The Flash

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The Invasion! crossover continues, focusing mainly on current and former Arrow cast members who are abducted by the Dominators and thrown into a virtual-reality world in which Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Thea‘s (Willa Holland) parents are still alive, Diggle (David Ramsey) is the Green Arrow, and Oliver is set to marry Laurel (Katie Cassidy). Haunted by memory flashes of their true lives, Oliver, Thea, Diggle, Ray (Brandon Routh), and Sara (Caity Lotz) come together to fight their way out of the fake reality and back into the real world where they wake up to discover they are aboard a Dominator mother ship in outer space.

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Now this is more like it. The big four-part crossover which was teased (but not actually begun) last night on Supergirl gets started here with the arrival of the Dominators on Earth. For those not familiar with the aliens, the Dominators were first introduced back in the 60s but made their most notable splash in DC Comics in 1989 as part of the Invasion! (good name) mini-series. Realizing he can’t stop the alien threat alone, Barry (Grant Gustin) enlists the help of Team Arrow (including the retired Thea), the Legends, and even hops universes to bring back Supergirl (Melissa Benoist). Although Barry doesn’t take naturally to leading, the team follows him… at least until they discover about Flashpoint whose effects continue to be discovered as one Legend learns he now has a loving daughter he has never met.

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As Alchemy reaches out to Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) to embrace his Flashpoint life, the season takes a big turn. Wally will choose to help the group take down the villain, but not at the cost of the speed he so desperately desires. Caitlin‘s (Danielle Panabaker) powers will be revealed to the group. And Alchemy’s boss, the season’s true big bad, is revealed to be Savitar (i.e. yet another speedster). The episode is problematic in that its purpose is more to set-up what is to come than offer a strong standalone episode. The result is a metahuman shadow who is more of an afterthought than a legitimate threat while foreshadowing big changes for both Wally and Caitlin in the coming weeks.

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Monster attacks around the city by a beast that seems to appear and disappear at will force Barry (Grant Gustin) to work with Julian (Tom Felton) to investigate the cause. Initially believing the attacks are being caused by yet another out-of-control meta-human, Julian is forced to admit his error (and also his possible misjudgment of both the Flash and Barry). Since being introduced the character of Julian has been nothing but a thorn in Barry’s side, “Monster” begins to develop the character more deeply and get to the root of problem with meta-humans.

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“The New Rogues” introduces another classic Flash (Grant Gustin) villain in the Mirror Master (Grey Damon). Offering us flashbacks to Mirror Master’s origins, in which the thug is trapped within a mirror during the accelerator explosion, the episode allows for the limited return of Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller). Although I prefer the classic take on the character, which we do get reference to in Harry (Tom Cavanagh) mentioning the Mirror Master of his Earth, it’s good to see another classic Flash villain introduced on the show.

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“Magenta” introduces a new meta-human altered by Doctor Alchemy when a schizophrenic girl with an abusive Foster Care family begins lashing out at those who have hurt her. Calling herself Magenta (Joey King), the young woman uses her powers to manipulate metal of any size to put her Foster Care father in the hospital. Not even aware of what her other personality is doing when she is blacked out, eventually it will take the Flash (Grant Gustin) to talk her through her pain and understand just what she is doing before she hurts hundreds of more people to get her vengeance.

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After altering time to save his parents and then attempting to reset things back to normal, Barry (Grant Gustin) finds home isn’t the place her remembered. Joe (Jesse L. Martin) and Iris (Candice Patton) are estranged, Barry still hasn’t made a romantic move on Iris, Cisco‘s (CarlosValdes) brother is dead, and Barry has to deal with another Central City employee (Tom Felton) in his lab. Even a heart-to-heart with Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) doesn’t calm the Flash’s nerves or give him any insight on how to set things right. And his attempt to gather Joe, Iris, Cisco, Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale), and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) for a dinner party to work through their mutual problems doesn’t go exactly as planned.

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After choosing to go back in time and stop the Reverse-Flash (Matt Letscher) from killing his mother (Michelle Harrison), Barry (Grant Gustin) has settled into his new reality. With another speedster fighting crime as the Flash, Barry’s life is mostly good. Both his parents are alive and in good health, his arch-enemy is locked up and can do no further harm, and he and Iris (Candice Patton) hit it off when he finally gets the nerve to reintroduce himself to her. The only thing troubling Barry are visions of his true timeline which is slowly slipping away, a version of Joe (Jesse L. Martin) he doesn’t recognize, and missing the chance to play the hero for Central City.

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the-flash-season-two-blu-rayThe Second Season of The Flash feels like a bit of a retread putting the Scarlet Speedster up against although super-fast baddie. Zoom isn’t as strong a villain as the Reverse-Flash which leads to a disappointing season finale, but along the way the season does have several bright spots including exploring the concept of a Multiverse, Barry‘s (Grant Gustin) relationship with Patty Spivot (Shantel VanSanten), and bringing back Tom Cavanagh as the all-different Harrison Wells.

Highlights include the Flash’s time jump to trick his old enemy into helping him, the return of the Reverse-Flash (Matt Letscher), the team-up of the Weather Wizard (Liam McIntyre), Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and the original Trickster (Mark Hamill), Central City terrorized by King Shark, Barry struggling with the loss of his speed, the Flash temporarily trapped inside the Speed Force, the return of Grodd, the introduction of Zoom, and the episodes leading up to the spin-off Legends of Tomorrow.

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Because DC Universe: Rebirth #1 centered around Wally West and his connection the lost pre-New 52 DCU, and did such an amazing job of reintroducing the character back into DC Comics, The Flash: Rebirth #1 feels mostly redundant. There’s simply nothing new for writer Joshua Williamson to introduce.

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