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Thursday, 25 February 2016

The Flash S2E15: King Shark

The Flash
Series 2, Episode 15
King Shark.

I think last week I labelled this upcoming episode as being essentially fun filler-y crossover shenanigans, and boooy, I was wrong about that. Not completely wrong - the bulk of the episode genuinely is just fun filler stuff, a metahuman of the week plot that would have felt completely at home in the first few episodes of the series, or during the first series - but mostly wrong, as we get at least one significant plot twist towards the end of the episode.

Coming off from a great two-parter about Earth-2, this episode sees Diggle and Lyla arrive in Central City with bad news: King Shark has escaped ARGUS custody and is on his way to Central City, driven by a need to obey his orders from Zoom and kill Barry. Meanwhile, Barry is still reeling from Jay's death and the death of Earth-2's Joe - something that gets in the way when Joe and Iris try to have him befriend Wally, who is suspicious and resentful of Barry and the praise of Joe and Iris lavish on him. Meanwhile, as Caitlin withdraws into herself out of grief, Cisco becomes increasingly concerned that she's becoming like Killer Frost.

Okay, so I foolishly looked at what fans were saying prior to writing this review, and it turns out that there are a lot of people hating Wally for his being resentful of Barry, and I admit, I'm not sure why. Wally already feels abandoned by Joe, after all, hence the whole guff about him being a detective who can't even detect he has a son, were people really expecting him to be okay with Barry, a man he doesn't know and who he shares no relation to but who basically had the upbringing that Wally feels was denied to him? Especially when Barry is being standoffish and unfriendly? Not just in this episode, either, where Barry does have the excuse that he's miserable over Jay and Earth-2 Joe's deaths - remember, both Joe and Wally have made reference before to the fact that Barry's not only barely talked to Wally, but might even have been deliberately avoiding him.

Wally is an actual ray of sunshine.

(Which also makes sense for Barry's character, who has always felt insecure about his relationship with Joe, and might not be dealing too well with Joe's biological son showing up.)

That's not to say that Barry is to blame either, but to be honest, this particular tangle of issues was always going to take a while to sort out, and I'm glad the show is addressing it, and not just because I love Wally and I want to see more of him. I've been craving some interaction between Barry and Wally, and while I really want them to get a proper brotherly relationship, I appreciate that the show didn't shy away from having that be a difficult, awkward thing.

As far as the King Shark plotline goes, it was a lot of fun. King Shark is a gloriously absurd villain of the week. I was kind of hoping that he, as someone who's personally fought Zoom, would give us some kind of interesting information about him, but no such luck - nevertheless, I really did like him as a villain, and he has potential, I think, if the show wanted to use him again. Barry running in a circle on the water to electrocute him was one of the most striking images of the series so far, as well, so that's good too.

Shark hunting.

That plot also gave us a chance to see Wells and Jesse interact, and I liked it, but I want more. I want to see Jesse prove, once and for all, that she is, as Wells claims, the smarter of the two. I want to see them doing science together. I want to see them teaming up to troll Cisco.

(Speaking of trolling Cisco, there's a moment at the end where Caitlin pretends to be Killer Frost to freak Cisco out, and he accuses her of working with Barry to prank him - but the line she references 'If you know me, you'd know I hate the name Caitlin', was a line she said when Barry wasn't there. Wells was there. Conclusion: Wells and Caitlin teamed up to mock Cisco.)

Of course, the big thing of this episode was finding out at the end that Jay - or someone who looks very much like him - is Zoom. I admit, I didn't really see that coming until last week, and I'm a little disappointed by that as a twist, something not helped by Andrew Kreisberg alluding to him actually being Earth-2's Hunter Zolomon. 

Diggle and Lyla.

I would note, however, that a lot of people are asking how Zoom managed to be zipping about Earth-2 when Jay was in Earth-1, or how he managed to impale himself through the chest, and for them I would point them to the beginning of the scene, where Zoom drops the body of the Jay we all know onto the floor. The Jay hanging out with the gang and the Jay/Hunter who is Zoom aren't the same person. Who each of them are and how they relate to each other and the man in the iron mask remains to be seen, however.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this episode. Next week, we apparently have Trajectory, another speedster, making an appearance. I'll be interested to see what happens there, but I suspect she'll end up de-speeded by the end of the episode.

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