atom smasher

Last night’s second season premiere of The Flash has come and gone. After last season’s fairly compelling story arc, even if there were a few bumpy episodes along the way (Plastique…*shudder*…), this second season holds promise as easily the best of the network television superhero series.

Anything from here on out should be considered rife with spoilers, including the comments section.

I’d call “The Man Who Saved Central City” a solid B episode. I know many people will call the time-jump storytelling gimmick a lazy writing choice, but I’m always a sucker for that kind of intrigue and to see how the writers’ room ends up filling those gaps.

Far less interesting is an episode of Emo Barry, where he’s pushing everyone away due to the loss of Ronnie (but not Professor Stein) in the singularity that made up last season’s cliffhanger. It somewhat feels like the showrunners only think Barry should be driven by people’s deaths rather than a want/need to help the innocent. Of course, given how the villain of this episode is treated, maybe death isn’t that big a deal after all.

Adam Copeland, a former WWE wrestler, pops up as Atom Smasher. Copeland plays Rothstein formidably enough, and given the budget restrictions of the series, I was impressed with how they handled the actual threat of the character. Really, Rothstein is just a small intro to the threat of Zoom, this season’s big bad, but I enjoyed his limited time on screen. But is anybody going to call out Barry and his buddies for outright killing the guy when they use the radiation chamber on him? Perhaps we’ll learn later that he’s just knocked out or in a coma or whatever, but I’m pretty sure he died right there, and alt-Earth counterpart or not, isn’t that the same thing we’ve taken Zack Snyder to task for?

The other major piece of the episode was Dr. Wells final parting gift for Barry, which was introduced in a rather…clumsy fashion (“S.T.A.R. Labs is going into receivership….unless you watch this”, have the writers ever dealt with an estate attorney before?), but it turn led to the nice moment of Barry’s father getting out of jail finally. Only to turn around and decide to leave town because he’s holding Barry back. There had to be a better way to handle John Wesley Shipp being moved into occasional guest appearances than that.

Still, the action bits are great fun, Cisco remains funny, I’m super intrigued by what’s going on with Zoom, and that last beat with Jay Garrick (along with his couple of background appearances) was absolutely golden.

I’ve got a guess regarding what’s going on with Atom Smasher, Zoom, and Cisco. But I’ll hold that back, for fear of going too far off the ledge.

Beat Readers, what did you think? Did the premiere live up to your expectations?


  1. I completely agree in regards to Barry’s dad. I knew the why in real life but the story explanation had me baffled.

  2. I also agree about Barry’s dad. I told my wife, “Why not say that after being stuck in a jail for 15 years, he wants to travel?” That makes more sense that what we got. Throw in something selfless, like joining Doctors Without Borders or something. There are plenty of good, solid reasons for him leaving other than “I don’t want to hold you back.”

    And yes, I thought Atom Smasher was killed too. I suppose you could call it self-defense, since he told Barry he was going to kill him, but it’s not very Barry-like. Maybe he’ll end up in one of the cells in a coma or something. I was kinda hoping for some heroic redemption.

  3. Plus, they could have used that as an opportunity to plug a great charity. As my co-editor said to me at lunch today, it smacked of production telling the writers, “we can’t build another set, Barry has to stay at Joe’s house” and they rushed to come up with an excuse for why.

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