When The CW first announced they were moving forward with a series based on The Flash, I was sceptical. Even as a comics fan I was one of the ignorant masses who always thought of The Flash as little more than “that guy that runs fast”, and couldn’t imagine him being an interesting enough character to carry his own show. Boy was I wrong.
• Format: Blu-Ray
• Rating: 12
• Run Time: 980 minutes
The first season of The Flash was a runaway hit, and rightly so. Building on the lessons they had learned from working on two seasons of Arrow, the creative team behind The Flash hit the ground running and were able to approach the show with the knowledge and experience needed to bring this surprisingly in-depth character to life.
The show and characters had more heart than Arrow had ever managed, and because of the inclusion of metahumans the action and visual effects were cranked up to a Spinal Tap eleven. There were twists, turns, and time travel, and just as you thought you had the story figured out you’d be thrown off the trail yet again, left to await the next episode eagerly.
But could lightning strike twice? Could the creative minds behind DC’s television empire be able to re-create the magic of season one? After all, it set the bar extremely high, and more often than not when your first hit is so great it’s almost impossible to reach those heights again.
In short, yes. The Flash season two is on par with, and at times even better than season one. Everything from the storytelling to the visual effects has been refined, and the result is something that could not have existed on network television until now.
Season two’s story is just as complicated as season one and at times even more confusing thanks to the introduction of the ‘multiverse’. You see, the singularity that opened up in Central City at the end of season one was, in layman’s terms, a door way to a parallel world. An Earth-2, if you will. And although the singularity was closed, numerous other portals to this world remain open, scattered throughout the city.
A mysterious man calling himself Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears) enters S.T.A.R. Labs claiming to be a speedster from this Earth-2, and warns the team of an impending threat. A threat by the name of Zoom.
Zoom, like Jay, is a speedster from Earth-2, who has been terrorising their version on Central City for two years and is determined to become the fastest man alive, stopping at nothing to reach his goal, including stealing Jay’s speedforce. Jay’s story is confirmed by the arrival of Earth-2’s Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), who has come through to Earth-1 for reasons of his own.
What follows is a story that spans not only different times but different worlds as the S.T.A.R. Labs team try to defeat Zoom and the hordes of evil metahumans he throws their way in an effort to drain Barry of his speedforce now and become unstoppable.
To go into any more detail would be running firmly over spoiler territory, and you do not want this season spoiled for you at all. From start to finish it is an absolute joy to watch. Seeing the team grow after the singularity is genuinely uplifting at times, and makes the hard times they go through that much more impactful.
The character relationships are just as complicated as they have always been, especially in regards to Barry juggling being The Flash and having a personal life, which leads to some of the season more heartfelt, and at times funny moments.
Zoom is genuinely terrifying, thanks in no small part to Tony Todd lending his demonic vocal talents to the character. He’s fast, strong, and leaves a trail of bodies behind him. The season-long mystery of Zoom’s true identity keeps you guessing from his introduction right up to the big reveal. And the mysteries don’t stop there, as the puzzle of just how Zoom was pulling off his plan gives viewers something else to obsess over once his face is finally revealed.
The only problem I had with this is it’s the same as the mystery laid out in season one, and the clues aren’t as subtle here (at one point they tell you who/what he is), and I was able to work it out. However, it didn’t make the reveal any less impactful, so it’s a minor issue.
Zoom and Jay Garrick aren’t the only newcomers to the show, as this season introduces versions of Jessie Quick (Violett Beane) and Wally West (Keiyan Lonsdale) to the fold. Both Beane and Lonsdale seem like natural fits to the show, and I’m genuinely excited to see how their characters develop next season.
Their introduction in the show does lead to a lot of foreshadowing, especially in the dialogue, and although it’s there as cute little nods for fans of the comics, it can be distracting when it comes up in the most honest conversations littered throughout the season.
The two-part crossover event with Arrow is fantastic too. It introduces and fleshes out new characters and does a great job setting up Legends of Tomorrow. Both The Flash and Arrow episodes are included on the box set too, so if you prefer one series over the other, you won’t have to miss out on anything.
There are so many villains in this season it’s crazy. Fan favourites return and cause havoc in a fantastic Christmas episode, but the bulk of this seasons villainy come from Earth-2, meaning we get to see a handful of friendly faces from Earth-1 appear as their evil alter egos. And if you thought Grodd looked cool in season one, wait until you see King Shark.
On its own merits, The Flash season two is fantastic, but the Blu-Ray box set takes it to the next level with the most impressive collection of extra features I, personally, have ever seen for a TV show. There are over three hours of behind the scenes featurettes, panels, deleted scenes, and a gag reel spread across the four discs.
The majority of featurettes focus character profiles and special effects showcasing how much work goes into each episode. It’s seriously impressive stuff, and gave me a new found respect for the show, especially for the parts I didn’t realise were CG. The stand out videos for me are the ones focusing on the creation of Gorilla Grodd and King Shark. It’s hard not to be impressed by what the special effects team achieve within the short time it takes to produce each episode.
The cream of the special features crop, however, is Chasing Flash: The Journey of Kevin Smith, a 51-minute documentary taking a look behind the scenes of the Smith directed episode, The Runaway Dinosaur. Interviews with the cast and crew have nothing but good words for the world’s biggest fan boy, and seeing his love and respect for the show in action while he directs one of this season’s best episodes is an absolute joy to watch.
I very, very rarely give anything a five-barrel score, but The Flash season two Blu-Ray collection has more than earned it. From the quality of the season itself to the sheer volume of extras packed onto each disc, this box set is a must-have for fans and newcomers alike.