Before co-creating The Flash, Andrew Kreisberg wrote a couple episodes of a little show called Fringe. Those episodes took place back before that show’s parallel universes fully came into play, but it’s a fun coincidence nonetheless now that The Flash is officially dealing in the multiverse.
If the title wasn’t hint enough, “Flash of Two Worlds” seeks to add the newly arrived Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears) to Team Flash. Jay, who was the Flash of Earth-2, came through the Singularity six months ago but lost his speed, and he’s just now put enough pieces together to approach the team.
Obviously still reeling from Harrison Wells/Eobard Thawne’s (Tom Cavanagh) betrayal, Barry (Grant Gustin) isn’t comfortable just accepting Jay, especially when there’s no hint of the Speed Force in his system to verify his story. I always like when shows continue to deal with the emotional ramifications of events and don’t just act like they don’t exist, but several of the story beats in “Flash of Two Worlds” mirror those from last week’s “The Man Who Saved Central City.”
The most obvious of these has to be Iris (Candice Patton) picking up on Barry’s mood and forcing him to discuss the fact that Wells/Thawne and Garrick are not the same person. Although it makes sense for Iris and Barry to be having this conversation since they are best friends, it worries me that Iris’s main purpose in the first two episodes of the season has been Barry’s emotional support. She needs an individual plotline to really come into her own, and hopefully, the arrival of her mom at the end of “Flash of Two Worlds” will lead in that direction.
Also similar to last week, the major villain of the episode, Sand Demon, doesn’t make much of an impact. He does appear in more of the episode than Atom Smasher, but the only thing he really represents is the specter of Zoom. It would be far more interesting – but probably not great for making the season last for 20 more episodes – if Barry was able to come face to face with the mysterious, evil person instead.
Several other interesting elements of “Flash of Two Worlds” seem to exist only to set them up for use in later episodes. One of the most explored of these is Cisco’s (Carlos Valdes) burgeoning meta-power. The episode is smart to make it clear that these powers both hurt and scare Cisco but then have him go ahead and use them to save the day. Although he may want to ignore them, I doubt that Cisco will be able to do that if it means continuing to help. It’s a strong, internal conflict-driven plotline, and one that I’m definitely looking forward to.
New character Patty Spivot (Shantel VanSanten) and her quest to join Joe’s (Jesse L. Martin) meta-human task force also seem largely designed to put her in place for the future, but her introduction by and large works because the character is endearing. She’s smart, brave, and tries to help take down the bad guy, which are all points in her favor. I was less thrilled about the fact that she then spent the second half of “Flash of Two Worlds” being kidnapped, but I guess Joe and Eddie also got kidnapped all the time. Although it’s kind of obvious even before she says it that a meta-human killed her dad, that at least gives her strong motivation and may cause conflict when/if she learns about Barry’s meta-human status.
The strangest of the obviously-will-matter-in-later-episodes elements has to be Caitlin’s (Danielle Panabaker) sudden attraction to Jay. The attraction in and of itself isn’t necessarily weird, but all of Caitlin’s plot in season one revolved around how terrible she felt after Ronnie died. Now that he might be dead again, however, she seems not that concerned. The writers try to give her a speech that could explain the shift, but it’s a speech that would have worked better for me if it happened pre-Ronnie returning. Or even if the two simply hadn’t gotten married in the season finale.
“Flash of Two Worlds” has a lot of interesting elements: introducing the multiverse, setting up new character dilemmas and relationships, and expanding on what we know about the season villain. Unfortunately, in spite of its good parts, the episode and its villain of the week especially end up feeling more perfunctory than profound.
- I was kind of hoping we could get rid of Barry’s voiceover introduction now that we’re in season two and presumably not many people need to be introduced to the show, but it looks like that’s here to stay.
- Tom Cavanagh returns (at least to Earth-2)! It’s unclear what character he’s playing, if this is actually Harrison Wells or Eobard Thawne who already killed and shape-shifted into Harrison Wells, but he’s referred to as “the savior of Central City.”
- As one of the few people who actually watched every episode of this summer’s The Messengers, I recognized Shantel VanSanten from that show. I’m glad I like the character she’s playing on The Flash better.
- “Wells told me this was my future, that he gave me this power. But everything he did was evil. That’s what scares me, Professor.” – Cisco on his meta-power