THE FLASH Visits Earth-2, With Mixed Results

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Episode 213 “Welcome to Earth-2”
Directed by Millicent Shelton, Teleplay by Katherine Walczak
Story by Greg Berlanti & Andrew Kreisberg

Episode 214 “Escape From Earth-2”
Directed by J.J. Makaro, Teleplay by David Kob
Story by Todd Helbing & Aaron Helbing

This two-part story was a mixed bag for me. As far out as we are on the episodes actually airing, I’ll spare the extensive detail on the plot. Most weeks, The Flash does a really good job swinging for the fences. But every now and then, they hit a pop-up fly ball that might or might not be caught by the outfielder.

Yes, I can do sports analogies….

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Earth-2 is a wonderful mash-up of film noir and the animated Batman series. It’s gold and glowing and full of hope and sunshine. The only missing is the rainbow. It’s only natural that Barry-1 (Grant Gustin) and Cisco-1 (Carlos Valdez) would gawk like tourists. Because they are.

And while Harry’s (Tom Cavanagh) frustration is understandable, and while the mission matters, and while the need to rescue Jessie (Violett Beane) should be of paramount importance to our team, we also have to remember that Harry is used to the idea of jumping back and forth between dimensions. For Cisco-1 and Barry-1, this is the first time. So every time they run into something new — the bland not-very-accurate “Deadshot” Lawton-2, the thug named Singh-2, the other West (Candice Patton) as a detective — naturally, they’re going to react.

Bow ties are cool. [photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW]
Bow ties are cool. [photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW]
At first glance, the plan is pretty simple: Barry-1 gets into Barry-2’s CSI lab to work up a way to predict where Zoom’s going to show up, and then get there, rescue Jessie, and get back to the portal before it closes.

Harry, for his part, neglects to tell Barry-1 that Earth-2 has technology that can detect metahumans, so when Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker) and Deathstorm (Robbie Amell) show up at the jazz club that Joe-2 runs, it turns into an ugly mess that shouldn’t have happened if Barry-1 had stuck to his original mission.

Bonnie & Clyde? Close. [photo: Diyah Pera/The CW]
Bonnie & Clyde? Close. [photo: Diyah Pera/The CW]
That lack of focus gets Joe-2 killed. Which is completely unnecessary to the story. I mean, Barry-1’s motivation to focus on protecting Iris-2 isn’t going to be a less reckless decision if Joe-2’s still alive. It’s still the wrong choice to make, and it only plays to the notion of Joe-2 and Barry-2 not getting along on Earth-2, which should have tipped Iris-2 to the notion that something was up as soon as Barry-1 tried to be friendly with Joe-2.

And while the names of fellow Justice League members on the phone was a nice Easter egg, it also doesn’t make any sense in this universe. Because Barry-2 isn’t the Flash and he would have no reason to know Bruce Wayne, Hal Jordan, or Diana of Themyscira.

Now, don’t get me wrong; it was a fun couple of episodes to watch, and the second part hangs together a lot better than the first.

About to climb the Cliffs of Insanity... [Bettina Strauss/The CW]
About to climb the Cliffs of Insanity… [Bettina Strauss/The CW]
Take, for instance, the fact that Killer Frost warms softens to the idea that Zoom needs to be taken down a peg or two because he killed Ronnie-2 and Cisco-2. The same as we’re seeing on Legends of Tomorrow with Leonard Snart, the villain of the piece is making less selfish decisions because circumstances show that it’s not always the right choice to do the wrong thing. So when Cisco-1 makes his appeal to Caitlin-2, knowing she’s in there under all that frozen anger, we know it’s going to have an effect because Cisco in any universe is just turning into a cool kid.

Caitlin-1, meantime, is furiously working on the Velocity formula so Jay (Teddy Sears) can be the Flash of Earth-1 while the Flash is on Earth-2 (got it?), and we finally get to Velocity-9. But Jay still doesn’t have full access to the Speed Force, although V-9 does kick start the regenerative properties of his cells.

Taking the V-9 gives Jay enough speed that he can deal with Geomancer (Adam Stafford), to a point, but ultimately he fails to recover in time to do any good, and it’s up to Iris-1 and Caitlin-1 to put The Boot™ on Geomancer before he can do irreparable harm to STAR Labs.

Who was that masked man? [photo: Diyah Pera/The CW]
Who was that masked man? [photo: Diyah Pera/The CW]
Speaking of Jay, the rumors and speculation are flying now that we’ve seen the Man in the Iron Mask. Could this be the real Jay Garrick? Could the Jay we’ve seen up to this point be an impostor? If so, who is he really? And how long would he have to have been pretending to be Jay for Harry not to realize a switch had been made?

This leads to the other bucket of stupid in the room: Jay standing close enough to the dimensional rift to get grabbed by Zoom, unless it was on purpose. Which is fueling speculation that Jay may not be who he says he is.

And who is Zoom? With John Wesley Shipp’s Flash from 1991 showing up in the breach vortex — along with Supergirl, Gorilla Grodd, Connor Hawke, and a Legion of Superheroes ring — fans are now also wondering if that was just a nod and a wink to the old show, or if there’s some significance to the fact that it was included? And since the actual image was reversed (doubtless for eyeline reasons), the logo on his chest is a close match for Zoom’s. This has everyone abuzz, wondering if perhaps Henry Allen from Earth-1 is Zoom.

Lay your bets, folks.

 

The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.

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Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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