ORIGINAL AIRDATE: 05.17.16
Powers and characters and dopplegangers, oh my!
There’s the show I love! How I have missed you. This week, some people are back, some people are leaving, some people are not who they say they are, and some people are on their way to who they’re gonna be. To put it succinctly.
This opening sequence with all of the Earth 2 baddies was just incredible, and chock full of Easter Eggs. I haven’t had a chance yet to go back and review every single nod, but the biggest one for me? Fire and Ice (gender switched).
That settles the issue, once and for all, as to whether or not we can have a Green Lantern on TV. Because clearly we can, so I say bring on the Corps!
So Berenstein Bear is apparently fast enough now to round up a bunch of Earth 2 metas all at once. Wow. This is new. And contrary to my prediction, we do get to see Iris typing out a story about the Metapocalypse. So far so good. Wally is still inspired to get involved and he explains why later. Barry’s got a newfound optimism that is going to get on all the other characters’ nerves and get its ultimate test before episode’s end, and we finally get to see what Zoom is actually doing.
This episode produced two things that I’ve been waiting a long time to see:
- it made Barry think and
- it made him think bigger.
So, our lovely Caity Cait is back, and I can’t believe people have said that Danielle Panabaker can’t act. She completely convinced me that she had PTSD from her time with Zoomster, and is even having walking daymares about him. And these horrifying daymares may, given the nature of Zoom’s powers, actually be real. She may not be dreaming that she’s seeing him, he may actually be zipping in and out right in front of her just to terrorize her. It’s still a little too convenient that he just let her go, but it’s necessary to the plot, so we’ll let it slide. (#NitpickersCorner) I love seeing Henry doing his doctor thing. I can see the Barry and Caitlin fans reaching for every single moment that they had in this ep, because if you pay attention, Barry is the most gentle with Caitlin out of all of Team Flash, and he always has been. But Danielle herself said recently that Barry and Iris were the future. More on that later.
Tina McGee! You are a welcome sight, and I have a feeling that you’re going to play a significant role in Season Three. But the absolute best addition to this episode, which should also shut the mouths (and I used to be one) of all the naysayers?
That would be the outstanding Katie Cassidy as Black Siren. Absolutely no way they should ever let her or this character go. Arrow didn’t want Katie as Black Canary, so we will definitely keep her on The Flash as Black Siren. We all knew from the stills of this ep that she was going to kill in this role, and she most certainly did. So Katie Siren decimates Tina’s Mercury Labs with one single scream. Yikes, the power.
She was miscast as Laurel Lance from day one and never stood a chance, but somehow Black Siren is right up her alley. This is just another admission (like bringing Sara Lance back) that they shouldn’t have killed her. Hopefully The Flash writers can see that.
Back at Star Labs, Caitlin is sleeping and trying to recover from Zoomy Zoomster’s reign of terror, and Cisco has the first of three (very convenient I might add since he had them in increasing levels of information #NitpickersCorner) vibey visions. He also doesn’t seem to have an object or any direct stress triggering said vision unless we’re gonna let them push it and say that him thinking about Zoom was a stress trigger. Okay.
Dead birds. Never a good sign in any genre. But then, the TroubAlert! rings and Barry gets a fantastic sequence to show off his new speed. Saving Ms. McGee. And man, the CGI was still kind of lame, but I loved watching those lightning streaks ripping off of him. And of course Tina knows who Flashy Flasherson is. As she says, she’s not stupid. Boom.
Big ol’ wink wink to the audience as Tina meets Henry (for the first time WINK WINK) back at Anybody-can-walk-in-at-any-time Labs, because they were the main couple on The Flash series in the 90s.
Dawson’s dad sure gets around. More on Henry later. Unfortunately. They again have Danielle communicate so well Caitlin’s distress by dressing her down from how she usually comes to work and giving her Raven levels of no color in her face. Oh and Tina? Surprise! Harr’sn Wellz is raht there, the varmint! ‘Ceptin’ he’s not the one you know and Team Flash has got more ‘splainin’ to do. Because not enough people know all of Barry’s business.
Wally of course is doing his best Batman impersonation and runs up on Prince’s brother, Purple Frost…who is then zapped into submission by Joe. I must say…one of the mistakes of this episode is having Team Flash dispatch all these metas so easily. Because in the past they have been stumped, STUMPED I tells ya, trying to solve much simpler problems. Wally gets a good character moment by articulating why he feels so compelled to get involved. The only one I bought fully was the idea that Wally still realizes how much The Flash gave up to save him, and what life would be like if he had never gotten his powers back.
Jesse Quick is being checked by Caitlin Shell-Shocked to see if she’s become Jesse Quick yet. Wells doesn’t like it, tells his daughter that her super power is that brain of hers, she rolls her eyes, and get on with it already because we know where this is going. Bareskin Rug finds the black box for buildings (I started to #NitpickersCorner that but then I realized that McGee might very well have invented such a thing). John Wesley Shipp has just been SLAYING his scenes as Henry, and in the episode’s requisite heart-to-heart between father and son, they have a tense moment. Barry says what I’ve been thinking, that Henry has not quite earned the right to criticize Barry’s superhero techniques or attitudes. When Barry says “I love you, but I’m fine” they might as well have put “foreshadowing” on Henry’s forehead. Wait it’s the TroubAlert! again…So it’s Barry and Zoom getting all not-just-bantery at CCPD. We get the first glimpse of what Zoom is really doing. More on that later.
Vibrational tech is conceived, Cisco has his second convenient vision (which these days are always negative and always related to the plot #NitpickersCorner), and the second requisite father/son heart to heart happens. Mach 50 isn’t a real thing. And Zoom terrorizes Caitlin again. Danielle is really selling this. Third heart to heart is Barry and Wally, complete with speedvoice alteration! But don’t look now, it’s Flashmob against…Laurel Lance. The Earth 2 version.
Black Siren herself. I must observe that Katie looks more relaxed in this role than I ever saw her be in Arrow. They square off and she takes him down WAY TOO EASILY. He’s able to dodge those sonics, but whatever. Busted eardrums ensue. And I’m sorry but that car hit by Wally? SHOULD HAVE KILLED HER. And that doesn’t qualify as a nitpick, that’s just bad writing. But one small warped chicken scene in an otherwise great ep. Next heart to heart, Barry and Iris. This one is significant however because it finally shows Iris sounding more like her comic counterpart. Iris is totally being the voice of practicality and reason. And did anybody else think that Zoom and Black Siren were gonna kiss? They sure should have, the tension was thick in that room.
So the big bailiwick is Hartley-Cisco’s echo pulse wave via Barry’s super-speed refraction run. And guess who shows up to distract Black Laurel? It’s Reverb and Killer Frost! Well, our Team Flash versions in disguise. (Mighty convenient that they had the makeup and the clothes to completely replicate the Dopple Look perfectly! #NitpickersCorner)
Black Siren sniffs out rather quickly that these two are fakes, and Cisco actually triggers a sound wave! Laurel Siren quickly recovers tho and is about to kill them when the soundwave trap kicks in. And also causes Wells to sacrifice himself because Jesse’s headset wasn’t working, but there’s no real explanation as to why. But the best part for me is again, Barry’s participation in saving the day. He actually wins the way The Flash would win in the comics: thinking, planning, science, super-speed. I loved it. Extra points to Killer Kaitlin and CiscoVerb for having the best comedic timing and chemistry of anyone on the show. “What the what? …Well do it again!!” Loved every syllable. Bonus bonus points for having Barry run in a semi-trapezoidal shape around the city. (And again, anybody claiming that Danielle PeanutButter can’t act can kick rocks.)
Zoom apparently can create breaches at will because he escapes through one…that was just lazy writing because that changed everything that had been shown before. He needed Cisco to open the portal to get through the last time, remember?
Final scenes. I loved captive Laurel, her silenced audio scream, the fact that Caitlin and Barry have the natural reaction that their characters would have by considering whether or not to tell Sara and Det. Lance about E2 Laurel. Funny how they don’t mention Oliver tho. Uh, Flash zooms in and out and then Barry shows up right in front of Captain Singh, but he doesn’t pick up on it, ummm. Okay. Maybe. Did you catch the Superman the Movie nod, “We’re all part of the same team?” that’s the last thing Superman says as he flies off after dropping off Lex without due process.
Yeah then we get all celebratey back at Casa de la West. Henry and Tina get all…tingly, Jesse and Wally get all…giggly, and Barry and Iris get all…coupley in an official way. Which means you know the grits are gonna hit the pan. And they do in the way that was called on Twitter weeks ago: the death of Henry Allen. Which occurs right after Cisco sees Earth 2 falling apart. As Barry leaves in pursuit of Zoom, Wally finally sees that Barry is his hero, and Zoom takes Henry back to Barry’s childhood home. Then freaking stabs Henry right through the heart. But Zoom’s ultimate game, we now finally see it: this is Zoom doing a Flash version of The Killing Joke.
Jay wants to prove that Barry is not better than him by giving him a really bad day, the exact same day that created Zoom in the first place. I was really hoping they would avoid the “a main character has to die” trope that seems to now permeate every Berlanti show, but I guess not. But as everyone sussed out, Henry was the most likely. This now almost guarantees that the man in the iron mask on Earth 2 is Henry Allen/Jay Garrick.
This is the first time since we learned who Zoom was that I felt a serious threat level from him. From his terrorizing of Caitlin to his murder of Henry, tonight was the night that pulled it all together in terms of cementing his villainy. The emotional shifts in this episode were totally earned, and Barry’s newfound optimism is now going to be pushed to the limit. They won against the Earth 2 metas, but still failed to capture Zoom, and Henry paid the price for them doing a victory lap too soon. I really could’ve used another hour of this episode, and a two hour finale next week. I’ve already read some other reviews, and a lot of people were disappointed by this ep, especially since it’s the penultimate one, but I wasn’t. I definitely think the metas were defeated too easily, but that wasn’t the point of the ep. I can only hope at this point that the finale lives up to the emotional position this episode has put Barry, Caitlin, Wally, Cisco, Jesse, Iris, Tina, and Joe in.
We’ll see next week!