‘The Flash’ Post-Show Analysis: Season 2, Episode 5: ‘The Darkness & The Light’
Welcome back to Up To Speed, in which Flash TV show veteran Dylan Todd and newbie Ziah Grace break down the latest episode of The Flash, dispense some Flash Facts, and talk about what works, what doesn’t, and where the series might be headed.
This week's episode brings the Flash gang face-to-face with two visiting Earth-2ers with familiar faces; Harrison Wells and Dr Light. Plus, Cisco gets a codename. 'The Darkness and the Light' was directed by Steve Shill and written by Ben Sokolowski and Grainne Godfree.
Ziah: First off, Dylan, Cisco gets the MVP award this episode. He’s consistently my favorite part of every episode, but his line reading of “Our doctor may have been evil, but you’re just a dick” was incredible. His jokes were good, he got some good character building, officially took the moniker ‘Vibe’, and awkwardly asked out a service worker while she was working the moment they met.
Quick sidenote: no one ever do this. This is a huge no-no. Do not go to someone’s place of work, where they’re incentivized by tips to be kind to strangers, and ask them out while waiting in line. Points off there, Cisco. But she turned out to be Kendra Saunders, AKA Hawkgirl, so I guess it all works out in the end.
Dylan: Yes to all that. Cisco definitely got to shine this week after a few weeks of being relegated to backup/new powers angst, and the Hawkgirl set-up was fun. Again, another Legends of Tomorrow character set up in here like Firestorm last week or the resurrected Black Canary over in Arrow. And it only took them a season and a half to give him a love interest that isn’t Golden Glider! Everything’s coming up Cisco!
Ziah: At least this one was mostly subtle. I don’t really follow the casting news, so the only thing that tipped me off that she was important was her name.
Dylan: Yeah, she seems cool, and it’ll be fun to see her story explored, if only to see which bits and pieces from the myriad Hawkperson origins get cobbled together to explain her backstory.
Ziah: After the STARriors explained the plot to Earth-2 Wells in the opening few minutes, honestly no part of the Hawkpeople origin showing up on television would surprise me.
Dylan: This show is unabashedly bonkers.
Ziah: And speaking of, how did you feel about Earth-2 Wells, or Twells, as I’m calling him? He basically plays Bad Science Dad to Jay Garrick’s Good Science Dad, and I really enjoyed his interactions with the cast. I mean, he’s basically Batman, too, with how smirking smart he is, but I thought he really livened up the cast a bit. His just sheer annoyance when Iris walks in and hates him was wonderful. “Oh, great, what’d I do to her?”
Dylan: Macho Man voice: Oh yeaaaaah, brother, Twells is my jaaaam. Just a raging egomaniac who gives zero flips and just sort of trolls everybody who he’s traveled there to, ostensibly, help. He’s a gift. We do not deserve him. It’s also nice that Earth-2 Wells manages to give the weirdest line-reads imaginable, just like his Earth-1 counterpart did. Like Christopher Walken’s more eloquent nerdy son or something. Oh, and him listening to “You’re No Good,” when Cisco confronts him was so dumb and on-the-nose that it looped back to wonderful.
Ziah: I am all for super obvious musical cues, so that was a treat, but I would honestly just watch an entire episode of Twells just chatting with every other character. He’s so feisty in the dialogue, it’s a delight.
Dylan: Let’s talk relationships! Lots of that stuff this episode, right? Lots of smooch- and almost-smooch- action.
Ziah: Barry and MC P. Spivot finally go on their date, and it’s super adorable. Barry being blinded by Dr. Light (Literally getting blinded against seeing a new love by an ex-girlfriend of his) and needing Cisco as his seeing-eye wingman was fantastic. Superheroes having to balance a love life with the downsides of fighting supervillains is my jam. It is my peanut butter and jam.
Dylan: It was a literal blind date, Ziah. Ziah. Ziah.
Ziah: This episode was made for me.
Dylan: “It has my two favorite things: blindness and dates!” – Ziah Grace
Ziah: I stand by that. Honestly, all of the goofy jokes and interpersonal relationship stuff this episode really landed for me. Patty continues to be charming, Caitlyn and Jay almost make out after talking about Aquaman (who knew Atlantis was such an aphrodisiac? Or…. Aquadisiac), and Joe and Iris are actually 99% honest with each other, which is pretty good for the West family.
Dylan: Yeah, that stuff was all on point. I even liked the Caitlin/Jay stuff, which up until now has felt really forced and perfunctory, but gelled for me this week for whatever reason. The Patty/Barry stuff was cute without being cloying, even if their date ended with a magic kiss that caused Barry to be able to see again.
Ziah: Oh, is that what happened? I totally missed that. I just figured his eyes got better because it’d been X amount of hours or something.
Dylan: It wasn’t literally a magic kiss, but they started smooching and by the time they were done smooching, he could see again.
Ziah: I will say, Caitlin really has some momentum to build back for me though. She was pretty wretched in the Firestorm episode last week, and while she’s not bad this episode, it’d be nice if I was as excited to see her do stuff as I am with Crisco Cisco.
Dylan: The women on this show are definitely the weakest characters, unfortunately. Iris and Caitlin both just get the worst plots and concerns.
Ziah: Regarding the plot stuff, we’ve really got more evidence that Professor Zoom is really Earth-2 Barry, since Dr. Light mentioned that she had to kill her double or she would die. That would give Zoom a pretty solid reason to keep sending murderers after Barry, so I think I’m hopping on this bandwagon.
Dylan: Yeah, it makes the most sense right now, unless the writers decide to throw another rando into the mix just because. What did you think about the Lindas Park? Did her acting bother you as much as it did me?
Ziah: Yeah, she was really not great. On the other hand, this was a pretty forgettable character, and I don’t really see them using Dr. Light too often in the future. On the other, other hand, that jacket with the emblem cut out was pretty bomb.
Dylan: Well, they didn’t kill her (shocking, I know), and judging by next week’s promo, Earth-1 Linda will be back to impersonate her Earth-2 counterpart in an effort to summon Zoom to Earth-1.
You may remember Linda from last season, when she was trying real hard to get Barry to give up his Speed Force --- if you know what I mean --- but he was too hung up on Iris to really get up with the get-down --- if you also know what I mean here, too. (I mean boning AKA sex.)
Ziah: There were a lot of directions in that sentence, so I’m going to pretend that I got it all. Coming off the two Lindas scene, RIP editor of Not The Daily Planet, we knew him for a brief moment.
Dylan: Let’s call him Perry Off-White? Perry Eggshell? Just spitballin’ here.
Ziah: Speaking of killing, what was up with the STARios and murdering Twells? Barry mentioned wanting to, Joe actually tried to, Cisco even thought about it. Dr. Light might have made it through the week, but the murder train’s still docking at the station.
Dylan: If Earth-2 is the faux Art Deco Retro-Future universe, Earth-1 is just the Straight-Up Murder You universe. Speaking of alternate universe: how do you feel about the term “breacher,” for these Earth-2 visitors?
Ziah: I don’t mind it? It does seem like a word that a sub-par 1950s sci-fi writer would use as an allegory for racial slurs, but I mean… They’ve got to call the 2-ers something.
Dylan: It feels like a word that looks good on paper, but sort of falls apart the minute it’s spoken as dialogue, but what do I know?
Ziah: You know plenty, Dylan. You’re an expert on Dash Rendar and other things.
Dylan: Never heard of him. What did you think about the train station fight at the end of the episode?
Ziah: That was actually going to be my next point! I’m a big fan of when these kind of formulaic genre shows make sure to show a different power/ability/strategy almost every episode so that the fights aren’t as predictable as they could be. They’ve done a good job this season with making these fights more interesting than just, “Oh, Barry’s fast but kind of reckless”, which I’m pleased about.
Dylan: Yeah, I liked the “Achievement Unlocked: Speed Mirage” part of the fight, and the show’s general adherence to the the idea of fighting smarter instead of harder, even if that means leaning on dodgy comic book science solutions for your conclusion. And “run around until you make a million copies of yourself” is as dodgy as they come.
Ziah: Still hasn’t upstaged my favorite, which was Captain Cold freezing and then breaking lasers, but it’s pretty good.
Dylan: That’s gonna be hard to beat in the “That’s Not How Science Works,” department. Oh hey! That last sting portion, that shows Zoom holding Twells’ daughter hostage. It definitely left open the nature of Wells’ alignment, right?
Ziah: Ah, you mean he could be double-agenting to protect his daughter? I could see that. I’m more interested in seeing if she’s got a personality beyond held-hostage, just because I like Wells as Jerk Dad more than Secret Bad Guy, you know?
Dylan: Why can’t he be both?! But seriously, I feel like if he was a rogue agent, Zoom, who has Jay Garrick quaking in his Earth-2 boots, would have offed his daughter by now. But her still being alive, and Zoom saying that their fate is still in question, tells me that he’s most likely there on Zoom business. Whether he’s helping Barry so he can bring him back to Earth-2 to destroy Zoom or not remains to be seen.
And if our theory about Zoom being Earth-2 Barry is correct, then Wells, who says he knows “everything” about Zoom, knows that only Earth-1 Barry can defeat his multiversal counterpart. Right? Did that even make sense? Yeesh, what did I even type? I blacked out for a second there. Where am I? Where are my pants?
Ziah: You went in deep on the predictions this week, Dylan, but considering there’s been time-displaced grandfather-paradoxes, that’s not even much of a stretch.
Dylan: Oh man, you should have seen me when Lost was on the air.
Ziah: My prediction: We see more King Shark someday.
Dylan: Dreams are a beautiful thing, Young Ziah. Dreams are a beautiful thing.