The CW has built itself a stable, steady and increasingly entertaining superhero television universe right under our nose. While not nearly as cinematic, or as bold as Marvel’s universe, the joint efforts of Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and newcomer Supergirl have made for an entertaining week of television. While Arrow really started the groundwork, The Flash’s first season cemented itself as the best of the bunch. This comes in big thanks to the writing, acting and fantastic story development. Of course, with an epic season one ending, season two had a lot to live up to. In a lot of ways, it absolutely did.
Season two picks up right where season one left off. Barry Allen/The Flash has stopped the anomaly, and is seen as the hero of Central City. Unfortunately, ripples in dimensions allow for opposition to come from other worlds and cause havoc to the Earth we know. This brings full attention to the season’s villain, Zoom. Zoom, is an all powerful speedster, menacing, villainous and absolutely evil. He craves power, and Barry has plenty of it for him to take. This of course leads to the inevitable, ‘all worlds must die before me’ nonsense, ya know, the usual James Bond villain plan. This will take The Flash and his returning team to stop this crazed super psychopath.
The Flash’s strength in its first two seasons is walking the line between light and dark. While the show is upbeat, with plenty of goofy pop culture puns, the show often times goes an unexpected dark path. This quick change of pace is one of the best parts of The Flash, as it often times sucks viewers into a comfort zone with characters, only to have them fail, die or simply lose out to the villain. This is one of the strengths of Season Two, as the quirky humor we saw in season one returns but as does plenty of emotional, gut wrenching moments.
Generally speaking, the acting in season two is phenomenal. Of course, the groundwork is started and held up by Grant Gustin, who is quickly turning into a tour de force. His genuine smile and upbeat attitude is refreshing (especially in contrast to Arrow) but he still handles his own when it comes to those emotional scenes. The supporting cast around him returns, and is much better than the first season. Sure, the show is undeniably goofy, sometimes a bit too much so but when the cast needs to turn to drama, they are all easily capable of so. Standouts include Jesse L Martin, Tom Cavanagh and Carlos Valdes.
Visually, the show continues to be stunning despite The CW’s budget. Does this look as good as some cinematic films featuring superheroes? No. Thankfully, the budget and awareness of this reduced budget allow for some minimalistic special effects shots. They are rare, and far in between, but when used, look pretty great all things considered. The show continues to nail The Flash’s exhilarating speed.
Season two has tons of great moments, much like the first season. The first half of season two is albeit much stronger, and this comes with the fact that Zoom’s identity is completely unknown. The menacing, deep talking psychopathic murderer is convincing, until you remove the mask. Does this bang the show any? Not necessarily but it does lose some steam towards the end.
Of course, no review would be sound if one could not speak about the ending. Turn back now if you haven’t heard. Barry Allen, distraught, confused and lost over the death of his Father, races back in time and beats up Reverse Flash. This event, in turn, saves the life of his Mother and starts what is known in the comics as Flashpoint Paradox. While the event may seem like a misstep in the writing department, it is actually quite the opposite. This event will change the show as we know it, and in a lot of ways, undo what has been done in the two seasons we have seen. That being said, it is a tremendous character arc to see such a selfless, heroic character, fall to selfish needs and wants. This further characterizes the pain we see with Barry.
Emotional. Gut punching. A tad bit drawn out and long winded. Season two of The Flash is another wonderful, well written season from Greg Berlanti and his team at The CW. Lead by the quick wit, lovable Grant Gustin, this show continues to be one of the best superhero shows on television.
FOUR out of FIVE