Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Flash Season 2 Episode 13 "Welcome to Earth-2" Review and **SPOILERS**

On Earth-2 They Wear Hats On Their Feet and Hamburgers Eat People

Story By: Greg Berlanti & Andrew Kreisberg and Katherine Walczak
Directed By: Millicent Shelton
First Aired: February 9, 2016

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

These past seven days have been the longest of my life. Not only did I have to work for a living for most of them, but it was also the time between the last episode of the Flash, which ended with Barry announcing “We’re going to Earth-2!” and the newest episode of the Flash, where they went to Earth-2! I’ve been waiting for an extended representation of Earth-2 on this show ever since they introduced the concept of the Multiverse last season, and it’s finally here! We’ve seen glimpses of an Art Deco world seemingly styled with a 1940s sensibility, but have never spent any appreciable time there. All that changes with this episode, which you can read about right here!

Explain It!

The opening scene for this episode is so ridiculous: Harrison Wells (Earth-2 edition) records a personal audio log addressed to his daughter, Jessie, and whispers the entire time. Why is he always whispering? Is there something wrong with his throat? And you would think that the last place you’d need to whisper is on your personal audio diary. Wells informs his recording device, and also the audience, that Barry is running around, closing all of the breaches between Earths 1 and 2 except for one—the one that’s in S.T.A.R. Labs, which Harrison will use to return home. He’s not going home alone, however, Barry and Cisco will come along to…well, save the day, essentially. Jay Garrick is on hand to say some sciencey stuff and also to say that on Earth-2, “up is down; black is white,” which is not really true because all of the black and white actors play their same colors on both Earths. Jay also warns them not to look at anything as they go through the interdimensional uterus. Of course, we all get a good look, and see (Green) Arrow! The Flash! And Supergirl from CBS’ Supergirl! We also see what might be Gorilla Grodd, Jonah Hex, and what looked to me like a Flight Ring from the Legion of Superheroes, though I couldn’t guarantee it (and I’m sure it’s been figured out elsewhere on the internet.) So of course my DC Comics boner was at full mast by this point. Harrison, Barry and Cisco make it to Earth-2 and gawk at all of the retro-futuristic goodies, meanwhile back on Earth-1 the portal thingy is shooting sparks and has gone on the fritz! Jay informs Caitlin and Joe that they’ve got forty-eight hours to get it fixed or Barry and Cisco will be stuck in Earth-2…dun dun dunnn!...trapped, hopelessly on Earth-2…no chance of rescue or reprieve for a period of time lasting no longer than…forEVERRRR!!!!

Barry and the gang make it to Wells’ well-appointed apartment, taking selfies with Cisco all the way. At the abode, they turn on the news to find that Mayor Snart—presumably Mayor Leonard “Captain Cold on Earth-1” Snart—has imposed a 9 PM cufew due to successive terrorist attacks on Zoom. Cisco puts on his Vibe glasses in an attempt to find out where Zoom is hangin’. While watching the news, Barry sees his Earth-2 counterpart being interviewed and discerns that he’s got the same forensics job at the Central City Police Department for some reason. I guess it’s because Earth-2 Barry wears glasses and rocks a bow tie. Cisco’s Vibe glasses don’t work on Earth-2 because they’re calibrated for Earth-1 electric outlets, so Barry comes up with the genius plan of assuming Earth-2 Barry’s identity and using his ingress into the CCPD to find out where Zoom hangs his hat.

This all goes tits up instantly when Barry goes to the CCPD and discovers Earth-2 Iris is Detective Iris West, he’s married to her, and they live together in the home known as her father Joe West’s house on Earth-1. Iris tells Barry that his mom called—you know, his mom, the one whose counterpart on Earth-1 was murdered by the Reverse Flash when Barry was a child—so of course he wants to call her back. The phone is weird…instead of a normal numerical key pad, it’s only got six pre-set dials. The first three are family members, but the last three are labeled “Bruce,” “Hal,” and “Diana,” presumably to make me squee and ball up my fists like an enthusiastic little girl. Iris and Barry get into their evening digs, which for Barry is to keep wearing his dork uniform, and go to Jitterbugs, the Earth-2 counterpart to C.C. Jitters, which is a jazz club instead of a coffee shop. There, Joe West is singing lounge music and doing a pretty good job of it. I mean, he’s not incredible or anything, about on par with a Jim Werner or something. Nice voice, but not a ton of range. When he takes his break he finds time alone with Barry to let him know what a piece of shit he thinks he is, and before that can be settled in walks Killer Frost and Deathstorm—who are the Earth-2 counterparts of Caitlin Snow and whatsizname, the first guy who was Firestorm! They are romantically involved which must have tickled a lot of long-time Firestorm fans. They’re looking for a breacher—someone who has come through a dimensional breach—and immediately cause a ruckus which results in Joe West catching a Deathstorm blast right to the chest. Barry rushes the villains outside and fights them to a standstill in an awesome way: he grabs the Civil Defense helmet off a statue of Jay Garrick and uses it to deflect one of Deathstorm’s blasts into Killer Frost. Which, come to think of it, she should have been able to absorb. But anyway Deathstorm warns that they’ll get him next time, Gadget, next tiiiime, and they take off to their lair or whatever.

Back on Earth-1, Jay and Caitlin are still trying to fix the dimensional portal doohickey, when Joe West runs in and says they should hurry to watch the news. Like, really dude? You can’t just tell us what you’ve seen? Even while we’re on the way to watching the news?? Anyway, on the news is a new metahuman, who Jay Garrick recognizes as Adam Fells from his Earth, but here he’s calling himself Geomancer, and his power is to cause massive localized earthquakes. He’s calling for the Flash, and Caitlin mentions to Jay that he can take the Speed Force drug Velocity 6, which he took once before to save the princess, and take down Geomancer. Joe tries to guilt trip him into taking it and storms out, then Jay tells Caitlin that he did take Velocity 6 a bunch of times, back on Earth-2, where he had a Canadian girlfriend and a totally bitchin’ Camaro that he wishes he’d taken pictures of. He tells Caitlin that Velocity 6 is how he lost his speed, why he’s dying, which is why he was so against Barry taking it in a previous episode. Caitlin plays the Zack to his Jesse Spano and calms him down by promising to fix it and bring back his speed powers…by coming up with a better drug! At Well’s lush apartment, Barry argues with his host about helping Earth-2 Iris and Joe—Barry says that no matter what dimension they’re in, they’re still family. Which is actually wrong, kids, if you find yourself in an alternate dimension do not presume that you have the same friends and family there. Indeed, your mother’s extradimensional counterpart might want to murder you in cold blood.

About now is when I got really into watching the episode and stopped taking notes, so I’ll do the best I can: Iris and Barry go to the hospital to see Joe and he dies. Back on Earth-1, the Geomancer is still wrecking shop but Jay Garrick shows up, having taken new and improved Velocity 7 (pat. pending) which sputters out just before he can actually do anything heroic, so Joe West shoots the Geomancer a bunch of times and he runs away. On Earth-2, Barry convinces Iris that she should take him and Cisco to Killer Frost and Deathstroke’s lair, because Cisco has a weapon that can take out Killer Frost and Barry won’t take any backtalk from his woman. Iris does get Barry to stay behind, though, wink wink, totally leaving him open to become the Flash, wink wink. They also take along Detective Floyd Lawton, who is Earth-1’s Deadshot, but on Earth-2 is a bumbling fool who can’t shoot for shit. They all go to the warehouse where Killer Frost and Deathstroke live, which let me tell you really sucks. I mean if that’s where you have to live as a supervillain then forget it. Be a superhero. Or even just work in a cardboard box factory. Just because you’ve got super powers doesn’t mean you have to use them (zip it, Stan Lee!) Killer Frost and Deathstroke receive their guests and exchange some banter, then from the shadows steps that Earth’s Cisco Ramon, who is unabashedly Vibe except there he calls himself Reverb. He tells Cisco that together, they could rule Earth-2’s Central City as gods and even proves to have K. Frost and Deathstroke in his thrall by threatening to make them shit themselves or something. The Flash shows up and shit goes haywire, Reverb is tossing people around like confetti and Deathstorm and Vibe have the Flash all huddled in a corner, blasting him over and over with their powers, when Zoom shows up, kills Deathstorm and Reverb, takes the Flash’s mangled body, and disappears. Killer Frost, the only one who told them to stop fucking up the Flash or Zoom was gonna get mad, is left alive and she limps away. Cisco gets up all confused but presumably glad he isn’t dead or dying or wearing a stupid hairstyle like his Earth-2 counterpart. To wrap it up, we see Barry trapped in the same place as Jessie Wells, where Zoom threatens him that he’s gonna die there, sucka!

I didn’t stick the landing on this review again, but that’s because this episode was all kinds of amazingly awesome from beginning to end and I got sick of writing the whole time. I just wanted to see more and more DCU tidbits and treats being thrown at me until I was bathing in a viscous jelly of Justice League International and Golden Age Sandman. This show is the best thing on television and if you’re not watching it, I feel sorry for you and your mother, who probably doesn’t even admit you exist. Now for the painful seven day wait until next Tuesday evening!

Bits and Pieces:

This show is awesome, it is also amazing and great. Oh, are you curious as to whether or not Earth-2 was a fully-rendered environment with a reasonably animated cgi monorail running through Central City? Yes. Did you want to see funny and surprising reveals of Earth-2 counterparts to characters we know on Earth-1? You got it. Are you wondering if the trip to Earth-2 will reveal ridiculous amounts of info on several lingering mysteries? You betcha. This episode was incredible and if you don’t agree then you’re just being contrary.

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  1. Great episode is right. It was great to see Catlyn as Killer Frost and get to have some fun for once. But the best part of this episode had to be Cisco. When he meets Reverb I was like awesome, but than he did what I have been praying for. Reverb used his powers offensively and I F@cking lost my mind.

    It was a nice call out to previous continuity with the name Reverb, who was Ciscos brother who had a similar Power in the Pre flashpoint continuity.

    I even liked the Barry getting hi perfect life scenario with him getting the girl of his dreams, to his mother being alive and his father never going to jail.

    Tons of Easter eggs which were great. Your right Reggie, this is one of the best tv shows on the air right now.

    1. Now I wish that DC would just make another Vibe comic. The last one was great I have every issue and I would gladly spend more of my money if I got to read this character again.

    2. I second this emotion! Vibe and Demon Knights were two really nice surprises from the first year of the New 52.


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