long hiatus, made only slightly bearable that I recently started rewatching Season 1 when the DVD was released not long ago. Cisco, Caitlin, Joe, Barry, et al, are all incredibly fun characters, and the interactions were once again the highlights of the episode. Cisco wanting a Central City PD badge was so typical of the character, and everyone else was back in fine form, to the point where I didn’t even miss Eddie, who always felt like one of the weaker parts of Season 1, particularly with the whole Eddie/Iris/Barry love triangle.
The episode itself was somewhat darker than one would originally expect from The Flash, but it boasted plenty of teasers throughout and interesting moments. We got to see Barry’s father finally after fourteen years released from prison, because it turns out that Harrison Wells left Barry something in his will after he died, a confession. How this affects the group going forward will be interesting to see, especially as to what role Henry’s character will play. This was one of the finer moments of the episode as they celebrated his return home, and it really felt like the characters were becoming a proper family.
I also loved how the show introduced Jay Garrick at the end of the season on a cliffhanger. Yes, it’s fairly typical to introduce a character who knows more about what’s to come than the hero himself, but Jay should provide an interesting starter point for more of The Flash family to come. Another element that was welcomed was the people of Central City holding “Flash Days” as well, respecting the hero that saved Central City. If this was Starling City or the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they’d probably end up hating The Flash for causing the event in the first place. But adopting this approach feels fresh, and allows the show to take a lighter tone even though the episode felt darker than normal.
On the whole, it’s great to have The Flash back. This episode may not have been the best of the series, but it was still pretty fun and an enjoyable television episode. There’s also a few questions that remain that will be answered hopefully over the course of the season, namely, what’s in store for our heroes? What role will Tom Cavanagh play given that he’s still effectively a series regular? The original Harrison Wells from this reality, or one from a different timezone? Jay Garrick’s, perhaps? Either way, whatever the writers come up with it should be interesting, and it’s been too long without The Flash on our screens, so it’s really good to have it back.
The Flash continues next Tuesday on the CW. Liked this review? Stay tuned for my review of the Arrow premiere, which will go live either today or tomorrow.