Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The Flash: The Man Who Saved Central City - Review

I had mixed feelings on last night’s episode of the Flash. On the one hand it was an exciting opener to the new series, introducing new aspects that will undoubtedly be key factors in the coming season, but on the other there were several problems with the bridge between the end of season 1, and the start of season 2.

Picking up six months after Barry dove into the singularity vortex caused by Dr Wells being erased from the timeline and Team Flash is shattered. Now working alone, Barry finds himself tasked with taking on Atom Smasher, a huge, radiation consuming, super strength behemoth. After trying (and failing) to fight him alone twice, Barry turns to his team once again in a pretty predictable arc of “oh I have to do this alone” “oh I can’t do this alone”.

Whilst it was nice to see the characters in other roles, for instance it was great to see Cisco working with Joe as the resident science geek of the police force – that small scene at the end where he finally got his badge was particularly cute – Barry’s rejection of his friends seemed a little strange, especially considering this is six months after everything went down. A bit of alone time from the guilt would have been understandable, but by this point I think he should have been able to forgive himself and allow his team back into his life, especially if they had been pushing as hard as they made out.

I am glad that we got to see how the situation with the singularity vortex was resolved. I was worried towards the beginning of the episode that we would just pick up six months later, and be told only that The Flash saved the day, but a flashback sequence allowed us to see just what happened there, even if the majority of the situation was resolved through scientific methods babbled out by Professor Stein, which us common folk have no chance of understanding.

It was also interesting to see that it was Ronnie who saved the day, rather than Barry, sacrificing himself to close the portal. I think this will be the first major factor in Caitlin’s transformation into Killer Frost, especially now we know that she definitely will eventually become the villain thanks to the brief glimpse we got in the series one finale.

Something else that caught my eye was that Tom Cavanagh’s name was still credited as regular, rather than guest star. He had a few appearances in this episode, in a brief dream sequence at the beginning and again in his confession video, but if he is still being credited as a regular, can we expect Dr Wells to return later in the season? We’ll have to wait and see.

But it’s here that my main issue with the episode comes into play. Just after the season one finale, I posted an article about how the removal of Wells/Thawne from the timeline would cause continuity problems for the rest of the show. There was lots of complicated talk about the consequences this would have on both Team Flash and Team Arrow, seeing as pretty much all of the things that happen in the Flash (including Barry getting his powers) were caused by Wells/Thawne. But even without all that, bringing it down to absolute basics, how does the confession video Wells/Thawne created exist, if he was never born? It’s always tricky to mess with time travel, and I hope its an issue they resolve later, but I can’t shake the feeling it’s just going to be overlooked.

Finally, let’s talk about the two significant teasers we got. First off, Atom Smasher mentioned Zoom, referring of course to Professor Zoom, who will likely be the big bad this season. I won’t say much more about that because I don’t personally read the comics, so I don’t know a huge amount about where this will go, or who Zoom is in relation to Barry. Secondly, we got that major cliffhanger of Jay Garrick – another speedster from a different world – and his cryptic warning about Barry’s world being in danger.

Some other things:

-“I think I saw it in a comic book somewhere”
- I think it’s pretty clear that Atom Smasher came from another world, and killed this world’s version of himself, right?
-Are Iris and Professor Stein becoming fully fledged members of Team Flash now?

The Man Who Saved Central City was an exciting and successful opener to a brand new series of The Flash. A few problems cropped up here and there in regards to how things were left in season 1, but hopefully these will be addressed later. Atom Smasher provided a powerful, if underdeveloped villain, giving us some pretty decent action scenes, and the introduction of other speedsters from other worlds will certainly be taking this series in a new and interesting direction.  

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