As longtime comic fans know, one of the most important ways in which the DC Universe has long distinguished itself from the Marvel Universe is in featuring a multiverse, containing myriad parallel universes—a result of the company’s efforts to make full use of its 80-year history. The most famous of all these parallel worlds is of course Earth-2, on which the first generation of DC’s heroes have traditionally resided; that includes the original Flash, Jay Garrick. We’ve seen a good bit of Jay this season, and some of this other Earth. But this week’s episode of The Flash at long last brings our own heroes to Earth-2, on a mission to defeat Zoom and rescue Wells’ daughter Jessie from his clutches.
As we’ve seen before, Central City-2’s design is steeped in art deco, befitting Earth-2’s pre-World War II origins. But its technology outpaces our own in several regards, presumably due to its non-evil Harrison Wells. All of Central City-2’s citizens, for example, wear metahuman detectors. Which is a necessity, since Zoom has of late been on a killing spree there, employing Cisco and Caitlin’s doppelgangers Reverb and the long-awaited Killer Frost, as well as Ronnie Raymond, who operates under the not-so-subtle nom de plume of Deathstorm.
Other familiar faces are present, but with different names. Here, Iris is Detective West. Her dad is a club singer (which finally gives Jesse Martin a chance to show off his Broadway-honed pipes), and she’s married to a non-metahuman Barry, whose mom is still alive. True to Jay’s promise that the trip will be like stepping through the looking glass, “Welcome to Earth-2” delights in making friends out of foes and enemies out of allies. Arrow‘s Deadshot is partnered with Iris (whose markmanship surpasses his), Captain Singh is a criminal, Henry Hewitt (a.k.a. Tokamak) is a friendly S.T.A.R. Labs scientist, and, in perhaps the biggest break from Earth-1, there’s a Snart running the city. Since none of these characters are ours, “Welcome to Earth-2” can and does go crazy in offing them. By episode’s end, Joe, Cisco, Deadshot, and Ronnie have all expired.
Back on Earth-1, Jay comes close to getting killed by a new metahuman villain, Geomancer, when Caitlin attempts to restore his speed. He reveals that what actually led to his terminal illness was his own desire to become faster was—not, as he’d previously stated, Zoom’s robbing him of his power… Not that it matters all that much. Jay has been neglected by the show for so long that the only reason I want to see him live at this point is because I’d rather not watch Caitlin suffer the heartache of losing another boyfriend. But at least this episode gives him something useful to do. Because if he and Caitlin don’t find a way to stabilize the trans-dimensional breach at S.T.A.R. Labs within 24 hours, Team Flash will be trapped forever on Earth-2…
It’s worth nothing that since we’re in the middle of sweeps month, executive producer and DC TV Universe overlord Greg Berlanti steps in to co-write this tale, which offers more Easter Eggs than usual. Included among them is our first glimpse of Melissa Benoist’s Kara Zor-El—featured in the Berlanti-produced Supergirl—whom we recently learned will team up with the Flash next month. Since her image is seen when Barry and co. cross the breach, this all but confirms that her own show takes place in another universe.
— “I got no spit. I’m not just quoting Jaws—my mouth is really dry right now.” Cisco is on fire this week.
— “God, this is making me so hot.” Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Killer Frost… Honestly, I was hoping for a little bit more from her in her debut episode.
— Next to Supergirl, my favorite of this week’s Easter Eggs is when mention is made of Aquaman’s home, Atlantis, to which Barry-2 has given tickets to his parents for their anniversary.
— Is it just me or does Geomancer look a lot like James Marsden’s Cyclops in the X-Men movies?
— Just in time for February 14, Joe-2 sings “My Funny Valentine.”
— We finally learn the real reason why Jay wears that silly helmet: so he can strike it and create super-speed vibrations to thwart his foes.
— “I’m not sure what’s worse—the fact that you’re part of Zoom’s gang or that weird samurai situation you got going on the top of your head there.”
— Props to Reverb for showing Cisco how to use his Vibe powers like his comic-book counterpart.
— “Are you Cloud City Vader-ing me right now?”
Next week: Killer Frost joins Barry-2 and Team Flash on their mission to defeat Zoom.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).