Series 2, Episode 35
The Darkness and the Light.
I do sometimes wish that The Flash had shorter episode titles. I have to make title cards for these things, you know. Such effort.
Last week left us on a pretty intriguing note, with Earth-2 Harrison Wells arriving and taking down King Shark (who gets named in this episode, putting the lie to me calling him Man-Shark in the last review) before revealing himself to Barry. It was one of the best cliffhangers of the series, and the preview, which showed Earth 2 metahuman Doctor Light going after Barry despite Jay's insistence that she wasn't a murderer, looked pretty intriguing too.
In this week's episode, the team attempts to adjust to the presence of their new Harrison Wells, who apart from appearing identical to the evil Wells that they knew, is also abrasive, uncaring, and obsessed with defeating Zoom - along with having a fraught history with Jay. Meanwhile, Doctor Light is sent to Earth 1 by Zoom to take out Barry, but her target swiftly changes when she learns that of the existence of Linda Park, Iris' friend and co-worker. Meanwhile, Cisco struggles with his powers and keeping them a secret.
|Barry looks so unimpressed.|
It looks like Wells is here to stay, at least for a short while, which is absolutely fine by me. Wells is one of my favourite characters in the Arrowverse, and Tom Cavanaugh is a great actor, and this abrasive, misanthropic Wells is a lot of fun to watch. His interactions with Cisco especially are a joy to watch, and his obsession with Barry being able to defeat Zoom comes off as an odd mirror to the first Wells' own preoccupation with Barry and his speed.
As far as plot turns are going, a lot of people are talking about the oddness of Violett Beane, who we know has been cast as Jesse Quick, turning up as Wells' daughter. Are the two one and the same, and if they are, is this Wells actually Johnny Quick, who in some universes is a member of the Justice Society and in other universes is an evil speedster working for the Crime Syndicate of America?
That's an interesting rabbit hole to go down, but there was something else that caught my interest: Jay mentioning that Zoom stole his speed. Prior to this, the impression I was under was that Jay had simply lost his speed when he'd gone through the singularity, that it was an effect of him being on Earth 1. But Jay saying that Zoom stole his speed is interesting because that's happened before in comics, with blue speedster Malcolm Thawne, or Cobalt Blue - Barry's twin brother and an ancestor of Eobard Thawne who had the ability to steal people's abilities, and who made an immediate beeline for Jay Garrick's speed powers.
|I am absolutely here for Iris protecting Linda.|
Which creates a lot of interesting questions. Is Zoom Barry? Is Zoom actually Eddie? It could go either way at this point, but my money is still on him being Earth 2's Barry Allen, especially since this episode gave us a third interesting plot twist by confirming what I suspected since the first episode: That metahumans coming from Earth 2 must kill their doppelgangers, if they have one.
It's not explained why they need to do this, but it seems to be one of the things Zoom is holding over their heads to compel them into attacking Barry, and Light makes it pretty obvious that something bad will happen to her if Earth 1's Linda is allowed to keep living.
Apart from that, this is a strong, if somewhat formulaic episode. Metahuman of the week starts causing trouble, it interferes with Barry's life somehow (the date scene between him and Patty where Barry can't see was very cute. I do like Patty, I really do, even if I'm not sure what purpose she really serves to the plot at this point), and then he gets advice to defeat them from Wells and prevails.
|Apparently he's not Eobard, although I'm not entirely convinced.|
Structurally, it could almost be an early episode from the first series, and I wonder if that's intentional: There's something oddly twisted about how the structure of this episode is almost nigh-on identical to an early series one episode, except instead of Wells being an encouraging mentor figure, he is now a snarling, snapping cynic screaming at people to do things his way.
It looks like next week, we're going to have our first real encounter with Zoom, with an absolutely terrible 'let's have Linda impersonate Doctor Light and draw Zoom out' plan. I really hope Linda survives. I will be so incredibly annoyed if she dies on some stupid Zoom plan that we know is going to fail because it's episode six. We do at least have Joe noting what an awful, awful plan it is in the preview, so at least somebody in this merry gang of fools is genre aware.
Still, a good episode, and I'm really liking how this series is shaping up.
Oh, and Kendra showed up in this episode! I didn't recognise her at first, but that's great.