Guest Review The Flash

The Flash 2×13 – Welcome to Earth-2

“I feel like I just opened my third eye.”

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The most anticipated hour of the season has finally arrived, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint.

There’s surely so much to love about this episode, from the sepia-styled Earth-2 to the dozens of Easter eggs and fun references that are sure to make any fan (comic-book reader or not) smile. But unsurprisingly, the most impressive thing about this trip to Earth-2 comes from the characters this new world introduces us to and the opportunity it gives some of the supporting cast to truly shine.

It’s no secret that I am not Caitlin Snow’s biggest fan; she has been underused this season that I was starting to find every scene she’s in absolutely horrendous and cringe-inducing. Naturally, her Earth-2 doppelganger is the complete opposite of the lame character we know, and I’m glad this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Killer Frost. Danielle Panabaker gives her series-best performance as the ruthless, menacing Caitlin, and you can tell she has a lot of fun playing the role because, for once, the show relies on the performance rather than the writing (and it’s no secret that the writing is this show’s weakest link). Robbie Amell, on the other hand, barely does anything as her love-interest Deathstorm. His presence in this episode literally serves no purpose; I wasn’t nearly as affected by his death as I should have been.

Thankfully, Candice Patton also gives a top-notch performance in her Earth-2 character, once again proving that the supporting cast can do great work when given the right material. I found myself shocked by how amusing it was to see Detective Iris in action (with a gun too!) and even more surprised by her riveting relationship with Barry. Everything at Barry and Iris’ house was absolutely fascinating, from Earth-1 Barry looking away while his supposed wife stripped down (and looked gorgeous, might I add) to Barry listening to his mother’s voice again in what is surely the hour’s most heart-breaking moments. For some reason, I want more than just 2 minutes of this Barry/Iris marriage life; fingers crossed they delve deeper into this complex relationship next week.

Cisco doesn’t get much to do until the second half of the episode when it is revealed that his alternate-universe twin is Reverb, a better name for Evil Cisco. This reveal, much like the entire episode, isn’t meant for shock value but more as fan-servicing especially that it comes so late into the hour where so much has already happened you sort of just nod and smile at the twist. The whole thing is played for fun that even the final battle involving all key players (The Flash, Killer Frost, Deathstorm, Reverb and Zoom) is one big entertaining extravaganza where you don’t care who lives or dies. It’s just there for us to watch and smile.

Of course, this hour is sadly far from perfect. Plot-wise, only the last few minutes really advance the story where The Flash is kidnapped by Zoom and locked up next to Harry’s daughter, but even that Flash/Zoom face-off feels asymmetric as the hour ends abruptly and without any real conclusion. Meanwhile, mundane stuff happens back at Earth-1 in some tonally jarring scenes where the team (or what’s left of it at least) must figure out a way to take down another freak-of-the-week (this time it’s Geomancer), a subplot so random and utterly useless that’s absolutely hard to care for. Even some of the Iris/Joe scenes in Earth-2 feel a bit forced and crammed with exposition where Joe—sorry, Joseph—bluntly mentions to Barry that he is the reason Earth-2 Iris became a cop instead of a reporter. I’d rather the writers didn’t go down this route, but instead just leave him singing. More of that please.

Speedy Bits

– So.many.Easter.eggs.

– Did you catch all the epic references during the jump from one Earth to the other? There was Supergirl (a fun nod to the upcoming Flash/Supergirl crossover coming next month), Gorilla Grodd, Jonah Hex, a future Green Arrow, and a Legion ring (maybe?). Did I miss anything?

– Deadshot is Iris’ partner at the CCPD! Hilarious.

– Barry and Cisco taking a selfie upon arriving to the alternate Earth: hysterical.

– Loved seeing the words “mayor Snart” on TV when Earth-2 Barry (aka Nerd Barry) was speaking. Can we please, please see Mayor Snart next week?

– My heart skipped a beat when Iris tells Barry that his mother called. Gut-wrenching.

– Speaking of which, who else noticed the epic names on Barry and Iris’ speed-dial? I don’t usually geek out this much, but it was Bruce, Hal and Diana, guys! (Also: Eddie, but who cares about that?)

– I didn’t actually think of Earth-2 Eddie, mostly because Rick Cosnett is busy with Quantico and his presence in an already-crowded episode would have been too much.

– Jitters is called Jitterbugs over there. Cool.

– It’s worth noting that this was the season’s most-watched episode of The Flash. Very much deserved too.

– Here’s hoping the second part of this Earth-2 storyline shows us more Nerdy Barry. We barely got to see him this week.

– Seriously, Earth-1 is so darn boring compared to the alternative. I’d like those tickets to Atlantis, Nora.

Red Blurs and One-Liners

Cisco: Is anybody else feeling panic right now? I chickened out of bungee jumping when I was 18, but this is categorically a lot scarier.

Harry: Not a sightseeing tour!
Cisco: Speak for yourself. We want our grandkids to know we did cool stuff.

Barry: Hey, Joe!
Joe: It’s Joseph, Bartholomew.

Cisco: So Caitlin and Ronnie’s doppelgangers are evil? Those are some dope names, though.

Cisco: I don’t know what’s worse, the fact that you’re part of Zoom’s gang, or that weird samurai situation you got going on on the top of your head there.

Conclusion
An incredibly fun episode that lacks a proper conclusion and suffers through a few writing missteps, but is still undeniably the season’s best hour to date.

Chris Rating
A-

5 comments

  1. Word. This was def more fun than recent weeks but Earth 1- was SO boring. I'm surprised they killed off Reverb and Deathstorm so quickly though!

  2. Great episode, thanks largely due to the Earth-2 material. The Earth-1 storyline was boring and should have never been a part of this episode. It was interesting to find out that Jay never lost his speed because of Zoom like he initially claimed but as a consequence of a speed-enhancing drug he's been taking. While I consider Jay to be a largely disappointing character after his introduction as the mysterious, experienced Flash of Earth-2, I liked the idea of him being a deeply insecure hero who always felt he needed to be better than he was. It just shows how much Barry was destined to be The Flash. He has his moments of doubt but never to the same extent as Jay's.

    I liked that the writers weren't afraid to kill people off on the Earth-2 side of the episode. But it was sad to see Joe be one of them, even though it was his Earth-2 counterpart. His remark of Earth-2 Barry being selfish makes me curious. I think it may be a hint of that Barry's hidden dark side that fuels the Zoom persona I believe he possess. I think the point of Barry going through his counterpart's life is to see that while not losing his mother at an early age and being happily married to Iris would more than satisfy our Barry, it may not have been enough for the other Barry which goes back to Harrison Wells's message to Barry in the season premiere which is that he'll never be happy. I don't think that message was just meant to make Barry worry about himself. I think it was meant to foreshadow Earth-2 Barry/Zoom.

    BTW I love Earth-2 Iris. She is such a badass which I hope Earth-1 Iris will fully develop into one day. So far, she's been improving as a character. But there is some way to go.

  3. I can't stand Jay and I really hope they kill him off soon. Even if it makes Caitlin losing yet another guy she supposedly loves. She should've definitely gone to Earth-2 with them to see just how uptight and crappy she is compared to her doppelganger!

  4. I find the writers killing people from Earth-2 a bit of a cheap move. They want it to be emotional and risky, but really all they're doing is killing characters they just introduced. Even if these characters are mirror-like reflections of the ones we know.

    I too am surprised by how much I loved Earth-2 Iris! Very badass indeed. Candice was having so much fun in the role.

  5. Maybe losing Jay puts her on the path towards the Killer Frost of her world or something close to it. Maybe that's what the writers are going with the Caitlin-Jay relationship.

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