Well, there goes our budget for the rest of the back half of the season, totally worth it though. “King Shark” had all of the possibilities of being a full on filler episode, and yet it actually manages to be one of the more successful episode of the entire season by dealing with the fallout of Jay’s death. We could have easily forced ourselves into what Arrow has been doing for the last few weeks, instead the writers actually chose to build upon the storylines we were interested in, and that is just smart writing. Add on the fact that we also got Diggle to show up and the reveal of who Zoom actually is and you have a satisfying build up moving into the final stretch of the season. The question just becomes explaining everything and not pissing off everyone with some roundabout explanation as to how Zoom can be who he is. Another solid part of the episode was that all of the overall drama this week was actually really satisfying and built up multiple characters: Caitlin, Wally, Barry, Harry, in fun and interesting ways.
Lets start with the big guest star who drained the entire budget for the next few episodes, King Shark. We managed to get a brief glimpse at Trixie way back in “Fury of Firestorm” and boy did he come to party this week. It was interesting that he had not been informed of the breaches being closed until Barry told him and even more that his prime motivation of killing The Flash didn’t go away despite knowing he was in the clear. I was never quite sure if it was simply denial for King Shark, or if he truly just wanted Barry dead simply because he closed all of the breaches. Either way man was it awesome to see King Shark in every shot that he appeared in as he managed to rightfully put Barry to shame whether it being fighting on land, or his amazing final sequence in the harbor of Central City. That final fight was easily one of the best things we have seen all season, right up there with Barry vs Zoom, especially the slow motion shot of King Shark coming out of the water. A thing of beauty, and he gets to live so hopefully we will get interchanging King Shark and Grodd high quality CG episodes moving forward. I mean a man can dream can’t he.
My favorite part of the episode however was the fact that we actually dealt with the fallout of Earth-2 and how it has effected everyone. Seeing Caitlin be cold and withdrawn from the situation was super creepy as Danielle Panabaker brought a great amount of bottled rage to the world that actually added something to her character. More than anyone else in the main cast, Caitlin has been horrendously sidelined or given the weaker story elements. This time however we got to see her clash with Cisco and come to the realization that she can not simply be a cold hearted bitch if she hopes to get over “Jay’s” death. I also really enjoyed that we got to see a different side of Wells as he hung out with Jessie to solve the team’s King Shark problem. Wells has easily been one of the more fascinating characters on the show, but at the same time his angry misanthrope act was only going to go so far. With Jessie back in the mix hopefully we will see something more akin to season one Harrison Wells in terms of lightness.
The other character relationship that got a solid amount of development was Wally and Barry, who really haven’t had any sort of screen time together to speak of. We have come to an understanding that Wally can generally be a dick at some points but I was shocked by the lack of information he had on Barry’s backstory. You would think Iris and Joe would have done way more ground work and explained how Barry had lost his mom rather than making him seem like the absolute golden child. I also enjoyed that we were given a display of Wally’s classic intelligence rather than him simply being written as a car nut who is only good at one thing. I mean he had a true understanding of Flash science and impressed Joe, sure Joe really doesn’t understand science but that means something in the long run as Wally will eventually be Kid Flash.
The only part of the episode that really felt kind of superfluous were Diggle and Lyla which made me really bummed. David Ramsey and Audrey Marie Anderson did a great job with the material they were given, but I just wish they had added something more to the plot other than some great reactions to Barry speeding away. Ramsey particularly got a great interaction with Barry telling him he can’t simply let the weight of the world bring him down, and that he has to be The Flash people look up to. I really wish that Diggle would give that speech to Oliver more often, because he really needs to hear it like twice a week at this point. Luckily, we are getting something out of this entire trip as Cisco is working on getting Diggle a new helmet rather than the goofy Digneto one we have been dealing with all season.
Moving onto the big reveal of the week Zoom is Jay, or as we have found out in post episode interviews Hunter Zolomon. It appears Barry was right with his initial suspicions about Jay not being trustworthy and we are left to wonder how exactly Hunter managed to pull this all off. It doesn’t seem to be as simple as last year’s speed mirage trick as the “Jay” that Zoom is carrying at the end is completely corporeal. Also is the man in the iron mask simply just a different version of “Jay”, possibly the older speedster we know and love rather than the baby faced hero we have seen up to this point. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out and hopefully next year the tea won’t let another speedster become Barry’s mentor as they are currently putting up zeroes on the board in that category.
Overall it was an excellent episode that rose above the exceptions presented.
Final Grade A
+King Shark was absolutely epic
+Excellent material for Barry, Harry, Caitlin, and Wally
+The final fight
+Zoom being revealed
-Diggle and Lyla really didn’t add anything to the plot
-Though I didn’t mention it up top, Grant Gustin was once again superb in the big emotional moment of coming clean about how Earth-2 has effected Barry. Some of the best acting we have seen this season.
-Cisco’s new rule: “Everyone from Earth-2, shut up”. Love it
-Joe’s reaction to being a lounge singer on Earth-2 was magic. That look of pure joy on Jesse L. Martin sealed it.
-Off till March 22nd when Trajectory shows up. Yeah, this is going one of two ways if you know anything about Trajectory.