Escape From Earth 2 – With Barry captured by Zoom, the team needs a fast rescue so they can return home but they’ll need help from an unexpected source to find Zoom’s liar. Meanwhile, back on Earth 1, Catlin continues to improve the artificial speed force drug into Velocity 9 so Jay can finally defeat Geomancer.
So while last episode was more fun and indulgence within the world of Earth-2, this week’s concluding episode is more plot focused. It still manages to have some fun though courtesy of letting “Barry-2” join the group. Right from the start, Grant Gustin’s out-of-character work is superb, and presents his doppelganger as a very lovable mega geek. When explaining the multi-verse to Iris-2, he’s like the overexcited love child of Cisco and Felicity Smoak as he references the adventures of a “Commando Carl” science fiction TV show. Throughout the episode, he continues to be great comic relief which notably eases the pressure on Cisco, allowing him to more focused on the mission rather than just the film referencing wise cracker. We get a good encore from Danielle Panabaker as Killer Frost becomes their reluctant accomplice. Both she and Barry hold a collective theme of bridging the similarities between both worlds. Just as Killer Catlin discovers some good within her, we see this more cowardly (and supposedly selfish) version of Barry discover his inner hero. The Barry to Barry pep talk is a great little moment of inspiration, “I’m just Barry Allen but you’re The Flash”. There’s also a nice classical caper feel to the story here as our heroes journey towards a villain’s remote location evil lair for a rescue. We don’t get as much parallel world Easter Eggs as last time but the back wall of Barry’s wall is a nice touch. Blink and you’ll miss it, but there are profile posters of many known metahumans across it, including Killer Frost, Death Storm, Reverb, Atom Smasher and Doctor Light.
Flash Barry’s captivity also proves very rewarding. We get to spend our first real time with Jessie Quick since early in the season. Violett Beane comes across well as learns of everything Harrison Wells has done to save her which really makes their subsequent reunion into a very touching moment. She’s also pledged as being resourceful and even smarter than Wells or Barry which bodes well for her more significant role in the remaining 9 episodes. That may even include seeing her suiting up as a speedster. The showrunners have hinted that newly perfected Velocity 9 serum plays a big part in her story as well as Wally West’s (who is notably absent on both Earth’s this week.... Wally-2 is still my call for “who is Zoom”). Then of course, there is the big metal-faced question mark. Their mystery 3rd cellmate that’s either Jason Statham’s stunt double from Death Race, a Slipkot B-team member or someone really really important to Zoom’s identity and/or back story. The tap-tap code clue we get is “Jay” implying some connection to Jay Garrick or at least an implied decoy. The obvious first thought is that it’s the real Jay Garrick and ours is some form of an imposter.... which is not only too obvious but way to similar to last year’s Eobard Thawne/Harrison Wells twist to be the truth. It has been noted that the areas on his skin, we can see imply an older man. So my theory right now is that it’s actually Jay’s father (even if he’s believed dead, Zoom could have grabbed him via time travel). Firstly, Barry notes that the 5-by-5 tapping code was developed by POW's, and we know Jay’s dad was in Earth-2’s War of the Americas (Jay’s wears his father’s helmet from the war). Next, we see that Mr. Mask is devastated when told of Jay being on Earth-1. Finally, consider Jessie Quick. Why did Zoom take her? To manipulate Harrison Wells as someone he cared about. What if Zoom is doing exactly the same with our Jay Garrick? That Jay has been coerced by Zoom this entire saeson less his father is killed. Why? ....Velocity 9. What if Jay’s speed outage and sickness was a staged play by Zoom to get hold of such a speed enhancer? Jay shows up like a sick puppy, convinces the team to make him the cure only for Zoom to take it. Okay, that’s getting more than a little speculative but possibility is there and it would make one hell of story if it comes true as the group learns of Jay’s betrayal!
The Earth-1 scenes are not quite as effective as last episode. The main focus is upon establishing Catlin’s creation of Velocity 9 and its effectiveness. The conclusion of the Geomancer arc is a bit of a letdown as we’re denied a Jay Vs Geo round 2. They don’t even bother to explain how Geomancer becomes the latest villain to just walks into STAR Labs (Wells really needs to setup metahuman alert sensors). However, the hero shots we do get of Jay back in temporary action are very satisfying. There’s some good drama and great visual effects over the unstable basement breach as the ticking clock counts down on our away team’s return. Finally, we meet Iris’s new editor at the paper, Scott Evans. Although we learn little about him, his initial approach and ideals feel very promising. In fact, when he’s rejecting Iris’s “fluff piece” on The Flash, it’s immediately reminiscent of Ben Affleck in the Batman Vs Superman trailers, when he criticizes the Daily Planet for writing a puff piece editorial every time Superman saves a cat out of tree. It’s a little harsh but at the same time, exactly what journalism should be in telling people what they need to hear rather than just what they want to hear. It could signal some major changes in Central City’s attitude towards The Flash. We started the season with Flash Day celebrations, action figures and even branded beverages but will they finish up hating him?
It isn’t quite the fun fest of last week (only just) but this episode is brilliant from a series perspective as it sets up the final section of the season. Grant Gustin is the clear MVP but as usual there are good efforts all around. If you haven’t seen the Jaws parodying episode 15 promos yet, check them out because in next week’s jawesome episode King Shark is back!
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