The Flash: Season 2
Warner Bros. // Unrated // $54.97 // September 6, 2016
Review by Nick Hartel | posted October 25, 2016
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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R E V I E W S
Graphical Version

While the fourth season of "Arrow" was fighting a losing battle to keep viewers entertained, CW's other DC offering, "Flash" was leaving a strong sense of deja-vu on viewers with a sophomore season that really upped the ante in terms of storytelling, following a shaky, but overall, entertaining debut season. While the first season of "Flash" didn't necessarily wow me, it had its fair share of shocking plot twists and more surprisingly moments of heart and emotion that "Arrow" had never really touched on. Tying action, drama, and suspense together was an earnest, natural sense of humor led in no small part by series star Grant Gustin. Gustin's Barry Allen, despite all the growing pains of a new series, was a hero we wanted to see win and a more importantly a hero anyone could feel proud to cheer on.

The second season of "Flash" accomplishes a great number of things over its 23-episode run. First and foremost, it actually follows up on its previous season cliffhanger quite nicely, before throwing viewers a curveball by introducing the concept of the multiverse in the CW DC universe. If Gustin's Barry Allen weren't a great enough character, viewers are treated to a Golden Age throwback in the form of Teddy Sears' Jay Garrick, a direct riff on his comic book counterpart and The Flash of Earth-2. The introduction of the multiverse allows the showrunners to mix up the narrative by bringing back Harrison Wells as his own Earth-2 counterpart, leaving viewers guessing for quite some time if this Wells is as sinister as his first season counterpart. Suspicion abounds naturally when another Reverse Flash-esque villain takes the mantle of season two's big bad; Zoom is a force of nature throughout the entire season and his presence is felt even when he doesn't have a direct hand in the proceedings. Tony Todd deserves a hearty dose of praise for the thankless role of voice actor, who instills dread in characters on-screen and viewers off.

While the idea of a multiverse is a tantalizing enough idea, its main purpose is to introduce a whole new batch of metahumans to the fray as well as find ways to bring back fan favorites Gorilla Grodd, Trickster (Mark Hamill returning to play the same role he played in the early 90s incarnation of the series!), Killer Frost, and the curve ball stinger King Shark whose baffling appearance was such a hit, he was brought back for his own standalone episode. While Flash's trademark Rogues Gallery does have a prominent role in this season as the season prior, Flash's allies get to take center stage, most notably Cisco's metamorphosis into his comic book counterpart Vibe and relationship with Kendra Saunders that helps set up part of a crossover event with "Arrow" establishing the "Legends of Tomorrow" series. To say season two is a packed affair is a huge understatement, but fortunately, showrunners Berlanti and Kreisberg keep things on steady ground throughout and there's not a single solitary episode or moment for that matter that would make a fan question whether season two will deliver a satisfying finale.

While "Arrow" fans might malign that series' tendency to spend entire episodes or multiple episodes for that matter laying out exposition and bloated futile character development, "Flash" manages on more than one occasion to fill an episode with character drive drama with just enough action to remind us this is a superhero show. The drama works though and the performances of the entire cast: most notably Gustin, Tom Cavanagh, and Jesse L. Martin elevate "Flash" from your run-of-the-mill weekly superhero actioner to an honest-to-goodness action drama that viewers can continue to feel invested in. On paper, "Flash" would seem corny and saccharine (his Rogues Gallery alone can elicit an eye roll), but in execution, "Flash" is a refreshing change of pace from the normally dour tone that permeates the DC Universe.

In the end, "Flash" sticks the landing with a finale that leaves viewers wanting more and perhaps wiping a tear or two from their eyes. There's not a single plotline earning more than an episode's worth of attention that doesn't come together in a cohesive fashion and just when you think the series couldn't blow your mind with another major plot twist, "Flash" does just that. It sounds cliche, but is truly impossible to discuss the final 25% of the season without giving away some huge plot details, but trust me when I say "Flash" will leave you speechless at multiple times over the season. More importantly though, season two is a near perfect piece of superhero storytelling and the only CW DC show to date that I've looked forward to revisiting from start to finish. Season two of "Flash" is right on part with season two of "Arrow" although with an entirely different tone. Season three of "Flash" has just begun at the time of this review and I can safely say, the payoff from season two is already being realized in a satisfying fashion. To make a long story short, season two of "Flash" is just a damn good show.

THE VIDEO

The 1.78:1 1080p transfer is an incredibly polished affair, much like "Arrow". "Flash" is a much more colorful show and features vivid, lifelike color with consistently strong contrast levels. Detail is strong and rich, with a light amount of natural grain unremoved through DNR or any other digital tinkering.


THE AUDIO

The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is a rousing offering that captures the near cinematic soundscape that "Arrow" helped usher into the other CW DC shows. Dialogue is crisp and naturally balanced. The LFE gets a nice workout during bombastic action sequences, while the surrounds really shine here as the fast-paced nature of the action (no pun intended) offers numerous opportunities for our heroic and villainous speedsters alike to dizzy viewers with their ever changing positions. French, Portuguese, and Spanish 2.0 tracks are included as well as English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish subtitles.


EXTRAS

All four discs feature a deleted scenes gallery and handful of featurettes each, while discs one and three respectively feature a gag reel and nearly 30-minute Q&A session from the 2015 Paley Fest. Overall, it's a very solid offering of bonus features that touch on most of the big ideas from this season. A definite step above "Arrow" most recent release.


FINAL THOUGHTS

The second season of "Flash" offers a healthy balance of action, drama, humor, and emotion. It's truly is a comic book come to life, never straying into the realm of hammy acting nor fourth-wall breaking self-awareness. In reality, The Flash shouldn't translate well to a movie, let alone a weekly TV series, but "Flash" works on every level. With one of the strongest cohesive casts on TV and a hearty stable of writers crafting a tightly woven mythos that is expertly paced to keep audiences guessing, "Flash" is quickly on its way to taking the mantle of King of the CW DC universe. For as great a disappointment as season four of "Arrow" was, season two of "Flash" is a triumph. The Blu-Ray release is a top-notch presentation as one might expect and a worthy addition to any collection. Highly Recommended.



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