Picking up six months after the season finale ended last year, “The Man Who Saved Central City” gets the second season of The Flash off to a solid start.
The episode had to do a bit of heavy lifting by not only resolving last year’s massive cliffhanger but also putting the pieces into play for season two. It’s interesting to note that the show doesn’t pick up right away and tell us how Barry stopped the vortex over Central City last year. Instead, we see flashbacks to it while getting a look at where everyone is now — both physically and emotionally.
Barry is an angst place, alienating his friends and wanting to go it alone. Barry is riddled with guilt because it turns out that he wasn’t the one who made the biggest sacrifice to save Central City. That goes to Ronnie Raymond who had to separate as Firestom in the eye of the vortex in order to shut it down. Professor Stein escapes but Ronnie doesn’t.
And so we have six months of Barry trying to keep his friends and family at arm’s length so they won’t get hurt. We also hear about Barry trying to repair the damage done to Central City at night as the Flash.
I like that the show is willing to take a few minutes to allow the repercussions of what happened sink in a bit. And seeing various characters scattered about town worked well, if only to try and bring them back together by the end of the episode. It also helps underscore that what makes Barry work best is having the entire team around him.
Interestingly, the show looks like it’s going to embrace some of the multiple universes that were brought up last year without necessarily going too heavily into that. I think it’s an interesting wrinkle and one that has to be done carefully to avoid the arc story being too confusing or impenetrable for fans (new or old). And the introduction of a Flash from another world last night (in the closing moments) worked well enough to keep me intrigued to see where this will all go next.
Another moment I liked was Barry’s dad finally getting out of prison and the show hitting all the right emotional notes there. I have to admit I was curious if and how the show might handle this.
That said, I have to admit I didn’t find the plotline around the Atom Smasher to be quite as effective as it could have been. But with everything else going on, I suppose giving the monster of the week storyline a bit of the short stick is OK.
So, that’s it except a few random thoughts.
- So, living in Central City, you have to constantly worry about Gorilla Grodd. Nice touch, but I’m not sure what that does to property values.
- I hope Ronnie is only comic book dead and that we haven’t seen the last of Firestorm.
- Cisco wanting a badge worked well.
- So, how exactly are we going to include Harrison Wells this year? I am curious.
All in all, a good start to the season but not quite as great as when this show was at its stride last year. But given all the pieces it had to put together, it all worked well enough.