MAJOR SPOILERS FROM "THE FLASH" PREMIERE BELOW
Leave it to "The Flash" to break your heart immediately with the first episode of its new season.
Grant Gustin and the cast of The CW superhero series returned from offseason purgatory on Tuesday (October 6) with an all-new episode, called "The Man Who Saved Central City." Barry Allen is the man everyone in Central City credits with that title, but we come to learn that someone else made an even greater sacrifice in wrapping up the season one cliffhanger: Ronnie Raymond, one half of Firestorm.
After enduring months of homelessness and psychosis on the Central City streets, estranged from fiancé Caitlin Snow, and finally reuniting with everything he held dear in his life, Ronnie now exists only as a memory, as torched particles obliterated in the name of saving thousands and thousands of lives from the Singularity.
It's a brutal twist, but one that comes with some immediate and longterm payoff. Here's the good news about Ronnie's tragic ending:
The stakes are set immediately.The CW
Still recovering from Eddie's death? Well, no more time to mourn him, because we have to mourn someone else. Welcome to "The Flash" season two, where hugely important main characters die immediately. No time to waste. It's a breakneck pace straight out the gate, and the right page, given what we're dealing with in the coming year.
We got to see Ronnie and Caitlin at their happiest.The CW
Sure, it was nothing more than a vision, but what a vision! Barry's idealized interpretation of Ronnie and Caitlin's marriage is basically our idealized interpretation, and we're glad we got it, for one GIF only.
Ronnie and Caitlin shared one final epic kiss.The CW
And at least there's nothing left unsaid between them this time, unlike when Ronnie was obliterated by the particle accelerator.
The death itself was unforgettable and heroic.The CW
Ronnie went out completely on his own terms, detonating himself in the middle of the Singularity, saving Central City in the process. It was a glorious demise, the kind of sacrifice worthy of a great superhero.
Ronnie's death moved everyone forward.The CW
It mattered to several of our characters, seen in Dr. Stein's immediate tearful reaction to no longer feeling the connection with Ronnie, Barry's silent confirmation of their friend's death, and Caitlin's self-loathing in the aftermath. It's a death that moved many of these people "forward," as Stein would say.
More dedicated Victor Garber action.The CW
For one thing, now we no longer have to wonder why Ronnie isn't part of the "Legends of Tomorrow" cast. For another, Ronnie's departure means more focus on Martin Stein, as played by the fantastic "Alias" alum Victor Garber. Much love to Robbie Amell, but you'll never see me complain about more time spent on the erstwhile Jack Bristow.
There's one less Amell at the table.The CW
Another backhanded bit of good news, but good news all the same! The similarity between Ronnie and Oliver Queen was always a bit distracting, given that they're cousins in real life. That's one less distraction to worry about moving forward.
This is excellent news for Snowbarry fans.The CW
In the wake of Ronnie's death, we saw a quietly romantic scene between Barry and Caitlin. Barry convinced Caitlin to forgive herself for Ronnie's death. Caitlin convinced Barry to watch Harrison Wells' final video message. Both received tremendous gifts in the process. Both were present for each other in these pivotal life moments. Coincidence… or fate?
Look, if Olicity shippers could will that into existence, then why can't this become a thing? And don't you dare flash that Iris West-Allen byline at me; on a show with multiple timelines and universes, the future is far from certain.
Finally, on the subject of time travel...The CW
We're talking about "The Flash," people. Heroes and villains return from the dead with alarming regularity — Ronnie included! Even if he doesn't make a full-scale comeback at some point down the line, you have to imagine we'll see him again in some capacity in the future. This is absolutely a goodbye, but not goodbye forever.