The Flash – Season 2 Episode 22
Zoom begins his campaign to bring chaos to Earth-1 when he unleashes a legion of Metahumans on the unsuspecting population in the second season penultimate episode of The Flash.
The opening moments of this episode were visually excellent as we saw the Metahumans really tearing through Central City and setting up a problem that definitely wouldn’t be easily solved.The idea of a Metahuman siege on Central City would be enough to fill at least a small arc in terms of content. I’m thinking of the three episode siege plot at the end of season 2 of Arrow and how well that worked. It’s just a shame that such a big event was confined to a single episode.
There’s a bit of a disconnect between this setup and the way Barry is reacting to it really casually which seems to trivialise the whole thing. He points out that it’s just the same as dealing with a single Metahuman only on a much larger scale and he’s confident to the point of arrogance about their chances for success. This continues the idea that Barry came back from the Speed Force a changed man who is much more sure of himself and his abilities.
Having this change in Barry works in some ways as he is much more confident which helps in his role as a leader. Instead of standing around waiting for the relevant pep talk to spur him into action he is always ready to get down to business and doesn’t even consider failure. The trade off here is that everyone around him finds him to be dangerously arrogant which results in Henry and Iris trying to get him to find a little perspective.
I’m all for Barry having plenty of agency in a story but his behaviour here is definitely too far in the other direction. It feels like his journey into the Speed Force was something of a religious experience that has changed him in some fundamental way. He says “The Speed Force is with us” numerous times as if that’s a term that’s supposed to make everyone feel better. Not everyone understands it the way he now does so I can see why it would be a small comfort for them.
Barry’s confidence proves not to be quite enough to win the day as the appearance of Black Siren (Katie Cassidy) complicates matters. She is one of Zoom’s most trusted Lieutenants and isn’t afraid to show just how powerful she is. Oh, and she’s the Earth-2 counterpart of the recently deceased Laurel Lance from Arrow.
Her appearance shocks the team as they obviously knew Laurel quite well which makes it clear that this episode is set after her funeral but I wonder long it has been. Has Barry been to visit since his return from the Speed Force? If so, when? Also when is this episode set relative to the previous episode of Arrow where a town was nuked off the map? It doesn’t matter in the context of this episode but as a fan I like to know these things.
Black Siren is very different to the Laurel we know. She is very amoral and twisted which gives Katie Cassidy a chance to really cut loose with her performance. It’s clear that she’s having a blast playing this character as she gets to have much more personality than she ever had on Arrow. Also, she has a Metahuman Canary Cry instead of that terrible device that the Earth-1 version was using.
There was so much risk of this feeling like a stunt but surprisingly it felt like an organic part of the episode. Her screen time didn’t seem to be inflated simply because the actress was a regular on another show so her purpose was very neatly laid out. As one of Zoom’s Lieutenants she should get a bit more attention than the other Metahumans but her function in the story is a fairly small one. It adds a bit extra to make that Lieutenant the counterpart of a character that Team Flash already know but the episode wasn’t about her and neither should it have been. It was good to see a version of Laurel after her death and I had a lot of fun with her scenes in this episode.
The definite highlight was Cisco and Caitlin going to her pretending to be Reverb and Killer Frost. Carlos Valdes and Danielle Panabaker did a really good job playing their characters pretending to be different versions of that same character. It was a fun and tense scene that constantly left me wondering when Black Siren would figure out the truth about them. She was established as intelligent so the misdirection shouldn’t have worked but watching her go along with it for a short time was excellent.
Caitlin was really well handled in this episode as she was shown to have been deeply affected by her time as Zoom’s hostage. I like how she was periodically haunted by the image of Zoom and I did wonder at one point if he was speeding in for a split second before leaving just to remind her that he could strike at any time. That wasn’t the case and she was simply haunted by him but that was a really powerful way to show how dangerous he thinks she is. The worst part of it all is that Caitlin has lost her confidence as a result of this. She is living in constant fear and doesn’t know how she can ever move on from this. Danielle Panabaker was excellent in this episode as she really brought across what Caitlin was feeling. It’s all really powerful stuff and Cisco’s efforts to make her feel better further show the brother/sister relationship they have.
I get the impression that Zoom is unravelling through his scene with Barry where he tries to convince him that they are essentially the same person. If Barry can accept that then it somewhat validates everything Zoom believes about people but Barry refuses as he feels that he is nothing like that. The idea of a support structure being key to helping people deal with horrible events is brought up again through Barry’s insistence that he’s better than Zoom and the suggestion that Caitlin won’t become like her counterpart because she has people that will help her.
Another thing Zoom wants to prove is that Barry is capable of the same anger he is which results in him killing Barry’s father in the same place that his mother was killed just to prove a point. Maybe if he can encourage Barry to be out for blood then it proves the point about how similar they are. It was a shocking ending for Henry but it was hard not to see it coming with all the foreshadowing that has been going on. I don’t think it’s possible for him to be on the show full time and there’s no real role for him on Team Flash plus there have been far too many conversations about how proud he is of his son so it seemed obvious that he was going to be killed.
Even though it could easily be seen coming it didn’t make it any less effective. I am completely invested in the character of Henry Allen so having him die is always going to be a shock. His presence on the show will definitely be missed and his death will definitely inform Barry’s character in some really significant ways.
I like that Henry got something of a victory lap by getting to share screen time with former castmate Amanda Pays. Their flirtatious conversations showed that their chemistry is definitely still there and it created some really natural interactions. It can’t be said that the show did his character a disservice.
Wally’s role in the episode didn’t quite work for me as it reminds me too much of what was being done with Roy at the start of season 2 of Arrow. He was risking his life in an attempt to help the vigilante just as Wally is but it doesn’t really work here. If they want to send Wally down a more heroic path then great but there has to be a more organic way to do it. Having him save Barry by running over Black Siren was a cool moment though.
The plan to stop all of the Metahumans at once felt far too convenient but it did create a really fun scene between Harry and Cisco as they argue over the terminology of Earth-2 being on a higher frequency than Earth-1 or not. I like the idea of having pride in your home dimension. Despite that the plan felt too neat and solved the problem too quickly.
I’ve already mentioned the shock associated with Henry’s death but the final moments of the episode had a lot more going on. Barry and Iris have now apparently started their relationship and Wally finds out that Barry is the Flash. Cisco seeing the end of the world gives really high stakes for the next episode and the development of that vision throughout the episode worked really well. I especially liked his reference to having a Hitchcock movie inside his head.
It’s a lot to happen in a short space of time and there was a certain impending doom about the happy moment that everyone was having. It was a good scene as it’s always fun to see these characters come together for non crime fighting reasons.
A solid episode that could have done more with the Metahuman siege idea as it felt like it was over too quickly. Katie Cassidy turning up as the Earth-2 version of Laurel Lance was a nice touch and it was good that she didn’t overpower the story by virtue of being a guest star. Caitlin’s Zoom related PTSD was handled really well and the death of Henry Allen was appropriately shocking.
- Katie Cassidy’s turn as Black Siren
- the shocking cliffhanger
- excellent acting from Danielle Panabaker to show Caitlin’s emotional issues
- wasted potential for the Metahuman siege
- Wally’s scenes feeling slightly pointless