Last season, the S.T.A.R. Labs Particle Accelerator exploded, creating a dark matter storm that struck forensic scientist Barry Allen - bestowing him with super-speed and making him the fastest man alive. But Barry wasn't the only person who was given extraordinary abilities that night. The dark matter also created meta-humans...many of whom have wreaked havoc on the city. With the help of the S.T.A.R Labs team, Caitlin Snow, Cisco Ramon and Dr. Harrison Wells, Barry protects the people of Central City from these powerful new threats as The Flash. Following the defeat of Allen's arch-nemesis Eobard Thawne (aka the Reverse-Flash), Team Flash must quickly turn their attention to the Singularity left swirling high above Central City, consuming everything in its path. Not only is the Singularity threatening the city with impending doom, but it's also opened up a gateway to a parallel universe - a world where Barry Allen may not be the fastest man alive; but instead an unstoppable villain known as Zoom.
"So, why are you not all sleeping with the fishes?"
"Earth-2 has The Godfather?"
"Every Earth has The Godfather Vito."
The sophomore season can be the make it or break it moment for any hit television show. This is especially true if the show has had a fantastically well-received first season. The pressure is on for the show runners to up their game, create compelling and action-packed scenarios that keep the audience tuning in week after week while also giving the main characters an arc to follow. That's a lot of pressure but when you're trying to appease a dedicated built-in fanbase like the one a comic book brings, it's even more important that you stick the landing. Thankfully, 'The Flash' rises to the challenge in Season Two. Aside from the misguided need for a gigantic crossover event with 'Arrow' to help set up 'The Legends of Tomorrow,' Season Two of 'The Flash' proves there is a lot of Speed Force left in Barry Allen's legs.
After putting an end to Reverse Flash's reign of terror, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and his pit crew accidentally opened up an inter-dimensional portal that threatens to destroy Central City. In order to stop the portal, Flash required help from Firestorm. Dr. Stein (Victor Garber) survived, but Ronnie Raymond (Robbie Amell) was sucked through the portal. To the world, Flash was the hero of the hour, but to Barry Allen, he was just someone who got a friend killed. Dealing with this responsibility has encouraged Barry to keep people at a distance to keep them from getting hurt. But when metahumans start showing up intent on killing The Flash, Barry will have to confront the reality that the portal ripped open holes to an alternate dimension Earth.
On Earth-2, The Flash is known as Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears) and his arch nemesis isn't Reverse Flash, it's another speedster, a man dressed in black known as Zoom (voiced by Tony Todd). Zoom can leap between Earths at will and is hellbent on killing Earth-1 Flash by taking his speed. As Jay Garrick has lost his connection to the Speed Force, Barry is the only one with enough speed to stop Zoom. In order to do that, Barry will have to accept help from the Earth-2 Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) and put a stop to metahumans like King Shark, The Trickster (Mark Hamill), and Gorilla Grodd before he can even hope to match Zoom's deadly speed.
The second season of 'The Flash' carries a lot of weight on its shoulders. Much like 'Arrow,' it draws the burden of introducing new heroes and villains within the CW Television Universe, but thankfully 'The Flash' manages to dodge a couple of the bigger plot traps. There's no getting around the unfortunately clunky episode 8A and 8B crossover event. An event that should have been the defining moment of the CW DC Television Universe ended up being an unfortunate slog of introducing uninteresting new heroes and a new villain on the backs of the stories of 'Arrow' and 'The Flash' and their respective stories. Where 'Arrow' was already having trouble with its primary plot arc, 'The Flash' at least had a more compelling villain than Damian Darhk to hinge the story of the season on.
Zoom may not be the most interesting villain ever concocted, he only shows up randomly to beat up The Flash, introduce a fan-favorite villain, beat the flash up some more and then disappear. That said, he's downright scary! Not helping him in the "friendly" category is the fact that Tony Todd is providing his voice. Todd has clearly gone full 'Candyman' for his voice work here and it is glorious. Just hearing that low gravelly voice makes Zoom a deadly threat - on top of the fact that he can beat the crap out of Flash any time he feels like it and is willing to kill an innocent person just to prove the point. Zoom's presence also makes the show's family dynamic stronger as everyone is frequently forced to work together to solve their bigger problems. Barry also has to deal with his own romantic issues as he tries to grow a relationship with the plucky Detective Patty Spivot (Shantel VanSanten) and face the increasing probability that Zoom may use his feelings for her against him.
Where this second season goes a long way towards making things work is with its steady and purposeful introduction of new characters. While there is most certainly some universe expansion going on, it feels like it has a sense of direction. Cameos like the return of Eobard Thawne as the Reverse Flash (Matt Letscher) or Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) feel like a genuine means of moving the story forward without being simple and needless fan service. Sure, King Shark may be a bit unnecessary, getting to meet the Earth-2 Barry, and the return of Mark Hamill's Trickster don't really further the plot much, they do at least make some of the slower mid-season episodes a lot of fun to watch. Also helping things is that the only source for bloat is the crossover event episodes. Sure, the series as a whole could be a couple episodes shorter with fewer sideline subplots, but overall, there is a strong sense that the show was moving forward. My hope is that 'Arrow,' 'Legends of Tomorrow,' and 'Supergirl,' can tap into that creative energy and get their shows on the right track. 'The Flash: The Complete Second Season' is a big winner in my book.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'The Flash: The Complete Second Season' arrives on Blu-ray thanks to Warner Brothers as a four-disc set. Pressed onto four BD50 discs, the discs are housed in a four-disc case with identical slipcover artwork. Each disc opens directly to a static image main menu with traditional navigation options. All special features are spread out over each disc. Also included with the set is an Ultraviolet Digital HD voucher slip.
Each episode of 'The Flash: The Complete Second Season' speeds to the screen with an awesome 1.78:1 1080p transfer. Continuing with the Season One esthetics, Season Two showcases some strong detail levels. Facial features, costuming details, and the set design look great. It's especially nice to see the details that went into Zoom's costuming as well as some of the other villain of the week characters. It's a lot of fun when the show moves to Earth-2 where everything has a distinctly futuristic 1930s mod quality to it. Black levels are inky and even through most scenes. There are a few sequences where some night shots have a more brownish quality to them and don't quite approach full black making the image look a bit flat. Thankfully those are very brief moments for a show that runs over seventeen hours. CGI effects look a little soft in some spots but signature characters like King Shark or Gorilla Grodd look pretty great. Every episode is consistently impressive and fans of the show should be very happy.
Each episode of 'The Flash: The Complete Second Season' arrives with awesome DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mixes. Each episode follows a pretty standard pattern, open with a quick action sequence, calm things down for some quiet conversation character-building moments, then speed things back up for another action sequence. Rinse, wash, repeat. To that end, the DTS-5.1 mix handles the show's auditory intricacies. Dialogue keeps to the front/center channels leaving the sides and rears to handle the sound effects, atmospherics, and scoring. Levels are just fine, once you have your volume at a comfortable level you shouldn't have a need to adjust it. Imaging is awesome as should be expected when you have a character who can zip around the screen the way The Flash does. Fans should be very happy with the audio mixes for this show.
Barry and Iris: New Beginnings! (HD 7:35) This is a pretty standard history of the characters and how they're treating their romantic entanglements.
The Flash: Visual Effects: Follow The Flash in 360: (HD 2:13) A really cool if too short look at what it takes to bring The Flash to life.
Who's Helmet Was That?: (HD 4:23) This is a nice little extra introducing the audience to Jay Garrick's Earth-2 Flash and how he was teased at the end of Season One.
Rogues Gallery: One Cold Father, The Lewis Snart Story: (HD 4:13) This bonus gives the Snart family a little bit of an explanation and also sets up why Captain Cold would possibly want to help out in 'Legends of Tomorrow.'
Heart and Heat: The Story of Firestorm: (HD 4:49) This is a cool little look at Firestorm, the Ronnie character and how Jax takes on the new role of being a hero.
The Flash: Visual Effects: Earth-2: (HD 2:38) I kinda wish all of these visual effects bonuses had been strung together because they all feel like a big feature cut down into two and four-minute segments. Informative but very brief.
Cutting Teeth: The Flash VS King Shark: (HD 5:18) He may not get a lot of screen time in this episode, but it's a heck of a lot of fun seeing King Shark on screen. Gives one hope that they could someday make a live action 'Street Sharks' show or movie!
The Power of Dr. Light: (HD 5:43) This is a cool little feature about how they brought the character to life and set up the multiple universe doppelgangers.
Into The Breach: Designing Earth-2: (HD 4:54) This is an interesting look at the effects that went into creating the breach but also the effects that went into bringing Earth-2 to life.
Gag Reel: (HD 12:29) Your standard cut up material here, but there are some pretty good goofs.
Deleted Scenes: (HD 8:19) Kinda like all of the extra time they gave Caitlin and Jay - wish these had been edited back into the episodes given they didn't need to be pulled for time since there aren't any more commercials.
Behind The Story: The Chemistry of Grant and Emily Screen Test: (HD 6:54) Your standard screen test content but still a lot of fun.
Grodd Lives! (HD 6:51) If there is one thing that this season could have used was more Grodd. They really upped their game with this one and this feature is a pretty cool look at how they brought him back.
Star-crossed Hawks: (HD 11:20) This is a look at the introduction of the story behind Hawkman and Hawkgirl and their reincarnations and their fight with Vandal Savage.
Star-Crossed Hawks: The Hunt for Vandal Savage: (HD 11:02) This feature showcases the villain Vandal Savage and how for better or worse, he's the link between the big 'Flash,' 'Arrow' and 'The Legends of Tomorrow' universe that has come together.
The Flash: Visual Effects: A Closer Look: (HD 2:51) Another awesome look at the visual effects work that goes into creating big budget looking effects on a television show scale.
Christmas With The Flash: (HD 4:36) How can you not love Mark Hamill returning as The Trickster? Sure it's a goofy episode but it was fun and this short bonus is a nice little extra.
Deleted Scenes: (HD 06:40) Some pretty great character building moments that would have been nice to see in the final cuts, but understandable why they got cut out.
2015 Paleyfest: (HD 29:54) This is a pretty cool cast and creative team Q&A. It's a pretty lively event and everyone looks to be having a good time as they answer the pretty standard questions.
The Flash: 2015 Comic-Con Panel: (HD 15:04) Similar to the 2015 Paleyfest extra feature, this Hall H panel discussion covers a lot of the expected ground.
The Flash: Visual Effects: Sticky Situations: (HD 2:18) This is a pretty cool but short look at what went into creating the visual effects sequence for 'Fast Lane.'
The Flash: Visual Effects: Superheroes and Villains: (HD 3:05) Another short but interesting look at the visual effects that went into creating the Earth-2 story arc episodes.
Deleted Scenes: (HD 4:48) A mix of extraneous moments that don't really add to the show and some decent character development moments. It's easy to see why this got left out though.
The Many Faces of Zoom: (HD 6:25) Sadly this is very short, but a cool look at how they brought Zoom to life.
Chasing Flash: The Journey of Kevin Smith: (HD 51:40) Say what you will about Kevin Smith's movies of late, the man clearly loves his comic books and was right at home with an episode of 'The Flash.' This is a pretty awesome behind the scenes feature dedicated to the episode 'The Runaway Dinosaur.'
The Flash: Visual Effects: Everything Falls Apart: (HD 3:21) Like the other visual effects features, this is a showcase of how they brought all of the effects together and set up for season three.
Deleted Scenes: (HD 3:03) Again your basic deleted material but still some great character moments that should have been added back into the final cuts for these home video presentations.
'The Flash: The Complete Second Season' maintains the pace set by the first season and proves to be a rousing adventure. While the rest of the DC Television Universe may be suffering some ups and downs, 'The Flash' stays on his feet. Warner Brothers brings the series to Blu-ray with a rock solid A/V presentation and a ton of bonus features to keep fans occupied. Fans of the series will absolutely want to pick this one up, newcomers may feel compelled to get caught up - as you should - but you don't absolutely need to see Season One to find your stride with this one. Highly Recommended.