Season 2 of The Flash picks up 6 months after the singularity appeared over Central City.
The last season ended with Barry running into a black hole in the sky referred to as “the singularity”. He used his speed to stabalize it, but couldn’t stop the phenomenon on his own. To aid him, Dr. Stein and Ronnie merged into Firestorm and flew into it, planning to separate and use the force of the reaction to neutralize the singularity. The plan succeeds, but Ronnie is sucked into the singularity, leaving Stein and Barry behind. Adding that to the sacrifice that Eddie made to stop the Reverse Flash has left Barry with some significant survivors guilt. He’s decided to stay on his own in order to stop the rest of his friends from getting hurt. Cisco has gone to work with Joe on the anti-metahuman task force and a heart broken Caitlin has gone to work at Mercury Labs.
Despite Barry’s feelings of regret, the rest of the city views him as a savior. A Flash Day has been organized to give the metahuman hero the key to the city. Barry is reluctant to go but, after some persuading from his friends, he decides to show up at the event. He’s greeted with great applause, but the festivities are interrupted by Albert Rothstein, a man that Joe and Barry believed to have been killed earlier in the week. Not only is he alive, but he’s super strong and seems to have it out for the Flash. Joe and the Flash are able to drive Rothstein away, but it’s not really a victory. Realizing that Barry may be outmatched, the other members of Team Flash (minus Caitlin) force their way back into STAR labs in order to help Barry. Barry refuses their help again and runs off on his own, resulting in him almost getting himself killed. Stein and Cisco end up finding a way to cause a distraction so the Flash can escape. Barry makes his way back to STAR, where he passes out. When he comes to, Joe convinces him that he needs his team and to accept that he didn’t make the costly decisions to stop Wells alone.
Taking Joe’s advice, Barry decides to accept the help of his friends and to reach out to Caitlin. When he does, he also reveals to her that Harrison Wells left him STAR labs as part of his living will. The one condition to him inheriting the lab was him watching a video left by Wells. Caitlin gets Barry to watch the video as part of his healing process. To his surprise, the video contains the thing that Barry wants most: a confession from Wells that he was the one who killed Barry’s mother. With the confession turned in to the DA, the reassembled Team Flash focuses on defeating Rothstein (dubbed Atom Smasher) by Stein. Figuring out that his power comes form absorbing radiation, they lure him into a reactor and flood him with more radiation than he can absorb. When Barry asks Rothstein why he wanted to kill him, he tells him that a someone named Zoom told him to do it in exchange for taking him home.
The episode ends with Barry meeting his father at the gates of the prison. Everyone gathers for a party in honor of Henry’s release. Barry’s excited to have his father back and starts making plans for them to start a new life together. Henry has other plans. He doesn’t believe that Barry can really be who he needs to be if he stays around. He’s concerned that Barry will be more concerned with being his son than being the Flash. He also sees that Barry has all the family he needs with the people around him. Henry promises to be back whenever Barry needs him. Barry and the rest of the team reconvene at STAR to kick off their new operation, complete with upgrading the Flash suit. They’re surprised when an intruder walks into the room. He introduces himself as Jay Garrick and tells Barry that the world is in danger.
- Are you quoting me to me?
This interaction between Joe and Iris was indicative of some of the great chemistry moments in this episode. Even though this episode was about the team recovering from the events of the season 1 finale, there was a lot of time for some fun moments based off their chemistry. Cisco and Joe being paired up was another example of embracing this buddy-buddy energy.
- Stein becomes a part of the family
Even though I suspect he’s only a temporary fill in for Dr. Wells until the Legends of Tomorrow spin-off show begins, it was fun having Dr. Stein around in this episode. The scene where he names “Atom Smasher” and Cisco gives him a hug is just precious.
- Barry has been rebuilding Central City…alone
Heroes dealing with guilt often cope by resigning themselves to redemptive tasks in isolation. Still, rebuilding a whole city seems like a bit of a big task. On top of that, are we sure Barry’s even qualified to do construction work.
- The Flash signal
This may have been the most on-the-nose comic book reference yet. Granted, it’s more of a Batman reference than a Flash one. Even so, I couldn’t believe that they actually threw that into the episode.
More than a start to a new season, this episode felt like a conclusion to the first season. I could’ve easily seen the last scene with Jay being the tease into the 2nd season. It would’ve been appropriate too since this season seems like it’s going to be a lot about dealing with either the multi-verse or, at least, Earth 2. In the meantime, I think this episode did a pretty good job of wrapping up everything that was lingering from the previous season. Probably the most unexpected thing about the episode was the confession left by Wells/Thawne. It conveniently dismissed Barry’s father from the show for the time being. More importantly, it allows the characters to truly move forward into this season unburdened by the plot lines of the past. The one exception to that may be Caitlin who’s, once again, lost her husband. It was actually easier for her to get over that than I thought it would be. Maybe it’s because she got to say a proper goodbye this time. Cisco is also still dealing with his emerging metahuman powers, but I wouldn’t really count that as a rolled over story line.
For now, I’m looking forward to seeing what the new Team Flash will be like with Jay Garrick and Dr. Stein helping out. Thankfully we won’t have to worry about divisions in the team after the events of this episode. I have to admit, that when the episode started I was afraid that rebuilding the team was going to take a long time. That just wouldn’t have been much fun. And that’s what I want from this show as a fan: fun. Fortunately, it looks like this show has set itself up to deliver on plenty of that. With the Golden Age Flash and the opportunity to bring up all kinds of cartoonish villains, there’s a lot of options for this coming season.