‘The Flash’ Season 2 Episode 15 Review: ‘King Shark’ Features the Biggest Reveal Yet
Recap and review of The Flash – Season 2 Episode 15 – King Shark:
So…that happened. The Flash delivered the biggest reveal of the season with “King Shark,” an episode that seemed like business as usual, with Team Flash banding together to take down a metahuman threat. But this escalates to something bigger than even I could have anticipated, as we finally learn the identity of Zoom, in what amounts to the ultimate cliffhanger.
Yes, Zoom appears to be Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears). Of course, it’s virtually impossible that this is as straightforward as it all seems. The show has established multiple universes, and even had Jay point out his Earth-1 doppelganger in an earlier episode — a man who just so happens to be Zoom in the comic books. Granted, we’re not told that Zoom is Hunter Zolomon, but it can be inferred. When Zoom dumps the body of Jay Garrick inside his lair, the evil speedster removes his mask to reveal Garrick’s face. “This… is a complication,” Zoom states, which seems to be putting it mildly. Zoom has been hounding Team Flash all season, and while this reveal was predicted by many fans of the comic books, I’m not sure this is the whole story. Was Jay Garrick really as heroic as he appeared, or was he hiding facets of himself? And what does this mean for the story as we move forward? On the one hand, we don’t know anything more about which Jay Garrick this is, we just know it’s a version of him. And knowing his identity doesn’t really give us any insight into why he’s doing all this, beyond some vague notion of control and domination. In a way, it makes this reveal all the more brilliant, because it’s giving us the solution to a mystery without really closing the mystery. It’s hard to imagine this won’t have ripple effects on the narrative, going forward. For instance, I think the biggest effect this could have is on Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), who’s already struggling against her inner turmoil. Cisco (Carlos Valdes) is understandably concerned about Caitlin becoming Killer Frost in this world, especially now that she’s emotionally shut down following the apparent death of Jay last week. Even though Caitlin swears Killer Frost will never exist in this world, tragedy continually visits Caitlin again and again, whether it’s the loss of Ronnie or Jay. Before long, something’s gotta give. How she’ll get her powers is anyone’s guess, but I’d put money on Caitlin eventually becoming a version of Killer Frost on Earth-1, and it’s something I’m looking forward to this season.
As for the Metahuman of the Week, it was cool to see King Shark return. He’s right up there with Gorilla Grodd as someone who probably shouldn’t work as a villain in a TV series, yet The Flash somehow managed to pull this off beautifully. Not only was King Shark physically imposing and visually impressive, he was formidable in a way few metahumans have been, outside of Zoom. Defeating King Shark required Barry (Grant Gustin) and the rest of the team to think outside the box. After all, Barry has countless options on land, but the sea is King Shark’s domain. So Barry had to come up with some way to outsmart King Shark on his home turf. It led to a pretty cool climax, in which Barry runs on water and manages to create an electrified vortex that traps King Shark, allowing the A.R.G.U.S. agents to take him back into custody. On that subject, Lyla and Diggle made for a fun temporary addition to the team, making this something of a mini-crossover. I’m always stoked to see the broader Arrowverse brought into play in smaller ways. Not everything has to be a major crossover event. We can have Central City and Starling City interact without turning it into a two-part, weeklong story arc (which is not to say such arcs aren’t more than welcome). In short, I enjoyed this King Shark business far more than I expected I would, and that’s to the show’s credit, as it took the standard Metahuman of the Week plot and made it feel different — more threatening, more perilous, and more exciting.
I was less thrilled about the story with Barry and Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale). I can appreciate that the show is slowly bringing Wally into the fold by helping him realize that he needs to cut his family some slack. Sure, Barry doesn’t exactly offer the deftest touch while helping Wally with his science project, but his heart is in the right place. Joe (Jesse L. Martin) explains as much to Wally, noting that Barry has had a hard life, and it could easily have turned out differently for him had he given into his bitterness and rage. Joe had to be a father to him, because Barry badly needed one. However, Joe viewing Barry as a son doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel the same way about Wally. They’re both Joe’s sons, as Joe explains. Martin is terrific as always, and Lonsdale has potential with the Wally character, but I suppose my issue with it is that we’re hitting on many of the usual story beats. Eventually, Wally will have to let go of his bitterness and sorrow in much the same way Barry inevitably let go of his own anguish over his mother’s death and his father’s imprisonment. Then again, this week alone, Barry got the tough love talk about not putting the weight of the world on his shoulders. So maybe both characters still have a lot to learn. I look forward to seeing how Barry and Wally progress as the season rolls on. I mean, it’s more of a character-driven story than the pure plot of Zoom’s hostile takeover, or the mystery of the Man In the Iron Mask, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still fascinating to see characters grow and change. Sure, I didn’t love the Wally storyline, but I could appreciate what the episode was going for with it.
“King Shark” is a very complete episode, giving us a great Metahuman of the Week story, some solid character work, and a killer reveal to cap it all off. It remains to be seen what the Zoom reveal will mean for the season as we move forward. At this rate, I’m not even sure if Zoom’s motives really matter when you consider the amount of havoc he’s wreaked already. Whether he’s Jay Garrick, Hunter Zolomon, or some other figure from doppelganger from another Earth, his identity matters less than what he’s doing. And that’s something I didn’t think I’d be saying a few months ago, when I assumed learning Zoom’s identity would be the crux of this season. It’s a credit to The Flash that it can continually move the goal posts while maintaining interest in the overall story the show is telling.
But what did you think of The Flash Season 2 Episode 15, “King Shark”? Sound off in the comments!
And for more on The Flash, read our recap and review of last week’s terrific episode, “Escape from Earth-2”!