Now return to our weekly scheduled Speed Force induced awesome as The Flash hopes to build upon a pretty stellar first season, and so far it was adequate. “The Man Who Saved Central City” is a pretty solid hour of television that focuses on building up and reintroducing our main players so that when we reach the big moment it feels earned. Cisco is still funny, Barry is still the noble hero, Joe is still the caring father; it’s as if this episode was a nice warm blanket reminding us why we love The Flash so much in the first place. If anything the pieces were trying to move back into their regular places so that we could gain some sense of normalcy, and in a lot of ways it worked out a lot better than expected. Focus is key for this season of The Flash and is not for anything else “The Man Who Saved Central City” definitely chooses to focus on the right areas.
One such area where The Flash has always excelled is in building up Barry’s supporting cast and managing to make them just as interesting as our hero himself. That is one of the reasons why this episode manages to work so well as it chooses to focus less on how the fallout of the singularity is affecting Barry and more on how it has affected his relationship with those around him. The people who know Barry best don’t blame him for what transpired and how that day shook out, they want Barry to realize that they all made choices and that they can’t let the sacrifices of Eddie and Ronnie be for nothing. This was especially prevalent in Barry’s scenes with Iris and Caitlin who felt the most fallout from the events of that day. Iris’ knows full well that Eddie died a hero and that the city needs to see some sort of hope spring from the darkness of the singularity. They need to know that The Flash is still out there saving people and fighting the good fight despite suffering major losses. That is what brings the team back together and helps them return to the fight, because they know right now Barry won’t unless he has something to really fight for.
Even with that strong scene my favorite one of the night easily went to Barry and Caitlin’s scene together as both Gustin and Panabaker nailed the message of the scene. Everyone makes choices, it is learning to deal with the fallout of those choices that makes us human. Case in point Caitlin blaming herself for Ronnie’s death once again. She knows somewhere deep down that there was nothing she could do to stop Ronnie from becoming Firestorm and saving the day, but she also understands that Ronnie sacrificed himself protecting the people that he loves and that what she will choose to remember him for. All of the sacrifices made were for the right reasons and for our characters it is about embracing the meaning behind them and making the message their own. Take for example Barry finally letting his friends back, Ollie would have taken forever to reaccept the team, but Barry knows he needs them in the best way possible.
As for the weak points that load fell on a very under developed villain in the form of Atom Smasher. Although his powers were cool and Adam Copeland was imposing enough to put Barry off his game, he just wasn’t given enough depth to make his screen time worthwhile. I know that overall he was meant to be a B story to all of the emotional fallout of the finale, but his characterization was basically non existent besides the basics of Zoom sent him. He felt very much like an early season one type of villain, especially since he was seemingly killed by Barry due to an over exposure of radiation. I wish that he could return and be given a proper episode, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards at the moment, and neither does any sort of return to the pipeline.
Similarly, despite being really strong for the majority of the episode the ending felt really out of place and off key considering everything that transpired. Make no mistake, I love that Henry is finally free and able to do whatever he wants, but him just deciding to up and leave makes no real sense. Barry can be both The Flash and a great son without sacrificing one or the other, and Henry can live his own life without causing problems for Barry. It just felt like a wonky way to write Henry out of being there every week. Add on to the fact that suddenly Barry has a cash flow to keep STAR Labs running despite being told that it was going into receivership and I was left with more questions about how the team was supposed to function without Wells than answers.
Overall it was a strong enough episode to give me hope for the season, also Jay Garrick at the end. Two Flash’s folks, get excited.
Final Grade B
+Humorous and Heartfelt all around
+Great development around the other main characters
-Strange ending note
-The bro moment of Cisco hugging Stein after naming Atom Smasher was my second favorite moment of the episode. Top moment Jay walking in after they had just “improved” the security.
-So, Caitlin just up and quit her job? Did Barry receive money from Well’s as well or just STAR Labs?
-I love that even in defeat Eobard is a smug bastard as his confession clearly showed.