Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of The Flash. To catch up on previous coverage, click here.
I don’t think I’ve been as hyped up for an episode of The Flash since the series premiere. Not to say that no episode has been as good since (almost all of them have exceeded the pilot) but it is however one of the few times where I spent the week leading up to the new episode theorizing about what’s going to happen (something I try to avoid in comic based entertainment) and where I’ve genuinely been anticipating what the show was going to do next. It was the reinvigorating that the series absolutely needed and delivered on.
Which makes me sure that I also wasn’t the only fan worried that I’d hyped myself up too much. As a critic I can say without hesitation that I’d rank last week’s episode up there with the series best (top three even). As a fan I’d agree, but with a lot more hand waving and exclamation points.
For the most part (with some big caveats) “Escape from Earth Two” delivered on it’s excellent first installment with the writers continuing to utilize on the casts ability to play with a variety of characteristics on Earth Two as Harry, Cisco, Iris and Barry go to look for Killer Frost to help locate and save the Flash and Jesse.
It’s a fantastic rag-tag team that allows an even nerdier version of Barry for Grant Gustin to play and he does so in a manner that makes me believe he we was having an absolute blast. He and Candice Patton’s tough as nails, no nonsense, Earth Two Iris make a wonderful, contrasting pair and their chemistry furthers my belief that anyone totally against the pairing (weird upbringing aside of course) doesn’t have eyes. They’re fantastic together.
Meanwhile, locked up Barry isn’t having much luck in achieving any sort of escape, but what struck me is how easily he now fills the role of hero. He’s immediately reassuring to Jesse and trying to figure out what the mysterious masked man is trying to say to them. He handles the beating Zoom gives him without wading through self-doubt and instead takes the initiative in trying to replicate how Zoom phased through his cage. It was nothing totally overt but it was an episode that certainly re-asserted Barry’s hero status.
Which is why I was almost disappointed by how well everything worked out in the end. While I would have been surprised if they’d actually left Barry behind, it seemed a bit too easy to have him be able to phase through the glass because he believed in himself. Also, Killer Frost having the very quick change of heart and risking her life to save them all seemed contrived but it worked well in creating an action packed ending. I just wish we’d gotten to see Barry have his moment without the self-doubt. His sacrifice would have made a bigger impact.
That being said Blake Neely’s music aided in making the scene as powerful as the show clearly wanted it to be, giving it the superhero swell in the background as the group rallies against the big bad.
One of the biggest issues with the episode is the split perspective of Earth One and Earth Two, the later being infinitely more enjoyable to watch play out. Earth One on the other hand had a few bright spots, Iris and Caitlin getting to share a scene being one of them, but ultimately dragged the episode down from it’s high. Jay just never took off as a character on the show, becoming so uninteresting that he hardly even factors into whether or not I enjoy an episode or not, accept when it comes to this week when his storyline dominates half of the episode. It isn’t helped when the majority of his scenes are shared with Caitlin, with Danielle Panabaker doing much more interesting work over on Earth Two as Killer Frost, who has become little more than background noise. Add on top of this an uninspired villain and a story about Jay getting his speed back in the most boring way possible in terms of superhero fanfare.
This only barely scratches the surface on why I’d be massively disappointed if Jay ended up being Zoom. Or his doppelganger. Either way, the end with Zoom reaching his hand through the breach to grab (kill?) Jay was almost too choreographed and certainly leaves us wondering what the larger picture is.
Which brings us to theorizing about Zoom!
I am not one to typically sit and theorize about superhero films and television if only because it’s grown tiresome to sit-sometimes for years-and play guess work and what’s what and who’s who. It’s fun to a degree but often takes away from the overall surprise and therefore fun but with Zoom I am just itching to know who it is. I’ve said before that I believe it’s Henry Allen and up until two hours prior of writing this review I’d have said I’d be more surprised if Zoom took off the mask and it wasn’t Henry. I’m preemptively frustrated with this potential development because I believe it takes away from a lot of thematic angst to the show but then it also leads the story wide open for who the hell else it could be. I will say again that if it’s Jay in any capacity I’ll be annoyed, because who on the team aside from Caitlin has shared a strong enough connection with him for it to land any other punch. Wally West is still an option but I’d also been convinced two hours earlier that he was the one in the mask trying to help Barry and Jesse.
Who the hell knows!
My crazy theory that it was actually Jay captured and imprisoned along with the Barry and Jesse and that the Jay on Earth One was actually Zoom in disguise in season one Reverse Flash/Harrison Wells style but that thread of thought got very messy very fast.
So I’m done theorizing.
Despite the pitfalls of the script splitting the story and some fixes that came a tad too easy, it was a strong end to a fantastic two part story and sets up the rest of the season for what should continue to be an exciting ride.
Now, since I’ve officially given up on it, let me know your best theories on who Zoom is!