The best comic-book superhero show from last season returns.
Title: “The Man Who Saved Central City”
Directed by Ralph Hemecker
Written by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, Gabrielle G. Stanton, Geoff Johns
Grant Gustin as Barry Allen / The Flash
Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon
Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West
Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow
Candice Patton as Iris West
Robbie Amal as Ronnie Raymond / Firestorm
Victor Garber as Dr. Martin Stein / Firestorm
John Wesley Shipp as Henry Allen
Adam “Edge” Copeland as Al Rothstein / Atom-Smasher
Patrick Sabongui as Captain David Singh
Wentworth Miller as Len Snart / Captain Cold
Dominic Purcell as Heat Wave
Tom Cavanagh as Eobard Thawne/ Reverse Flash
Vito D’Ambrosio as Mayor Anthony Bellows
Teddy Sears as Jay Garrick
Six months after Central City was saved, the Flash has become a bona fide hero, but Barry doesn’t feel that he deserves the reputation, and he remains aloof from Team Flash. Ronnie Raymond, either dead or missing, remains unidentified, Henry Allen remains in prison, and a new villain, Atom Smasher, has targeted the Flash.
We also receive a visit from a man named Jay Garrick.
Despite starting the second season with a mopey speedster, the episode quickly moved on, cleared house, and set up the kind of Multiple Earths shenanigans that suit a character as comic-book fantastic as the Flash.
And he’s a hero. You got that, DC Cinematic Universe? Some comic-book characters get to be public heroes, rather than grim vigilantes.
The show owes its success in part to its ability to balance the comic-book camp with credible drama. This episode falters a little. I enjoy self-referential humor but, for me, more than one joke about S.T.A.R.’s dubious security was unnecessary, while the explicit nod to the Flash Signal’s origins simply became groanworthy. And while we can’t have a show like the Flash without comic-book science, I would have liked some explanation for how Cisco and company can casually hack a nuclear power plant.
Originality: 2/6 The hero stands alone, his friends bring him back into the fold, and then they quickly take the edge off a villain who really only exists to warn us of the Big Bad who is to come after him. At least the title expressly references Dorothy M. Johnson and John Ford.*
Effects: 5/6 The effects remain generally good. Atom Smasher’s size-shifting looked a little off.
Acting: 5/6 The new(ish) Team Flash will have to work on chemistry, with Iris in the know and Thawne out of the picture.
Story: 5/6 Rather than just pick up moments after last season’s cliffhanger, they found a more interesting way to reveal what occurred.
I’m glad they dropped the Henry Allen, wrongfully imprisoned dad plot. It bogged down the series more than it contributed to character.
Emotional Response: 4/6
Overall: 5/6 I suppose we shouldn’t even ask how so many things remain in place if the Reverse Flash was removed from history. I’m happy to see the show return, delighted that Jay Garrick appears so soon, and wondering when Ralph and Sue Dibny might turn up.
In total, “The Man Who Saved Central City” receives 31/42