WARNING THIS IS A SPOILER REVIEW!
“We’re gonna need a bigger Flash.”
So how does a show follow up two amazing episodes like “Welcome to Earth 2” and “Escape from Earth 2”? With an equally impressive episode with humor, heart, and a huge reveal that all comes together to feel like a turning point in the season.
One of the best things about The Flash, is the way the actors and writers handle emotion and emotional situations. Since day one the series has had a through line about loss and the relationships between father and son and that is on full display this week. The decision made by Barry, Cisco, and Wells to not talk about the events that happened on Earth-2 clearly weigh much heavier on Barry and Cisco than they do on Wells. As the episode progresses we see Barry withdrawn and almost standoffish (especially with Wally) and we see Cisco grow paranoid that the loss of Jay Garrick has sent Caitlin down the dark path to villainy like her Earth-2 doppelganger, Killer Frost.
When Barry finally breaks down and talks to Iris and Joe about what happened to their doppelgangers and his relationships with them, it comes as both as a release of burden for Barry and an admittance of guilt, at least in his eyes. A lot of Barry’s character arc in this episode comes from him dealing with the guilt of having blood on his hands and the loss of life that surrounds him. In the moment at their house, Iris and Joe try to tell him that it’s not his fault but he doesn’t really hear them. That all leads to one of the best moments of the episode. Once the battle with King Shark is over, Barry and Diggle have a moment alone and Barry tells Diggle how he feels. Diggle tells Barry that he knows exactly how he feels, having lost brothers in the field, telling him that it is perfectly natural to feel that way and to own that feeling and get better to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Cisco is also heavily affected by the events that took place while on Earth-2. Cisco saw the complete opposite of one of his best friends be cruel, homicidal, and uncaring instead of the warm, charming, wouldn’t-hurt-a-fly person that she is on Earth-1. After the surprising death of Jay Garrick at the hand (literally) of Zoom at the end of the previous episode, Caitlin has again lost some one that she loved (or at least was beginning to love). Like an emotionally healthy human, she grieves of this newest loss but Cisco takes her grief as a sign her becoming Killer Frost. Cisco continues to overreact and it eventually comes to a head when he lets slip about Earth-2 and tells Caitlin about her doppelganger and how afraid he is of her becoming Killer Frost. Caitlin of course reassures him that she is still very much herself and just grieving over Jay. The overreaction by Cisco in this really shows how much he cares about her and how deep their friendship goes. It’s good to see strong male/female friendships that are completely platonic.
It was great to see King Shark return and get an episode as the Monster of the Week. Like Gorilla Grodd before him, the CG looks awesome especially on a TV show’s budget. The only time that it looked odd or off to me was the scene where King Shark jumps out to attack the “bait Flash” on the buoy. My favorite scene with him was the final battle, when he is chasing Barry in the ocean and there is a slow-mo shot of him leaping out of the water with lightning all around. Very well done scene. One of the few problems I did have with this episode was that King Shark clearly says that he can smell the Flash when he’s breaking down the West house but then all our heroes can’t figure out how he found Flash. It’s nitpicky but a clear “whoopsy daisy”.
Wally and Barry’s relationship in this episode is clearly strained but I’m not sure if that’s from Barry’s emotional state in this episode or something deeper. It’s clear to see that Wally is, in a way, jealous of Barry because it seems like everyone thinks Barry walks on water. (Technically he can run on water but you get what I’m getting at.) Hopefully we see their relationship mature sooner rather than later and I think Joe’s speech at the end of the episode about how Barry and Wally are both his son’s will go a long way towards that. It will also be very interesting to see how Wally takes it, if and when he finds out Barry is the Flash and if and when he gets powers of his own. I’m also curious if Jessie will become Jessie Quick this season. It would be very cool to see a speedster Battle Royale as they all fight Zoom.
And speaking of Zoom…. HOLY CRAP! Zoom is Jay?!?! Which Jay is he? Earth-2 Jay? Earth-1 Jay? Earth-X Jay? Jay split in half? Jay that needs to eat a Snickers? At this point there is no telling what’s going on, only that finding out who’s behind the mask raises more questions than it answers.
WildeBeard’s Rating: – FULL BEARD, THICK AND LUXURIOUS – A great looking beard in a long line great looking beards.