ESCAPE FROM EARTH-2 – 7/10.
While the conclusion to Barry’s jaunt on Earth-2 may have lacked some of the pizzazz of the previous episode, it was still a lot of fun to watch. With Barry imprisoned by Zoom, and Cisco and Wells on the run, things looked pretty bleak for Team Flash. The rest of the gang wasn’t fairing much better on Earth-1 with Geomancer terrorising Central City and the breach still destabilised, effectively trapping Barry on the parallel world. The episode managed to maintain a steady momentum despite Barry spending the majority of it trapped inside a small cell (without a toilet of course). While Barry’s friends on Earth-1 and 2 raced to bring him home, he and Jesse tried to solve the coded messages of Zoom’s mysterious masked prisoner, which actually proved to be a lot more engaging than it sounds.
As with last week, the Earth-2 parts of the story far outshone those set on Earth-1. The highly cinematic opening sequence showing Zoom tearing apart the city in search of Wells helped to set the stakes high. The image of the words “bring me Wells” emblazed on the side of a building was particularly effective, demonstrating the complete reign of terror Zoom has over the city, although you’d imagine Star Labs would be the first place he would look. Wells, Cisco and Earth-2 Barry (Barry-2), who as it turns out is a massive spineless dweeb, barely manage to escape when Zoom finally does turn up at Star Labs. Together with Iris-2 they form a plan to track down Killer Frost, hoping that Zoom’s brutal murder of Deathstorm will be enough to turn her against him.
Back on Earth-1, Jay nonchalantly announces that he has repaired the breach while Caitlyn casually mentions that she has developed a new, more stable version of the Velocity serum, offering lacklustre resolutions to both of these cliffhangers from last week. Even when Jay uses the serum to regain his speed and foil another attack by Geomancer it just seems underwhelming, ending with Jay popping off for a nap and leaving Star Labs open to an attack. With Jay catching up on his beauty sleep it falls down to Caitlyn to stop Geomancer, which she does with ease. The only real effect of the attack is that the breach is once again destabilised, although the breach isn’t much use to Barry anyway while he is still trapped in Zoom’s dungeon.
Having located Killer Frost on Earth-2, Wells, Cisco, Iris-2 and Barry-2 do their best to appeal to her better nature, which of course ends with her flinging icicles at them. However, she agrees to lead the gang to Zoom’s lair at Ascension Cliffs after Cisco reminds her that he killed the man she loved, even creating an ice ladder to help them climb up the cliff face. Meanwhile, Barry continues to try to phase through the glass cage without success. Even at this most bleak of moments Barry is still a beacon of hope, convincing Jesse to not give up on her father and to help him to understand what the man in the mask is trying to tell them. The message appears to have something to do with Jay Garrick, but before they can discover more Zoom returns to deliver another brutal beating to Barry.
Killer Frost eventually leads the rest of the gang to Zoom’s Dungeon where Wells enjoys an emotional reunion with his daughter. Barry finally manages to phase through his cell after a bit of self-motivation from Barry-2 but he is unable to rescue the masked man before Zoom returns. When Zoom attacks Jesse it is Killer Frost who turns out to be an unexpected hero, fighting off Zoom while Team Flash escapes back to Star Labs. With the breach repaired (again), Barry delivers Jesse and Cisco back to Earth-1 but he and Wells narrowly manage to escape when Zoom attacks them on Earth-2. They pass through the breach but before they can seal it Zoom is able to reach out, pulling Jay back into the portal with him before it is sealed shut forever.
While this was a more than satisfying conclusion to the Earth-2 adventure it feels as if both episodes would have been better off without the Earth-1 story arcs. This time could have been better spent with either Barry and Jesse or Wells and Cisco, especially considering how low the stakes felt with Jay and Caitlin, Geomancer, and an utterly pointless subplot involving Iris. But this still didn’t manage to take away from the excellent story that was told on Earth-2. It was nice to spend some time with Barry-2 in this episode. Despite initially seeming like an irritating character he had managed to show a great deal of heart by the end of the episode, apparently Barry Allen can inspire hope with or without his powers and he can even climb an ice ladder in wingtip shoes.
We also got to spend a bit more time with Zoom this week, which is rare when compared to Arrow’s Damien Darhk or LOT’s Vandal Savage. He really has proven to be a terrifying nemesis for Flash and there still doesn’t appear to be any kind of chink in his armour. Despite the final breach being shut it is likely that we will be seeing more of Earth-2 in the near future, especially with Jay now trapped as Zoom’s hostage alongside the mysterious masked man. Who is the masked man and what was the message about Jay that he was so desperate to pass on? Could it be linked to Jay’s Earth-1 doppelganger, the ominously named Hunter Zolomon? With several episodes still left in the season it seems that we will have to wait for these questions to be answered.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- The classic sci-fi show that Barry-2 refers to, Commander Carl: Space Marshal of the Galaxy could be the Earth-2 version of Commander Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe, an old sci-fi show from the 50s.
- Got to love Cisco calling Killer Frost ‘Elsa’. If you don’t get the Frozen reference then don’t worry, just let it go.
- Cisco is quite right; heroes have bases, villains have lairs.
- It was kind of disappointing that Cisco and Barry both failed to react to the mention of Atlantis. Although it does mean that Aquaman could perhaps appear on Flash at some point.