Oh, Earth-2, we hardly knew ye! Sadly for those of us who were hoping the dimension-hopping trip that began last week would span a multi-episode narrative packed with heroes and villains we’d never seen before, this week’s episode of The Flash cemented its fate as a mere two-parter. Still, there’s plenty of adventuring on hand, with Wells-2 and Cisco recruiting Iris-2 and Barry-2—and eventually Killer Frost—as they journey to Zoom’s lair to rescue Barry-1 and Wells’ daughter Jessie.
Though Barry-2 knows how to rock a bow tie, I was about to write the lad off as a complete milquetoast undeserving of his kick-ass wife’s affections… until he proved his scientific knowledge is even greater than our Barry’s (and that he’s just as good at delivering pep talks). Yes, here Grant Gustin gets to motivate… himself! Sure, it’s corny as hell, but it’s a novel way to illustrate once more that Barry’s empathy, courage, and optimism are what really make him a superhero.
I’m not sure what to make of Zoom’s other captive, Jessie. She’s remarkably composed when talking to Barry in her cell. But then after almost dying at Zoom’s hands, she argues with her father when he asks her to leave her friends behind and come with him to Earth-2. Um, Jessie, it’s not like your old man is asking you to move because his job relocated. Cut the guy a little slack.
And what to make of the third of Zoom’s prisoners, the Man in the Iron Mask? The only word he’s able to communicate to Barry and Jessie (via a “five-by-five tap code used by POWs” that Barry somehow recognizes) is “Jay.” Is he trying to warn them that Jay’s in danger? Is he somehow the Jay of Earth-1? Is Zoom secretly the Jay of Earth-1? And is the Jay of Earth-2 really dead now that Zoom has made speedster shish kebab out of him? I have some doubts, since, when a major character’s death is presented suddenly on TV, it’s almost always immediately followed by scenes of mourning, in order to give the cast some plum opportunities to emote. In any case, as soon as Jay began walking slowly towards Caitlin with a goofy grin on his face—directly in front of a portal through which we were just told Zoom could emerge—did anyone NOT think he was a goner? So much for Velocity 9…
But my one real issue with “Escape from Earth-2” is Barry’s “inability” to save the masked prisoner. After all, we’ve seen that he is capable of phasing through the glass walls of their cells. In the time it took for Barry to debate the situation with Wells, he could have easily pulled the guy free, rushed him to safety, and come back for the others. But the Achilles heel of superhero storytelling has always been inconsistency in depicting a character’s power levels. It’s a conceit that most fans have more or less learned to live with, and a part of the deal we make when we agree to willingly suspend our disbelief. Though it’s greatly appreciated when a movie or TV show takes enough care to distract us so we don’t have to notice such things.
— “He’s a bad guy. I’m calling it a lair.”
— Iris-1 is pretty detached in this episode. Barry could be trapped in another universe forever and she’s worried about pleasing her new boss by getting an interview with Jay? (Don’t give me any of that “for the sake of Central City’s terrified citizens” guff.) Is there any chance we can replace our Iris with that of Earth-2? Please?
— “I’ve seen Heat, like, fifty times. I know how to shake a tail.”
— I demand an episode of Commander Carl, Space Marshall of the Galaxy amidst this season’s DVD bonus features.
— Example #738 as to why S.T.A.R. Labs has the worst security system in the world—Geomancer, possibly the noisiest villain the show has yet introduced, waltzes in without a single alarm going off.
— “It’s a work in progress, Elsa!”
Next week: Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Central City, another foe believed to have been vanquished returns in “King Shark.”
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).