‘The Flash’ Review: ‘Flash of Two Worlds’ Explores Earth-2 in Exciting Episode
Recap and review of The Flash – Season 2 Episode 2 – Flash of Two Worlds:
The Flash is a series that worked in its first season because it never talked down to the audience. It dealt with lofty concepts such as time travel and transmutation as deftly as it dealt with the more personal issues of trust and loss. “Flash of Two Worlds” may rely a bit on the procedural formula, but it’s an episode that deals with concepts that are bigger than the “metahuman of the week” trappings of the narrative. For me, this is an episode that is representative of just why The Flash is one of the best genre series on television.
The story is fairly straightforward, but with nuances that keep it from feeling too run of the mill. Zoom has brought a metahuman named Eddie Slick (Kett Turton) to Central City through the portal, with instructions to kill The Flash, if he ever wants to go home again. His powers involve rearranging his molecular structure to mimic the properties of sand, making him functionally indestructible. So it’s no surprise that Barry (Grant Gustin) has trouble with the villain, although he refuses to accept help from Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears), on the pretense that the last time they decided to trust an otherwise well-intentioned man, it got Eddie and Ronnie killed. Of course, Barry’s mistrust can’t be allowed to stand, considering the desperate nature of the metahuman threat, but it’s an interesting storyline just the same, because it shows us a more skeptical side of Barry. Even Iris (Candice Patton) takes note of how Barry has changed to the point of being unrecognizable. It’s an arc Barry has to work through, and it shows that while he’s grown as a hero, he still has a lot of growing to do as a part of a team.
In a rare unlikable moment for Barry, he actually chews out his team for trusting Jay, saying that, as scientists, they should only believe Jay’s story if the facts back it up, which they don’t. Naturally, while he has a point about how the science doesn’t back up anything Jay has told them (outside of an inadmissable lie detector test, which only proves that Jay believes these things about himself), the speech comes across as condescending because it ignores that his team actually has been doing a lot of scientific work throughout the episode. They’re not just believing Jay’s story, sight unseen. Rather, they’re choosing to have faith in him, which is a quality they arguably learned from Barry himself. Ultimately, Barry must learn to trust Jay, since the only way to stop Slick, the Earth-2 villain known as Sand Demon, is to learn how to throw lightning. And that’s a skill only Jay, The Flash of Earth-2, can teach him. It’s a compelling character arc, and seeing these two learn how to work together, and develop a friendship as the two Flashes, is poignant as well. In particular, I loved the climactic confrontation, in which a powerless Jay provides a distraction that allows Barry to rescue the newest member of Joe’s anti-metahuman task force, Patty Spivot (Shantel VanSanten). It’s a moment that illustrates that Jay’s bravery doesn’t come from his superpowers. Much like Barry, it comes from his strong sense of morality. With Barry learning to throw lightning, Slick is defeated, and it seems as though Barry has a new mentor, one that is less likely to screw him over the way Harrison Wells did. The rapport between the characters is a credit to the on-screen chemistry of Gustin and Sears, as Jay comes across as a mentor, but not someone who’s above Barry in any way. They’re equals who could learn from one another, and I think the show is better for having Sears on-board.
There were several subplots that were worth noting here as well. Cisco (Carlos Valdes) is developing powers, and he doesn’t want the rest of the team to know, forcing Dr. Stein (Victor Garber) to keep his visions (which are “vibes” about events he’s never seen, such as Barry’s first confrontation with Slick) a secret. He’s worried that, having received these powers from Wells, he might end up becoming a monster just like Wells did. It’s a character arc that gives Cisco the thing he’s always wanted — abilities of his own — but not in the way he ever wanted them. That said, while it’s an intriguing direction for the character, I’m still far more interested in this Cisco and Stein scientific pairing, since Valdes and Garber work so well together on-screen. In one of the more expository subplots of the night, Cisco and Stein discover that there are 52 portals spread out across Central City, and it’s these portals that Zoom is using to send in the metahumans to kill The Flash. This presents Barry with the challenge of once again confronting the singularity that killed Ronnie by finding a way to defeat Zoom and close the portals, once and for all. It’s easier said than done, of course, especially when we still don’t know why, exactly, Zoom wants The Flash dead, other than that he apparently wants to be the only speedster in existence. But I’d be shocked if he didn’t have motivations that ran deeper than that.
In other developments, Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) appears to be developing an attraction to Jay, and while it’s a bit jarring (considering how recently she lost Ronnie), I think this could make a good romantic pairing, if/when the show decides to pull the trigger on it. Similarly, I love the quirky chemistry Barry has with Patty Spivot, since they have a lot more in common than just a mutual love for Monty Python. Patty wants to join the superhuman task force because the Mardon brothers killed her father, putting her in a position similar to Barry, who wanted to see vengeance on the metahuman who killed his mother, and had his father imprisoned. I admit, I was a bit skeptical of Patty at first, especially with how insistent she was about joining the metahuman task force, and how eerily similar her backstory was to Barry’s (which came across, to me, like an invented story to get close to Barry). However, Patty has an earnestness about her that makes it hard to believe she’s some sort of double agent. She’s also a character from the comic books whose backstory basically lines up. Granted, it doesn’t mean she can’t still be an Earth-2 alternate taking the place of the real Patty Spivot, but for now, it looks like Patty is on the level. But we can’t necessarily say the same for Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), who is shown to be alive on Earth-2. Granted, it’s only a version of Harrison Wells, rather than the same Eobard Thawne who killed Barry’s mother, but this still spells bad news for Barry, since this could be a battle he ends up fighting all over again. Then again, how great would it be if this Wells turned out to be a decent human being? I’d love to see how Barry deals with that type of reveal.
“Flash of Two Worlds” is an exciting episode that’s as rich with weighty sci-fi concepts as it is packed with action. The Flash looks to be telling a story, in season two, that is both more mature, far darker, and considerably more complex, integrating scientific concepts like the multiverse, and more comic book storylines. I’m really loving the approach the show is taking, and I have high hopes for Season 2.
But what did you think of The Flash, “Flash of Two Worlds”? Sound off in the comments!
And for more on The Flash, read our recap and review of the outstanding season premiere, “The Man Who Saved Central City”!