Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Flash 2x14 Review: "Escape From Earth-2" (We Gotta Get Out of This Place) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

"Escape From Earth-2"
Original Airdate: February 16, 2016

Well, this little excursion took a turn for the worse, didn’t it? We just came here for some cool retro-shiny ambiance and Mirrorverse shenanigans, and now multiple people are dead and Barry’s trapped in a not-glass cage! Oh, Earth-2 — your brochure said nothing about the probability of our favorite speedster superhero getting captured by Zoom, nor anything about helmet-wearing men of mystery hinting that the Jay Garrick we’ve grown to know and... “love” is a strong word, so let’s go with “tolerate” instead — the Jay Garrick we’ve grown to know and tolerate might not be Jay Garrick at all, or at the very least he might be someone of the more evil persuasion.

But when you add in Barry getting a serious beat-down by Zoom, the tricky (multiple!) Speed Cannon failures, Barry-2 hiking through a forest in wingtips, and Killer Frost’s role as a double-double agent (triple agent? I’m not familiar with turncoat terminology) and you’ve got the makings of quite the entertaining field trip disaster. I mean, it’s more fun than that one time my fourth grade class’s bus broke down on the way to the zoo.


We start where things left off last time: Cisco, Barry, and ParaWells on Earth-2 while the rest of Team Flash is trying to deal with the Speed Cannon taking itself out of commission. Oh, and they’re dealing with a metahuman named Geomancer but, I don’t really care about Geomancer? Why did we need a metahuman at all in this episode? Was it just to put Caitlin and Iris in danger, then have Jay Garrick suspiciously not there to help them? They could have done that without the hammy supervillain and the implication that S.T.A.R Labs’ security is about on par with building a fence out of cotton candy during the rainier months of the year.

Barry-2 gets more of a role this week than he’d gotten last week, when his thing was getting knocked out and having his identity stoles. More screen time for Barry-2 is marvelous because Barry-2 is an awkward, geeky, lovely puppy who says “heck” instead of “hell” and wears brogues in the woods. He’s also incredibly brave and loving where Iris is concerned, which makes me sad because that means Joe-2 was unfairly mean to the poor guy. I don’t like disliking any version of Joe, but I especially don’t like disliking a version of Joe who is dead because he wanted to keep his daughter out of harm’s way. How he could have looked at a tweed-wearing, technobabble-spewing, puppy-eyed Barry Allen and seen an enemy of any sort, though, is beyond me.

Led by Detective Iris West, the Earth-2 team goes on a quest to find Original Recipe Barry as well as Jesse Quick. They think they can use Killer Frost — either by appealing to her inner Caitlin Snow or to her desire for revenge, since Zoom killed Ronnie — to get to the place where Zoom is probably keeping all his prisoners. This almost fails, but then Killer Frost decides to help them, even going so far as to provide ice footholds for them to use to climb a cliff. That seems... dangerous (using ice to climb as well as trusting a metahuman with villainous tendencies) but, I guess you take what you can get? Having a badass Iris West on the team only gets you so far.

Meanwhile, back in Zoom’s dank prison, Barry’s making friends with Jesse and a weird fella wearing a helmet, who communicates by tapping out messages too slowly to be of any actual use. The only thing he can get out is the word “JAY” and then he gets really upset when Barry thinks he’s asking if Jay Garrick came with the team to Earth-2. Just something I noticed on my re-watch: confirmed-normal Jesse is in an actual cage, with bars. Both Barry and Mr. Helmet are in similar clear, carbyne (not glass!) cases, which Barry finds difficult to speed-phase through. Coincidence, or significant? Maybe Helmet Guy is another speedster? Maybe he’s [DUN DUN DUUNNN!] the real Jay Garrick?!

Because the Jay Garrick that is one Earth-1, purportedly helping Caitlin repair the Speed Cannon so that Barry and Cisco can get home, is acting super shifty. His words to Caitlin have always had that “I’m trying really hard to sound sincere” overly nice quality to them, and he’s preoccupied with getting a fixed version of the Velocity-6 that had taken his Speed Force powers and made him ill. Yes, it makes sense for anyone who was once able to “make a difference” to be eager to get whatever strength they had back, but stuff is really stacking against Jay: the tapped-out “JAY” from Zoom’s helmeted prisoner, the way the Speed Cannon keeps breaking after Jay fixes it, Jay being unable to help Caitlin and Iris because he was “taking a nap” and never noticed the earthquake-causing metahuman in the building… Plus, the Earth-1 doppelganger for Jay is named Hunter Zolomon, who is Zoom in the comics. I’m just saying, Jay is earning some suspicious eye-squinting from me.

On Earth-2, the trekking team finally arrive to save Barry and Jesse (Tappy McHelmet is not a part of the rescue mission, though Barry does promise to come back for him… eventually) and there’s a very touching reunion between ParaWells and his daughter. Aw, I’m glad Tom Cavanagh gets a chance to be something other than grumpy while playing this character, although I do wonder if he needs a lozenge after he whisper-growls all his lines — his reunion with Jesse being no different. Some pep talks and heroic speeches happen, especially between the two Barrys, as we realize that Barry’s quite the hero in both versions of Earth. One kind of Barry has powers while the other just has cardigans and unsuitable footwear, but they have heroic hearts and that’s what matters. It’s very charming.

Zoom shows up to threaten everyone some more, thanking Killer Frost for leading them to him. Twist! (That wasn’t really a twist because I’m almost certain that no one really trusted her that much.) Things look dire for our heroes, and Jesse especially — since Zoom promised to kill her in front of her father — but the whole crew gets away when Killer Frost decides she does like this band of good-doing rapscallions after all. Or, you know, she’s still really mad at Zoom for killing the love of her life and gets payback by freezing him and allowing his victims to flee.

All the people who need to — including ParaWells and Jesse, who could hardly be safe on Earth-2 with Zoom running around — get through the newly re-fixed Speed Cannon and back to Earth-1 in the nick of time. Unfortunately, Zoom’s hand reaches through the breach in space and reality and into Jay Garrick’s chest, pulling him to Earth-2 right as the portal is closing. I don’t really care, but poor Caitlin is horrified because she has some multiverse-spanning terrible luck with keeping love interests around.


Other Things:
  • Zoom got to do the opening voice-over this episode! How exciting for him.
  • I don’t really know why Wells thought he’d be able to stay on Earth-2? Dude, of course Zoom would come after you once you saved Jesse.
  • I think the mention of “channel 52” is the second or third 52/New 52 shout-out on the show?
  • I kind of love how the Cisco Vibe Goggles were important enough to get a scene dedicated to making them a few episodes ago, but not only were they useless on Earth-2, their Earth-2 counterpart were tossed aside immediately. They were like the anti-MacGuffin.
  • “I demand to know what the HECK is going on here.” Barry-2 is so adorable. I wish I could have found a GIF of a puppy wearing nerd glasses and a bow tie for this review, because that’s him.
  • On Twitter I came up with a theory for stopping Zoom by using speedster-poisonous Velocity-6 disguised as Barry Speed, and I think it has merit.
  • Iris’s new editor is a jerk.
  • Barry-2 is a sci-fi geek CSI and Iris-2 is a cool, no-nonsense detective and they’re in a reality where Atlantis is real and everyone’s vaguely noir-esque, why isn’t this a weekly show we can watch?
  • “Oh, I’m sorry, he got frisky with you?” For real, though, WestAllen-2 is my new favorite relationship and I want to see it constantly.
  • Jay’s expression while he was running was hilarious. Was I supposed to find that hilarious?
  • "Her name starts with 'Killer'! This comes as a shock to you?"
  • “You really don’t know how yo use your abilities, do you, breacher?” “It’s a work in progress, Elsa.”
  • Was there a computer effect on Killer Frost’s voice? Why?
  • Geomancer was really cheesy, even by The Flash villain standards.
  • “I was aiming for his leg.” Has anyone cut together all the instances of a character saying that (or similar) in all of TV/movie history? I bet it’d be a long video.
  • I like how Barry-2’s bow tie gets progressively more disheveled during his adventure, until it’s finally just hanging around his neck by the time he and the gang get to Zoom’s lair.
  • “Just so you know, you would be very disappointed in you right now.”
  • Joe gets to help save the day! Yay! But, uh… Iris was just standing there, couldn’t they have split the stabilizer-switching between Joe and Iris?
  • ParaWells definitely says “You don’t have a life here anymore. Either do I.” Closed captions even says so. Pretty sure that’s not grammatically correct?
  • So, considering that Barry made a promise to save the person in the helmet and Jay Garrick has been swiped, I’m going to go out on a limb and say this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Earth-2.


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