‘The Flash’ Post-Show Analysis: Season 2, Episode 2: ‘The Flash of Two Worlds’
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.
Episode 2! With all the season set-up last week, we’re free to stretch out and get real weird up here with Speedbros, lightning lobbing, Southern sand-dudes, Multiverses, and good vibrations. Maybe some sweet sensations? So join us as we run headlong into 'The Flash of Two Worlds', directed by Jesse Warn and written by Aaron Helbing and Todd Helbing.
Dylan: So let’s get started. The episode picks up right where last week’s premiere left off, with mysterious stranger Jay Garrick popping in to STAR Labs to tell the Stabbers that their world is in danger and Zoom is gonna get them and yadda yadda yadda parallel worlds, etc. From there, the main plot is concerned with Barry being a big dumb baby and having to overcome his distrust of Jay while also trying to catch the Earth-2 Sand Demon (aka Basically Just Marvel’s Sandman). Meanwhile, we have a B-plot introducing Patty Spivot, a plucky cop who wants to be Joe’s new partner like so bad.
So, Ziah, here’s my first question: how great is Patty Spivot?
Ziah: Oh man, she is a delight. She’s got a great excitable energy, and works well with Cop Dad Joe West and Barry. It’s a great touch for her to be a fan of both Barry and his secret identity separately, and it really makes their flirty scenes fun. She’s also going to be the newest supporting character that is once again a brilliant scientist, and to be honest, I love that. Barry kind of hit the nail on the head this episode when he said that all the Stabbers were evidence-first people, scientists, reporters, cops, etc, but I actually really like that idea. Having this team be unified with a broad trait gives them a sort-of gimmick, while allowing for individual characteristics.
Now, on the subject of Patty, her dad was gunned down by Mark Mardon, who’s appeared before, right? Who was he?
Dylan: Mark Mardon was the second Weather Wizard we saw on the show. His brother, Clyde, got storm powers in the pilot episode, but he died, as villains tend to do in Central City. Don’t cry, though! His brother also got weather powers! And he’s alive! He’s one of the few who survived the season as well as getting detained in Super-Gitmo/The Pipeline. He’s currently one of the Rogues, alongside Captain Cold, Golden Glider, Rainbow Raider, Mist, and Heatwave. I promise you those are all real names that were on the show. Make sense?
Ziah: Oh, rad! I didn’t know how many villains they actually could reuse in the show, but that’s a fair amount, actually! And if Mardon is alive, then he’ll definitely be reappearing to menace Patty, so that should be fun.
Dylan: He’d better not hurt my precious Patty. Barry spent most of the episode being a big dumb baby, rolling his eyes at everything Jay says when he’s not making him stand around in a jail cell. I mean, it makes sense, what with his last Science Dad turning out to be a time-traveling murder guy, I guess. But between him being a whiny weenie this week and being a sullen bore last week, I feel like the show is in danger of losing sight of what made Barry such a fun character last season. (When he wasn’t being a jerk to Joe and/or crying about his dad. Which was a lot f the time, come to think about it.) What did you think about Barry this episode?
Ziah: I was actually stoked at Barry being a whiny baby, because A) Dude goes through dads the way Atom Smasher (RIP Edge) goes through walls, and B) there is such wonderful literalism at the idea that Barry, who is quick to do anything, is slow to trust a new dad figure. And while I’ve only seen flashes of the previous season...
Dylan: Dammit Ziah!
Ziah: ... I think him being kind of heart-broken and mean is to show how big a blow Wells’ betrayal is, right? I’ve been enjoying the way the events of the previous season finale have kept reverberating through the show so far, but I could definitely see myself getting annoyed at Barry if he keeps it up for the length of the run.
But it kind of feels like the characters agree; Iris calls him out on it, and he’s a little goofy and flirty with Patty, who’s unaware of his deep angst, so that should improve going forward. Speaking of, I like the idea of Iris shifting more into a supportive best friend role with goals of her own than just Barry’s love interest. What do you think?
Dylan: I’m cool with Iris shifting from “object of Barry’s creepy, singular focus,” to “something else,” but the writers really need to give her something substantial to do in the meantime. I mean, last season, they sort of held Felicity Smoak out there as an alternative to Barry, but she’s burning omelettes with the Green Arrow now, so…
Ziah: Oh, right! The Green Arrow bit. What was that? Just calling attention to the fact that the show exists?
Dylan: Yeah, they do that from time to time. I mean, it’s working because, heaven help me, I started watching Arrow with last week’s premiere, so, joke’s on me, I guess. But who am I to say no to Neal McDonough as a mystical gang boss? I’m not made of stone.
I’m a little bummed they had the speech muted because Ollie is running his voice through some kind of modulator and he totally sounds like Jon from Delocated.
Speaking of the Bone Zone, Caitlin is straight up thirsty for Jay in this episode, right? She is 1000% all over Garrick the minute he shows up, to the point where, during the final Sand Demon fight, she’s going, “Jay!” when everybody else is going, “Barry!” I mean, good for her because like, if I went missing in a cloud hole after a Future Jerk tried to blow up my city, I’d want my wife to go on living. On the other hand, her slowly falling for Jay is a certain sign that Ronnie’s coming back sometime, right? Or is it just a case of the Seven Month Itch?
Ziah: Oh man, that was great. And that’s accurate lingo too, considering she was dating Firestorm. I definitely think that’s supposed to hint that Ronnie is going to come back and be heartbroken, but, can you blame her? Jay is a hot dude, even if he doesn’t have super friction anymore. Plus, it’ll be good to get Jay interacting with other characters, and Caitlin seems like an easy connection to make there. I think in my notes for the episode, I literally have, “Jay is Hot Science Speed Dad”, so go Caitlin, I guess. Also, Cisco seemed to get a little flirty when he let him name “Sand Demon”, so I guess HSSD knows no genders or sexualities.
Dylan: Yeah, certainly, though Jay seems a little too old for her? (also, “Hot Science Speed Dad” is my favorite Guided By Voices song.) I don't know, they’re both science dorks, so they can talk about protons and valences and all that nerd stuff or whatever.
And speaking of science nerd stuff: The Multiverse! Part of me is going, “Holy cow! Are they really gonna drop this on a CW show?! Also, when did I start saying ‘holy cow!’ on the regular?” but then I remember that last season they played with time travel and Grandfather Paradoxes and also that this parallel world thing was literally what Fringe was built on, so maybe I need to stop underestimating exactly how nerdy general culture has become over the last decade.
What did you think about the whole Multiverse thingy? Are the Vampire Diaries folks going to be able to suss it out?
Ziah: I am totally not worried about that at all. I actually feel that the show’s over-explained the idea, especially when Dr. Old Guy starts just straight drawing circles on a blackboard. It’s not a super hard idea to understand --- multiple realities, slightly same, slightly different --- and the show’s being gentle in its explanation enough that I really don’t see it being a problem unless it goes into the deep cuts. Plus, so far, they’ve only been bringing up two earths, so the audience has been primed a bit when they see a character to assume there’s a doppelganger. I imagine that’s why all the villains so far have directly interacted with their doubles so far, too. Plus, we get the sheer joy of Joe West not having time for all this science mumbo jumbo, and going back to work.
Dylan: Just so long as they give me an entirely animated episode set on Earth-C where all the characters are animals. This is a completely rational demand and I will throw a humongous fit if they don’t cater to my startlingly specific desire.
The Multiverse also serves a practical purpose, too. Like the accelerator explosion in the first season, the Multiverse portals (52 of them, apparently, because DC Comics) are a convenient Bad Guy Generator, offering up ways for Earth-2 baddies to leak through to get at Barry and the rest of the Flash-fam.
Ziah: Oh, that’s a good point. Oh, and that means they can probably reuse any guys they’ve already killed in Season 1, since they’ll have a double, yeah? And speaking of doubles, we get another look at Old Science Bro and Young Science Bro, and they are easily some of the best parts of the show.
Dylan: Yeah, one of my favorite bits of the episode was the budding Cisco-Stein friendship. I feel like Victor Garber’s got a hold on making Stein fun, after a kind of rough start, and his presence on the team finally makes sense here. Pairing him up with the ever-enthusiastic Cisco is a great idea, as well. Cisco’s “getting goosies!” line was fun after they brainstormed their Multiverse Hole Finder Thingy™. Also, the whole “crazy uncle who hangs out with teens,” aka “The Giles,” is always a fun character hook for TV. In real life, it winds up being significantly more creepy, but on TV? It’s fine.
Oh, and also, as a side-effect of being killed by The Reverse Flash/Wells, we found out this week (tho it was hinted at last week) Cisco has The Shining now, and can totally see things that are very convenient to help fight whatever villain they’re going up against this week. (Also: Woodrue greenhouse because Easter eggs!)
Ziah: Quick aside about Easter eggs: how’d you feel about them referencing the famous cover to Flash #123? I thought it was a cute touch, and quick enough that it wasn’t too groan inducing.
Dylan: That was fun! They also did a more direct homage as a teaser poster for the season. (Although the stretching on that Flash logo is unforgivable.) What did you think about Cisco’s new power set?
Ziah: Cisco is easily my favorite part of the show. He’s excitable, enthusiastic, and he gets the funniest lines, so any more attention is welcome. And these new powers… I guess he’s able to read the vibe of whatever’s happening in the episode? It’s a really weird power set, and I didn’t really understand how he got it. Wells killed him, and they had time travel, so that never happened, right? But then how does he remember it at all?
Dylan: Superboy punched a wall? Forget it Ziah, it’s Comics-town. I’m just hoping this means we get an episode where he wears the vest.
Speaking of new powers: it’s two episodes in and we’ve seen Fan Arms used twice, and now Flash Lightning! Barry getting turned into a wooden marionette is up next, right?
Ziah: Ah! You beat me to it. I was going to say that we already got a Flash turning into a wooden puppet once Jay started talking in the opening scene.
Ziah: He got more personable later, and that exposition would be tough for anyone, but still. I mean, Grodd showed up, right? So Abra Cadabra is hopefully in the works.
Dylan: Turtle Man or we riot.
In one of the more cliche-ridden scenes of the night, Joe’s wife showed up! Which is interesting I guess! As much as I like that Joe and Barry aren’t actively lying to Iris on a weekly basis, all she’s really done the last couple of episodes is wear a cute midriff and call Barry on his anti-Jay baloney. What did you think about this shocking revelation that isn’t all that shocking if you kept up with the season two casting news because you are a TV Recapper Person now and you do stuff like keep up with casting news for a show about a run-run man in a red leotard and what even is your life now what have you become?
Ziah: The only casting news I read is spellcasting news, and I’m not allowed to link to that.
Dylan: I have no idea what this means, but just be safe out there, Ziah. That’s how you get viruses AKA computer cooties AKA compooties.
Ziah: I was surprised by the appearance! Sort of. I just kind of assumed she was dead. I assume the majority of the cast doesn’t think she’s dead too, right? That would be a huge heel turn for our favorite Cop Dad to not tell his kids that their mom/adopted mom is alive, right?
Dylan: It would be a pretty huge jerk move. Barry’s been living with Joe since he was 11, and we’ve never seen her in flashbacks, so I’m assuming they split sometime before that? Who knows? I mean, we’ll know soon, I guess, but you know what I mean.
Ziah: Also, speaking of Joe West, there is no appearance of his Business Beanie, so I’m starting to give up hope. Maybe he can don it next week with the same level of fanfare and stirring orchestration we got when Jay put on his dumb helmet.
Dylan: We saw Business Beanie briefly last episode. Like Robbie Amell on the X-Files revival, Beanie has been working on another project so his appearances may be limited this season. (Spoilers: He’s playing Dengar’s face bandages in The Force Awakens.)
Finally, let’s talk about the little sting at the end, where we see the Earth-2 STAR Labs. First off: Earth-2 is way cooler than Earth-1 because A) trains and B) better hair styles for the ladies. We also get the bomb dropped that Earth-2 Harrison Wells is still alive and we’re supposed to start thinking that he’s Zoom, which makes me think just the opposite.
Ziah: Earth-2 is rad as heck. It also reminded me of one of my favorite moments in the episode, which is when Jay tells the Stabbers that there is another world, and Barry just gives a tiny shrug. Barry’s got no time for previously unknown scientific phenomena.
Dylan: But Barry hates everything Jay says, so Jay could tell him that this other world is made of pie and Barry would just go, “Meh. I prefer cake.”
Also, dig this: Zoom has to be somebody we’ve seen, right? Because otherwise why the gimp mask that obscures his identity?
Ziah: Maybe it’s the Black Racer. Because he wears all black. And races.
Dylan: Maybe it’s Johnny Cash. Or Morrissey. But seriously? My money is on Zoom being Earth-2 Eddie Thawne. The face covering lets them shoot around the fact that Rick Cosnett is on Quantico now and plays with the in-comics continuity of Zoom being a Thawne. Is this too meta-game-y?
Ziah: It definitely felt like a fake-out. It being Earth-2 Eddie Thawne is a super great way to tie up a continuity loophole, surprise the audience, and not turn an existing character evil, so that’s a solid guess. Part of me was thinking that Jay was Zoom in the episode, but that would be terrible, so I support your idea.
Also regarding Earth-2, are we just not thinking of them as people? Because that’s the second dude Barry has just straight up murdered, and it’s starting to get weird that they don’t even mention it. These aren’t even accidental deaths, either; they tricked Atom Smasher directly into the nuke site, and then he shot lightning into Sand Demon and then watched him explode into glass pieces.
Dylan: To be fair, they might have collected all those Sand Demon pieces into a Ziploc bag and given it a cell in The Pipeline while the Nerd Squad figures out a way to de-glass him. And now I’m imagining them sweeping up the pieces and Sand Demon’s voice going, “Ow ow ow ow this is terrible it hurts so bad everywhere oh man it’s like my entire body is on fire oh wow this suuuuucks.”
So, sweet dreams thinking about a shattered glass man screaming forever, Ziah.