Warning, possible spoilers may be unintentionally revealed in this review. Reader discretion advised.
The Flash season two is off to a lightning start , but our hero seems stuck in the gate. Recovering from the fallout and sacrifice of closing the singularity from last season's finale, Team Flash is scattered and Barry is flying solo and hurting for it.
We start out with what seems to be a world where all is hunky-dory and our hero is part of a happy extended family. But, this turns out to be an illusion created by Barry's guilty psyche, he is alone at STAR Labs, and soon running headlong into another fight.
During the usual monologue from Barry, we get a glimpse into the loneliness of the long distance runner, and his need to protect everyone except himself in times of trouble.
Although this series has shown it's not afraid to dip into it's own comic book mythology and play with it, this season opener finds more than a few worn out tropes to throw at us.
Using the tired and true superhero practice of shoving everyone away in guilt, we get a splintered, fractured team and a world weary hero who takes out his sadness and shame on himself.
Several times during this episode we get a Flash, that's willing to put his life on the line to protect others, but with no filters for personal safety or support in place. We also are subjected to what seems to his new obsession of being the best Peter Parker he can be. From the self analysis and guilt to lines like "Even when I win I lose", it gets tiresome with our hero turning himself into a high speed punching bag.
Fortunately for us, the people surrounding our hero are strong enough to push back into the fray, and rebuild Team Flash. Taking back STAR Labs and their place in Barry's life this group rebuilds despite our hero's wishes.
With all the seriousness of Warner/DC's expanded cinematic universe it was good to see such classic comic book touches as Flash Day, and Barry getting the key to the city. Even with all of the other issues our hero is dealing with, Barry is shown to care about the people of his city, and they for him.
And, it is revealed that businesses that were destroyed during the black hole event from last season are being secretly rebuilt by The Flash. This idea gives us a good look at the moral character of Barry Allen, and shows us that even during his self indulgent guilt he can still be a gale force for good in Central City.
And now the fun stuff, that which tickles the toes of fanboy fancy, the nods to DC nerdom. Starting with the concept of two different but same people , from other worlds is set up in a way that blends well with this shows mythology, seems a lot less angry than the same concepts from the late Fox TV show 'Fringe'.
Also, we get an Atom Smasher pre-costumed and powered for our viewing consumption,unlike last season where he had to wait for our bad guys to go from civvies to full blown costumes. Our first villain's sobriquet is given to him by Martin Stein, and it helps support Professor Stein as the new scientific adviser for the team. With fun nods to Batman, a Rogue's team-up and a little costume modification to Barry's suit, as well as a cool intro to the other Flash helped turn this episode from a slow starter to good launch for the second season.