A Closer Look: The Flash – “The Man Who Saved Central City”

Six months after the most incredible Season 1 Finale ever – and the biggest disaster Central City has ever faced – The Flash is BACK!!!! And the scarlet speedster is wasting no time this season In many way, Episode 2:01 felt like the true successor of the Season Finale and kept the perfect balance of action, humor and heart that we began to see since The Flash returned from its MidSeason One Finale.

So what’s changed in that time? How did the Flash save Central City? What price did it come at? And who is this mysterious new visitor? All of this and more will be answered in this Closer Look at The Flash Season 2 Premier “The Man Who Saved Central City”.

Episode Meaning – “The Man Who Saved Central City”

With an episode title like this, one would think this innately refers to ‘The Flash’. And that is true to an extent – as we’re about to discuss – but it’s also wrong, and that is what caused a lot of the tension for the six months prior to this episode. In the flashback we learned that Barry running counter to the Singularity wasn’t the only thing that averted disaster. Barry’s speed helped contain the singularity, but a force was still needed to cancel it out all together and that force came from Firestorm defusing. Sadly, Ronnie was lost during this event and Barry blames himself. Though it’s not just that.

Not only did the Flash not save Central City from the singularity, but he also feels that he didn’t even really save anyone from the Reverse Flash either. The man who saved everyone from that was Eddie Thawne, who selflessly killed himself so his descendant Eobard (the Reverse Flash) would never be born. It is because of these two heroes – unknown to Central City – that Barry doesn’t feel at all deserving of the title “The Man Who Saved Central City”. Instead, it’s these two.

Though in the end, Barry does realize that he deserves the title; but it is for something much bigger than the singularity. The mayor said it best when he said “the Flash doesn’t just protect us, he restores hope where it was lost.” Much like how the Arrow is seen as the hero who started the ‘mask wearing fad’, the Flash is the one who began the fight for Central City. It’s not his weakness that caused these deaths; but rather he inspired the hope, which led to these other heroes to step up and know what was on the line. In the end, everyone shares the blame but also the honor of protecting Central City.

The Flash -- "The Man Who Saved Central City" -- Image FLA201b_0462b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West and Grant Gustin as Barry Allen -- Photo: Cate Cameron /The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Flash — “The Man Who Saved Central City” — Image FLA201b_0462b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West and Grant Gustin as Barry Allen — Photo: Cate Cameron /The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Analyzing Barry’s Dream:

Even before we know the opening was a ‘dream sequence’ should have been suspect right off the bat. The last time we saw Captain Cold, he and Barry had come to an unlikely truce. Seeing this two fight without provocation like this might have otherwise opened up a few continuity errors. As the sequence continues and Firestorm enters, we see a fantastic team up to kick off the season on a high point. It’s not until later that we realize what this appearance truly represents. The last time the Flash and Firestorm teamed up was at the Singularity and right before that in the fight against the Reverse Flash. In Barry’s mind, this duo can accomplish anything and he wishes desperately they still could.

Once Barry returns to STAR Labs, everything seems normal – a little too normal – and that is when Eddie arrives. This was our moment of perfect clarity when we knew that this was all a dream – because even IF Eddie had somehow returned to life due to Eobard being erased from existence, Eddie’s return would once again return Eobard (thus resulting in a continuous time loop paradox). Though Eddie’s appearance makes perfect sense in terms of regret, but it’s Well’s appearance that truly gives us a startling shock.

We have to remember that this isn’t Reverse Flash Wells, but Dr Wells as Barry first came to know him. This is the Wells who in many ways was another father figure to Barry. Barry’s not only still dealing with the loss of two friends – Ronnie and Eddie – but also the loss of a father with Wells. This idea is made even more apparent as Barry is the sole recipient of Dr Well’s will. Though it’s not that simple. Wells is in Barry’s dream not just because he’s a forlorn father figure, but also because Barry feels that Wells still won somehow. This is why Barry doesn’t watch the tape and yet still holds onto it later on. He doesn’t watch because he’s afraid it’s one final gloat from the man who killed his mother; and yet he still carries it around with him because he can’t erase who Wells used to be to him.

Facing Enemies Who Mysteriously Hate Him:

Speaking of Wells – or rather Eobard – a peculiar trend has formed on this Season of The Flash. Well, it didn’t exactly BEGIN this season, but it does now represent more of a theme than a one time occurrence. I’m of course talking about Barry fighting enemies who seem to have a mysterious preexisting grudge against him. We never learned why Eobard hated Barry so much and what future Barry did. And even though Eobard did admit this episode that he and this Barry never truly hated each other, there is still that question of ‘What originally happened?’

The Flash Man Who Saved Central City 2

Well it happened again this episode as Barry finds himself going head to head with the Atom Smasher. A man away from home who sees to have quite the hatred for Barry Allen – but is it him or someone else’s hatred? In Atom Smasher’s final moments we learn that he was tasked to kill Barry by someone named Zoom. Huh?

Who Is Zoom? – The Possible Choices:

The easy choice would be that Zoom is somehow Eobard Thawne again. We could twist that more to say that it’s Eddie Thawne who’s been lost in the time stream and is some vengeful ghost. Although there is another CRAZIER option that could come true. What if this Zoom character is actually an alternate darker version of Barry? To be fair, this did happen in the comics. And considering some of the other cameos set to appear this season, the evil Future Flash storyline COULD work – you can read more about that here. But this show takes its own path, so why would an alternate reality Barry want to kill this Barry?

Well the answer to that question might have actually been given to us in this episode. Notice how Atom Smasher never explained why he killed his other self. On one hand he could just be jealous that that version of him never became a Metahuman; but what if only one version of each character can exist in an alternate plane at once. As we’ll learn next episode and through the Season, the Singularity opened a portal to Earth – 2, which is a parallel universe where things happened slightly different. Our first full exposure to this was Atom Smasher, who in this reality was away on his honeymoon when the particle accelerator went off. But in Earth-2 we was around and his life was probably ruined by it.

So IF Atom Smasher killed his other self because only one version can exist at one time, what if Zoom wants this Barry Allen dead because there can’t be two occupying the same plane? It’s just an idea and we’ll get more information as the season progresses; but all the stuff about Earth-2 is true. And next episode Jay Garrick will introduce us to all that goodness.

The Flash Man Who Saved Central City 3

In A Flash – Easter Eggs, Quotes & More:

  • The opening monologue starts off similarly enough, but then it takes a darker turn as Barry describes himself as ‘the man who thought he would find justice for his family, but he failed.’ He is now simply ‘the man who runs’ .
  • Lone Wolf McQuade is a Chuck Norris film in which he plays – of course – a lone wolf Texas Ranger
  • Caitlin began working for Doctor McGee at Mercury Labs, whom you might remember from last season as the former female friend of Harrison Wells
  • Considering Ronnie/Firestorm is in Legends of Tomorrow, I can’t help but feel like Ronnie is still alive but just permanently fused inside Stein until he takes Firestorm form.
  • “The doors to central city will always be open for you flash” Yes Mr Mayor, and the doors between Earth 1 and Earth 2 are seemingly open now too – or at least they were
  • Cisco’s Vibe Vision’s are back and stil have him pretty freaked out. Which makes sense in a way since he’s always been the one admiring Metahumans and now he’s trying to wrestle with the fact that he might actually be one.
  • “If you keep getting no for an answer, stop asking questions” Very good advice from Joe/Candice; but also very bad if taken out of context.
  • There’s no Greg Turk in the comics that I know of, but there is a character called Turk who apparently had the ability to turn into a werewolf – oh, and he was a pretty good archer too!
  • It was a great parallel that they chose to mirror Barry’s crisis 6 month’s after losing Ronnie, Eddie and Wells with 6 months after loosing his mom and dad
  • We know Killer Frost is coming this season – and I still stand by my theory that we’ll encounter Earth 2 Killer Frost before our Caitlin transforms and makes it her mission to be a Hero rather than a Villain like her alternate self – but this episode did give us a set up if our Snow ever was to become vengeful. Though we found out this Caitlin doesn’t blame Barry but rather herself for not leaving when Ronnie asked.
  • OMG Wells/Eobard confessed. Looks like he’s not such a sore loser afterall.
  • “I don’t know, think I saw it in a comic book somewhere” This was of course a reference to the Flash Signal in the comics.
  • FINALLY! It’s not a Flash episode until someone says “Run Barry, Run!” This time it was Joe.
  • Can’t believe they actually killed Atom Smasher, but remember ‘To them, he’s already dead”. Yes, I just quoted Eobard Thawne; but seriously. Remember that Atom Smasher’s Earth 1 self was just killed … by his Earth 2 self.
  • Dad’s “I’ll race you” is another fun reference to his day’s playing The Flash in the original TV series.
  • Seriously Mr Allen, you do know Zoom is going to kidnap you sooner or later at some point. You were probably better off staying at STAR Labs.
  • Cisco got his badge!!!!!
  • The new Flash suit now mirrors the suit the Flash wears in the comics and in the future.
  • Highlight Cisco quote of the night was after he just explained how impenetrable STAR Labs is now, then Jay Garrick walks in and Cisco responds “For reals?!?!?!?!”

The Season Finale gave us a satisfying conclusion and this Season Premiere was just as good. I can’t wait to see what else lies ahead for our favorite Speedster, especially now that there’s another Flash joining the team. So stay tuned here for next week’s Closer Look!

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