Flash Ronnie Dies

Flash Premiere Recap: Flash, Forward — But What's With That Goodbye?

The CW’s The Flash covered a lot of ground with its Season 2 premiere. But did an odd, sad wrinkle cast a pall on an otherwise whiz-bang hour?

Following an opening fake-out — in which Barry envisions himself besting Captain Cold and Heat Wave and then receiving heavy-handed kudos from all those near and dear, dead Eddie and Harrison included — we discover that Barry has been going it alone during the six months since snuffing the singularity, using any free time to anonymously repair and reno destroyed properties.

Fueling his sad sack act is the tragic truth, revealed in flashback, that whilst untangling the singularity on that fateful day, Barry needed an assist from Firestorm. But by pitching in, Ronnie lost his life, while Stein survived. As such, Barry fancies himself no hero, and certainly not one worthy of a “Flash Day” celebration. Caitlin has taken a new job at Mercury Labs and Cisco is serving as “scientific adviser” to Joe’s anti-metahuman task force, while Barry does little more than keep the lights on and floors swept at S.T.A.R. Labs.

In the course of begrudgingly putting in appearance at “Flash Day,” Barry is bested by a metahuman dubbed Atom-Smasher (due to his penchant to absorb radiation and, well, “smash things,” as Stein eloquently puts it). While Cisco reaches out to a distant (frosty?) Caitlin for input on this new foe, Iris and Joe agree that it is up to them to force the issue of a Team Flash reunion. Barry however wants no part of it, and sets out to face Atom-Smasher again, by himself, only barely escaping a brutal beat-down. Afterward, a flashback to Joe breaking down “angry” Young Barry’s defenses are juxtaposed with Joe at banged-up Barry’s bedside, where he urges him to reconsider his solo act.

Barry proceeds to reach out to Caitlin, acknowledging again his role in Ronnie’s death. Caitlin, though, accepts her own portion of the blame, seeing as she nixed Ronnie’s suggestion that they move away from Central City and all the drama. Caitlin then gives Barry the nudge he needs to watch a “goodbye” video left for him by Harrison Wells (who also bequeathed S.T.A.R. Labs to his protege), and within the recording he finds a full confession from his mother’s murderer!

Buoyed by the good news, Barry allies anew with the team, and Caitlin suggests that they OD their new adversary with radiation, and that tactic indeed fells the none-too-gentle giant. When The Flash quizzes Atom-Smasher about his beef as well as him sharing the face of a dead person, the galoot explains that if he succeeded in killing the speedster, “He promised he’d take me home.” And who is “he”? Zoom.

From there on, the premiere is nearly all rainbows and unicorns, including a wonderfully happy montage where Barry greets his exonerated father at the Iron Heights gates and then escorts him to the West home for a celebration, complete with a toast by Dr. Stein to moving “forward.”

But when Barry pulls his dad aside to discuss their future together, Henry gently rebuffs the sentiment, asking, “Can you be all that you are becoming, with me here?” and asserting that what Central City needs now is for Barry to be The Flash, not “Henry Allen’s kid.” “You’re the only family I have,” a gut-punched Barry counters, but Henry sees things differently, nodding to the room full of people who have been at Barry’s side for years.

Henry assures his son that when he needs him, he will be there. But right here and now, Henry is poised to make tracks for the train station, to resume his life elsewhere.

This is where I, twice, exclaimed at my DVD player screen: What the [heck]?!

Barry has arrived at a certain peace with Dad’s abrupt exit when he meets up with the reconstituted Team Flash at S.T.A.R. Labs, which now boasts super-duper-ultra-enhanced security, meaning no Tom, Dick or Harrison can waltz right in.

And then a stranger walks right in. His name is Jay Garrick, he announces, and he’s here to warn, “Your world is in danger.”

What did you think of The Flash‘s return? And am I making too much of Henry’s lame exit? Could there possibly be something else at play?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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92 Comments
  1. Lysh says:

    Loved it. Cried like three times. But I don’t understand the ending. Where is Papa Allen gonna go? Does he have money? What the heck? I saw the Ronnie thing coming though. Hopefully he’s just trapped in another timeline or something.

  2. Carl says:

    It was okay, a bit underwhelming. Didn’t wow me like last season.

  3. Henry moving is meaningless, other than they don’t want to pay John Wesley Shipp as a regular. No matter where Henry is, Barry can be there in minutes. It would be like moving to the other side of town.

  4. chuckiechk says:

    When Henry was telling Barry he was leaving, he gave a nod to Joe. I’m thinking Joe let Henry know that he wouldn’t be safe in Central City and maybe him leaving would be best for Barry. In an interview after the show, the producers said that Henry will still be a regular and will still appear a lot on the show.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Not a regular but yes, he will still be seen.

      My point was that that was a fine “How do you do?” after Barry was laser-focused this past year on righting a wrong and getting his dad sprung. “Son, thanks for risking your life a couple dozen times to save me! So… see you on Facetime?” It doesn’t track.

      • JJ says:

        You’re right. It felt forced to accommodate real life logistics rather than serve the story.

      • hilltoip94 says:

        Agreed. It was the only moment we also thought: “Right, now?” I could have seen him making that decision down the line that maybe he needs to find a new life or something elsewhere, or maybe he could have just stayed off screen until the story needed it. But it just felt so odd that it would happen at his party. The drama beat didn’t quite land.

      • Kingmose1 says:

        My first thought was that Barry’s Dad has been somehow replaced by Eobard Thawne – dead/erased-from-existence is never dead/erased-from-existence when it comes to comic book characters. It would explain the sudden appearance of the “confession” video. Just doesn’t seem like Harrison Wells\Eobard Thawne would simply do that out of the goodness of his dark heart. Again, just a thought that occurred to me at the time.

      • BenM says:

        Completely agree, Matt.

  5. Stephon JS says:

    I’m not convinced Ronnie is dead. I think since Robbie is busy on The Xfiles they temporary wrote his character off. My guess Ronnie is in Earth 2 and will be back n the 2nd half of the season

    • Anna says:

      My thoughts exactly. Just long enough for Caitlin’s grief to start driving her towards a dark destiny, probably.

    • Tabularasa says:

      I think Ronnie is really dead. It seemed like Robbie wanted to move on, but it also makes sense from a story perspective. Killing Ronnie allows Caitlyn to possibly go dark side from her grief and move her closer to becoming Killer Frost. I also thought Ronnie was leaving the show somehow when he didn’t show up in any of the trailers for Legends of Tomorrow, but Stein is going to be a regular in it. Seems to me like they’re going to find a replacement for Stein to team up with as Firestorm.

  6. jrex says:

    Very mixed feelings about loosing Ronnie, but given the premise of travel between alternate worlds, I hoping we could see him somewhere down the road. Assuming there is some future story purpose to Henry’s departure my main concern is how is Barry paying the taxes and upkeep on Star Labs?

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      I had the same thought about taxes. Let’s assume during their down time the STAR Labs team does the occasional freelance next-gen tech work ;)

      • While not spelled out, Wells’ lawyer said that S.T.A.R. was going into receivership unless Barry watched the video; that watching the video would signal him and he’d “put everything in motion.” I figured that meant that, whatever source of money Wells used to keep S.T.A.R. going after the explosion was put into place to continue doing just that.

  7. Lola says:

    I don’t buy that exit either. Barry’s dad probably has cancer.

    • sladewilson says:

      I was thinking he’s sick and don’t want to burden Barry and Joe knows about it, hence “the look” they shared. As for Ronnie, I’m not all that concerned considering how many times Ronnie has “died” in the DC Universe and come back to life.

  8. Ally says:

    Loved it until they made Henry leave! I’m so shocked; I looked forward to the father and son interactions last season and it would have been great to see that without the glass

    • Ally says:

      Also believe Ronnie is out there somewhere

    • Ted says:

      I agree that they could have made Henry’s exit cleaner. From how I choose to understand it – Freeing his dad was Barry’s motivation in becoming a hero, I mean he’s a good person and all, but I feel his drive and motivation was rooted in solving his mother’s murder and freeing his father and now with that resolved Henry sees the hero the Barry is becoming, but also understands that his presence could throw Barry off. I think he feels that Barry would want to make up for time lost and add onto that another person Barry would go to extreme lengths to protect and you have the makings for a very big distraction.

      So he took himself out of the immediate picture. Being present without being a distraction (I mean Barry can get to him whenever he wanted) and allowing Barry to focus on what kind of hero he wants to be, to find his new motivation.

      • murley says:

        This is a good interpretation. It did feel a little forced but I was willing to forgive it because I think it will be better for the overall plot to not have his father’s presence take up a lot of story time. This explanation makes it that much easier to swallow.

        • I’m still thinking that Henry will have the same powers as Barry, I mean… How do you not get the first Flash speed powers, c’mon! I mean, is not like he had the motivation to run, and I mean, REALLY run. If Caitlin and Cisco can get their powers later, maybe Henry can too. Same DNA and all… Maybe is something that he suspects, or he felt starting, and needs space from Barry, so he can understand them… And Joel is in on it. I mean… with so many speedsters coming to town, they’d be a fool to not make Henry one of them. That little bit about racing Barry, and letting his kid being the superhero… They’re cooking something there.

      • Tomc-Bost says:

        Just read this. Very good interpretation of Henry leaving. It does make a lot of sense. And as some else mentioned earlier, maybe Joe and Henry had a talk before Henry being released and his being a target might put Barry in more danger or distract him from concentrating on his powers. Henry is not out completely, by no means. Maybe he will continue his role as a sounding board for Barry and a wise mentor as when he was in prison. I think there will be a different attitude in how the two interact in the future,

  9. Sheldon W. says:

    I would have given The Man Who Saved Central City an A if it hadn’t been for that inexplicable bit about Henry having to leave. That was almost incomprehensibly stupid in an ep that was, otherwise, pretty frakkin’ brilliant.

  10. Allison says:

    First, I love the word galoot! It reminds me of my childhood watching Looney Tunes so thank you for that! Also, I thought it was funny how they were boasting about the upgraded security and how no one would able to waltz right in and then somebody just waltzes right on in! Anyway, I gave the premiere a B only because of Henry leaving Barry right after getting out of jail. I was so hurt by that because Barry spent all of those years trying to free his dad and then as soon as his dad is free, he basically tells him thanks for the memories, kid. I’ll always be around. So yeah, I was not experiencing any happy feelings in that moment. The optimist in me is hoping Robbie is not dead and that he will make a return. Cisco is still adorable and I hope that never changes. Well, it was a very good premiere and the promo for next week looked promising so I will definitely be watching.

  11. MattySi says:

    Great premiere. I just can’t figure out why Henry felt he should leave. I don’t get it.

  12. James D says:

    It was okay it felt a little forced to be honest. but Jay Garrik be in the building so I’m good. Edge did a good job with Atom Smasher too. And Cisco continues to be the glue that holds the gang together, other than that it was sort of Meh for me. looking forward to the season though.

  13. Amy says:

    I thought it was a great starter episode. Not beyond amazing but had enough setup for me to get excited for this season. I especially loved seeing Iris at Star Labs hanging out with Stein and Cisco. The scene where Iris convinces Barry to go the flash day was also lovely <3 Sad that Henry had to leave so soon though :'(

  14. LK says:

    I don’t believe Ronnie is gone.. never saw a body… he must be on Earth 2….. not wild about this version of Atom Smasher… he’s supposed to be a good guy.

  15. anonononon says:

    For me it felt like one of those bittersweet aftermath season Finale’s that TVD used to do really well in its early years. As a season starter it felt too somber. especially for a show as joyful and fun as the flash. Hopefully next weeks episode is a much better season starter and things get moving again.

  16. AJJJ says:

    Caitlyn says it’s her fault that Ronnie died because he asked her to leave town with him, but if they left town wouldn’t the black hole have still came eventually (or even sooner) and have killed everyone since Ronnie wouldn’t have helped???

  17. Chris Garson says:

    Flawed opener. As if writers just wanted to fast forward to rebooted setting. Opening six months post singularity and then having two minute flashback fifteen minutes in to explain WTH shortchanged singularity cliffhanger. Time jump used to give characters time in new setting just so they can be pelted back eg Cisco at Pd, Kate at Mercury, Barry in self exile, and then by end of episode, they’ve mostly settled back into more season 1 like setting. Wells confession got Henry off the hook too easily, too fast. Having. Him move on so of fast was ridiculous

  18. fatalsin says:

    I disagree with those who say they shouldnt have made Henry leave. He would serve as nothing but a distraction for Barry, he doesnt bring something to the table thats worth Barry risking his life… like Cisco/Tech Catlyin/Computers and Science eTC.. But thats just what I thought. I didnt think it was to be cruel or anything like that I believe it was the ultimate sacrifice for Barry since Barry has been sacrificing for him

  19. Pat says:

    I thought it was very sad, that Henry left so quickly after being released from prison. They could have at least had his character stay for a little while before his departure. Poor Barry,my heart was broken for him. I too, wondered if Henry’s character is very ill but did not want to burden his son with this. I am just glad that Dr. Wells had the common decency to leave a confession owning up to Barry’s Mothers death.

  20. dancmh says:

    Henry’s exit made absolutely no sense and I kind of felt bad for John trying to convey that it was the next logical move for a recent ex convict with no job, money, or housing prospects.

    But what really pulled me out of the entire episode was the Jeep Cherokee commercial song that played at the big group “Happy”. I know it’s not just a song for a commercial, but man did that just ruin the scene for me.

    …and while I realize this is a show about a guy who can run really fast and talking gorillas, do all nuclear reactors have a magical room that can funnel all the radiation in one convenient spot? Was there any talk of imprisoning Atom Smasher or was the plan to just kill him all along. I got the impression Barry and the team decided to put him down. The “We couldnt let you hurt anyone else” line was pretty hollow when the guy already said, “I’m just here to kill you.”

    • hizpetal86 says:

      Rite…. Atom said ‘If I Kill U, he will send me home’ ummmm how about instead of zappin da guy, trap him in an absorption box and get some answers and then lock him up like Wells did…… So let’s get into da nitty gritty!!!!!! I want Wells back. Remember Wells recorded everything, mapped out everything, thought of everything & planned for everything. Super Cop killing himself just didn’t do it for me. Also after doing all this good here comes Killer Frost!!!!! Ronnie chose to help Flash, his death is on no ones hands, losses happen when ur trying to save ur Town. Don’t even get me started on Henry….. To the writers I say that was a low blow. For 14 yrs Barry has been riding da #FreeMyPapa Train and when Barry comes out of Hiz ‘ I Let Da World Down’ haze hiz dad jumps ship….. I quit, I’m not jumping on this emo roller coaster wit y’all this damn early in the season. The job is to out do the first season not undo everything that made us fall for da show in da first place. I don’t think Henry would ever pose a problem cuz thru out the whole Flash franchise Barry’s identity was never known. Even Lex Luther didn’t kno who Flash really was. I’m not a DC fan per se but I am a JL, Flash, Batman, SuperGuy and WW lover so I know a lil bit about a lil bit and this premiere just wasn’t all that for me.

  21. Kim R says:

    In my memory, there was something that came across Barry’s dad face while still in prison in one episode that made me think there is more to his story, something Barry does not know. After last night’s episode, the look between Joe and Henry, I was reminded of this. I think there is something more to the story.

  22. herman1959 says:

    I agree, I was enjoying the episode until Barry’s father announced that he was leaving. I waited until this morning to post because I didn’t get it, and I still don’t. It was a complete drag on the episode, it reminded me of Arrow (not in a good way). Barry’s father should have stayed a few day and the left at the start of episode 2. The opener could have ended with The Flash Gang reunited as “Renegade” played them out…that would have been awesome.

  23. mike says:

    Glad we finally see why Ronnie won’t be in Legends. I’m interested though in how they spin someone else being able to merge with Stein. Never really knew there was a Firestorm other than those two, but I guess there must be. Some new 52 nonsense I suppose.

    Saw the letter address to Bart Allen in the beginning. Is Impulse coming to? I think I only ready about Jessie and Wally being announced. And Jay of course.

    • Gail says:

      I am not completely up on what happens in the comics but I believe there is someone named Jason who becomes Firestorm. I think Prof Stein is no longer in the mix and it is Jason and Ronnie who merge to become Firestorm. My point being they will probably bring Jason to the Flash. I can see a scene where Caitlin sees Firestorm and thinks Ronnie is back and finds out Firestorm is someone else. The tears.

    • herman1959 says:

      I saw the letter, but I didn’t catch the name. Since (I believe) Bart is Barry and Iris’s grandson, aka Kid Flash, I’ll assume he will be showing up at some point in the season. That will make 4 incarnations of The Flash – Jay, Barry, Wally, and Bart…OMG.

    • Datya says:

      The letters were from Dr. Well’s lawyer, and they were addressed to Bartholomew Henry Allen – which I assume is just Barry’s legal name…

  24. robandco says:

    Sad seeing Henry going but remeber this is just a season opener, it means that a lot of what we saw is mean to have an impact and ramifications during the rest of the season. I bet there’s more to Henry’s story that what we saw here. Because it made very little sense.
    The new dynamic of the group is good. I really liked Iris as part of the gang.
    I can’t wait for Earth 2 to bring back Tom Cavanaugh (please?) because his absence was noticeable. The falshbacks and the video were not enough.

  25. Joey Padron says:

    Season premiere was good and bit emotional. Sad Ronnie is trap in another world. Adam did good as Atom Smasher. Glad Barry’s dad is out of jail. Kind of sad he’s leaving the city. Jay’s entrance at the end was good.

  26. Nope. The way he left was pretty weird and sudden, and comic book fans already have some pretty compelling theories, such as the possibility that not only is Henry Allen the First Flash, but also that he and Eobard knew one another. I don’t know much about all this, but I do know that I didn’t want him to leave :(

  27. Gail says:

    No mention of the scene where Cisco zones out and has a vision of an apparent alternate reality. What was that all about. I assume Atom Smasher was the Earth 2 version of the guy he killed at the top of the show. Hope Barry visits Earth 2 this season and gets to see alternate versions of everyone. Though I hope the alternate versions are not just the opposite of the versions from Barry’s world. Ie everyone who is good is evil on Earth 2. That has been done to death.

    • herman1959 says:

      OK, Gail, be ready to do a lot of explaining. With flashbacks and flashforwards for Earth 1 and alternate versions of Earth to come, it could get a little MUCH.

  28. Achille says:

    Great recap. I honestly don’t get Henry’s decision to leave so soon. I could accept his reasons but dude at least stay for a week? Barry spent 14 years fighting for this, jeez.

    Anyway, solid premiere. I’m a bit surprised they killed (or gave cancer to if he didn’t die) the metahuman… That’s very Arrow S1 but well, why not. I also loved Barry and Caitlin’s scenes, as always they are very sweets and avoid falling into drama clichés, they just help each other getting better with a few wise lines a couple of jokes.

  29. Luis says:

    FLASH OF TWO WORLDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can die happy now!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. Datya says:

    What was with all the talking about Barry being the Flash right in the middle of the police station, where they cpuld be overheard by everyone?
    Also, why was there no extra scene at the end (after the Flash screen)? Matt, are they not going to have those scenes this season???

  31. BDavis says:

    Wasn’t a good episode. I’m actually worried about this season now.

  32. JC1 says:

    I don’t think you’re making too much of it. It was really weird. To me it just screamed “we’re bored with the Henry in jail storyline but we don’t know what else to do with him, so we’re putting him on a bus.” It just didn’t work for me. :(
    .
    The other thing I thought was weird was that we didn’t see much reaction from Iris about Eddie’s death. I know it’s been six months, and I’m assuming we’ll get more into it in future episodes, but even in the flashback to that day, it’s Caitlin who’s shown grieving, and Iris is oddly calm for someone who just had her boyfriend die in her arms,
    .
    I’m trying not to think too hard about why everything didn’t change when Wells was wiped out of existence, and are we saying the wormhole was Barry’s fault now? I thought it happened because Eddie shot himself. If it IS Barry’s fault, it’s hard not to think what the city would be thinking if they knew he caused the whole thing in the first place. I really wish they hadn’t gone there. :(
    .
    Other than those things, I enjoyed it. I’ve missed this show. And Joe and Cisco were fantastic. I loved watching Joe crack up at Cisco. That’s a pairing we need more of.

  33. ABC says:

    JWS presence on “Arrow” was stunt casting to begin with, an homage to his playing that role decades ago. But, yeah, it was clumsily handled. Move on.

  34. catty says:

    Seriously, no mention of Iris at all? Rolling my eyes

  35. Zainab Ali says:

    Some of the lines were a bit cheesy but overall a very good start to the season. Snowbarry had me crying so much, love those two together, I hope they’ll eventually get together

  36. Dennis says:

    Yes! Henry’s exit was super lame and made him look like a complete douche. Totally inconsistent with his character. I hope there’s something more to his abrupt departure, because if there isn’t, this just looks like a case of lazy writing to get the character off the show.

  37. Queerbec says:

    If Thawne was never born, then who killed Barry’s mom? And who killed or took over the body of Dr. Wells? None of that should have happened and Barry should have never become the Flash because there was no accident at Star Labs since Thawne didn’t exist to try to get back to his time period? How to explain all this ?

    • maregolden says:

      Don’t think that hard. Your head will explode.

    • Bakerskater23 says:

      Im probably wrong but I think that every time travel resulted in a new timeline/ paralell universe.

      Theres one where eboard thawne never killed Nora and he never became the flash. Heck he might have ended up in prison ( season 1 finale). Eddies probably still alive too.

      Theres this universe with all the confusion going on

      Theres another universe where cisco is dead and central city is still recovering from the tsunami.

      Haha Im probably dead wrong but atleast this theory doesnt confuse the hell out of me :p

    • Bakerskater23 says:

      Oh and when eddie killed himself, he created the timeline you’re mentioning now where eboard thawne was never born. I still dont understand how he
      dissappeared in this universe though. Maybe theres a plot twist

  38. Tomc-Bost says:

    The premiere was very good. As usual, the acting was above par. The early departure of Henry is a little disconcerting, given all the talks they had last season (except that Henry told Barry he did not want the Flash to go back in time and the disruption it would cause, did it bother him that Barry ignored him and then saw the consequence). Maybe he didn’t want to get between Barry and Joe as well as the rest of the team. There is a lot of analysis that can go in here. I don’t believe that this is the last time we will see Henry, though. To be honest, I was surprised they sprung Henry so quickly and when they did I wondered how they would fit him into the scenes. How would Barry and Henry interact? Well, guess I don’t have to wonder anymore

  39. Well, Jay’s helmet *did* appear at the end of last season. But if papa Allen was on that bullet train, he’s been blown up, and somehow I doubt that was the funeral Oliver was crying over and Barry missed.

  40. woodyntchuliktano says:

    Everything said so far in regards to the stunt-casting nature of the father role initially being true, and also that it felt forced and hurried, pat and convenient, even reflecting unfavorably on his character for a moment, yet that exchanged glance was enigmatic and unmistakeable.

    Besides likely suffering from PTSD from his jail time, there is also something going on with him (the health crisis theories seem plausible) that Joe knows about and they are protecting Barry from.

    That leaves plenty of room for his character to keep popping up. Whole arcs.

    The baddy was a bit lame. Too easily vanquished. Then again, the whole Earth can’t be in in peril every weekend or it becomes numbing.

    Iris seemed a little too okay, at the 6 month point, with the suicide/act of heroism of her erstwhile fiancé…she doesn’t seem to be after Barry at all, which would have been icky, but that slight hesitation at the sight of his picture on the wall of the honored fallen didn’t have the emotional impact of some of the better scenes.

    Maybe Iris isn’t played by that great an actress? I want want to start trouble, here, she’s cool, I like her, but some of the other performances are pretty darn terrific…she may not be bad, but the others are really good.

    I tend to think they factor into the casting and writing a certain amount of controversial or questionable talent levels, mannerisms…love that there’s a dorky, pun-happy sidekick, but he rarely gets to be more…human. Real.

    The best superhero adaptations I’ve seen to date are the ones where you really do sense (even in the aliens!) their humanity.

    Both in the characters, and the performers.

  41. Claire Mesa says:

    I thought it was really stupid that his dad left right away after getting out of prison and finally being able to be part of his son’s life, Made no sense at all.

  42. Claire Mesa says:

    What made even less sense is that the only change in anyone’s life caused by Eddie killing himself is that Thawn/Wells disappears. If this man never existed that would mean a lot of changes! I really liked this show up to that point.