The Flash: The Darkness and the Light review

The Flash season 2 episode 5 introduced Doctor Light and made the threat of Zoom all the more real. Here's Mike's review...

This The Flash review contains spoilers.

The Flash Season 2 Episode 5

What a terrific way to open an episode this was. Then again, I’m far from objective about this sort of thing. The sepia-tinted, art deco look of Earth-Two just gets me right in a very specific, happy part of my soul that it’s tough to not get a little over excited about it. For real, they had better do an entire episode there before this season is finished.

Anyway, I should probably review the episode.

“The Darkness and The Light” was remarkably good considering how all over the place it was. It really suffers only from the one major weakness the overall concept of this season has: the “evil twin from Earth-Two” motif is already played out. Making Doctor Light into the Earth-Two Linda Park looks like it will serve a story purpose next week, but this gag is starting to feel a little contrived. At least now we know why there was secrecy surrounding Doctor Light casting when the character was first announced.

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But these shortcomings can be excused pretty quickly because of how strong the rest of the episode is. Once again, Light isn’t treated as a traditional villain of the week, and most of the episode is spent on other, more season-y concerns. This probably shouldn’t work as well as it does, but any episode that has some genuinely hilarious moments featuring Cisco pulling a Cyrano de Bergerac (while apparently eating sushi with a pair of forceps) for a Light-blind Barry, deepen the mystery of Harrison Wells, and deliver an appropriately sci-fi superhero/villain showdown at the end has to get a round of applause from me.

We’re definitely getting to “put up or shut up” time with Zoom, though. The end of episode look at him was appropriately terrifying, but now that we have two regular characters who are very familiar with the mystery threat, and new ones showing up each week who are also familiar with him, well, there’s only so long you can string the audience along. I think we’re almost there, though, and they seem to have done an excellent job distinguishing him from Eobard Thawne, and he’s far from a simple Reverse-Flash clone.

In fact, I have to wonder what (if anything) he has in common with his comic book counterpart. I should save that for another article though, shouldn’t I?

“The Darkness and The Light” is kind of a sneaky episode. It got a lot done, and it wasn’t until it was over that I realized just how much had happened. It’s clear that most of this episode’s resolution won’t happen until next week, but so far, so good. I’ll eventually stop harping on Earth-Two shorthand for all the villains. I suppose it’s more important to give us these bad guys who are actually established, and needing to explain origins in addition to the interdimensional stuff would get old pretty quick, too. I need to start thinking of this in terms of: “there were already two seasons of a Jay Garrick Flash TV series on Earth-Two” and now holy moley, I really would watch the hell out of that now that I type it.

If it seems like the actual “review” section is short this week, it’s because I’ve had to save quite a bit for…

Who the Hell is Harrison Wells?

Okay. We need to talk about just how good Tom Cavanagh is.

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It would have been extraordinarily easy to just make Earth-Two Harrison Wells into, well, Harrison Wells. But this is a different character with different life experiences, if the same scientific genius. I’ve already moved on from Cavanagh’s season one portrayal, and I’ve bought in to this year’s model. That’s impressive, and it really drives home just how important to this show he has been.

His relationship with Jay Garrick seems like it could parallel that of Superman and Lex Luthor in the ’90s. Wells is rich, brilliant, well-respected, and influential, but hiding dark secrets which only Flash really knows about. I don’t know why, though, I just don’t buy that this Wells is evil (or a supervillain). It would be too easy, for sure, but using him as a way to humanize Jay and showing that the Earth-Two Flash is capable of making poor character judgments seems like a strong move. Incidentally, when Jay does get his speed back (potentially with Harrison’s help?) it’s going to be one spectacular moment, isn’t it?

Either way, he’s a dick, though, and certainly a dick with secrets. Outing Cisco as a metahuman to his pals in the way that he did doesn’t even seem like something that Eobard/Harrison would have done.

It’s fun watching everyone react to him. Particularly, Joe’s “well, you can’t murder someone who everybody thinks is dead” logic. Remember that dagger in Iris’ photo in season one? Joe sure does.

DC Universe Watchtower

– So, I fully expected this week’s Doctor Light to be the Kimiyo Hoshi version who first appeared in Crisis On Infinite Earths #4 in 1985 (and who was also briefly a member of the bwa-ha-ha Justice League lineup). I was wrong. I gotta say, though, that costume and mask were pretty sharp!

Maybe someday we’ll get Kimiyo on here, but I doubt it. Or maybe the creepy-ass Arthur Light version. Probably not, though. 

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– Do I really need to point out future Legends of Tomorrow star, Ciara Renee as future Hawkgirl Kendra Saunders? No. Good. Moving on…

– One of Jay’s best friends is from Atlantis, eh? Well, it might be asking a little much for that person to be Arthur Joseph Curry, but you never know. What he says about Atlantis being above the water is true, as that was one of the distinguishing features of the classic Earth-Two stories (once that distinction had really been made).

– They aren’t kidding about Cisco’s “Vibe” codename. It…ummmm…it sounds worse when you say it out loud in the 21st Century, doesn’t it?

– I said it before and I’ll say it again…that totally looks like early depictions of Superman’s rocket ship in the Earth-Two STAR Labs!


3.5 out of 5