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.
– 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.
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.