“Welcome to Earth-2” where all of your wildest dreams and hopes come true and then are immediately and violently destroyed. Yes, “Welcome to Earth-2” manages to more than make up for last week’s stumble on pure pride and bravado alone as Barry, Wells, and Cisco travel to the parallel world in order to do battle with Zoom and his lackeys. It was a simple enough premise that we had high hopes the episode would succeed, it is something else entirely to get to see just how far everything was pushed in order to make this one of the best episodes of the entire series. Getting to see everyone interact and watching as the world we have come to know be turned on its head was a super exciting scene, and getting to see some of our favorites be the complete opposite of how we know them to be.
First thing that was great was just the sheer aesthetic and look of Earth 2, as it basically raided the Bioshock world for how it looks and feels. Getting to see Jitters as a smooth jazz club complete with angry drunk lounge lizard Joe West was a highlight, but the sheer number of dopplegangers just added a whole other lever to the entire affair. Iris got to be a competent and well adjusted woman who is in control of her life rather than being a side player in Barry’s affairs. Seeing mirror darkly versions of Deadshot, Singh, Tokamak and so many more juts brought so much more life than we tend to see on the average episode of The Flash. More to the point most of these “side characters” actually added something to the plot and gave Barry a reason to fight and save the day. Barry could have easily stuck to the mission, but he cares for these people too much to see them get hurt.
Of course the big dopplegangers were the reveals of evil Caitlin, Ronnie, and Cisco, AKA Killer Frost, Deathstorm, and Reverb. It was slightly odd that no one seemingly mentioned to the team that their best friends were in fact not only Zoom’s lackeys, but also some of the worst of the worst on Earth 2. Getting to see Caitlin not only have one, but two strong plot lines added way more to her character than she has had all season, and Danielle Panabaker knocked both roles out of the park tonight. Of course Killer Frost was the stand out as she managed to be everything from intimidating, to sultry, to super vulnerable at times. I mean she was the only one who recognized that she should indeed be afraid of Reverb and Zoom rather than simply being all types of Bonnie and Clyde with Ronnie. Add on top of that that Carlos Valdes did and excellent job as Reverb, adding a dickishness usually revered for Pied Piper and making it his own.
The one thing that both depressed and excited me this week was the fact that Zoom finally confronted Barry once again, only to murder Deathstorm and Reverb. Zoom proved that there is a good reason to fear him and all that he is capable of, but for him to kill off two interesting characters as a show of force was slightly annoying. I mean he easily could have made them submit just like Killer Frost and yet no matter the universe seemingly Ronnie and Cisco are doomed to die through some speedster related event. I can’t imagine Cisco was excited to see Reverb get the old hand vibrating to the chest, but why did Deathstorm have to get shanked as well. I really liked how Robbie Amell played Ronnie with no remorse or sympathy this time around and would really like to see more of that character in the future. It’s a minor problem, but something I was hoping to see play out over multiple episodes rather than them simply being one off characters.
The last big payoff we got was in the form of Jay who actually managed to get a decent plotline/ reveal this week as we found out he had not only taken Velocity 6 before, but it was in fact responsible for him losing his speed and not Zoom. This is a huge development for Jay as he took personal responsibility for his action, but also managed to step up and actually defend Central City from Geomancer. Now the issue becomes creating a cure for Jay while at the same time finding a way to refine Velocity 8 so that the side effects don’t kill Jay on the spot. It is a very dangerous game for our heroes to be playing, but with Barry on Earth 2 it is understandable why these risks are being taken.
Overall it was one of the strongest episodes to date, now to see where the cliffhanger takes us.
Final Grade A
+Excellent use of Earth 2
+Jay having a successful plot line
+Killer Frost, Deathstorm, and Reverb all top notch
+Zoom being terrifying
-Deathstorm and Reverb killed off before they could really do anything fun
-Are they just afraid to show Firestorm/Deathstorm transmitting stuff or do they just not have the budget.
-Jaws can be added to the list of things that exist on Earth 2, and we all rejoice.
-Stein is apparently imprisoned in Ronnie when they are Deathstorm, solid nod to Blackest Night in my opinion.