‘The Flash’ Post-Show Analysis Season 2 Episode 13: ‘Welcome to Earth-2′
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, everything is opposite-town as our three favorite science-buddies cross universes to deal with evil twins, uncomfortable, impersonation-fueled make-outs, and Jazzman Joe West. “Welcome To Earth-2” was directed by Millicent Shelton, story by Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg, based on a teleplay by Katherine Walczak.
Ziah: Dylan, that was some Earth-2 goodness right there. Earth-1 Barry and Cisco (Warry and Wisco?) causing havoc and messing with the Twest family and their own doppelgangers was real silly and real great. I’m not sure what I expected, but I can promise it wasn’t all that. Dylan, overall, what’d you think of the episode?
Dylan: Oh, I agree. It was just the perfect amount of bananas, which, after last week’s dud, was really welcome. Lots of fun surprises as we traveled from the relative safety of Earth-1 to the Yellow Art Deco Nightmare Hell-Ride that is Earth-2, where up is down, cats is dogs and butts is faces. Like, for reals, that place is The Worst, right?
Ziah: I don’t know about all that, Dylan; at least Mayor Snart probably has really fun press conferences where he sneers and cocks his head while saying prepared statements in a wry voice.
Dylan: Oh man, I was hoping so hard we’d get a glimpse of the Mayor, but alas, it was not to be. Let’s back up a little and sort of walk (don’t run) through the episode. We started off with Barry super-speeding those Breach Bombs into the Breaches, breaking down the Breaches with basic booming ballistics.
Ziah: He really went onward into the breach after that, too.
Dylan: Yeah he did. As Cisco’s “Visit Mordor” shirt foreshadowed, our little fellowship ventured through the final breach and wound up in the cuckoo upside-down world that is Earth-2.
But first! We saw some Multiverse flashes: an Old Arrow (which I think we’ll see in Legends of Tomorrow), John Wesley Shipp as Flash ‘90, Melissa Benoist as Supergirl, Good Ol’ Gorilla Grodd, and finally, a Legion of Superheroes flight ring. I hope Cisco packed enough Twizzlers, AKA Garbage Licorice, for the trip, because it looks like it’s going to be a doozy.
Ziah: Speaking of ol’ Wisco, I have to say, the show did a really good job of making Earth-2 seem like a big deal this episode, for him especially. His nervousness at going through and his brief reminders to Barry to stay out of Twest family business really felt like reminders to the audience that these characters are not supposed to be here. Considering how messed up everything is, that’s probably the right message to take away.
Dylan, what was your favorite Earth-2 difference/bit? Cause brother, there was a lot of them, and most of them were pretty, pretty great.
Dylan: And yet, despite all those warnings, they still managed to mess everything up within mere hours of arriving. Which is pretty much our heroes’ modus operandi. As far as my fave Earth-2 bit, I have to say that Jazzman Joe West is maaaaaybe the character find of 2016.
Ziah: Oh man, he was fantastic. Commenters have been mentioning for literal months that Jesse L. Martin is a fantastic musical performer and the show was going to take advantage of that eventually, but still, this surpassed expectations. I want a webseries detailing Jazzman Joe dealing with his snippy son-in-law and trying to get paid by shady Earth-2 club owners.
Dylan: We barely saw much of him, but Earth-2 Barry Allen somehow managed to be even more of a dork than Earth-1 Barry Allen.
Ziah: I liked that Earth-2 Barry was a huge dweeb, but I was really hopeful that we were gonna get Grant Gustin playing evil again, which is honestly one of my favorite things in the Flash. Especially if he really committed to it.
Speaking of being overjoyed to see an evil face, can we skip over to Twisco, and his amazing everything?
Dylan: Oh yes. Reverb. Reverb is absolutely wonderful. The only way he could have been better would be if was wearing the traditional Vibe costume from back in the olden times. But yeah, blue shades, top knot, leather suit, and that speech pattern. Oh, that glorious speech pattern.
Ziah: Twisco is 100% a dude who read Snow Crash and thought, “Heck yeah, I can do that, no problem.” I loved it. I wish he showed up every episode.
Dylan: Hiro Protagonist FTW. Just so I can get it all out, here’s some differences between Earths 1 and 2: there’s a Royal Bank! Their money is square! Jitters is Jitterbug’s!
Ziah: That was actually my favorite. What a nice excuse to re-use their favorite set.
Dylan: Oh man, they reused all the sets. Earth-2 Joe West hates Earth-2 Barry, because why wouldn’t you? Singh is a baddie and Deadshot is bad at shooting and Iris West is a cop! Barry’s mom is alive, and, relatedly Atlantis is a place you can visit, all tourist-like!
Ziah: Speaking of, I was actually surprised by how much I really liked Barry talking to his Earth-2 mom. It really got across his loss and his restrained joy, which worked even better considering we saw how he basically re-lost her two weeks ago in the Reverse Flash episode.
Dylan: Yeah, the emotional stuff this week was good, as usual. The Nora/Barry scene and the Barry/Iris scene after dinner both worked really well. It’s crazy to go from this week’s Supergirl, which seemed to fall flat on its face whenever it tried for emotion, to that scene, which was actually affecting. Or maybe I’m just a grump.
Ziah: I don’t watch Supergirl because I don’t get paid to talk about it, but that scene sure was super.
Dylan: Oh hey, Ziah, did you notice that Earth-2 Barry looks a lot like Milo James Thatch from Disney’s Atlantis: the Lost Empire?
Ziah: I did notice that! I hope Earth-2 Mike Mignola got a way better deal than he did on our earth.
Dylan: It worked out pretty okay for him in the end here on Earth Prime. What else, what else… Earth-2 also afforded us the return of Robbie Amell’s Firestorm --- rebranded as the totally badical Deathstorm --- and the debut of Caitlin Snow as Killer Frost. How did you like those (rotten) apples, Ziah?
Ziah: I thought they were pretty fun! It was nice to get Caitlin Snow to vamp up on the screen for once, since her character’s usually pretty static, and while I thought their dynamic and character was kind of cheesy, I found the whole thing charming enough that I didn’t need much else.
Dylan: Yeah, it kind of gave me whiplash to go from “This is making me so hot!” Evil Caitlin to “Please let me help you make a new speed drug, my wonderful speedy boyfriend“ Nice Caitlin. I’m just glad Danielle Panabaker got a chance to do something besides stare wistfully at some mildly-hunky hunk.
Ziah: Acting is a very specialized discipline, Dylan, and Panabaker’s earned the right to get paid to stare at hunks.
But yeah, the subplot wasn’t my favorite, mostly because it kind of shoots our Jay Garrick Is Zoom theory right in the foot (the running part!), and that had really made me like the character more. Jay without a dark secret is just… kind of there. The revelation that he’s the Sammy Sosa of Speedsters dropped for me like a lead balloon, and him deciding to take new and improved speedroids wasn’t really a surprise or all that fun. I liked that he immediately tripped and fell, but I don’t think that was the intended emotional response to that moment.
Dylan: Yeah, the whole Earth-1 stuff was so drab compared to the Earth-2 stuff. And we’ve always known Jay Garrick is a bit of a drip, but now we know why.
We did, however get a new villain in Geomancer, played by Not James Marsden. I’m not so big on DC lore, but I’m assuming Geomancer is a guy who makes sweet, violent love to the very earth itself, right? A pretty bold choice for a primetime television program TBH.
Ziah: I appreciate you so much, Dylan. But on that note, it’s been awhile since we saw Joe actually go to stop a metahuman as part of the police force, which made me remember… Wasn’t Cisco supposed to design all these weapons and traps so that if this exact situation happened, CCPD would be okay? I get the meta-reason why, Jay had to realize that drugs can solve all his problems, blah blah blah, but man, CCPD has not been making use of their partnership with STAR labs.
Dylan: Yeah, that was a set-up that was sort of dropped pretty quickly once they realized they had enough to deal with this season. I’m gonna throw like $5 on the table and officially say that the next recipient of Caitlin’s Velocity serum is gonna be one Wally “Gotta go fast!” West. Right?
Ziah: Oh definitely, especially now that they’re working out the kinks on Jay “Heavy Water’s A Drug, I Don’t Know How You Haven’t Realized That By Now” Garrick.
Dylan: Winners don’t use and users don’t win. But yeah, this episode sort of put the kibosh on Jay Garrick or Barry Allen being Zoom, and Zoom has to be somebody we’ve seen before, right? Is it Henry Allen? I’m trying to figure it out, but I also feel like at this point, the clues just aren’t there yet. You have any ideas?
Ziah: Well, one of the commenters floated the idea last week that it’s Earth-2 Wally West which would be pretty solid. It would make Earth-1 Wally’s use of the speedroids more poignant since he needs to speed up to take himself down, and it’s a doppleganger we explicitly haven’t seen besides Henry Allen this week. I’ve moved to that theory!
Dylan: Ah, the old Chekov’s Lead Pipe Theory.
Ziah: Wait, I’ve never heard of Chekov’s Lead Pipe.
So we ended the episode in Zoom’s secret prison with a Man In An Iron Mask (which looked a lot like a leftover prop from Supergirl’s Reactron episode) and Jesse Quick, our MacGuffin. So everything on Earth-2 is the opposite of Earth-1 in that the villains have the secret prison there and not the good guys.
Ziah: Haha, nice one. Speaking of incredibly evil things to do to people from different earths, how messed up was it that Warry was the one who went to comfort Tiris as Joe Twest died? Man, that is some cold-blooded stuff right there. I can’t imagine being a son-in-law that hates his father-in-law for years, finally reaches some level of comfortable enmity with him, and then misses his dying words of comfort after dying of extreme heartburn because I got knocked out by an alternate universe double of myself.
Dylan: <Werner Herzog voice> Life is unfair, Ziah. A farce. It is a joke played upon us by a capricious universe and we are all alone in the end. </Werner Herzog voice> Next week we Escape From Earth-2! Are you ready for that, man? Are you ready?!
Ziah: More ready than I’ve been for anything in my life, except maybe this recap, because I’d seen the episode and took notes.