Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Flash 2x13 "Welcome to Earth-2" (Mirror, Mirror) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

"Welcome to Earth-2"
Original Airdate: February 9, 2016

It’s Field Trip Day! Turn in your permission slips and get to know your group’s chaperone, kids, because we’re heading to Earth-2. This lovely alternate universe will be the retro-futuristic home away from home for part of Team Flash. Here on Earth-2, you’ll find that Joe goes by Joseph and sings for a living, Iris is a pretty cool no-nonsense detective and her last name is West-Allen, Barry’s roughly a thousand times more geeky and wears a lot of tweed, and everyone sort of talks like they’re in a noir film? Which they kind of are, since the aesthetic on Earth-2 is rather a lot like what the future looked like in comics written back in the 1940s, when they thought we’d have fancy monorails and techy watches but would still use phones with cords and speak in old-fashioned dialogue.

This week is the first half of an Earth-2 two-parter, which means the episode ends on a cliffhanger and a lot of the plot is just build-up for what will happen next time. As a result, summarizing what’s going on will just be an array of “and then [this happens]” which, all right — not actually a whole lot different than my usual method of summarizing TV shows, but I won’t be able to draw it all to a close. Because it doesn’t close.

A lot of people with faces we know die, though.


When we first arrive on Earth-2, I’m all for it. I mean, yeah — “Joseph” is kind of mean to Barry and Caitlin is actually evil, but it’s all so entertaining! Playing “spot the difference” with characters minor and major alike is amusing for us viewers and I’m willing to bet that the writers of the show had a lot of fun figuring out the Earth-2 versions of everyone. Caitlin’s role as Killer Frost was an easy one, but Floyd Lawton (Deadshot, from Arrow but had a couple interactions with the Flash team) as the worst shooter in the Central City Police Department was an unexpectedly nice touch and I didn’t see Cisco’s evil Earth-2 doppelganger coming. That might have been just me, and everyone else remained unsurprised, but — you know, still nice.

Barry, Cisco, and Harry head to Earth-2 in order to stop Zoom and rescue Harry’s imprisoned daughter, Jesse (and I legitimately don’t know if her name is actually Jesse Quick in The Flash’s story universe or if that was an endearing nickname Harry gave her for her quick-mindedness) but they get distracted by the weirdness of Earth-2 and neither Zoom nor Jesse’s rescue really play a huge role in this episode. There’s a lot more time spent on Barry’s relationship with Joseph and the main villains for most of the episode are actually Killer Frost and the Earth-2 equivalent of Firestorm, here named “Deathstorm.” I don’t know, I always thought of fire as kind of neutral — why’d he have to go by “Deathstorm”? Whatever.

So why aren’t Barry, Cisco, and Harry focused on searching for Zoom, if that’s what they went to Earth-2 for? Well, they discover that Cisco can’t use his Vibe goggles to target and find any metahumans, Zoom included. This pretty much makes them a useless team, but Barry gets the bright idea to disguise himself as his Earth-2 doppelganger when he learns that “Detective West” is leading the Zoom case and he’s still a CSI. He can go to CCPD, figure out what they know about Zoom, and triangulate a location while Harry and Cisco work on fixing the goggles.

Um, the whole Zoom thing kind of falls off the rails after that improvisational plan. Barry finds out that he’s actually married to Iris in this universe and he’s dragged off to do married-person, normal things, including calling his mom (in a touching little scene, I might add) and watching his father-in-law do some lounge singing. Normal!

Until Killer Frost and Deathstorm show up and start throwing powers around Joe’s lounge, which leads to Joe getting hit and dying. Joe dying, by the way? Starts something of a trend on Earth-2, since the next fight our heroes get in with Killer Frost and Deathstorm ends with Cisco’s doppelganger (Reverb, which is a cooler name than Vibe — sorry, Cisco) showing up and trying to turn Cisco to the Dark Side. The big fight that erupts after that ends with Deathstorm and Reverb killed by Zoom, Barry injured and imprisoned in the same place as Harry’s daughter, and the 48-hour window they allotted themselves on Earth-2 quickly ticking down.

That’s pretty much it for the episode, everyone. Yeah, some stuff was going on over on Earth-1 (the speed cannon broke and Jay and Caitlin tried to fix it, there was a metahuman they had to deal with without Barry’s help so they fed Jay Garrick a variation of Velocity-6 called Velocity-7) but was it really important? I guess, technically — but what I really wanted from the episode was a lot of Earth-2 and I got it. Yay!

When dealing with something like the existence of Earth-2, The Flash had to balance the campiness of the concept (and the doppelgangers) with the seriousness of the mission — namely, the rescue of Jesse and the defeat of Zoom. I think “Welcome to Earth-2” delivered a pretty great balance of fun and information that moves the show’s plot forward, although I do wonder what the next part of the two-parter will bring, since they’re going to have to escape from Zoom and get back home. It’ll only be episode fourteen of the season! They couldn’t possibly defeat Zoom this soon, could they?


Other Things:
  • I love the thought of Harry listening to the journal entry thing that acted as a voice-over in the beginning of the episode and just going, “Why was I whispering? I can’t hear a freaking thing.”
  • The West family hasn’t had lasagna since Barry left for college. What? It’s possible to go longer than two months without having to deal with the dullness of Lasagna Night?
  • Did Jay Garrick seriously say “You’re about to go through the looking glass” without a hint of irony?
  • Harry called Barry Joe’s son again, hurray!
  • Yeah that was Supergirl you saw in the speed cannon.
  • Barry blurting out in public that he and Cisco are on a different Earth, then catching himself was really cute. As was Cisco and him taking an Earth-2 selfie.
  • “We want our grandkids to know we did cool stuff,” says the tech genius working with a superhero to stop metahumans and people from alternate dimensions. About a selfie.
  • Barry-2 is such a Harrison Wells fanboy that he sees a duplicate of himself and ignores that in favor of nerding out over Wells’s thesis. Which he had laminated.
  • Barry, as far as we know, has 20/20 vision. But he was able to put on Barry-2’s glasses, so what — is Barry-2 just a hipster, wearing glasses with no prescription in them?
  • Jay’s speech about taking Velocity 6 because he wanted to be faster sounds an aaaawful lot like Zoom, eh?
  • Killer Frost doesn’t like to be called Caitlin, so… does that mean that her boyfriend calls her Killer Frost when they’re at home, just having a casual dinner? Or like, “Hey, Killer Frost, we’re out of milk could you pick some up on the way home?” It seems cumbersome, is all I’m saying.
  • “So Caitlin and Ronnie’s doppelgangers are evil? Those are some dope names, though.” Good priorities, Cisco.
  • I don’t understand why Barry was having such a hard time separating the Earth-2 and Earth-1 realities. You gotta learn to compartmentalize, Barry!
  • “Look, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain, I can handle myself.” I don’t know what that means, Cisco. But I’m assuming you’ve also seen sunny days you thought would never end.
  • Jay Garrick trying to do one-liners while putting on that dumb helmet was unintentionally hilarious.
  • “Are you Cloud City Vadering me right now?” Hee.
  • “That didn’t hurt you, did it?” “No, why would it?”
  • Um. So that helmeted person tapping on his glass prison was creepy.
  • This was yet another episode where I wanted to do a shout-out for Candice Patton and how great she was as Iris. I didn’t go into specifics in the review, but just know: Iris-2 is wonderful and fantastic and I would totally watch a show called Earth-2: The Adventures of Detective West-Allen. Get on that, CW.


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