I told you I wasn’t worried! “Flash of Two Worlds” was exactly what I wanted from last week’s season premiere, with crazy Silver Age comic science fiction, new Flash powers, a good CW-budgeted super-brawl and with the much-anticipated return of my very favorite aspects of season one.
But let’s not spoil it quite yet. “Flash of Two Worlds” picks up exactly here “The Man Who Saved Central City” left off. If you’re not a comic fan, and were wondering why on Earth you should care that some random dude wandered into STAR Labs, you finally have the answer: He’s the Flash from a second world (okay, the episode title may have clued you in) which I, like the show, will now refer solely as Earth-2 for simplicity’s sake.
If you’re still fuzzy on the whole Earth-2/multiverse thing, young James Whitbrook has an excellent primer here, but The Flash usually does an excellent job at making far-out comic concepts understandable to The CW’s teen, non-nerd audience, and I don’t think this is any different. At any rate, Garrett explains that he and the evil speedster of Earth-2 were sucked to Earth-1 by the singularity of last season’s finale. While Garrick lost his powers, Zoom—who appears to be dressed in all-black, unlike Wells’ Reverse-Flash—has simply found another Flash to kill, and that’s why he’s bringing over the evil metahumans of Earth-2 to murder Barry. This week it’s Eddie Slick, a.k.a. Sand Demon, a.k.a. a CW-level version of Sandman from Amazing Spider-Man 3.
However, Barry’s real foe in this episode is the other Flash, because Barry hates Jay Garrick. Hates him. Refuses to trust him, refuses to even hear him out when he says he knows how to defeat Sand Demon, and locks him up in a cell every minute Caitlin isn’t performing tests/borderline sexual harassment on him.
As the episode reveals, Barry has major trust issues after Wells’ betrayal last season, and by waltzing into STAR Labs with special knowledge and attempts to train Barry, Jay has unknowingly presented himself as Wells 2.0. This isn’t at all an unreasonable issue, but unfortunately it’s handled with The Flash’s usual level of character development, which is to say that 1) Barry acts like a dick for no apparent reason, 2) Barry finally explains to somebody what his problem is, and 3) Barry gets over it to save the day (this time it’s thanks to a pep talk from Iris). We saw it time and time again last season, and, until whatever the hell happened with Barry’s dad in the season premiere, it was The Flash’s worst aspect.
And that’s not that bad! Sure, it would be nice if Barry developed more like a real human being, but it’s hard to get too upset when we’re getting Earth-2, Jay Garrick in his winged helmet, and Barry learning a new power—namely, Garrick teaches him how to harness the lightning he creates when he runs. It’s pretty awesome! And with help from Jay, who acts as a decoy, Barry is able to defeat the Sand Demon (and maybe murder him? Let’s not worry too much about it right now), and save brand new character and Barry love interest Patty Spivot (more on her below). And the episode ends with Barry, Iris, Cisco, Caitlin, Joe, Dr. Stein and new SuperSTAR Jay Garrick ready to take on whatever Earth-2 metahumans Zoom cares to bring over.
Or rather, it almost ends, because in “Flash of Two Worlds” I am happy to report the triumphant return of my favorite part of almost every episode of The Flash season one. Suddenly, after the title card, we see a Central City that is clearly not on our Earth, and a STAR Labs that is a major center of activity, not just as a lab, but as part of the city. Children are getting school tours! Which is when they meet the man who seemed to have saved this specific Central City: Harrison Wells.
IT’S THE RETURN OF THE WELLS MOMENT! My god I was just as thrilled as when we were trying to piece together his mystery last season. Is this actually Wells? Is it Eobard Thawne disguised as Wells? Is it the Eobard Thawne from Earth-1, somehow? Is this Earth-2? Is he connected to Zoom in some way? Is he even evil? Because even though this Wells is walking, it seems very unlikely that anyone who says “Hello, kids” that sinisterly could possibly not be evil.
And just like that, I’m all in again for The Flash. I would love if Barry (and the writers) could get past his temper tantrums, and I would really love if there’s more to Barry’s dad’s inexplicable behavior in the premiere than we know. But even if he doesn’t and there isn’t, The Flash is back on track. (Please insert your own running/racing/speed metaphor here.)
• Enter Patty Spivot! I don’t know her at all, but apparently in the comics she was Barry’s lab assistant and in the New 52 his romantic partner. Here, she’s a top cop (and Barry fan) who desperately wants to be on Joe’s defunct anti-metahuman task force. I was instantly worried she had a vendetta against all metahumans, but her tale is more interesting than that: Yes, Weather Wizard killed her dad, but before he got powers. Now she wants to make sure scumbags who received powers in the particle accelerator accident can’t use them to hurt people. She’s definitely pro-Flash. Yay!
• Cisco has a few visions this episode, which occur when he touches Sand Demon’s sand, presumably because he/it came from Earth-2 and Cisco can sense the vibrations of that world, if I recall. Anyway, his visions are of the recent past, so that’s weird but extremely helpful.
• Also weird: Cisco does not want anyone to know about his powers, and he swears Dr. Stein to secrecy once the scientist figures it out. Cisco explains that since his powers came from Wells, they’re evil, and he wants them gone, but I don’t buy it. The Flash’s powers also “came” from Wells, and they aren’t cursed. I feel like Cisco would be/should be excited and interested in them. Oh well.
• Barry and Patty make the same Holy Grail reference in the first reminder in a long, long time that Barry is also supposed to be kind of a nerd.
• Caitlin Snow wants to break off a piece of Jay Garrick so damn bad. I assume that’s why it hasn’t dawned on her that instead of dying Ronnie may have accidentally been sucked into an alternate dimension yet.
• There are 52 “breaches” to other worlds located in Central City. HAHAHAHAHA
• When Jay Garrick casually mentioned the “War of the Americas” I basically turned into Cisco. “Tell me more, Jay Garrick. In a two-hour TV special, if you please.”
• Not only does Joe’s wife/Iris’ mom show up out of nowhere at the end of the episode, but Dr. Stein collapses. We’ll see which is more problematic for the SuperSTARS next week, when Captain Cold’s dad stops by! I can’t wait.
• Obnoxiously self-indulgent line that only works because Cisco says it, upon seeing Oliver’s televised Green Arrow speech: “I hate it when they put a color in their name.”
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