Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Flash 2x02 "Flash of Two Worlds" (Suspicious Minds) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

"Flash of Two Worlds"
Original Airdate: October 13, 2015 

This week’s episode starts where last week’s left off: with the ironically timed arrival of Jay Garrick at S.T.A.R. Labs. Everyone is justifiably suspicious of this random guy who shows up out of nowhere, since he’d apparently spent six months of his time on what we’re going to call Earth One (because, comic books!) stalking everyone on Team Flash. He knows their names, he knows Barry’s identity as The Flash, he knows how to get into the newly-secured S.T.A.R. Labs… Honestly, the only reason why I’m not suspicious of him is because I know that Jay Garrick is the name of the original Flash, who wears a winged metal bowl on his head and mom jeans and calls that a “superhero costume.” Someone that ridiculous can’t possibly be evil.

Barry is the most suspicious out of all of the members of Team Flash of this new arrival, because he knows the dangers of trusting people too much. He trusted Wells (or the person he thought was Wells) and it resulted in a singularity opening up above Central City and people dying, so he understandably doesn’t want to make the same mistake twice.

I’m not sure I like this wary Barry –– I mean, it makes sense to approach new, strange things with caution when you’re living in a comic book show, but part of Barry’s charm was his openness and just… his good heart, I guess. I really hate what the Wells/Thawne betrayal did to Barry, is what I’m saying. And I suppose we can just take Barry’s overabundance of guilt as a given at this point. He’s going to keep thinking that the singularity was his fault and taking the blame for the destruction it caused no matter how many heart-to-hearts he has with his friends and family. I don’t really like this new development of persistent guilt in Barry’s character though, either.

It’s Iris who tries to talk some sense into Barry this week, and even though I know the conversation probably isn’t going to really get through to him –– how much do you want to bet that Barry’s going to hint at feeling guilty for the singularity and Wells/Thawne’s actions again next week? –– I love the Barry/Iris conversation anyway. We spent all last season putting up with Iris not knowing about Barry being The Flash (even though she totally should have known) so it’s a breath of fresh air when we get a good, completely honest conversation between Iris and Barry about how he’s feeling and what he should do next. No hedging around the issue, no awkwardness –– just two friends, one trying to make the other feel better about the things going on in his life. Iris tells Barry that his strengths are (or were) in his ability to trust people, and she wants to see that old person –– the one who trusted others –– back. So do I, Iris. So do I.

On Barry’s instructions, Jay Garrick spends a lot of the episode either being examined by Caitlin or locked in a S.T.A.R. Labs cell. This is all in spite of the fact that Jay seems to know what he’s talking about, if not exactly what’s going on with the Earth One and Earth Two travel. He also knows about the metahuman of the week, since Jay actually fought him back when he was The Flash of Earth Two.

The metahuman, it turns out, is The Sand Demon –– accurately named by someone over on Earth Two, much to Cisco’s disappointment –– and the mysterious Zoom has ordered him to kill The Flash if he wants to go home. For the record, the Earth One version of The Sand Demon isn’t The Sand Demon at all, just a guy named Eddie Slick who likes starting fires, but has no powers and was locked up, out of town, at the time of the particle accelerator explosion. Who else thinks this Earth One/Earth Two stuff is going to get really confusing, really fast?

Speaking of confusing: Cisco’s getting some disconcerting flashes of stuff from the past whenever he’s in contact with a metahuman (or metahuman material). He’s dealing with some issues of trust as well, clearly, since he has not told the rest of the team about his developing superpowers. Cisco is terrified of the potential evil that might come with his new metahuman ability –– not because he thinks that metahumans are inherently evil, but because the powers were “given” to him by Wells/Thawne. Even though Cisco uses the powers to help Barry and save the life of a new (and delightful) character named Officer Patty Spivot, he doesn’t want anyone to know. In fact, when Professor Stein finds out about the powers, Cisco orders him to secrecy. In this case, it’s less about Cisco not trusting the rest of the team and more about him not trusting himself, and what this new Wells-given ability means for him.

Barry teams up with Jay Garrick (who is reunited with his metal bowl helmet, huzzah!) in order to defeat The Sand Demon with electricity. Having the two team up is a nice end to an episode all about Barry’s mistrust of new people, but the circle really and finally closes when Barry actually apologizes to Jay for, you know, treating him like a criminal the whole time. Jay shares all the information he knows about Zoom with Barry, but it’s not really a lot and doesn’t sound very useful: Zoom showed up when Jay got his powers, killed a lot of people, is really smart and really fast, wants to be the only speedster, ever, in all the worlds –– which seems kind of impossible, if you ask me, since there are “infinite Earths” but, whatever. I’m clearly not a supervillain.



Other Things:
  • The opening voice-over is a lot more… enthusiastic than last week’s, I think. That's encouraging!
  • Another fun fact about The Flash comics: originally, the “heavy water” mentioned by Jay in the episode was written as “hard water” in the comic. So that means that Jay got mutated by water with high mineral content. Science research for comics in the 1940s was so-so.
  • “Nope, not helping.” “Bless your heart.” Legitimately my favorite exchange in the whole series.
  • Joe’s impatience with the science talk was fantastic.
  • So… why did they disband the metahuman task force so quickly? Wasn’t it just getting started?
  • Patty Spivot nerding out over Barry (and nerding out with Barry over Monty Python) was adorable. I really like her.
  • “...I gotta do this thing.” Best.
  • Cisco and Professor Stein nerding out? Also adorable.
  • “Oooh, I’m getting goosies!” Best ever.
  • “I hate it when they put a color in their name.” Hee. Cisco is so touchy about superhero names.
  • Also: I thought it was just lit well for the benefit of us –– the real-life audience –– but Oliver actually broadcasted his vigilante message like that? You can see HIS WHOLE FACE.
  • The best thing about Grant Gustin is the subtle little flourishes he puts on lines, like the scoffing laugh when he says “We don’t even know anything about Zoom.”
  • I’m assuming Jay Garrick lost his Speed Force powers because the Speed Force he has to tap into is different on Earth Two than it is on Earth One? Also, that might be the nerdiest sentence I’ve ever written. Thanks, The Flash.
  • “Yoooo, are you about to pull a Zeus right now?!”
  • “What is it with alliteration and nicknames?” You’re a comic book character, Jay! Get used to it! Also, they just sound nice.
  • “I get a vibe.” Superhero name drop!
  • “There isn’t just one breach –– there’s 52 of them, scattered throughout the city.” Reference to the 52 and New 52 series of comic books? Coincidence? You decide.
  • Maybe they just go over my head or are too subtle to notice, but does anyone else think The Flash makes a lot more comic book references than Arrow does?
  • Whaaaaaat? Mama West!
  • Nooooo! Professor Stein!
  • Huh? Earth Two?

1 comment:

  1. Love Officer Spivot! And she and Barry had more chemistry in their scenes than he had with Iris all of last season. PattyBar? Spivallen? Whatever, I'm for it.

    I think this new flash is like fan fiction. "On Earth 98, Harrison Wells leads the STAR opera company, where soloist Barry Allen and diva Caitlyn Snow battle evil trombonists" Infinite earths, anything can happen. People can be good or evil, have powers or not, who can say?