Review: ‘The Flash’ S02E01 – ‘The Man Who Saved Central City’

By October 7, 2015

On the season premiere of The Flash, we learned that everyone’s playing the blame game, even superheroes need a little help sometimes and Eddie wasn’t the only casualty of the singularity. Let’s take a closer look at ‘The Man Who Saved Central City,’ shall we?

The episode opens six months after the events of the season one finale, where we find Barry alone at S.T.A.R. Labs. The Flash had saved the city from the singularity. Problem is, Barry was only able to slow the singularity by leaping into it. The only way to actually stop the event was for Firestorm to use his nuclear fission powers inside the anomaly. Martin Stein manages to survive but sadly, Ronnie is seemingly killed (which really ticks me off, because I loved Firestorm and wanted to see more of him. Of course, this explains why Robbie Amell isn’t in the cast for DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow!) in the ensuing collapse.

In the present, the city is celebrating The Flash and all he’s done, but Barry’s feeling less than heroic. He’s pushed everyone away, his thought being that he won’t get them killed if they’re no longer helping him. He refuses to attend the ceremony where the mayor is set to give The Flash a key to the city, until Iris and Joe finally talk him into going. During the festivities, Barry is attacked by the Atom-Smasher, a meta-human that absorbs radiation, making him massive and virtually indestructible. He also just happens to look exactly like the same guy that they bagged and tagged for the morgue earlier in the episode. (This bit never actually gets explained thoroughly, and it has kind of a blink and you’ll miss it resolution. Looks like we’re going to have to pay extra close attention this season. More on this later!). Unfortunately, Barry gets a beat down, but he and Joe are able to eventually distract the meta-human and escape.

We also find out that Harrison Wells had a living will, where he gifted S.T.A.R. Labs to Barry, with one condition. Barry must watch a video Wells recorded before he died (or you know, blinked out of existence!). Barry refuses until he goes to visit Caitlyn, who is now working at Mercury Labs. The two share the guilt they both feel over Ronnie’s death, before deciding to watch the video. Harrison Wells taunts Barry from beyond the grave a bit, before getting to the heart of it and confessing to Nora’s murder. Yay! This means that Daddy Allen can be sprung from the big house now!

Now, back to the villain of the week, the gang, who refuses to continue to let Barry wallow in his self-pity any longer, comes together and forces Barry to accept that they’re not going anywhere and that they want to help. With their help, Barry uses the Flash signal (yes, apparently that’s a thing, and in a cheeky nod, Cisco says that he read about the idea in a comic book!) to lure Atom-Smasher to a nuclear power plant, where he then irradiates the bad guy to the point where he no longer can absorb the radiation and it in turn kills him. With his dying breath, Atom-Smasher confesses that he was told that if he killed Barry he would be returned home. (See, most likely from a different dimension, but if you weren’t playing close enough attention, it would probably go over your head. It almost did mine!) He then whispers the name, Zoom.

The show then flashes to outside Iron Heights, where Henry Allen is being released after 14 years behind bars. Barry is there to meet him and takes him to Joe’s, where a welcome home party is waiting. Instead of enjoying the festivities, however, Henry throws a big old bucket of cold water on everything when he tells Barry he’s leaving Central City. He doesn’t want Barry to get caught up in his shadow and insists he can only become the man he’s meant to be if Henry’s out of the picture. Later, Barry delivers his dad to the station before returning to S.T.A.R. Labs. A stranger walks out of the shadows and introduces himself as Jay Garrick. He tells everyone that their world is in terrible danger before we fade to black.

the flash s02e01 body imageOkay, so overall this was a pretty satisfying premiere. I like that we didn’t get bogged down in the singularity and its aftermath. Instead, we got the highlights in flashback form and moved on quickly. As I said, I am disappointed that Firestorm is no more, at least in this dimension and that it’s almost a given that Ronnie will not be joining the cast of the new spin off anytime soon. That’s a big bummer. Of course, in this world, you can never say never, especially when you’re dealing with alternate dimensions and stuff. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that Robbie Amell comes to his senses.

I can’t say that I’m digging the decision to have Henry leave Central City so soon after his conviction was overturned and he was freed. I get that is how it goes beyond storytelling and most likely has to do with contracts and such, but it really just doesn’t feel organic. I think they are missing out on a real opportunity for character growth, both in regards to Barry’s relationship with his father and with the public’s reaction to everything that’s happened. He’s been incarcerated for 14 years. That’s got to leave some sort of scar. It would have been interesting to see that whole side of things. Of course, this sets up plenty of tear-jerking father/son moments for the future, so I can’t be all that sad about it.

Once again, we got a villain of the week storyline, which is kind of disappointing. I get that it’s leading to something bigger, and it looks like this is how they’re going to be putting the puzzle pieces together. It’s just a little frustrating to see a revolving door of minor villains easily defeated on a weekly basis. Once we get into the main storyline and actually get to Zoom, I’m sure the procedural aspect will fall by the wayside. Let’s just hope that it happens sooner rather than later.

The Flash airs every Tuesday night on the CW.

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Erin Parisien
Erin is a writer, a comic-book geek, a movie nerd and a pop culture junkie... all long before it was cool! She's the senior Editor and a writer over at and can always be found behind a keyboard, because it's all about the words. Follow her @erin_the_novel over on twitter.