The CW’s The Flash The Man Who Saved Central City TV Show Review. The Flash: Season 2, Episode 1: The Man Who Saved Central City brought the show back for it’s second season with a pack of emotions and hit all the right notes. The last time we saw Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) was in the final moments of the first season finale when he ran into the temporal vortex to stop it from swallowing Central City. We do find out what happens next in the premiere, but it doesn’t end well for one of our characters. The season premiere pretty much sets up the next phase in Barry’s life as the scarlet speedster.
The episode ‘The Man Who Saved Central City’ doesn’t start from where we left off in the freshman finale. Instead of showing us what happened first, we jump ahead six months and find Barry and his friends at different places than when we last saw them. We do learn that Barry ends up saving Central City, but Team Flash have broken up since then. Barry is working alone as the hero by continuing his day job while also cleaning up the city’s mess at night. Cisco (Carlos Valdes) is working for the police with Joe (Jesse L. Martin) while Caitlyn (Danielle Panabaker) is employed at Mercury Labs. Iris (Candice Patton) is still working at the paper but also mourns the loss of her beau Eddie (Rick Cosnett). We see what could’ve been when we see Barry taking down villains such as Captain Cold and Heatwave, and then gets back to his friends only to realize that Barry is now alone.
It was strange seeing the show go through this dark phase at the beginning of the season, but it works because we later find out the fate of Ronnie Raymond (Robbie Amell) after he jumped in to help Barry with the wormhole. That sacrifice threw a huge curveball to Team Flash and things were never the same with them again. Barry believed he was responsible for what happened, but it wasn’t his fault as he soon learned that his teammate made the choice alone and knew the consequences. Barry shouldn’t take the blame for what happened, especially with the city already awarding him for his heroism.
The episode was well balanced because the gloominess was what brings back the purpose of the show. Relationships on this show remain crucial to the story and it’s what makes The Flash great. The supporting cast all had a part to play without feeling left out in the story. The chemistry between Cisco and Joe was brilliant as Carlos and Jesse made their character’s newfound friendship worthwhile. It was also great to see Cisco bond with Dr. Stein (Victor Garber), who turns out to be a great addition to the team. Iris also stood on her own as a character without the entanglements of romantic relationships. The only one we didn’t get to spend enough time with was Caitlin. It would’ve been good to see how Caitlin was dealing with her grief, although maybe she is holding onto hope that Raymond would return.
The villain of the day was Atom-Smasher (Adam Copeland), who didn’t emerge as one of the better baddies on The Flash. Before finding out that he was a mere pawn in Zoom’s big plans for Barry, we never fully learn Atom-Smasher’s background or his motives against The Flash. He wasn’t particularly smart either, but having a run-of-the-mill villain for Barry to fight against did help the story move forward.
What’s really impressive in this episode was the visual effects, especially with the wormhole sequence. That scene worked really well on a grand scale as we witnessed an epic event that we haven’t seen on this show until now. For a TV show, the special effects department did well with what they have on a smaller budget. The only drawback was the Atom-Smasher since it didn’t look genuine during his humongous transformation. The other big concern is the story’s usage of time travel because with Eobard Thawne erased from existence, then he wouldn’t have culminated in the events that led to the death of Barry’s mother and him getting his powers. It’s hard to believe that Firestorm closing the wormhole would make everything back to normal. However, time travel can be complicated so it’s pointless getting into the details while focusing on other important elements.
With Tom Cavanagh still part of the series, it’s going to be interesting to see how his character Dr. Harrison Wells still fits into the story after his untimely demise. He did make an appearance in the form of a video that was left to Barry in case of his death. It was nice that the show was able to tap into the complex relationship between Barry and Wells/Thawne. Wells admitted that he couldn’t bring himself to hate the young speedster despite his mission. Not only did he leave Barry S.T.A.R. Labs, he also granted his father’s freedom by confessing to his crimes. This should make Barry happy, but it feels like it gets short lived for some reason. Barry does seem to have a habit of doing that at times. With Thawne dead, it’s more than likely that Wells may come back to the fold as another version of him from an alternate timeline. It should be interesting to see how the team reacts to that when the time comes.
Overall, The Flash’s long-awaited return was well worth the wait. Despite the show going a bit dark on us, it was only a means to an end in order to reunite the team and bring Barry back on his feet. The episode had some great visuals, great humor to balance the darker parts and some emotional moments. With Jay Garrick’s (Teddy Sears) introduction, it’s clear that we are going into full swing for what’s coming in season two.
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