This The Flash review contains spoilers.
The Flash Season 2 Episode 15
I wanted to love “King Shark” because, well, c’mon…it’s an entire episode dedicated to King Shark. How could I not root for this?
I’ll give “King Shark” this much, it started off really strong. You may recall in my previous review, I couldn’t imagine how they could get from the death of Jay Garrick to a giant talking shark in one move without things feeling jarring.
Well, you know what? They did it. And they did it pretty well. The jump in time (not speed related) worked pretty well, and considering how we tend to watch this stuff unfold in real time, it could have been awkward, but it wasn’t. This will probably make up for the three week break the show is about to take, so I have to figure roughly 3-4 weeks were covered here.
So yeah, threading the King Shark stuff through with Barry’s own self-doubts from the Earth-2 adventure, Caitlyn mourning Jay, and Cisco’s worries about Killer Frost wasn’t the problem at all. Even bringing in Diggle and Lyla for a quick hello felt less forced than some of the other gymnastics we’ve seen these shows do to bring in guest stars. It just couldn’t quite sustain everything for a full hour (and did anyone else feel like they squeezed longer commercial breaks into this one?).
But by the end of the episode, things had gotten pretty dull. King Shark himself was better in theory than in practice, and they never managed to find the weird whimsy that made people enjoy this goofy character in the first place.
As one little disclaimer: I’m on vacation and had to watch this on what might be the worst television I’ve endured anything on in the 21st century. As a result, I seem to think King Shark looked pretty good, mostly because the resolution on everything was so dull that I wouldn’t have been able to spot the usual weirdness you see when these digitally rendered characters interact with the real world. My impression is that he looked at least as good as Grodd, except during that dopey swimming sequence at the end. Let me know if my eyes deceived me, please.
Really, “King Shark” just kind of brought back lots of my reservations about how they’ve handled Earth-2 all season long. It was always dopey to make King Shark another metahuman sent here by Zoom. It’s especially dopey that everyone gets to meet their Earth-2 doppleganger. It’s extraordinarily dopey that in some cases they may as well be the goatee-wearing versions of the cast. They’ve made so many other smart choices with how this world is presented, and I could certainly excuse a handful of these, but there have been far, far too many.
Which brings me to the biggest problem, and the thing that is bringing this episode’s score down the most.
That Zoom reveal was thoroughly anti-climactic. I wrote a whole article about Zoom’s identity (which I will now have to make some revisions to), and it’s pretty clear that he’s the Jay Garrick/Hunter Zolomon of our world. Making the Earth One version of Jay Garrick into Hunter Zolomon always felt pretty lazy, and the minute he was “introduced” (if you could call the 30 seconds the show devoted to him before never mentioning him again an introduction) it was pretty clear where they were going with this.
I have absolute faith in this show. But they’re going to have to do a hell of a lot of fancy footwork to earn this one. And no, this isn’t just me being annoyed that they might have actually killed off Jay Garrick. I haven’t been thrilled with lots of the doppleganger stuff all season long, and right now, until I’m proven wrong (and not only do I hope to be, I kind of expect to be), this feels like a shortcut.
“We’re gonna need a bigger Flash” was…oh, c’mon. Do I really need to explain Jaws references? Of course I don’t. You’re all better than that, and for me to try and do this would be insulting.
– The Shay Lamden stuff is, to the best of my knowledge, the first time they’ve explicitly referenced the events of The Flash: Season Zero comic that DC puts out as a tie-in to the show. Let’s hear it for synergy!
– So Diggle will be getting a new helmet? Please let him be the Guardian this time!!!
– I don’t think I ever noticed the jazz posters on Joe West’s walls before. I spotted Cab Calloway, but lousy TV meant I couldn’t see more.
I know I’m waaaaaaay off my game with Flash Facts this week boys and girls, and you can blame some of that on technical difficulties and some of it on the warm tropical air and sun I’m soaking up. Get at me on Twitter or in the comments with everything I missed!