This The Flash review contains spoilers
The Flash Season 2 Episode 2: Flash of Two Worlds
I may have put some impossibly high expectations on “Flash of Two Worlds.” I’ll admit that. Jay Garrick has always been a favorite of mine, I’m a student of Earth-2 lore, and I couldn’t be more excited that this show is immersing itself as completely in the craziness of the DC Multiverse as one could expect.
All that being said, “Flash of Two Worlds” is a tremendous piece of fan service, but it doesn’t come close to being one of the series’ best episodes.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s plenty I really dug about this one, and it’s never anything less than thoroughly entertaining. But Sand Demon is as utterly useless a villain of the week as you can possibly come up with and virtually every scene is ponderously overwritten. Only Victor Garber as Martin Stein (who is quickly becoming a favorite of mine) manages to make the necessary scientific mumbo-jumbo exposition seem palatable, while every other piece of set-up, from the introduction/motivations of Patty Spivot (an absolutely charming Shantel VanSanten) to Jay Garrick’s need to refer to Barry Allen as “kid” at the end of every sentence, felt a little too on the nose for me.
On the other hand, in terms of a season’s structure, “Flash of Two Worlds” does kind of mirror the first two episodes of season one, which were similarly (and with similar necessity) exposition heavy, and played more like one two hour installment than seperate episodes. That might have been the better approach if they had been given the option.
But I’m in an awfully forgiving mood at the moment, mostly because Teddy Sears makes a mighty convincing Jay Garrick. The costume looks terrific, too. I love the idea of him mentoring Barry this season, even though I’m not too sure about that “throwing lightning” ability.
The ending aside (and I’ll get to that down below) there just wasn’t a hell of a lot of actual drama in this episode and far too much of characters explaining what’s going on and how they feel. To be fair, it’s early in the season and there are a bunch of new rules and relationships that need to be established, but I can’t help but feel it all could have been handled a little more elegantly.
Now that the basic rules of the Multiverse have been explained, they should just move on, and I really hope that this is the last we’re going to see of the “wrong guy because our perp is from Earth-2” gag this season. What’s more, this is now the second villain of the week who (until I hear otherwise) is straight up executed by Team Flash. That really rubs me the wrong way.
Don’t worry, I’m not remotely worried about this season. It took nearly half of season one for The Flash to go from “this is a really nice superhero show” to “holy moley, they’re really going for it.”
With all of my griping out of the way, it’s time to get moving with the stuff I’m really excited about…
Who the Hell is Harrison Wells?
Alright, so this section title is becoming less and less relevant each week, but I gotta say, good for this show for keeping us guessing. Tom Cavanagh is going to remain a major presence this year, which is great.
These are my theories:
– The “original” Harrison, minus Eobard’s “soul” or influence, is going to return to our world in some form.
– The Earth-2 Harrison Wells is just that: the Earth-2 Harrison Wells, and this is how we’re going to continue to have him around.
– The Earth-2 Harrison Wells is actually still Eobard/Evil Harrison Wells, who has just used time travel and singularity shenanigans to set himself up over on Earth-2 to try and take another crack at Flash (Flashes?) later this year or in a future season. It certainly fits with the comic book Eobard’s MO of constantly finding new and inventive ways to show up and give everybody agita.
And speaking of Earth-2…
– Jay Garrick is arguably the third most important DC character of the Golden Age of comics (even though at the time the company wasn’t called DC, but that’s another story. If you want a quick (well, it’s not THAT quick) primer on why Jay is so awesome, I wrote this article for you to check out.
His origin story is mostly in place from the comics, right down to the “heavy water” he was experimenting on (it was originally “hard water”) in the first Flash story. There are some flourishes, though, like the mysterious flash of light that causes his accident. I’m sure this will be explored further as the season goes on.
TV Jay explains that the helmet was his grandfather’s (presumably minus the wings), which he wore during “the war of the Americas.” Since the Jay of the comics first appeared in 1939, it was later explained that his helmet was actually his father’s World War I helmet. Obviously that won’t quite work here.
It’s also interesting that while Jay is several years older than Barry, he’s only been active as Flash for about an extra year. I’m surprised they didn’t play him as much more experienced than that.
– I absolutely love the way they made Earth-2 look. It’s like an art deco hybrid, full of Flash Gordon style hi-tech. That’s a nod to the fact that the Earth-2 of the comics was the world that all of the World War II era superheroes operated in. I was wondering how they would handle that, and this was a really cool visual flourish. I really want to spend more time there.
By the way, the model rocket visible during the Earth-2 STAR Labs tour looks an awful lot like one of Alex Raymond’s original Flash Gordon designs…something that was copied quite closely by Superman’s creators for the first ever comic book looks at Krypton and Superman’s origin. And of course, Garrick’s yellow lightning bolt on a red shirt was borrowed from Raymond’s Flash Gordon, as well. The name? What name? What are you talking about?
God, I love this show.
– They did their best to re-create the cover of The Flash #123 when Jay and Barry show up to rescue Patty, right down the simultaneous “coming” dialogue. Ummm…it’s cute, but it worked better in theory. Comic book movies and shows really need to stop trying to do panel for panel translations of stuff. It doesn’t work.
– While Sand Demon is one of those poor unfortunate souls who’s getting ported over from Earth-2 for tonight’s fight, he was never an Earth-2 kinda guy (unlike last week’s “villain” Atom Smasher). Instead he was a minor (really minor) Firestorm villain. Perfect villain of the week fodder, but just that…fodder.
He first appeared in Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #51 in 1986. He hasn’t been seen a whole helluva lot since then. With good reason.
– Zoom. Hoo-boy. For the moment, please refer to this article I wrote last year, which touches on various Reverse-Flashes through the years, including Zoom. Assuming, of course, that’s the Zoom we’re talking about. I’m going to have to perform some major surgery on that one soon, though.
– Martin Stein’s explanation of Multiverse theory is right in line with DC Comics lore. For more on the implications it had for the comics, and it’s potential implications for DC TV shows (and yes, even the movies), allow me to direct you here.
– Patty Spivot has been kicking around the DC Universe since 1977, and she was created by Flash writer extraordinaire Cary Bates with artist Irv Novick. She was more interested in the scientific side of police work in the comics, but it’s clear she has some aptitude for it here, as well.
Also, the show mentions that Patty went to Hudson University, which was mentioned in season one…it was also the college that Dick Grayson went to when he moved out of Wayne Manor.
– The abandoned grow house that Sand Demon hides Patty in is “Woodrue.” Jason Woodrue was the plant-loving Floronic Man, villain of one of the greatest Swamp Thing stories ever told. I really hope he shows up one of these days.
– Cisco utters the magic word, “Vibe” when explaining his slightly metahuman abilities to Professor Stein. Are they giving his superhero code name an entirely different connotation for this series, or will he eventually become the Vibe comic book fans know and are mostly indifferent to?
What did I miss, Flash fans? Tell me in the comments or on Twitter!