With the recent wave of superhero based TV shows, the first season of The Flash firmly established the show as one of the best, second only to Marvel’s Daredevil. Now, the Scarlet Speedster is back on our screens as he returns to action in his second season.
Oh man, does it feel good to hear “My name is Barry Allen and I am the fastest man alive”! But Barry doesn’t deliver the voiceover in his usual chirpy tone. No, this time he reintroduces himself to us in a sad and sombre way as he’s reeling from the events from last season’s epic final episode.
You remember what happened right? The cliff hanger ending with The Flash racing to stop Central City being demolished by a black hole-type thing? Sure you do. This episode, called“The Man Who Saved Central City”, starts six months after the near-catastrophic event with Central City safe and sound seemingly thanks to Barry. Even though he’s being celebrated by his home city for saving it from destruction with a “Flash Day” parade, there’s a sense of guilt and failure eating away at him. We don’t find out why immediately as the resolution to last season’s dramatic finish is only gradually revealed, but when the source of Barry’s pain is unearthed – it’s quite understandable.
His inner turmoil means that he’s alone as Team Flash has gone their separate ways. The loveable Cisco, who thankfully lightens up an unusually downbeat episode of The Flash, is working for Central City Police Department to help them deal with meta-humans. Caitlin has also left Star Labs to work for another scientific organisation. Barry’s other close confidants are still pretty much where we eft them but with Iris mourning the loss of Eddie and Joe struggling to get Barry out Barry out of the blues.
While not packing the emotional wallop of last season’s finale, the premiere episode is still contains touching drama as there are a number of genuinely sentimental scenes which are al wonderfully acted out by the talented cast.
But let’s be honest – nobody really watches The Flash for a dose of drama (although to be fair its dramatic tendencies are often entertaining). The comic booky sci-fi action we’ve come to love is back in spades as there’s a new villain in town looking to wreak havoc on Central City by causing an upset on “Flash Day”. The latest bad guy to debut on the show is The Atom Smasher (played by former WWE wrestler Adam “Edge” Copeland) – a masked bulking meta-human who consumes radiation to grow bigger.
Compared to Barry’s battles with big baddies such as Gorilla Zod, the fight scenes between The Flash and The Atom Smasher are simply OK as nothing particularly special or memorable goes down. Of course The Flash lacks the big budget special effects of superhero films so when The Atom Smasher grows in the episode, he looks a bit like an oversized Stretch Armstrong as the CGI makes him like more rubbery then real. Still, it’s all forgivable as you’ll just be happy to see The Flash back in action against some super-powered bad guys. Plus the episode’s other uses of special effects, in the wormhole flashbacks, are actually quite impressive considering the budget.
While this first episode is generally quite strong, it isn’t without a couple of flaws. Caitlin’s arc feels somewhat under served as considering what we learn she goes through after the wormhole incident, we don’t really see how what happened affected her in much detail. The villain of the week could have also have done with a little more screen time as The Atom’s smasher’s origins and motivations are somewhat unclear and undercooked.
Still “The Man Who Saved Central City” kicks off season 2 in a way which will leave fans of The Flash very excited for future episodes. There are a couple of teases which will please those who read The Flash comics– the mentioning of an important future villain and the appearance of a particular character at the end of the episode will have them buzzing with anticipation. There’s also a cheeky borrowing of one of a certain Caped Crusader’s famous tools. A great way to start off season 2, “The Man Who Saved Central City” scores a: