The second season of The Flash premiered, last week, with ‘The Man Who Saved Central City’ a fun but uneven episode. The episode was burdened with making a lot of moves to set up this year’s status quo, and it succeeded despite some tone deaf moments that went unexplored by the writers. Team Flash killed Atom Smasher using radiation, and there was no scene discussing the use of lethal force. Last season, the writers explored what it means to be a hero via the relationship between The Flash and Arrow, and their distinctly different tones and methods. To just gloss over Team Flash defaulting to lethal force is a disservice to the characters and the fans.
The premiere also featured rushed character exits for Ronnie and Henry Allen. I’m hoping that Wells’ confession and the subsequent release of Henry plays into a long con orchestrated by The Reverse-Flash. Although, it was awkward watching Barry get abandoned so the show could remove his biological father figure, I’m sure Jay Garrick will be filling the role for season two. We wouldn’t want Barry to have too many dads, he’s already got step-dad, bio-dad, nemesis dad, and now, alternate universe speed force mentor dad.
This week’s episode ‘Flash of Two Worlds’ delivered the first stand out episode of the season, and established both the current story engine and the Multiverse. The episode starts with the scene seen in the episode preview where Jay explains himself and the breach between worlds at gunpoint. Then we are treated to an Earth-2 flashback of Jay fighting with Zoom. Zoom is an all powerful boogeyman poised to kill Jay, then the singularity opens and pulls the Crimson Comet into our world. Jay is powerless and without his speed, his story is met with disbelief, especially by Barry, who is still wounded by Wells’ betrayal. Barry suggests that jay submit to tests, and we cut to Zoom unleashing a new metahuman threat on Central City.
Jay is a scientist and gives the classic heavy water origin story to Caitlin, his chest muscles giving Steven Amell a serious beefcake threat, which Caitlin is not immune to his charms. Ronnie who? Stein defends the multiverse as scientifically sound and describes parallel universes and the extrapolated multiverse. Stein draws some earths on a white board, but he loses nerd points for not drawing the classic chain of earths from Crisis of Infinite Earths. time travel was too much to process for poor Joe and he excuses himself. Stein suggests that if there is a breach then they need to find it and close it. Caitlin says Jay has regenerative powers, but no speed force. Despite a positive lie detector test administered by Caitlin, Barry is still apprehensive and worried that Jay might actually be evil and scouting them for weaknesses.
Patty Spivot introduces herself to Joe hoping to join the task force for metahumans. She has three science degrees and, in her words, she is in peak physical shape. Joe says, “No, she’s had the interview, and didn’t get the job.” There is something off about her, and it’s deeper than her backstory dropped later in the episode. She keeps tripping my geek sense with alternate universe quirks. And given the very complicated past of the character in the DCU, there is no way of knowing where they are gonna take the character.
We get the first appearance of the S.T.A.R. Labs metahuman jail, giving new meaning to extraordinary rendition since 2014. Jay is locked in the prison but he respects decision, and warns barry to be careful. The team is alerted to a fire, and Barry rushes to the scene, and extinguishes the fire with arm tornados. Then he’s knocked on his ass by sand, the metahuman from Earth 2 has the drop on our hero. Barry rushes him and collapses into the man made of sand, and the metahuman escapes. Barry returns later with the police, and Joe and Barry discuss the man of sand. Spivot arrives and fan girl gushes over Barry’s scientific reports. She shows them the source of fire, the cable was sandblasted off. Joe rebuffs her second attempt to get back into meta unit, and Barry takes a second gander at her as she leaves.
The ladies discuss Jay’s physique with double entendres, Caitlin isn’t the only lady noticing his hotness. Jay reveals that the specimen, from the crime scene, is not sand but cells of the metahuman named Sand Demon. Jay drops science talk and names the villain, slipping right into the Team. Cisco digs the name and also notes Jay’s buff bod. Barry is still not having it, he’s too wounded to trust Jay. Jay lays out the threat, these assassins are going to keep coming. But trust issue Barry sends him back to his cell.
Cisco finds Stein deep in thought, he’s determined that exotic matter can be used to locate the breach between worlds. Cisco tests the sand cell and has a FLASHback to Barry fighting the Sand Demon. Poor Cisco is frightened and confused by his emerging powers, but it is clear how his powers will be an asset to Team Flash.
Joe is sitting in his car going over Sand Demon’s police file, when he’s made by Mr. Slick the Demon himself. Or is he? Joe pursues him, and gets an assist from Patty. Cut to Joe interrogating him at the precinct. He’s a firebug with a southern accident, but it quickly becomes clear that this is not our metahuman. Spivot and Barry bond over how difficult Joe can be, and a bit of forced Monty Python humor cements their slow romantic burn. Slick is the Earth-1 Slick and not our Sand Demon, because he was in jail in another city when the explosion created metahumans.
Team Flash reacts to the Green Arrow announcement from last week’s Arrow, and Cisco hates when a color is added to a name. Cisco with the sassy meta burn, yes! Everyone believes Jay’s story but Barry is still doubtful. Barry is demanding hard science not hunches, and Iris steps up to straighten him out. Barry has learned to not trust, and she puts it out there that Jay reminds Barry of Wells. Not everyone is Harrison Wells, and Barry defeated him because he trusted his team.
Joe releases Slick, he’s a scumbag but he’s not our metahuman. Joe wants to know why Patty wants to be on the team, since as he notes, nothing is as it seems. Sand Demon arrives and knocks out a confused Joe, and takes Patty hostage.
Barry finally comes to Jay for assistance, and releases him from his cell. Jay steps into a leadership role effortlessly and informs Team Flash that they are looking for moist places because dehydration will kill Sand Demon. The plan is for barry to pull a Zeus and shoot lightning from his running energy at the metahuman and turn him to glass. Lethal Force is once again reinforced as the new default for Team Flash. Joe feels responsible for Patty and Barry let’s him know that he will bring her back safe.
Patty is being held hostage in a greenhouse, and she tells Sand Demon that the Flash is going to stop him. But Sand Demon has built a bomb that will be wired to her chair and the Flash can’t save her from death. In the comics Barry is faster than Jay, let’s hope for Patty’s sake that the same holds true for the DCTVU. Patty says Slick’s powers amplified the worst parts of him, and he isn’t special, he was just in the right place at the right time to get his powers.
Cisco realizes the traditional methods are not helping them locate Sand Demon, so he decides to do whatever it takes and touches the sand again, to locate the sand demon. Cisco locates Sand Demon and sees the bomb. Cisco says he has information for Barry and Stein doesn’t buy that it is merely a hunch.
Cut to Barry practicing his lightning throwing, Jay implores him to relax and slow down so he can direct the energy. Barry admits to his issues with Wells. Jay says, “That is a tough break but I’m not him.” Cisco arrives and tells them about his hunch. Barry wants to use Jay as a diversion, he has his costume, and they have his helmet. In a real nerdgasm moment, Jay don’s his father’s helmet from the war of the americas. Our Flashes team up and cement it with a handshake.
Our heroes enter the greenhouse, and Slick sees Jay. The bomb is wired to Patty’s chair . Slick and Jay mix it up and it is quickly apparent that he has lost his powers. Barry rushes to Patty and everyone but Sand Demon is thrown by the concussive force of the bomb. Sand Demon chokes Jay and Barry frees him by breaking off the arm of sand. Barry builds up speed and throws lightning and turns Sand Demon into a glass sculpture that shatters. Patty calls to the Flash and they both rush to her around a lil brick wall in a homage to the classic cover, it is subtle and beautifully executed, the hallmark of this great show.
Caitlin patches up Jay, and they bond over having both lost a big part of themselves. She let’s him know that it gets easier every day, and just because it is a different life doesn’t mean it is a worse one. This resonates with me because I suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury in 2014, and accepting the new me, is a real struggle. I’m grateful for the voice recognition technology and the friends that help me make these articles possible. It might sound corny, but I’m thankful for The Flash and its message of hope, and I think it resonates with fans in part because of its themes of hope and its focus on family.
Joe asks Patty about Mark Martin, the Weather Wizard. Patty informs Joe that Martin killed her father at his shop, he shot her dad in the face for a 100 bucks, then a few months later Martin and his brother got powers. Bad men can got powers, and she wants to stop them. Joe is the only one who wants that too. Joe hires her on the spot.
Joe is confronted by his ex-wife. She wants to see him and he hasn’t returned her calls. Family drama is on the horizon, and we finally get to meet Iris’s mother. Stein wants to know what is going on, two hunches in a day, those odds are implausible. Cisco comes clean and admits he can perceive things, horrible things. Cisco says “I get a VIBE, and then a vision of something that happened.” Stein is excited and wants to study his power, but Cisco does not want to see or know these things, he doesn’t’ want anyone to know, not yet. Cisco says, “Wells told me this is my gift he gave this to me, but everything he did was evil.” cisco is having some serious guilt issues and I’m worried about him. And any guilt is going to slow him down from suiting up as Vibe!
Stein informs the team that an unfortunate side effect of the singularity closure was the creation of 52 breaches throughout the city, pockets of space and time folded into themselves. The strongest one is inside the lab. But before Stein can finish his thought, he has an attack and collapses.
CUT to Earth-2 S.T.A.R. labs full of art deco golden age hollywood glamour. A young woman leads children on a tour, and she tells the kids, “We are in for an unexpected treat, the founder of S.T.A.R. Labs and the savior of Central City, Dr. Harrison Wells!”
The alternate wells smiles and replies, “Hello kids.”
I’m dying for next week’s episode, and I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments about where you think the show is headed this season.