WELCOME TO EARTH-2 – 8/10.
Well that was absolutely fantastic! Part one of the two part adventure on Earth-2 delivered in spades, managing to find the perfect balance between providing cool, geeky moments and moving the narrative of the season forwards. With 51 of the breaches in Central City now closed, Barry, Wells and Cisco head through the last portal to take the fight to Zoom on Earth-2 and rescue Wells’ daughter, Jesse. Jay warns them to be ready for what they might find through the looking glass, but Barry and Cisco are still amazed to discover a retro-futuristic world inhabited by familiar faces living very different lives. They are even more surprised to discover that they are being hunted by a frost powered metahuman named Killer Frost AKA Earth-2’s Caitlyn and her evil fiancé, Deathstorm.
We’ve had glimpses of Earth-2 before but never to this level, showcasing the retro-futuristic style that has become synonymous with parallel worlds in sci-fi shows and computer games. It was actually surprising that we didn’t see any blimps on Earth-2 as they seem to be a stalwart trope of parallel worlds. The design and wardrobe departments did fantastic work in this episode, using this unique style to create a clear separation between the two Earths. But swanky-watches, 1920s fashion and monorails aside, this episode was all about lives that could have been. When Barry discovers that his Doppelganger (complete with his trademark bow tie) also works for the CCPD he hatches a plan to kidnap him, taking his place to look for clues as to Zoom’s whereabouts.
With Zoom’s henchmen hunting down the breachers the race is on to rescue Jesse, unfortunately things become a lot more complicated when Barry bumps into Earth-2 Barry’s wife at the police station, Detective Iris West-Allen! Not only is Iris a cop, her partner is Floyd Lawton, nicknamed Deadshot because he’s the worst shot on the force. Even more bizarrely, Earth-2’s Joe is a jazz singer who can’t stand his son-in-law. After an attack by Deathstorm and Killer Frost leaves Joe seriously wounded, Barry chooses to abandon the mission in order to stop Caitlin and Ronnie, much to the dismay of Wells. This leads to a showdown matching Flash, cisco, Iris and Deadshot against Killer Frost, Deathstorm and Reverb, cisco’s far more powerful, evil doppelganger.
Back on Earth-1 the remaining members of Team Flash attempt to repair the portal device which was damaged when the others passed through it. Things go from bad to worse with the arrival of Geomancer, a meta with the ability to create earthquakes. With Barry gone, Joe and Caitlin try to convince Jay to use a modified version of the Velocity 6 serum to temporarily restore his speed. Jay is hesitant to do so, revealing that it was his experiments with the Velocity serum that caused his sickness in the first place. But with the city under attack he has no choice but to take it and confront Geomancer. While things look bad on Earth-1 they look positively bleak on Earth-2, the away team’s showdown ends with casualties on both side and Barry imprisoned with Jesse in Zoom’s dungeon.
This episode could have very easily buckled under the weight of its own gimmick, but while there were plenty of ‘look who it is’ moments, they never detracted from the story. This was an action packed episode but it also featured a lot of effective drama. Barry was clearly affected by moments such as hearing his mother’s voice on the phone or Iris saying she loved him, to the point where Wells had to remind him that this life actually belongs to someone else. The drama on Earth-1 was considerably less effective by comparison. Jay Garrick has been curiously absent for lengthy periods of time, which combined with Teddy Sears’ lacklustre performance makes it hard to invest in his storyline, especially when it detracts from more engaging business on Earth-2.
Fans have been awaiting the arrival of Killer Frost since she was teased in the season 1 finale and whilst Danielle Panabaker may not have made the most convincing villain (like goatees, leather trousers don’t instantly make someone a super villain); it was fun to see this classic rogue on screen. It is always exciting to see Flash take on multiple metas at once and his confrontations with Frost, Deathstorm and Reverb where brilliantly realised, even featuring a brief cameo from Earth-2’s Flash Museum. Whilst it does feel like a waste to have Deathstorm and Reverb dispatched so quickly, their deaths at the hands of Zoom only helped to demonstrate how ruthless a villain he is, which only serves to make Barry’s imprisonment all the more effective as a cliffhanger.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- Barry saw a lot of cool stuff while travelling through the breach including Supergirl, Green Arrow rocking a bionic arm and goatee (not evil) and John Wesley Shipp as 90s Flash.
- Mayor Snart!!!! I really wish we could have seen at least a TV interview with him, just to see Barry’s reaction to Captain Cold as an elected official.
- Line of the night goes to Cisco for reacting to Reverb’s offer to join forces and overthrow Zoom by accusing him of “Cloud City Vadering” him.
- The quick dial numbers on Earth-2 Barry’s Phone included the names Bruce, Hal and Diana, a cheeky nod to Batman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman.