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Wednesday, 14 October 2015

The Flash S2E2: Flash of Two Worlds

The Flash
Series 2, Episode 2
Flash of Two Worlds

For all that this is, in theory, a plot heavy episode, it does feel awfully like filler. I don't necessarily mind that so much: The Flash does its Metahuman-of-the-Week filler episodes really well, and they're always very enjoyable, so there are definitely worse charges for me to level at an episode. Still, for an episode that was actually thick with plot developments, including a lot of exposition about Zoom and a big plot twist in the final moments of the episode, it's an odd thing to have to say about it.

Picking up immediately where the first episode of this series left off, this week's episode sees the gang meeting Jay Garrick, the Flash of another world, trapped in their dimension without his speed. While Barry immediately doesn't trust him, he quickly finds himself needing Jay's help with a metahuman from Jay's world, Sand Demon, is sent by Zoom to assassinate him. Meanwhile, Cisco continues to have visions, and Joe is approached by Patty Spivot, a perky and sharp young police officer who wants to join his Anti-Metahuman Task Force. 

So, Jay is absolutely just as boring as I remember him being from the comics. That's strangely gratifying, even if I am a little disappointed that the writers didn't work the same magic on him that they did with Barry. 

I really like Patty, by the way.

He's clearly meant to be evocative of the Golden Age, coming across as more old-fashioned and a bit retrofuturistic compared to Barry, to hammer in that the worlds they're from are very different (and similarly, when we're shown Earth-2 Central City, everything is bright and suffused with a golden glow, in contrast to the much colder lighting that Earth-1 gets), but the Golden Age was incredibly boring, so it all falls a bit flat.

He's seemingly going to be a regular this series, taking on Wells' role as 'other speedster who coaches Barry on being fast', and that's fine - he was distractingly awful or anything, and the actor is very good, he just can't really hold his own among a cast of much more interesting characters, and I would have preferred it if Stein had filled that role instead, giving us a different perspective as someone who maybe understood the theory of Barry's speed, but hadn't experienced it for himself.

Speaking of Stein, he falls victims to one of the plot twists in this episode, as he collapses mid-exposition, seemingly suffering some kind of heart attack. My bet is that it's due to his link with Ronnie, who I think everyone watching has realised by now is not dead, but was actually probably just sucked through the singularity into Earth-2 (not that I imagine many people thought he was dead in the first place.)

You look ridiculous, Jay.

Our villain of the week this time is the fairly uninspiring Sand Demon, but just like how Atom Smasher last week wasn't really the principle antagonising force of the episode (that honour went to Barry's insecurities), neither is Sand Demon this week (that honour goes to Barry's trust issues). He serves a purpose, and when he's given someone to monologue at he does come over as quite sinister. I do wonder what happened to him at the end, though: Is he dead? He seems to be dead. Is nobody going to talk about how he literally shattered and was lying in pieces on the floor. Nobody going to give that a mention? No? Okay, then.

I do hope we don't get a third episode of Barry vs His Own Issues, because it's possible to have too much of a good thing, and in a way having two episodes of that formula was starting to stretch at my patience a bit. It's nice having an enemy within plot, but I'd like to see the writers commit to episodes where the main threat is just some outside force.

The second big plot twist of this week was that Harrison Wells is alive in Earth-2. Is it the real Wells, or is it that universe's Eobard Thawne? We weren't told, but the sinister way he greeted those children suggests that it's probably the latter. This is clearly meant to make us believe that Earth-2 Wells is Zoom, but I'm pretty certain that can't be the case. For starters, it'd be obvious, secondly, it'd be quite boring, and thirdly, we know Zoom got his powers at the same time as Jay.

You know, the white and gold emblem doesn't look quite right to me.

No, what seems more likely to me is that Zoom is Earth-2 Barry Allen, and that in this universe, he is quite possibly Wells' protege in the ways of supervillainy. The episode hints at that several times, with Zoom having a similar costume to Barry, along with the same general build, and with mentions that he's faster than Jay (Barry is, after all, the Fastest Man Alive).

Ultimately, this is a solid episode, despite feeling less plot important than it actually is. It's well-paced, enjoyable to watch, has its fair share of fanservice in the form of Jay's numerous shirtless scenes, and it's a delight to see Wells back, even if it's an alternate universe version of him.

Also, yes, I did notice the little sarcastic nod to Arrow there.

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