‘The Flash’ Post-Show Analysis Season 2 Episode 22: ‘Invincible’
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, the metapocalypse strikes as Zoom leads an army of Earth-2 metas to wage war on Central City, a familiar face returns from the dead, and another familiar face... goes the other way. "Invincible" was directed by Jesse Warn from a story by Greg Berlanti & Andrew Kreisberg, and a teleplay by Brooke Roberts & David Kob.
Dylan: After some detours throughout a pretty spotty second season, we’re finally here. Or, well, close to here. We’re here-adjacent. Tuesday night’s episode kicked off the final confrontation between Barry Allen and Zoom, a confrontation some 21 episodes in the making. This episode starts with Zoom’s invasion force of Earth-2 supervillains straight-up wrecking downtown Vancouver/Central City, and it just kind of takes off from ther.e What did you think of the episode?
Ziah: Dylan, this episode was great. I loved it. I loved just about everything except the news calling the event “Metapocalypse.” They couldn’t have come up with a better name? Metattack of the Clones’ (Earth)? Zoom’s Metarmy? Zoomy Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (of Bad Guys)?
Dylan: I kept thinking of Metalocalype whenever they said it. Which was more than I expected them to be saying such a clunky phrase? They said it a lot. You know, there have been a few episodes this season where you could tell they had to go smaller to save on budget and, after this one, I can see what they were saving up for. The supervillain showdown was pretty cool-looking with flying people, laser-shooting people, screaming people. All the people, Ziah.
Ziah: Somewhere in all those people is a metahuman whose superpower is appreciating my puns, Dylan. It’s statistics.
Dylan: Never surrender dreams, bro. I can say with a surety, though that among the crowd of raving lunatics is Earth-2 Laurel Lance, the (spoilers?) recently-deceased Black Canary of Arrow fame, and like most Earth-2-ers, she’s sarcastic and fun and decked out in some classic goth accoutrements. Like, she’s wearing pleather and rocking a choker. The dream of the '90s is alive in her outfit.
As a guy who doesn’t watch Arrow, did her appearance make sense at all, or was she just a cool supervillain who could yell at buildings until they fell down?
Ziah: I knew she died, because I tagged in for Matt last week on Pointed Commentary, but her appearance in this episode was definitely a bit jarring, yeah. She and Flash are supposed to have this long history to make fighting her difficult for him, but has she shown up in any of the Flash crossovers? I know she wasn’t in this year’s.
Dylan: I don’t remember them meeting, but maybe it was in the earlier Arrow episode where Barry showed up, before the Flash series kicked off. I do like that she continued the grand tradition of Earth-2 doppelgangers being much more fun and cool versions of the regular CW characters.
Ziah: She was pretty great, but she’s only the third-best doppleganger this episode. Dylan, after weeks of hoping, we actually get the return of Reverb (and Killer Frost) as Cisco and Caitlin go undercover as their opposite selves. This was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Scenes like this make every scene of Barry moping about his adopted sister not loving him worth it. How’d you feel about this earth-shattering development? (Get it? Because Reverb has earth shattering powers.)
Dylan: Oh, that was fun. It’s a shame that Black Siren figured out their ruse so quick, because those two are a lot of fun. Speaking of Caitlin, how’d you feel about her subplot? Obviously suffering from PZSD, she’s jumping at every shadow and being all sad all the time. Do you think they’re setting her up for a heel turn?
Ziah: PZSD is a real good one.
It was fine. They didn’t dwell on it too much, so I didn’t quite get the heel turn set-up, but I’d be fine with that, definitely. Then at least she’ll have something to do that isn’t just science stuff and moping.
Dylan: I just feel like, with as much as they focused on Cisco worrying about Caitlin turning evil, having her have to go through some evil stuff and losing control of herself might be where they’re heading. Also, like you said, it would be something actually interesting for poor Danielle Pannabaker to do besides science-splain and cry over dead/evil boys.
Ziah: Speaking of getting things to do, Wally’s become the Fastest Driver Alive since the last episode, driving around in a muscle car and stopping purse snatchers. How great was his Fast and Furious subplot?
Dylan: I liked it! Wally West: Car Vigilante is a fun thing for him to do while we wait for his and Jesse’s dramatic super-speed powers reveal in the finale, when all hope is lost. Because that’s going to happen, right? Right?
Listen, I put some money on this with some very bad guys, Ziah, and I need this bet to pay off or it’s the end of the line for your old friend D-Todd. I’m in deep with these guys and they are no good guys. Please tell me they’re getting powers.
Ziah: They’re probably getting powers. But back to Wally for a second, this episode was the first time that I’ve really connected to his character on the show (since he stopped talking about speed for once). His desire to become a hero stemming from part-inspiration and part-guilt from the Flash giving up his speed a few weeks ago was really strong character work, and the subplot of Joe letting him be his own man was nice. Good job to the writing staff this week on that one.
What were the odds these gangster pals of yours gave you on who Dr. Doom-and-Gloom, the Man in the Iron Mask, is?
Dylan: Well, it’s obvious he's Earth-2 Henry Allen/Jay Garrick at this point, right? That’s why Zoom killed Daddy Whiteteeth this episode, so when he gets free we go, “Oh wow!” Again, I have a lot riding on this, so please tell me I’m right. Also, how fanservice-ey was that little, “I don’t think we’ve met before,” moment between Amanda Pays and John Wesley Shipp? I was both amused and horrified at the same time.
Ziah: Didn’t even notice it because I was too distracted by Henry Allen getting all horned up. We know Papa Slugger’s been in prison for 10 years, but man, don’t hit on your son’s older scientist friend right in front of him.
Dylan: To be fair, she’s not a friend. She’s just some lady who owns a competing science lab.
Ziah: Any lady can be a friend if you open your heart, Dylan.
Dylan: Sage advice, friendo. How did the Henry Allen death hit you? Were you shocked or did it just seem inevitable ever since Barry pulled him from his sex cabin in the woods?
Ziah: Sex Cabin in the Woods is my favorite Jorts Wheaton movie.
But yeah, I think we were all waiting for Papa Allen to go meet the Speed Force in the sky sooner or later. I’m surprised Zoom went with vibrato-hand through the heart rather than the DC staple of a good, old-fashioned neck snapping, but it’s all the same, I guess. I won’t miss Barry’s worst dad, will you?
Dylan: Not really. The fact that he literally said, “Hey Slugger,” to preface his talking-to about Barry being uncomfortably zen in this episode didn’t help. I did think it was hilarious that Barry being chill and positive put his friends off so much that they roped Henry in to give him a mini-intervention. Like, Barry’s default this season has been mopey or angry because he wasn’t fast enough or whatever, but after last week’s visit with the Speed Force, he was optimistic. And I liked it. But apparently, it was freaking out his buds.
Ziah: You mean Barry the evangelical Speed Force guy? Hilarious. The restraint the writers had in not writing the line, “May the Speed Force be with you” was honestly impressive.
Dylan: Oh, Ziah. Speaking of things that make me shake my head, they trotted out the “We’re just alike, you and me,” speech again. Between the previous time they used it here and Vandal Savage’s speech on Legends of Tomorrow a couple weeks back, I am fully endorsing whatever presidential candidate will mandate that a writer be thrown in actual jail if they write one of these scenes.
Ziah: Agents of SHIELD did it for their mid-season finale this year too. It’s a garbage cliche, and jail time is too good for anyone who does it.
Dylan: Shoot them into the sun, maybe? We can work out details, but bottom line: Dear Writers, it is bad, please stop doing it.
Ziah: You know, Dylan, we’re not so different, you and I. We’re both recappers.
Dylan: I’ll never be like you! But seriously, if you snap my dad’s neck, we’re gonna have problems. Oh, so both Mercury Labs lady and Captain Singh know Barry is the Flash, huh? Because it’s so obvious? Which sort of makes Barry and Joe’s concentrated gaslighting of Iris that much more infuriating. Because either she’s trusting enough of the men in her life that she takes their word for it despite it being (apparently) dead obvious, or she’s a dummy and couldn't figure it out. Either option is kind of jerky.
Ziah: Wait, I thought Singh didn’t? It was super obvious this episode, though, it would be a shame if he didn’t. Flash didn’t even give a good excuse for why he left before he Barry’d up!
Dylan: I thought that whole scene was about Singh keeping up the pretense for Barry, with Joe basically saying, “Good job not telling our simple friend here that you know he’s the Flash,” right?
Ziah: Shrug. It would be in character for Barry to accidently or on purpose tell everyone his secret identity except for the woman he’s currently interested in, so either way.
Dylan: So, before we go, we get a glimpse of Zoom’s plan, which is somehow linked to the buildings he’s been having Canary destroy with her yells and, apparently, it’s going to rip the Earth-2 in… uh, well, two. And also kill lots of birds, which is fine because birds are jerks. Shoulda stayed as dinosaurs, birds!
Ziah: Ya blew it Kapeesh!
I don’t have regrets, but I do hate egrets. That’s why I have a tattoo across my chest that says, “No Egrets”.
Dylan: So I guess my question is a two-parter: 1) How hyped are you for next week’s season finale and 2) What do you think Cisco’s Earth-2 Vibe-vision means for our heroes?
Ziah: Hyped like Hypertime theory, and the vibe I get from it is that it’s another one of those quantum thingys from last season that Barry needs to run fast around to close.
Dylan: Wait, so you’re telling me that Barry Allen, AKA, The Flash, AKA The Fastest Man Alive, will have to solve a problem by… running fast?! Now this I gotta see.
Ziah: The finish line’s in sight, buddy! We’ll be there… in a flash.