The CW’s The Flash kicked off season two on October 6, 2015 with an episode that addressed a few questions left lingering from the season one finale including how the Singularity was stopped and why Barry (Grant Gustin) is unable to accept being referred to as the hero who saved Central City. The episode’s set six months after the events of the finale, meta-humans are still a threat, and Team Flash has a lot of healing to do in order to move forward.
The episode titled “The Man Who Saved Central City” begins with Heat Wave and Captain Cold aiming their weapons at The Flash and almost taking him down. Ronnie (Robbie Amell) shows up and helps him out and back at S.T.A.R. Labs Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) happily proclaims, “Superhero double play, baby,” before kissing her hubby. The rest of The Flash team are happy as well, with Joe and Eddie congratulating Barry on a job well done and Harrison (Tom Cavanagh) telling him he’s ready to do this on his own. This can’t be real…and it’s not. In reality, Barry is alone in S.T.A.R. Labs. It’s been six months since the singularity and he’s on his own in order to keep the people he cares about safe.
Joe (Jesse L Martin) and Barry are at the site of a nuclear plant worker’s death. He was strangled by something large and strong, but Barry doesn’t know what it is. In other news, it’s Flash Day and Barry doesn’t know if he’ll show up at the downtown rally to get his award from the mayor because he doesn’t think he deserves one.
In comes Cisco (Carlos Valdes) who’s part of the new Metahuman Task Force formed by the Central City police. He gives the Captain the receipts for his new invention, the Boot, but he still can’t get a badge. Joe and Cisco talk about Barry and Iris (Candice Patton) chimes in to say she thinks Barry should go to the ceremony.
Meanwhile at CC Jitters, the coffee shop is a complete mess. Barry is trying to put it all back, and Iris understands saying, “It seems like a lot of local businesses are being rebuilt at night in secret.” Iris really wants him to go to the rally, but Barry says he’s not the man who saved Central City.
Flashback to that day and Barry’s racing to save the city as buildings topple. The tornado-like event pulls cars and people up to the sky. On the ground Team Flash try to figure out how to help Barry finish the job of shutting down the singularity, and Ronnie and Dr. Stein are the only hope. It’s dangerous but they have to at least try. They fly up to assist The Flash and then everything explodes, with The Flash left to carry Dr. Stein to the ground but Ronnie is gone. And, that’s why the Flash won’t take credit for saving the city – Ronnie gave his life to do so.
The city is celebrating but the man of honor is nowhere to be found. People are dressed in Flash t-shirts and the Mayor talks about the new breed of criminal they’ve had in their midst over the last year, but they’ve also got The Flash. “The Flash doesn’t just protect us; he restores hope where it was lost,” says the Mayor. He lifts up the key to the city and finally The Flash appears. Everyone chants his name, waving yellow foam lightning bolts. Accepting the key, he saves the Mayor when a heavy metal box flies in. The guy who threw it has super strength, and Cisco runs to get the Boot. It’s supposed to contain him, like a boot on a car, but instead he becomes gigantic. The Flash throws propane cans while Joe shots them. The new metahuman reveals himself to be the dead guy, Al Rothstein (Adam Copeland), from the nuclear plant somehow alive once again before taking off.
Iris says the X-ray and CT machines failed next to the rally, and Cisco’s 92% sure he didn’t do it with the Boot. Iris also tells her dad they have to make Barry let them in again and need to stop asking him to do so.
Caitlin is at Mercury Labs and Cisco is incredibly impressed when he visits her. He tells her he spotted her at the rally, and she says she can’t come back. But Cisco knows how to make her and that’s by providing her with a piece of evidence he needs help analyzing.
The next day’s headlines read “Flash Falters,” and an attorney shows up at Barry’s office to discuss S.T.A.R. Labs. Harrison left the property to him, but it’s scheduled to go into receivership unless he watches a flash drive provided by Wells. If he watches it, then the lawyer will do what Harrison wanted and turn everything over to Barry. He walks out and Barry puts it down. Immediately an alert pops up on his computer notifying him of activity at S.T.A.R. Labs. He zooms over and Joe, Caitlin, Dr. Stein, Cisco, and Iris have figured out the new meta sucks up all the radiation around him. They’re using the lab and Barry doesn’t want them there. They don’t care and tell him he has to work with them; he doesn’t have a choice. Dr. Stein names the new metahuman Atom Smasher and Cisco hugs him and welcomes him to the team. Barry still doesn’t want to work with them, and leaves his comm system behind so they can’t talk him.
The Atom Smasher is sucking up radiation and in pops The Flash. The meta thought he was going to have to come looking for him, as he’s only there to hurt him. He grows larger and tries to strangle The Flash. “He says you were some kind of big hero, but you don’t seem worthy of him or this city,” says Atom Smasher.
Barry passes out on his way back to S.T.A.R. Labs and flashes back to being a kid living with Joe and feeling sad, lost, and alone. All those years ago Joe let him know it’s okay to cry.
Fade in on Joe sitting by Barry in a bed at the lab. It’s only Joe because he knew Barry wouldn’t want an audience. Joe has given him space for six months, but that’s not going to happen anymore. Barry doesn’t want to get his friends killed, but Joe reminds him he wasn’t the only one making decisions that day. “It’s on all of us, Barry, so stop with this hogging all the blame and regret,” says Joe. Barry wants to know what to do next, and Joe says to stop rebuilding the city at night and start trying to rebuild what really matters.
Barry shows up at Mercury Labs and surprises Caitlin. He apologizes for Ronnie dying trying to save him and Caitlin says she doesn’t blame him for Ronnie’s death. She blames herself for not leaving when Ronnie first became Firestorm. She couldn’t do it, and if she had he’d still be alive. That’s why she can’t be at S.T.A.R. Labs anymore. He gives her a handkerchief and out falls the flash drive with Harrison’s living will. She offers to watch it with him since he’s too afraid to do it himself.
Harrison starts off his speech by saying something’s gone horribly wrong if Barry’s watching this video. Harrison realized they were never truly enemies and will give him what he wants most. And what’s that, you ask? A message specifically for the police confessing to the murder of Nora Allen so that Barry’s dad will be set free. Barry and Caitlin are stunned. Harrison did it because it was what Barry wanted the most in life.
Joe calls the DA and relays to Barry the news that the DA thinks it looks good. Wells apparently provided all the key details about Nora’s murder. Everyone is gathered at S.T.A.R. Labs and they couldn’t be happier for Barry, and Barry admits he has to work with others in order to capture Atom Smasher. They snag the Bat symbol idea and instead signal the Atom Smasher with a Flash symbol in the night sky, luring him to exactly where Team Flash needs him to be (at the nuclear plant) in order to stop the Atom Smasher. They activate the reactor core and Atom Smasher can’t absorb it all. He shrinks back to normal size and is neutralized. Barry goes into the core and tells Atom Smasher he’s sorry but he couldn’t let him hurt anyone else. “He promised he’d take me home if I killed you,” says Atom Smasher. “Who?” asks Barry. And as he dies, Atom Smasher reveals the name of the person who wants Barry dead: Zoom!
In happier news, Barry’s dad, Henry (John Wesley Shipp), is released from prison and at Joe’s house there’s a party going on to celebrate his freedom. Cake’s eaten, toasts are made, and Dr. Stein is reminded of a Hebrew word used during times of graduation – kadima – it means forward. They raise their glasses and drink. Barry wants to look for an apartment in the morning for the two of them, but it’s immediately obvious that Henry has other plans. “Can you be all that you are becoming with me here?” asks Henry. “You’re the only family that I have left,” replies Barry, with tears in his eyes. Henry says he does have another family in that room, and Barry must be The Flash now and not merely Henry Allen’s son. Henry says he has to go and needs Barry to tell him it’s okay. They cry and hug.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Joe wants to know if Barry is okay with his dad leaving. Barry’s sad and Joe whips out the key to the city which lightens the mood considerably. The gang’s all there and Cisco has added an upgrade to the suit so it looks just like the one from the future’s lightning bolt. They’ve also made the lab considerably safer so that no one can just walk in…which means that someone’s about to just walk in. In strolls Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears) announcing to Team Flash that their world is in danger. Is he warning them about Zoom or some other unknown threat?
The Bottom Line:
Season one of The CW’s The Flash was one of the true 2014 fall season breakout hits. Season two is starting off strong, focusing on the relationships between members of Team Flash while also allowing each to exist as individuals outside the group. Grant Gustin has already proven to be perfectly cast in the title role, and episode one of season two provided plenty of opportunity for Gustin to really sink his teeth into Barry’s guilt and sense of loss. “The Man Who Saved Central City” also managed to throw in a few terrific action scenes, but it was the group’s dynamics that were front and center as season two kicked off. Overall it was a great start to the new season which, hopefully, will keep up the pace set in this episode over the course of season two.