The Flash – Season 2 Episode 14
“Escape From Earth-2”
The Flash concludes the visit to Earth-2 with Wells and Cisco mounting a rescue of the captured Barry before their window of opportunity to return to Earth-1 runs out.
This episode had a lot to live up to after the stellar outing last week. Many shows have a problem concluding a two part story and The Flash is no exception. I’m not saying that this was a bad episode but it didn’t quite live up to what came before.
I would say the major issue this episode had was having a lot of plot threads to wrap up. The first part had a lot of fun exploring Earth-2 without making much meaningful progression in the story and this episode suffers as a result. I felt that some of it was rushed to tick the necessary boxes before the characters returned to Earth-1.
Another major issue was that Ronnie and Cisco’s Earth-2 counterparts were killed off last week which left a smaller pool of characters for this episode to play with. Cisco AKA Reverb in particular had a lot more potential than his brief appearance afforded so I think he should have been kept around to help with the mission to rescue Barry.
With Barry being in a cell for much of this episode it was a good idea to have the Earth-2 Barry involved to make up for having the main character largely absent. Grant Gustin’s performance is at times over the top as Earth-2 Barry but he does a good job of making the two versions distinct and I never felt that he was too irritating.
I liked the fact that the Earth-2 Barry was a bit of a coward but felt compelled to help anyway. The message seems to be that people are more similar than different between worlds. Obviously there are differences but the fundamentals of who a person is tend to remain the same. This is true of Barry who risks his life to help his other self despite not having any super powers or any field skills that were needed. He does prove himself useful by supplying a pep talk to his counterpart to give him the confidence needed to escape from Zoom’s cell.
Earth-1 Barry got to use his intelligence in his escape attempt with Jesse’s help. Barry and Jesse already have a fun dynamic and I’m glad that there will be an opportunity for that to continue after this episode. Together they manage to figure out that the mysterious prisoner in the iron mask was trying to tell them something but couldn’t get much more out than the word Jay. Was he trying to tell them that Jay Garrick is actually Zoom or was it something else?
This whole thing led me to wonder whether we’ve ever seen Jay and Zoom in the same scene outside of flashbacks where Jay tells the story. Jay was conspicuously absent during Geomancer’s attack on STAR Labs which syncs up with Zoom’s appearance in Earth-2 so it could be argued that he was moving between universes without anyone knowing. The man in the iron mask could be the real Earth-2 Jay and Zoom could be the Jay Garrick from a hypothetical Earth-3.
If Jay is actually Zoom then it makes everything he has done so far more interesting. I’ve said that Zoom appears to have an addiction to the speed force in a previous review and it was established last week that Jay has the same thing so there is a tangible connection between the two characters that could offer a clue. It could be that he was manipulating Caitlin to enhance his speed using the Velocity serum. The writers will need to be careful with Velocity 9 as some clear limitations will need to be established otherwise there will be a question around why everyone can’t become a speedster. Maybe it can only enhance an existing connection to the Speed Force or unlock some random potential that others have. It could be leaned on as a crutch so hopefully it will be treated well.
The ending of the episode seems to counter the fact that Jay is actually Zoom but Reverse Flash managed to appear in the same place as Wells in season 1 so I’m not entirely ruling it out. Zoom’s identity is still up in the air but I’m confident that we can rule out Earth-2 Barry based entirely on how he acted in this episode plus they were seen together. That doesn’t necessarily disqualify him but I’m fairly certain that it won’t be him. Earth-2 Henry Allen is still a possibility but I’m also not ruling out Zoom being from another universe entirely.
Zoom really seemed like a credible threat in this episode. The sequence where he chased down Harry, Cisco and Earth-2 Barry in STAR Labs was very tense and really felt like a horror movie. His appearance towards the end of the episode where he threatened to kill everyone he didn’t need was great as well.
The Earth-1 narrative felt fairly overcrowded. Having the Speed Cannon be fixed off screen only to be broken again shortly after was really clumsy and Geomancer really stood out as a nuisance plot device rather than an actual villain. Zoom seemed like a credible threat but Geomancer seemed like more of a joke and was dealt with as almost an afterthought. There was some redemption for the Earth-1 scenes with a really tense conclusion where Jay and Joe raced against time to get the Speed Cannon working again. It worked as it was developed in tandem with Zoom being hot on the heels of the group trying to escape.
This was a great episode for Candice Patton as she got plenty of opportunity to portray a more assertive and confident version of Iris rather than the version we usually see. She proves more than up to the challenge and creates a really memorable character. It’s a shame that the Earth-1 version lacks the same kind of depth as Patton proves that she’s more than capable as an actress.
An attempt was made to give the Earth-1 Iris something to do this week with a new editor at the paper discouraging optimistic pieces about the Flash and looking for real stories. Iris finds herself in professional conflict as she knows the truth but can’t write about it so tries to find a way to paint Jay as a hero. It was fairly weak as stories go and definitely didn’t do anything to develop Iris as a character. Outside of her family issues that remain largely on the back burner for now she is really starting to stagnate as a character.
The heavy use of both versions of Caitlin was a good idea as it allowed us to see their numerous differences and similarities. Some depth is added to Killer Frost with the suggestion that something traumatic happened in her past to send her down the path to being a villain. She resents her given name of Caitlin and is particularly vulnerable after the loss of Ronnie so there’s definitely some history there that I would like to see explored. Whether she survived her betrayal of Zoom is still up in the air but I’d like to see her again especially if she can interact with her counterpart.
Killer Frost’s current state of emotional vulnerability means that Cisco is able to use his friendship with the Earth-1 version to appeal to her better nature and enlist her help. I always enjoy when Cisco is moved out of the comic relief role and proves to be inspirational to others. This was a great example of that and proves that Carlos Valdes works well with anyone on The Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow.
I found the ending to be a mixed bag. On one hand it was really effective as it provides a new character for Team Flash with Jesse crossing over but I couldn’t understand the reasoning for closing the breach. Before going to Earth-2 Barry mentioned that he didn’t want to make Zoom exclusively an Earth-2 problem. In that case he was specifically talking about Harry’s mission to rescue his daughter but considering Jay was apparently staying on Earth-1 then closing the breach leaves Zoom stranded on Earth-2 without a Flash to protect it. This is especially apparent as Barry promised to go back for the man in the iron mask so it didn’t really make sense to me. Obviously the fallout will be dealt with in the coming episodes but I hope the reasoning for closing the breach will be explored.
A solid episode that doesn’t match the quality of the first part but still develops some ideas really well. In general the episode feels like it is rushing to tick all the boxes on open plot threads but it is still very enjoyable.
• Zoom’s formidable presence
• Barry and Jesse’s solid dynamic
• the development of Killer Frost
• an overall rushed quality to the plotting
• a lack of clarity around the closing of the breach at the end