Thursday, 8 October 2015

Watched: THE FLASH, 2.1 - "The Man Who Saved Central City"

Thursday, 8 October 2015

The Flash was one of the best new shows of 2014, and managed to surpass its mother show Arrow with relative ease. (The heroes of Starling City had an off year, let's be kind.) I was very much looking forward to The Flash's season 2 premiere, but it concerned me that so much of the show's emotional arc for Barry (battling a supervillain who's faster than him, while trying to exonerate his imprisoned father for the murder of his mother), has been dealt with. Could The Flash be one of those shows that played its best hand early, to guarantee itself hit status, and will now struggle to maintain that standard? Time will tell. It's certainly too early to say anything based on "The Man Who Saved Central City", which was predominantly concerned with the aftermath of season 1's finale...

Here, we learned that Central City's taken The Flash to its heart after Barry saved them from a black hole (reminding me of similar scenes in Spider-Man 2, where citizens celebrated having a resident superhero), but also that Barry's friend Ronnie/Firestorm died helping him and isn't around to share the plaudits. The latter issue presented a bit of a problem to me, knowing that Firestorm's a key part of The CW spin-off Legends of Tomorrow, because it was impossible to feel anything for the "demise" of a character we know can't be dead. A lot of this premiere was also just another routine 'Barry vs. metahuman' trial-and-error takedown, this time involving a super-strong giant nicknamed Atom Smasher, and it was only of moderate interest.

The big surprise of the premiere is that last year's villain, time-travelling conman Harrison Wells, bequeathed S.T.A.R Labs to Barry and also confessed to murdering the young man's mother on video, meaning Barry's father was released from prison. Of course, the writers rather like the established dynamic with Barry and his adopted family/friends, so poor Henry dropped the bombshell that he intends to leave town after his homecoming party. John Wesley Shipp sold this farewell scene quite well, but it still struck me as odd; the kind of decision that springs from creative decisions, rather than the believable desire of a character.

Finally, there was a last-minute appearance from mysterious John Garrick (a character comic-book fans will know as the original Flash) and a mention of this season's supervillain: Zoom. I'm intrigued but also cautious. Garrick's presence should be great fun, as I'm aware season 2's going to involve a parallel universe to explore, but Zoom's another supervillain whose main strength is being faster than The Flash—and haven't we done that? I guess that's the problem with a superhero like Flash—the only worthwhile protagonist is someone who can move quicker. That could get very boring if the writers keep returning to that well most seasons, so presumably there'll be an fascinating background to Zoom, as there was with Harrison the Reverse-Flash.

The Flash - season 2, The CW, Tuesdays.