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The Flash – The Flash of Two Worlds Review

"Backtracking."

While “The Man Who Saved Central City” held off on giving us answers, “The Flash of Two Worlds” begins right after Jay proclaims that Barry’s world is in danger. And rather than keep the audience hanging as to what the threat actually looks like, we get to see a flashback of Jay battling Zoom. The fight isn’t given enough time to be as awesome as any of the Flash’s encounters with Reverse-Flash in Season 1, but it was cool to see the “organic” suit that Flash EP Andrew Kreisberg described in August (even if it does sometimes looks like a lump of clay). Most notable about the villain’s appearance, though, is the fact that he has a blue lightning trail. As this was shown to be surrounding Barry in a recent promo from FOX8, it’ll be interesting to see how he acquires this new ability or stronger connection to the speed force and what that means for Zoom’s identity and origin.

Despite this moment of intrigue, the first half of the episode is almost entirely without merit. Though Jay says all we need to know about the existence of other worlds, Martin Stein and Cisco have to weigh in to explain the science to an incredibly confused Joe West. He’s obviously acting as an audience surrogate to ensure viewers are completely on board with the idea of multiple earths, but it felt like the writers weren’t trusting the audience enough to grasp such a simple idea (especially since the multiverse isn’t exactly a concept new to TV).

Martin Stein, Iris West, Cisco Ramon, Joe West - The Flash
The Flash — “Flash of Two Worlds” — Image FLA202B_0284b2 — Pictured (L-R): Victor Garber as Professor Stein, Candice Patton as Iris West, Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West and Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon — Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Not only that, but Barry’s reluctance to trust Jay meant that he came dangerously close to becoming unlikeable. After Barry first meets Sand Demon, Jay explains that he knows how to beat him. But in response, Barry says that “[he] [thinks] [they’ll] be fine on their own.” At this point, Barry probably guesses that Sand Demon is only after him, but he doesn’t know the full extent of Sand Demon’s powers or what he’s willing to do to get what he wants. As a result, this exchange between Barry and Jay portrays Barry as petty, irresponsible, and cocky, rather than angry at himself for letting Wells get too close. Lines like, “I don’t need you to teach me anything, Jay,” and, “If you were so good, you would have caught him by now,” only make things worse. The upside to Barry’s behavior is that Iris gets to give him another talking to, but she shouldn’t have meatier dialogue just because Barry’s written into such a narrative hole that only she (and Caitlin, as we saw in the last episode) can get him out.

The episode’s saving grace is that Iris succeeds and Barry finally decides to let Jay help him out. As dead as the show was to me with its poor dialogue, exposition, and characterization in the first half, the second was defined by the ingredients that make the series so engaging: the banter, the excitement, and the superpowers. In fact, it was only when Jay was allowed to teach Barry how to throw lightning that I saw the potential for their relationship and his character.

Jay Garrick - The Flash
The Flash — “Flash of Two Worlds” — Image FLA202A_0323b — Pictured: Teddy Sears as Jay Garrick — Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Similar to how Jay took a while to come into his own, newcomer Patty Spivot spends much of the episode being a questionable addition to the cast. Her having degrees in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics felt like a hackneyed way of making her qualified for the Anti-Metahuman Taskforce, and the potential for a romantic plotline between her and Barry seemed unnecessary. Granted, she was given the third degree from Joe for wanting to be on something he was gung-ho about in the season premiere, so her introduction was spoiled by deviations from the direction the last episode set. However, despite her dorky interactions with Barry feeling forced, they showed some promise, and her being accepted onto the Taskforce leaves me hopeful that the writers can turn things around. (Lesson: as we learned with Iris, every female character should be put on the team immediately.)

Cisco is still struggling with his abilities but is at least able to use them in a productive way to save the kidnapped Patty Spivot. This, and his use of the word “vibe,” make it even more likely that we’ll be seeing him suit up in the near future. I liked the idea of Cisco feeling like Harrison Wells had tainted him in some way, but I wasn’t a fan of him keeping it a secret from the rest of the team or being so gravely serious when discussing his abilities with Martin Stein. Like Barry and Joe in this episode, it felt out of character and seemed like an effort to backtrack the progress they all made by the end of the last episode.

Patty Spivot - The Flash
The Flash — “Flash of Two Worlds” — Image FLA202A_0125b — Pictured: Shantel VanSanten as Patty Spivot — Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Sand Demon represented a potential new paradigm for the series, but not because his fight was cool or he was a particularly compelling villain. Instead of each episode dealing with the metahumans created by the particle accelerator explosion (as in Season 1), it may be that Season 2’s villains of the week are all tasked with the goal of killing Flash by Zoom. It would be pretty lazy of the writers if this was the case, as not letting the villains have their own motivations has definitely been to their detriment. That said, the writers may already be guilty of killing off their Earth-2 villains because they don’t want to deal with them (or just can’t figure out how to make the villain pipeline “heroic”). I mean, they shattered the glass Sand Demon. That dude is gone.

The second episode of Flash’s Season 2 deviated from the more confident direction of the premiere, plaguing characters with problems that hindered the plot and spell trouble for the future if the show doesn’t make progress on its Zoom storyline. As always, the series promises more and better things to come, but it remains to be seen whether that ends up being far too much.

Flash and Patty Spivot - The Flash
The Flash — “Flash of Two Worlds” — Image FLA202A_0016b — Pictured (L-R): Grant Gustin as the Flash and Shantel VanSanten as Patty Spivot — Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Slowpokes

  • There was basically no point to the fireman going “that’s the Flash” as Barry ran past him; same for the impending doom music that preceded us seeing that Patty had knocked down Earth-1’s Eddie Slick (Sand Demon).
  • Jay saying that he hadn’t been the Flash long enough to be called “Mister” felt like an acknowledgement of the fact that he should have been older. More salt in the wound.
  • I appreciated the more restrained romantic tension between Caitlin and Jay, but with how held back it was, I questioned why it was there at all.
  • The introduction of Joe’s ex-wife on top of everyone else they’ve brought on (and plan to bring on) seems like an unnecessary addition at this point. The first two episodes have suffered for having to deal with so much fallout from last season and setup for this season that another player might make the wait for the show to really start even longer.
  • I know it was supposed to be a cool moment when he put it on, but Jay’s helmet looked so goofy without the rest of the costume.
  • It looks like we finally know in what guise Tom Cavanagh will return as a series regular: the Earth-2 Harrison Wells. With “Hello, kids,” there was perhaps too much effort put into making it seem like this Wells isn’t strictly a good guy, but I’m interested to see what role he plays on the show going forward.
  • Martin Stein collapsed before telling the rest of Team Flash what was behind the breach in S.T.A.R. Labs, and I wonder if he’s temporarily taken out of the picture to prolong the answer to this question. This is what has me most interested going into next week’s episode, “Family of Rogues.”
Rating
6.5
Pros
  • Finally saw Jay's potential as a character
  • Iris continues to be a contributing member of the team
  • The ever-present promise of better things to come
Cons
  • Poor characterization
  • Excessive exposition
  • Sand Demon
  • There might be too much coming

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Comments

  • Irish Jim

    This was the least enjoyable episode of the Flash that I can remember. Barry was unlikable. While being cautious of Jay’s story was prudent, not listening at all when he know things about Sand Demon’s powers was stupid.
    Barry has to be likable for the show to work. He doesn’t have to be stupidly naïve like trusting Captain Cold, but he does have to be a likable good person.

    I was really disappointed that Jay didn’t have his powers. The old Flash comics about Jay and Barry had both with powers and Jay being slower due to age, but more savvy. That ties into your complaint about the age difference. At the very least, Jay should have more than 2 years experience being the Flash. 10 years would have made sense.

    How did meta humans evolve in Earth 2? Presumably the Star Labs reactor didn’t blow up. Jay doesn’t know exactly how he got his powers, which is strange.

    Zoom is probably either Earth-2 Harrison Wells or Eobard Thorne. I suppose he could be Earth 2 Barry Allen, but that would be weird.

    Earth-1 Harrison Wells was supposed to be a great guy before he merged with Thorne. Making him a bad guy would be odd.
    Caitlin lost her husband – who we know is in a spin off and not dead – and Iris lost her boy friend – fiancé. Iris is doing remarkably well for suffering the loss.

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