"My name is Barry Allen, and I am the fastest man alive.
When I was a child I saw my mother killed by something impossible, my father went to prison for her murder, then an accident made me the impossible. To the outside world I'm an ordinary forensic scientist, but secretly I use my speed to fight crime and find others like me, and one day, I'll find who killed my mother and get justice for my father. I am The Flash!"
The Flash was probably the biggest surprise of the last year in television. Whilst Arrow was suffering a slight third-season slump, focusing too much on Felicity and Oliver and getting weighed down in flashbacks, Barry Allen sped into view, becoming an instant hint with fans and by far the CW's most successful show.
The Flash hardly put a foot wrong in its debut season. The overwhelming impression was that this is a series written by, and for, fans of DC's comics, and one that stays truer to its comic book origins than Arrow, or other shows like Gotham (even if that is more of a reimagining in the vein of Once Upon a Time than a direct comics-to-tv adaptation).
So there's a fair bit of pressure for season 2 to stack up, but with exec producer Greg Berlanti we're in pretty capable hands. Let's take a look at what to expect from season 2, and try to make sense of some of the insanely complicated events of the latter half of season 1. Potential spoilers ahead...
Dr. Harrison Wells will live again
The CW is known for filling up its shows with beautiful young 20-somethings who look like models for Calvin Klein, and The Flash has its share of those, but it was Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells who became the overwhelming fan favourite during the first season. Except, he wasn't actually Harrison Wells - he was Eobard Thawne / Reverse-Flash, a metahuman from the future who has serious beef with Barry Allen (and who also happens to be a descendant of Eddie Thawne).
Eobard decides to travel back to the year 2000 and kill the young Barry, therefore eliminating his enemy in the future/present. So far, so simple. Except that, after killing Nora Allen, Reverse-Flash loses his powers and cannot return to the future, so instead he kills the scientist responsible for creating The Flash, Harrison Wells, steals his face*, assumes his identity, and plays the waiting game.
*He steals the guy's face! That's pretty fucking awesome.
This combination of hyper-elaborate back story and the sheer scale of Reverse-Flash's deception make Thawne one of the great DC supervillains, so major credit to Tom Cavanagh for giving a layered performance and creating a truly likable character. But you already knew all this.
The question is how The Flash will engineer a situation for season 2 in which Tom Cavanagh can remain a series regular, either as a version of Thawne or as the real, not-evil (but very much dead) Dr. Harrison Wells, which brings us neatly to...
Killer Frost and the infinite possibilities of the multiverse
This is where The Flash gets all Fringe.
First up, we have alternative timelines. The Flash itself is an alternate timeline, rather than the "original", because what we're seeing is a result of Thawne going back to the year 2000 and rearranging the original history of the Allen family. So, with careful balancing of the various timelines The Flash intends to present in season 2, we could see the real Dr. Wells alive and well, working on the particle accelerator which created Barry in the original timeline.
Similarly, whilst we know the lovely Dr. Caitlin Snow is on track to shed some of her humanity as she becomes Killer Frost, presumably facing off with Firestorm - which could be fun, considering that's the supervillain alias of her dead-not-dead fiance Ronnie Raymond - in "our" timeline, an alt-timeline could see good-Caitlin working with real-Harrison on the particle accelerator. Fringe became even more awesome once it gave us mirror versions of Olivia and Walter, and The Flash could have some serious fun this season playing with our perceptions of Caitlin.
And just to complicate things even further, we're going to be introduced to the multiverse, as hinted at with Jay Garrick's retro Flash helmet. Garrick was the Flash before Barry was - just not on Earth-One. With at least two timelines on Earth-One and the introduction of Earth-Two, we could be in for a whole lot of science-y shit in season two.
Season 2 is still two months away, but the CW clearly knows we're thirsty because they just released this (cruelly brief) teaser which reveals absolutely nothing but, predictably, still got me stoked.
What are you hoping for from the second season? Will Barry and Jay Garrick team up, or could we see some tension? Are you as hyped as I am for Caitlin's transition into Killer Frost? And how will the real Dr. Wells be incorporated? Leave a comment and share your thoughts...
The Flash season 2 kickstarts October 6. Arrow Season 4 follows October 7.