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Thursday, 11 February 2016

The Flash S2E13: Welcome to Earth-2.

The Flash
Series 2, Episode 13
Welcome to Earth-2

Ah, I've been looking forward to this episode. Quite apart from looking forward to the inevitable shenanigans of travelling to a parallel world, I'll be very surprised if we don't find out Zoom's identity at some point during this two-parter, especially as in this episode, we get to find out some crucial things about his enforcers. His Team Zoom, so to speak.

We also got a brief glimpse of Supergirl in the traveling-between-worlds image, which sort of marks our first in-universe crossover with Supergirl, however small, and also raises an interesting possibility: That Supergirl and her Metropolis might be in Earth-2, not Earth-1.

In this week's episode, Barry, Cisco, and Wells travel to Earth-2 to attempt to save Wells' daughter Jesse. However, their arrival in Earth-2 is noticed by Zoom's enforcers: Reverb, Killer Frost, and Deathstorm, who are more than willing to take innocent lives in their pursuit of the three - including Earth-2's Joe, prompting this world's Iris, a hardboiled detective, to seek revenge on Zoom's enforcers, with disastrous results. Meanwhile, in Earth-1, Jay reveals that his illness and the loss of his powers were brought about by experimenting with Velocity 6, and Central City is threatened by Geomancer, a metahuman with the power to create tremors in the earth.

Evil Power Couple.

So, just to start with, was it just me or was every villain in this episode doing their best impression of Leonard Snart? Geomancer and Killer Frost were both doing the 'elongating syllables, dramatic mid-sentence rising intonation' he does, and it was weirdly jarring and hilarious. 

Also, Earth-2 is lovely. It has a very Golden Age feel, with everything being set up as subtly retrofuturistic, with the technology of the 21st century presented in a very 1950s style, and with characters acting in subtly, quietly old-fashioned ways. I really liked it, actually, and I would love to see the CW do an entire series set on Earth-2.

As far as the actual episode went, though, I really enjoyed it. The Jay and Caitlin subplot, easily the weakest part of the episode, took up only about ten minutes in total, and seemed to be there mostly to provide foreshadowing for future bad happenings involving the various Velocity drugs. The main plot, meanwhile, was a joy from start to finish. Barry having to cope with a world where he was married to Iris and hated by Joe was fascinating to watch - doubly so with his dealings with Joe, since Barry was clearly quite hurt by the idea that in another world, the two of them don't like each other.

Good Power Couple. Well, one of them is good, at least.

Iris was, in general, a lot of fun to watch. I kind of wish that Detective Iris West would join the show as a regular cast member, just chumming around with Earth-1's Iris and being badass. Someone should make that happen, clearly. Candice Patton had the standout performance of the episode, effortlessly capturing the tough-as-nails attitude of Iris as a detective while still having her be recognisably the same person as the Iris we know.

We also got evil Cisco, evil Caitlin, and evil Ronnie as Zoom's enforcers, with each actor playing their role a bit differently. Evil Ronnie is as flat and lifeless as regular Ronnie, evil Caitlin is hammy and over-the-top, and evil Cisco is menacing and understated - and the three work well off each other in their one scene together, which is to say that Cisco and Caitlin work well off each other, and Ronnie stands in the background.

I am also now even more convinced that Earth-2 Barry is Zoom. Apart from the fact that Zoom's team are all members of Team Flash, there's also the fact that the episode both went out of its way to frame Earth-2 Barry as a lovable idiot, and then put him out of the way where the audience wouldn't see him, essentially allowing Zoom to act with a free hand while also giving Earth-2 Barry a sort of alibi - he's locked up, after all.

Things just after everything goes horribly wrong.

Except, of course, we know that speedsters can phase through solid objects, if they really try, and we know that they can leave afterimages that can move semi-independently, at least to a degree. It would have been absurdly easy for Earth-2 Barry to escape, do a bit of Zoomery, and then return - especially since at the point where he shows up as Zoom, the only person back at STAR Labs is Wells, who no doubt has better things on his mind than watching the prisoner.

Not to mention, as I said in yesterday's Teen Wolf review, one of the thing actors do when they're playing someone who's lying is present an exaggerated lack of fluency in speech, to create an idea of 'trying to seem innocent.' That describes what we saw of Earth-2 Barry, who can barely get a sentence out without erm-ing and ah-ing and tripping over himself, to an absolute T.

I'd say that this episode is the best one in the second series so far, and I am really looking forward to Escape from Earth-2, which will apparently be showing us more of Earth-2 Barry and Iris, as the team sets out to rescue Jessie and Barry from Zoom. Also, who wants to bet that Zoom's plan is to pump Barry full of Velocity-6 to increase his speed, and then drain that speed from him? Because that's sure as hell what I'd do if I was Zoom.

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