NOTE: Spoilers from throughout the second season of “The Flash” are present in this review
After dominating DC’s current slate of primetime television shows last season, The Flash stayed pretty firmly on top in Season Two, which effectively expanded the scope of the show to bring in the DC Multiverse, in turn also giving the show interesting ways to tie into the former CBS run of Supergirl, while also bringing in a worthy new foe to put Barry Allen to the test more than Eobard Thawne ever could! The show lost none of its magic in its sophomore run, and continues to stand as the brightest example of how to adapt DC Comics tales to the small screen.
This second season was incredibly eventful, featuring no shortage of big, emotional moments, even after a lot of the uplifting and heartbreaking developments that made Season One such a delight. Things kicked off on a big note with the death of Ronnie Raymond, who sacrifices himself to stop the singularity that threatened to engulf Central City in the wake of Season One’s ending cliffhanger, and from there, Barry’s emotional struggles only got greater. Whether it was finally fully confronting his feelings for Iris in the wake of Eddie’s death at the end of last season, encountering a villain that represents the very worst of his connection to the Speed Force, or going to an entire parallel Earth where his mother is alive, and an all-new Harrison Wells is now free of the taint of Eobard Thawne, Barry’s emotions were really thrown for a loop this season, and most of it worked incredibly well!
Of course, it also helped that there was loads of DC fan service on display throughout the season as well, between cute references to other DC heroes like Batman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman on Earth-Two, the long-awaited introduction of Caitlin Snow’s evil Killer Frost incarnation (even if it was her Earth-Two doppelganger), and the introduction of several other speedsters from DC Comics lore, namely Wally West and Jesse Quick. Some promised characters ultimately didn’t make an appearance this season, with villain, Mirror Master not making it to the show in the end yet, despite the showrunners’ wishes, and fellow Rogue, Abra Kadabra also not appearing, despite rumblings that he may. Still, there were plenty of metahumans on offer from the more obscure reaches of DC lore, even if they were yet again a mixed bag, just like Season One. Some highlights like King Shark, Turtle/Turtle Man, Rupture, Doctor Light and a twisted Black Canary doppelganger from Earth-Two called Black Siren really shone as villains-of-the-week, though they were also offset by more trite, boring weekly foes like Tar Pit, Sand Demon, Atom Smasher and Tokamak too.
This season’s big bad however, Zoom, managed the impossible task of actually measuring up to, and possibly even exceeding the foreboding menace of Eobard Thawne, after Thawne hid within the body of the late Earth-One rendition of Harrison Wells. With Zoom being an even greater force of evil than Reverse-Flash, breaking and humiliating Barry in front of his city on more than one occasion, he was not only a vicious monster that proved pretty well unstoppable in most Season Two episodes of The Flash, but also a surprisingly deep foe that represented a sinister emotional extreme that was buried in Barry’s own superhero persona. Both Teddy Sears, portraying an impostor version of DC’s Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick that was later revealed to be Zoom, and Tony Todd, who provided Zoom’s demonic, terrifying voice when he was in-costume, did an excellent job in realizing this character, who was a very memorable evil force, and one that succeeded at making Barry a better hero once again by the end of the season.
As awesome as Zoom was though, his arc did stall a bit towards the end of the season. Once the mystery of Zoom was revealed, it likely disappointed fans that Zoom still ended up being Hunter Zolomon in the end, the exact same character who dons the Zoom mantle in DC Comics lore. The twist of making Zoom a fake Jay Garrick was cool, especially when the real Jay Garrick was revealed to be a doppelganger of Henry Allen, the Earth-One version of whom ended up killed by Zoom in the climax of the season, but once ‘Jay’ pointed out his Earth-One doppelganger to Caitlin, revealing his name as Hunter Zolomon, most DC fans probably put his sinister secret together. Zoom’s ultimate defeat in the season finale was also a bit of a let-down, with Barry instantaneously mastering time manipulation to the point where he could not only effortlessly create a fake time remnant of himself in the final battle, but also instantly direct Time Wraiths, hunters of people in the wrong timeline, to carry Zoom off into oblivion. Considering the huge menace of Zoom throughout the season, this was a bit of a weak way to see him go down.
Still, I can’t stress enough how much The Flash remained on-point with its emotion and drama just as much as it did with its fun and mystery. The West family also had quite a lot of emotional moments this season, as mother, Francine ends up dying of MacGregor’s Syndrome, motivating Detective West’s long-lost son, Wally to find his way to Central City, and meet his father and sister. Iris also finally realized that she was in love with Barry as well by the end of the season, after some more romantic misadventures, though the two held off on getting together for now, as Barry ends the season by going back in time and changing the past to rescue his mother, setting up an alternate Flashpoint-inspired timeline to kick off Season Three later this year. Wally’s character was kind of inconsistent throughout the season unfortunately, and the tease of dousing him with a dark matter wave didn’t really amount to anything yet, so don’t worry about Grant Gustin being displaced by a successor Flash at this point. Still, the material with the West family was often fantastic, and fleshed them out even more than Season One did, especially Iris.
The other characters also had some very emotional developments this season. Caitlin was also thrown for a loop in struggling with the loss of Ronnie, falling in love with the false Jay, realizing the false Jay is Zoom, and eventually encountering her Earth-Two doppelganger, Killer Frost. Similarly, Cisco’s vibing abilities continued to develop, with Cisco also meeting an evil Earth-Two doppelganger of his called Reverb, and over the course of the season, he became a more powered force to work alongside Barry in dealing with larger-than-life threats, with Cisco’s abilities gradually beginning to resemble the character’s abilities from DC Comics lore more and more. The best of the emotional material probably went to the Earth-Two Harrison Wells too, with Tom Cavanagh now re-tooling his performance to play a morally ambiguous new version of the character that kept both viewers and the other personalities guessing, though by the end of the season, he was just as essential in winning the day as everyone else, alongside his daughter, Jesse Quick.
Finally, many episode storylines throughout Season Two of The Flash were just plain awesome, once again. There were still some dud episodes here and there, like, “The Fury of Firestorm”, “Fast Lane” and, “Invincible”, but they were vastly outnumbered by the entertaining and great episodes, with the biggest highlights including, “Welcome to Earth-Two”, “The Darkness and the Light”, “Flash Back”, “King Shark”, “Enter Zoom”, “Rupture”, “Potential Energy”, “The Reverse-Flash Returns”, and of course, the Kevin Smith-directed, “The Runaway Dinosaur”, which had Barry fully meeting the Speed Force and accepting the true depths of its challenge in choosing him for the mantle of The Flash. Any of these episodes effortlessly prove why The Flash is still standing head-and-shoulders above any of DC’s other primetime television shows at this point, and despite how tough an act Season One was to follow, The Flash didn’t slow down at all in terms of outstanding quality in Season Two!
This was a busy season of The Flash, but also a very satisfying one, which is still taking the best, zany appeal of the Flash comics from DC, and adapting them into fun, emotional and just plain cool original television stories. The Flash is still arguably one of the best shows on The CW, if not the best, and as I said, the show is still dominating DC’s current syndicated television lineup, leaving even its sibling shows like Arrow pretty firmly in the dust this season. Zoom’s defeat comes at a heavy cost for Barry, who ends the season by irresponsibly manipulating time for his own ends, but that should likely leave Season Three with all the more infinite possibility to keep perpetuating what is currently one of the most entertaining and awesome shows on television in general!
- Barry being pushed to awe-inspiring new heights
- Zoom is a very menacing, memorable villain
- Greater and more satisfying development for the supporting cast
- Zoom ultimately goes down too easily
- The show doesn't seem to know how to use Wally West yet