“The following is a guest post by The Shamrock Show Mage.”
“Where’s Barry? I need a taste of that ‘walking on sunshine’ thing he’s got going on right now.”
This season we get our second dose of our favorite speedster fighting villains as he discovers new parts his powers and who he truly is. The success of season 1 set a high standard for the series and with the new season we get some reminders of why we fell in love with the first season. Yet for every time the show exceeds the first season there are some moments where it doesn’t deliver the same quality as before.
If you have not seen the first season I highly recommend you do so before you continue with this review. You can also read my season 1 review first in order to follow along better, as there will be a few spoilers coming up. Consider yourself warned and if you’re still reading then lets proceed with what we learned from Barry Allen and the supporting cast with this new serving.
We start season 2 a few months after season 1 and we see Barry working alone. However, this one-man team doesn’t last very long. Once the team gets back together we see the same chemistry of the first season; with the exception of one main cast member missing. After defeating the Reverse Flash the team gets the feeling that there’s no other evil speedster out there.
That is until we get a glimpse of Zoom who is a stronger, faster, and deadlier version of Dr. Wells’ alter ego. I won’t give away who plays Zoom due to his identity being in question for the first three quarters of the season. His involvement in the show starts off early, as Zoom sends evil metahumans from a different Earth to kill The Flash. If I lost you when I mentioned a different Earth, let me explain.
Season 2 introduces the possibility of multiple Earths and how the reality we know in season 1 is called Earth-1. The other Earths consist of the same people but each of them has a doppelganger who in the different Earth grew up into a different person. For example, in Earth-2 we see some characters from Earth-1 have powers they might not have in our own reality. It may seem like a lot to digest but trust me the show will explain how all this works in much better detail.
With the acquisition of alternate villains and heroes from other Earths in season 2 we get a glimpse at other Flash heroes and see how Barry, Cisco, Caitlyn, and Dr. Wells are on Earth-2. Yes you read that correctly, we do get Dr. Wells back and he is not the same villain from season 1. We also get introduced to his daughter (from Earth-2) Jesse Wells (Violett Beane) and Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) this time around and for those who aren’t familiar with who Wally is in the comics then I won’t spoil anything for you. But for those of you who know who he is then I’m sure you’ll be excited with just the introduction of his character in the show, as it opens up some opportunities in the show.
The introduction of villains was similar to the first season in the sense where they appear for one episode and are tossed for the remainder of the season. We also follow Barry on his journey of reaching new levels of speed in order to defeat his new nemesis, Zoom. We follow the story of Zoom’s involvement throughout the whole season and as the narrative continues you can see him as a greater foe than the Reverse Flash. However, this is not always the case.
Towards the end of the season when we get the final battle between The Flash and Zoom it can come off a bit cheesy. I understand they’re both speedsters but the fact (spoiler: highlight to reveal) that they have a race seemed a bit redundant to their previous battles. I won’t give away too many details of the season because you’ll definitely want to watch the whole thing for yourself. One of the reasons I enjoy this season and the show as a whole is because there’s always someone who questions how something is possible (alternate Earths for example) and they have one of the other characters explain how this all works.
The 8-Bit Review
We get the same quality of great visual effects on the show in season 2 and we can also see how they have a bigger budget this time around. I’m a big fan of Zoom and how he’s noticeably faster and stronger than the Flash. The way he moves aggressively makes you understand his power and how big of a threat he is to Barry and Earth-1. We also get a few slow motion shots during Barry’s battles and we can see how great his speed can be.
The same type of formula is used for the audio in season 2. We get perfect background music to help take us on emotional rollercoasters as we watch the cast face personal battles. We also have the theme song remain in the season.
What I loved about this season’s narrative is we get a deeper understanding of Barry and how his power is truly a combination of his team and his efforts. We see how he cannot be pushed to become a better version of himself without receiving that push from his team and mentors. With the return of Dr. Wells (from Earth-2) we see how Barry needs that extra motivation from someone he admires to be able to reach faster speeds and new abilities of his powers. Dr. Wells remains that literal voice in his head encouraging him to believe in his ability and reaching new heights.
Binge Worthiness: 9/10
The same can be said with this season as the first. The only problem with being able to binge watch the season is based on the length of the season (23 episodes) and the length of each episode (over 40 minutes). Other than those two minor obstacles this show is an easy choice to watch it all in a couple of days. My wife and I can be advocates of this, as we watched all of season 2 in a few days. We get so involved with the storyline and characters that we can’t wait to see what happens next.
We continue seeing how the theme of the show is about family and how the unity between Barry and his team is what makes him stronger. We also see how the father/son relationship with him and Joe builds. At the same time we see his relationship with Dr. Wells continue to grow with the Earth-2 version. We’re all aware how the absence of Barry’s father affects him drastically. But we also see that (spoiler: highlight to reveal) when his father comes around it helps remind him why he has a passion to help others so much. The reminder of him feeling helpless to save his mother is what pushes him to never be in a powerless position again.
We see Barry battling new villains throughout the season and it is amazing seeing him reach new levels of his powers in order to defeat them. The battles we see with his new nemesis Zoom are great. Especially once we see him take someone very important to him (won’t say who) and we see how that pain helps him become stronger and smarter. The only downside is that the home stretch of the season doesn’t seem to continue or exceed the build up. I’m referring to the energy that we get in the earlier episodes of the season when we anxiously want to know Zoom’s identity. Not that his reveal isn’t shocking (because it is) but after we find out who he is he seems to lose some of his intimidation. Granted I understand the intimidation comes from the mystery; but I felt I wanted more of Zoom being more extreme and a bigger villain towards the last few episodes.
This show is still my favorite superhero show on TV at the moment. I have watched several DC and Marvel shows and even though I am a fan of those other shows I must say The Flash is on top of my priority list. I love how the show continues its balance of humor with a big dose of heart at the center. We also get some romance in there with Barry and Iris. The constant action scenes are great especially when considering the type of network the show is run on. I also love the homage they pay to the previous versions of the Flash of other shows and comic adaptations.
My Personal Score: 8/10
As I have stated my love for this show in this and my season 1 review, I cannot find many flaws. The main reason my score isn’t given a perfect score is because I do not want to come off as giving every show a perfect rating. I do love the heart behind the show and all the Easter eggs I’ve had to discover for myself. The main complaint was the lack of continuing quality throughout the season. The great achievement of season 1 and the first half of season 2 is the biggest competition the show faces. It seems that the show is now setting it’s own standard for what we grade it on from now on.
If you enjoyed season 1 then you will definitely enjoy this season. There are some moments when it doesn’t live up to its predecessor but for every one of those instances we do have others where it surpasses season 1. Those are the moments that make me appreciate the fact that I’ve stayed consistent with the show.
My fandom for the Flash and his partners has made me gasp in shock and scream at my TV in joy, anger, and sadness this season and I wouldn’t trade any of those moments. Other times I’ve yelled in frustration on how a situation was handled but I later yelled in joy at how they continued the story. At the end of it all, isn’t what we want from our TV shows? We want to feel a variety of emotions because they remind us how invested we’ve become with the characters and their relationships that we feel connected to them and their decisions. On one final note, I will just say that based off how season 2 ends I cannot wait for what season 3 brings us.
Aggregated Score: 8.4