The Flash S2E1: The Man Who Saved Central City

Man I missed this show.

“The Flash” Season 2 premiered a few hours ago, and I have to say… great episode. Despite a group of… rowdy Cards Against Humanity players behind us, it was very enjoyable, and I can’t wait for next week’s episode.


SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THE FLASH SEASON 2 PREMIERE

The episode opens with Barry and Firestorm taking down Captain Cold and Heatwave. It seems pretty normal for the most part. Something you’d expect to happen. Like I said, knowing that this season would start some time after The Singularity (the season 1 finale’s black hole), so I didn’t expect to deal with it immediately. But, after the pair are taken down and they return to S.T.A.R. Labs, things start getting weirder. People start praising Barry (and just him, not Firestorm) for taking down two at once. I will have you remember that this is Captain Cold and Heatwave, two villains who worked as a team in the first season and will continue to. Then Dr. Wells rolls in to congratulate him, and stands up. But wasn’t Wells/Thwane erased from existence last season? Also, near the end of the scene, you can see Eddie behind Barry. That can’t be right… he definitely died.

And then it all makes sense.

Barry snaps back to reality. He’s standing in an abandoned S.T.A.R. Labs, all alone in the destroyed workplace. It’s soon revealed that Team Flash was destroyed. After the deaths of Wells and Eddie, Firestorm went to help Barry take care of the black hole, which killed Ronnie, this explaining why Ronnie isn’t in “Legends of Tomorrow”. Barry blames himself for the deaths of Ronnie and Eddie, causing him to push those close to him away and throw himself into his work. Six months later, Caitlin is working at Mercury Laboratories, Cisco has joined Joe on the CCPD’s anti-metahuman squad, and Professor Stein is no longer in contact with most of the team. Team Flash is dead.

Barry and Joe go to check out a murder, and find the victim to be Al Rothenstein (Adam “Edge” Copeland). Barry figures out that he was strangled, and calms Joe’s nerves by promising that it wasn’t by Grodd. They talk about how The Flash is supposed to earn the key to the city for his heroics during the Season 1 finale, which Barry doesn’t want to accept because “(he) wasn’t the real hero that day”, referencing how it was Firestorm who destroyed the black hole. Even so, when it comes time for the ceremony, on the first “Flash Day”, he shows up to accept it. The entirety of Team Flash is in the crowd, along with two other figures new to the series. One of these figures walks forward and throws a car at the stage while the mayor is about to hand The Flash the key. The figure reveals himself to be Atom Smasher, and shares the face of the deceased Al Rothenstein. His powers are that he can change his density, meaning he can control both his size and his strength. He beats up Barry until he and Joe work together to use propane tanks to blow him up. Later, Iris uses this as reasoning that Barry shouldn’t be doing this alone any more.

Later that day, Barry is in his lab when a lawyer walks in, introducing himself as being in charge of Harrison Welles’ will. He told Barry that he’d inherited S.T.A.R. Labs, but that he had to watch a video on a flash drive (no pun intended) to get it. Barry initially refused, not wanting anything to do with Thwane. After the lawyer leaves, he gets an alert that there’s been an unauthorized entry into S.T.A.R. Labs, which is revealed to be Joe, Stein, and Cisco. They tell Barry that they’re trying to help him, and that he can’t do this alone. The professor and Cisco figure out that Rothenstein isn’t a metahuman (he was on his honeymoon in Hawaii during the Particle Accelerator Explosion), but he still has powers, gaining his energy from soaking in radioactivity. Due to this, Stein decides to call him Atom Smasher, prompting a hug from Cisco. They figure out where in the city radioactive devices, such as microwaves and x-ray machines have gone down, centering the position to a nuclear waste facility, and Barry zooms out, leaving behind his communicator. The team is able to hack into the cameras there in enough time to see Barry get beat against a wall by Rothenstein. They turn on the alarm system, distracting Rothenstein long enough for Barry to escape. He reaches the labs, then collapses from head trauma and blood loss.

He wakes up again a few hours later, under Joe’s care, who points out that Barry almost got himself killed by doing this alone, and that he needs people to help him. Barry explains that he’d rather have himself killed than his friends, which was not the answer Joe wanted to hear. After he’s healed (which is just a few hours for him), he goes to visit Caitlin, who he hasn’t talked to for months, to apologize for not saving Ronnie. She tells him that it wasn’t just his fault that Ronnie was dead, and explains that she also felt somewhat guilty, since they could have left town weeks before if she hadn’t wanted to stay in Central. While pulling a handkerchief out of his pocket, Barry finds the flash drive again and watches it with Caitlin, revealing it as an apology to Barry from Welles. Welles explains that, over the last fifteen years, but especially over the last few weeks, Welles had begun to realize that he and Barry weren’t really enemies, and so he would give Barry what he wanted. This helps explain one of the reasons why he was so willing to work with the team in the finale. After that, he does something shocking: he admits to the murder of Barry’s mother. After showing this evidence to Joe, they get Henry released. After all this, Barry is starting to let people back in, letting Cisco and Stein help him defeat Atom Smasher. After he  is overloaded with power and nearly dead, Barry asks Rothenstein why he wanted to kill him. Rothenstein explains that, if he successfully killed Barry, he’d be returned home. When Barry asks who promised him that, Rothenstein delivers his last word, “Zoom.”

After a welcome home party for Henry, Barry starts talking to Henry about getting his life back together, getting his doctor’s certification back, getting an apartment together… but Henry stops him. He wants Barry to live his life, and he believes that having himself be there would only make Barry’s life harder, both his public persona and as The Flash. He has Barry drop him off at the train station and leave him to go explore the world for the first time in fifteen years. After this emotional scene, Barry returns to the lab, where he finds that Caitlin has returned for good, and that the security systems have been upgraded, “So no one can just come waltzing in.” That’s when a silhouette appears in the doorway, who reveals itself to be Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears), who says that Barry’s world is in danger, cutting to the end of the episode. Let me just say, I completely called that last shot from the get-go.

This episode had a lot of emotional scenes in it. Barry coming out of his dream, Ronnie’s death, Barry after getting destroyed by Atom Smasher, Welles’ note and Henry’s release… there was so much in it. And it was so well-written too… I enjoyed the sadness, if that makes any sense. Seriously.

As stated previously, this episode’s “Freak of the week” is Atom Smasher. While you couldn’t tell it from this episode, in the comics, Atom Smasher is (for the most part) a hero. It’s possible he was where he came from, but either way Zoom made him attack Barry. But where IS he from? Why are there to Al Rothensteines? The answer is simple: he’s from Earth-2, the alternate dimension that Jay Garrick and Zoom are from. So in case you hadn’t connected the dots… Boom. Chances are, Earth-2 will be this season’s villain catalyst, replacing the Particle Accelerator Accident from last season.

Speaking of, do you remember how I said that there were two new characters in the crowd at the Flash Day ceremony, but only mentioned one. If you caught that, then good for you. If not, no biggie. The second one was Jay Garrick, the Flash from Earth-2 who appears at the end of the episode. He makes a cameo during that scene in the crowd. Watch for it. He’s going to be a major character this season, so I hope everyone enjoys Teddy Sears’ performance. I feel like I will.

And, just like people came to Earth-1 from Earth-2, it may be the other way as well. In the trailers, Jay told Barry that it was the black hole that weakened the fabric between realities, and, while surfing Twitter after the episode, I caught this tweet from Ronnie Raymond actor Robbie Amell:

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Therefore, he probably isn’t dead. So what happened to him? I think that he was the first traveller between dimensions, landing in Earth-2, probably to get picked up by Zoom, or else he would’ve come with Jay to Earth-1.

After this episode’s cliffhanger, it’s time to turn our eyes to the next episode: next week’s “The Flash of Two Worlds”. Judging from the title, this is where we get our first real introduction into the multiverse, as well as placing Jay on Team Flash, and possibly the introduction of Zoom, and the introduction of the actual Harrison Welles, who, as I explained in my earlier article about this season, will be making a return, as shown by actor Tom Cavanagh remaining a series regular.

And that’s it for this episode. I enjoyed it immensely and just can’t wait for the next one. I binge watched Season 1, but I think I can last a week.

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