The Flash – Season 2 Episode 5
“The Darkness and the Light”
Earth-2 Harrison Wells makes his presence known to the Flash and his team with the promise of being able to help them take on Zoom as another Earth-2 Metahuman is sent to kill Barry.
I’m going to call Earth-2 Harrison Wells Harry because that’s how Cisco refers to him and it really seems to fit. This version of Wells’ personality has been left deliberately ambiguous through the fleeting glimpses of him over the past few episodes so it was a curiosity to find out how he would fit into the show. It turns out that Harry is completely different to his Earth-1 counterpart. Of course by the Earth-1 counterpart I mean the version of him that was Eobard Thawne posing as him. Earth-1 Wells was calm and methodical in the way he conducted himself where Earth-2 Wells is rude and short tempered. He is slightly sympathetic because of his daughter that is kidnapped by Zoom but in general he is not a nice guy. It really shows how good an actor Tom Cavenagh is that he can play these two completely different versions of the same character while still retaining some familiarity.
The way he interacted with the group was interesting. Cisco and Caitlin are having a really hard time dealing with the fact that he’s around. Cisco in particular finds the whole idea hard to process and is understandably reluctant to trust this guy. Caitlin seems to approach him as a scientific curiosity. She wants to run tests on him and reminds herself that the Wells she remembers wasn’t the “real” one either. I like the fact that the human angle is kept at the front of this and serious consideration is given to how people might process this.
Surprisingly Barry is more or less willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. We don’t see what happens following his discovery of Harry after he gunned down King Shark so his initial reaction is completely left to the imagination. I found this a little clumsy as it feels like an important scene was simply cut. What happened to King Shark? Is he dead or simply stunned and locked up in the pipeline? In some ways it does make sense that Barry would be willing to give Harry a chance since he is starting to get his head around the notion of the Multiverse and is aware that because one version of a person turned out a particular way it doesn’t mean that all of them do. I would think that he would be more cautious and at least put him in the pipeline for a while. When Jay showed up that’s exactly what happened and his face didn’t have any baggage attached to it.
Joe’s reaction was definitely my favourite where he shoots first without asking questions. It works as Joe hasn’t accepted the Multiverse yet despite all the evidence he has so as far as he’s concerned the guy that caused so much pain and death is back and needs to be stopped. He will get used to it eventually but since Joe is a guy who has difficulty with these big science fiction concepts it will take him a while to fully accept what is actually happening around him. It’s fine for now but I hope it doesn’t get dragged out to the point where Joe seems stupid for not understanding. I don’t expect that will be the case given the treatment of him in the past.
Unlike her father Iris seems to be having an easier time with the whole thing. The multiverse is something that she has accepted and she even manages to approach Harry calmly despite what he represents for her. It shows a real maturity to Iris that wasn’t there previously and it’s a good fit for her. She’s managed to move away from holding grudges for no good reason and wants to make up her own mind about Harry.
Jay Garrick has a close personal connection to Harry. Like in Earth-1 there was a dark matter wave that originated from S.T.A.R. Labs that was responsible for creating the Metahumans. Jay blames Harry for all of the Metahuman troubles that have plagued his world but Harry covers up his role in their creation.
Jay and Harry have an antagonistic relationship but it’s more akin to Superman and Lex Luthor. Jay sees Harry as his enemy and knows that he’s up to something but can’t go near him without any way to prove it. The animosity between them is clear as they come to blows over their mutual dislike. Teddy Sears and Tom Cavenagh play this perfectly with a new side to Jay being seen in this episode. I like the fact that Jay is powerless on a literal and figurative level to stop Harry despite what he knows.
It is revealed that Jay hasn’t been as effective a Flash as Barry because he’s afraid. Most of all he is afraid of Zoom and what he is capable of. Zoom took his speed and threatened his life constantly. He has always been worried that he doesn’t have what it takes to stop Zoom and that self doubt is holding him back. Barry doesn’t have that problem to the same degree as he likes to challenge himself to improve especially when he has the motivation to do so.
The events of this episode seem to be a little too much for Jay on a lot of levels. He doesn’t want to be part of Team Flash’s plan to lure Zoom into their world because he feels that it’s too dangerous and ends with certain death. He can’t be a part of that as he won’t help his friends commit what he feels is suicide. His fear over what Zoom might do to him plays a part in it too. I’m sure it won’t take him long to return and help the team but it makes sense for him to leave over this for now.
With Jay around already I was concerned that Harry might be one helpful scientist too many but the dynamic is different enough that it really works having them both around. Harry’s impatience and general self serving nature are a good counter to Jay’s genuine desire to help and their approach to problems is very different. It’s also worth noting that their levels of experience in certain fields are far different so there is a place for both of them.
I really liked seeing the extended scene on Earth-2 with the differences in fashion and overall design. There has been a lot of effort put into making it seem different to Earth-One and that really pays off. There’s even a mention of Atlantis which is apparently above the water and Jay has a friend who lives there. I wonder if it’s a version of Aquaman that he calls his friend. I am still curious if there’s a Jay Garrick in Earth-One and a Barry in Earth-Two. I wonder why nobody has even mentioned it at this point.
Cisco’s powers are finally revealed to Team Flash after Harry shows no interest in keeping the whole thing a secret. I really liked the simple scene that got it out in the open after Harry showcases his watch that has a Metahuman detection app built in to prove that Cisco is a metahuman and put an end to the secrecy once and for all. Cisco’s justification that he was worried he would turn out to be evil is quickly shot down as well. I’m still not sure why Cisco would be afraid of this as Barry and Ronnie/Stein are excellent example of the dark matter wave not causing people to be evil. Now that it’s all dealt with things can move on. We even get to the point where he is named Vibe so things can really progress with Cisco’s abilities now. Having him flirt with future Hawkgirl Kendra Saunders (Ciara Renée) is a good way to introduce this character without it feeling like obvious setup for the spinoff. She seems like a good character so far and I’m interested to see how she develops.
Some progress was made on Barry and Patty’s relationship as they go out on a date. The catch is that Barry finds himself blind after an encounter with Doctor Light so has to try to fake the ability to see using some assistance from Cisco with an earpiece and camera fitted glasses. It was a fun scene that perhaps seems a little too sitcomy but it worked well enough due to the likeable characters and chemistry between the actors. I like that Patty completely saw through Barry’s attempt to function when blind as it shows how intelligent she is. If the writers keep treating this character like this then she will continue to be a welcome presence.
The villain for this episode was actually really well done. Despite the massive change to the Doctor Light character’s civilian identity it made a lot of sense to have her be the Earth-2 Linda Park in this context. For one thing it presents a personal stake for Barry who used to go out with with Earth-1 version of Linda. Another thing it brings to the table is outlining Doctor Light’s motivations clearly. She wants to escape Zoom’s influence by killing her counterpart and hiding out by living her life. It’s not the most thought out plan but when someone is desperate then it makes sense for them to go after any small chance they might have. It seems that possibly both versions of Linda will prove useful as bait for Zoom.
I really liked the final confrontation between Doctor Light and the Flash where Barry learned a new skill in creating speed mirages to confuse the opponent. At first he isn’t sure he can do it but both Harry and Jay assure him that he is more than fast enough to be able to do it. Naturally he rises to the challenge and manages to pull it off which created a really cool visual. Some of the logistics of the fight were a little poorly thought out such as Barry not bringing any protective eye wear despite the fact that his opponent made him blind before. He’s supposed to be smarter than this so I’m confused as to why he isn’t being portrayed as such.
Not much is known about Zoom at this point beyond the fact that he wants to be the only speedster around, appears to be native to Earth-2 -though that’s not confirmed- and has no sense of morality when it comes to putting others in danger to achieve his goal. He is completely driven in his objective and knows Barry well enough to use a familiar face against him. It isn’t as compelling a mystery as in season 1 with Harrison Wells but I don’t think it’s supposed to be. I can see the Zoom story really developing in the next few episodes.
A well put together episode that continues the multiverse story through the full introduction of Earth-2 Harrison Wells and exploring how he fits into Team Flash.
The Earth-Two Harrison Wells is vastly different to the Earth-One counterpart. Earth-One Wells was calm and methodical in the way he approached things where Earth-Two Wells -or Harry- is rude and short tempered. He is slightly sympathetic as he has a daughter who Zoom has kidnapped but he is not a nice guy. Tom Cavenagh proves how good an actor he is by creating two distinct versions of the same person.
Cisco and Caitlin have a really hard time dealing with his presence with Cisco in particular struggling to accept the fact that someone who looks like the man that caused them so much pain is running around free. Caitlin retreats to a more scientific perspective with the desire to run tests and reminding herself that her Wells wasn’t the “real” one either.
Surprisingly Barry is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. On one hand it makes sense that he understands the concept of the multiverses enough to know that Harry is a completely different person but when he met Jay he locked him in the pipeline until he was sure that he was telling the truth and Jay’s face didn’t have the same baggage as Harry’s does.
Jay and Harry have a very antagonistic relationship not unlike Superman and Lex Luthor. Jay knows that Harry is responsible for the dark matter wave that created the metahumans on his world but he can’t prove it so Harry gets to walk free. It’s an interesting dynamic that seems to really upset Jay since he is both literally and figuratively powerless to do anything about it.
This episode has a big effect on Jay on a lot of levels as it has revealed that his effectiveness as the Flash was limited by his fear. He is afraid of Zoom and is held back by self doubt. Barry doesn’t have that same problem as he prefers to embrace challenges where Jay seems to move away from them. His decision to leave out of fear of his friends getting hurt makes sense for him at this point.
I had some concerns that Harry might be one scientist too many but his skillset is vastly different to Jay’s and their approach to problems is very different. The fact that they have very different attitudes creates a good dynamic within the characters.
Cisco’s powers being revealed to Team Flash is a good thing as it allows this story to move forward. I like that Cisco’s concerns about becoming evil are put to rest and I look forward to seeing this story develop. His flirtation with future Hawkgirl Kendra is a good way to introduce that character.
Barry and Patty’s relationship develops with them going on their first date with the notable catch of Barry being blinded by Doctor Light. Barry gives it a go anyway with glasses fitted with a camera and an earpiece so that Cisco can be his eyes. It’s a fun scene but a but sitcomy. It works because of the strength of the actors and their innate chemistry.
Doctor Light was a good villain and it was a wise choice to change her identity to the Earth-Two counterpart of Barry’s ex Linda Park. It shows how smart Zoom is as a villain, gives Barry a personal stake in the fight and gives Doctor Light clear motivation by wanting to escape Zoom by killing and replacing her Earth-One counterpart. The fight between the Flash and Doctor Light was well done with an impressive use of a new skill for Barry where he creates speed mirages. There are some leaps in logic by Barry not protecting his eyes in any way despite being blinded earlier but other than that it’s a cool battle.