In the closing moments of the season 1 finale, we saw Barry racing into the heart of the giant singularity threatening Central City in a last ditch attempt to shut it down after Eddie had sacrificed himself to remove Eobard Thawne from existence.
We rejoin the show with all that behind him – after he and Firestorm deal with Captain Cold and Heat Wave, we are reminded that Ronnie and Caitlin are now married, Professor Stein has joined the STAR Labs crew – the team is on top of its game and all is right with the world.
Sadly this idyllic status quo turns out to be a little far from the reality in which Barry separated himself from STAR Labs and has been operating solo. Those following Arrow over the past few years will recognise this manifestation of survivor’s guilt with Barry believing that if he’s working alone, then others won’t get caught in the crossfire.
Following the finale, Flash managed to stabilise the singularity in order for Firestorm to shut it down. However, during the process, Firestorm was split and Barry was only able to rescue Professor Stein, with Ronnie lost and presumed dead.
With the largely unknown Firestorm a casualty, the city launches a Flash Day to thank their hero. As you might expect, this becomes a focal point for the appearance of a villainous Atom Smasher who turns out to be Al Rothstein. However, the problem is that Al Rothstein is a deceased power plant worker of whom this Atom Smasher is an eerie doppelgänger, sent to this world to kill the Flash by someone called Zoom.
After dealing with Atom Smasher, we realise that he was just the vanguard of what is likely to become the season’s arc, when a stranger called Jay Garrick turns up at STAR Labs with a warning.
Outside of the main plot, the episode acts to rearrange the furniture ready for season 2 – Wells left a recorded message that acts as both a confession which frees Henry Allen from prison and to pass ownership of STAR Labs to Barry. Sadly, Henry decides to take some time for himself and heads off, though I guess he’ll pop up now and then.
Thankfully Joe is still the heart of the show, and his teaming up with Cisco is once again a highlight. It’s also a nice moment to see a little of Cisco’s quirks rubbing off on the previously quite straight-laced Professor Stein, presumably to make his character more suitable for his role in the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow.
There are also the first shoots of promise with Iris by her becoming part of the team (and consequentially, a lot less whiney) – again, Arrow viewers will recognise this as Thea and Laurel Syndrome. All in all, a good start to the season and the beginning of what looks like being another strong season arc.