So, where were we? In the Season 1 finale of "The Flash," Reverse Flash/Eobard Thawne/Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanaugh) died, or rather, was never born; Eddie (Rick Cosnett) was killed; and a wormhole-turned-black hole was threatening to swallow all of Central City and, well, anything. That was quite a cliffhanger. What would happen when Barry (Grant Gustin) and the S.T.A.R. Labs team returned for the Season 2 premiere, "The Man Who Saved Central City"?
The episode gets off to a trippy start. In a dream sequence, Barry takes down Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), drawing praise from the whole S.T.A.R. Labs gang, including Ronnie (Robbie Amell), Iris (Candice Patton) and even Dr. Wells. "You don't need anybody," dream-Wells tells Barry.
Coming back to reality, it has been more than six months since Barry saved Central City from the black hole -- by the way, Barry saved the city from the black hole -- and he is taking dream-Wells' advice. He has become a solo crime fighter and the S.T.A.R. Labs team has dissolved. Cisco (Carlos Valdes) is heading up the Central City Police's meta-human unit with Joe (Jesse Martin) and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) now works for Mercury Labs. There is a Flash Day celebration planned to give the superhero the key to the city for saving them, but not even Iris can convince Barry to make an appearance.
He does not believe he is deserving of the praise. He says Eddie and Ronnie are the ones to thank. Fans already know that Eddie died to make it so that Eobard Thawne, who turned out to be a future descendant of Eddie, was never born. However, a flashback reveals Ronnie also was killed that day. Fans finally get to see the fateful conclusion of the black hole crisis and it turns out Ronnie, as part of Firestorm with Dr. Stein (Victor Garber), supplied the energy blast to neutralize the black hole while Barry had it stabilized. Dr. Stein made it out, but Ronnie did not. The guilt is why Barry wants to work alone.
When Flash Day finally arrives, Barry surprises everyone by making an appearance at the rally in costume. The city is delighted until another guest crashes the party -- Atom Smasher (Adam Copeland). The new villain makes his debut in style, hurling a food truck at Barry and Central City's mayor. He causes a lot of havoc, but thanks to some teamwork by Joe and Barry and some propane tanks, no one is killed. However, the meta-human gets away.
— The Flash (@CW_TheFlash) October 7, 2015
Iris and Joe decide Barry needs help, whether he likes it or not, and they gather the whole team at S.T.A.R. Labs. Based on some analysis of a previously unsolved murder at a nuclear facility, Dr. Garber deduces Atom Smasher absorbs molecular energy as the source of his superhuman strength. Analyzing the levels of radiation around the city, they pinpoint Atom Smasher's location and Barry is off to pay him a visit. However, he does not take his tracker to communicate with Cisco and the team. He is still insisting on working alone and keeping them out of danger.
Barry shows up and takes on Atom Smasher, but the baddie is too much muscle for Barry to handle. Luckily, Cisco has hacked into the warehouse's security cameras and is watching. When Atom Smasher gets Barry in a choke hold, Cisco triggers the facility's alarms to distract Atom Smasher and allow Barry to escape.
While a rattled Barry is recovering, Joe comes in to give him a pep talk and convince him to stop taking the blame for everything that happened with Wells and the black hole. Barry finally softens his resolve and goes to talk to Caitlin. He apologizes for Ronnie's death, but Caitlin insists it was her fault, not his. She says she should have left Central City with him to find a normal life when Ronnie had first asked. After a tender moment, Barry lets Caitlin in on a secret.
Earlier in the episode, Barry had received a flash drive from a lawyer who said the only thing Barry had to do to inherit S.T.A.R. Labs from Wells, who had left it to Barry in his living will, was for Barry to watch the video message on the flash drive. Barry has not yet watched it. When he and Caitlin finally play the video and watch it together they are shocked to find a parting gift from his mentor-turned-rival -- Wells' confession to the murder of Nora Allen. Barry finally has what he needs to free his father (John Wesley Shipp) from prison!
Inspired by the good news, Barry is willing to let the S.T.A.R. Labs team help him again and Caitlin has a plan to take down Atom Smasher. She has Barry lure the meta-human into a nuclear reactor core and flood the criminal with more radiation than he can handle.
— The Flash (@CW_TheFlash) October 7, 2015
Afterward, a dying Atom Smasher tells Barry why he wanted to kill the Flash. "He promised he would take me home if I killed you," says the mysterious foe. "Who," Barry asks. "Zoom," Atom Smasher replies with his last breaths.
Barry is confused and scared by the new threat, but he is all smiles as he welcomes his dad home. Henry Allen is finally free!
However, the long awaited moment is bittersweet. Henry is planning on leaving town.
"Can you be all you are becoming with me here," Henry asks his son.
Barry knows the answer is no and gives his dad tearful permission to go.
"It feels like every time I win, I still lose," Barry tells Joe back at S.T.A.R. Labs, but there is sure a lot to look forward to. The S.T.A.R. Labs team is back in action, and they got a surprise visitor in the last scene.
"My names is Jay Garrick and your world is in danger."
Who is Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears)? Fans will have to wait a week to find out. "The Flash" airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EDT on the CW.
What did you think of the premiere? Tweet your thoughts to @Ja9GarofaloTV.