This week’s episode of The Flash, 02.05 ‘The Darkness and The Light,’ treated us to an impressive feat of screenwriting, and DC nerdery. In an episode moving at an ever increasing speed of twists and turns, the writers were able to seamlessly interject exposition and humor. This is quite possibly the funniest episode of The Flash to date. And the scariest. Moreover, we get our first real hints about Zoom and Earth-2.
IMDb sums up the plot as:
Barry learns a new breacher, Dr. Light, has come through the portal and sets off to capture her. Jay tells Barry that Dr. Light was not a threat on Earth-2 and that Barry can reason with her. However, during a fight with The Flash, she blinds him and drops some shocking news about Zoom. Meanwhile, Barry and Patty go out on a date.
The Flash continues its streak of honesty and forthrightness amongst the members of Team Flash, something that the Supernatural writers could take a cue from. It’s wonderful to see a show where characters do not break or compromise for the necessity of a lazy plot point, or a calculated manipulation or move by the writers. Iris continues to be strong, intelligent, and confident; in the face of constant chaos. And Barry remains true to his promise of trust and teamwork in previous episodes. Watching these characters grow in a meaningful way helps make their world of weird science and metahumans, realer than any other world on TV.
The episode opens with a flashback to Earth-2, 8 months ago, where Harrison Wells (heretofore referred to as HW2) is hosting a press conference to unveil his smartwatch app that can recognize metahumans. Jay Garrick arrives and confronts Wells about his involvement in the Strange Matter reactor accident that created the metahumans, including the fearsome Zoom. HW2 is incredibly callous and doesn’t take accountability. We are then treated to a glimpse of HW2’s daughter, who has a very important role to play in this story, if rumors of her being the TV version of Jesse Quick are to be believed.
We cut to the present and find HW2 reading Harrison Wells autobiography, quickly in front of Team Flash at the Lab, which is a brilliant little touch. HW2 is incredibly forceful and keeps pushing his agenda of fighting zoom and even taking responsibility for the creation of zoom, which makes you wonder what brought on this change of heart. Joe comes in and fires three shots at HW2 without blinking an eye, gotta love Joe. Barry has a pretty impressive effects sequence where he catches all three bullets. Barry immediately pulls Joe aside and the ever adorable Tom Cavanaugh requests Big Belly Burger.
Joe comes clean about the robbery, from last week, where HW2 was spotted. I love the rapport between Joe and Barry, it really sings in this scene as we watch them deal with the unthinkable in a positive and humorous manner. Barry admits that he too is constantly fighting the urge to kill HW2, but he’s fighting it for the common good, and because it isn’t their Harrison Wells. Iris might be the defacto leader of Team Flash, but it is wonderful to see Barry maturing as well.
Later at the Central City Picture News, Linda Park argues with her Editor for the right to publish the truth about a sports figure, and he respectfully defers to her journalistic integrity. Iris is proud of her co-worker and friend, but the scene is cut short when Joe arrives and asks her to come outside with him. Iris takes the news about a doppleganger of the man that killed her fiance surprisingly well. Joe gives his daughter a gun and tells her pointedly, that you can’t get in trouble for killing a man that is already dead.
Cisco and Barry are at Jitters discussing Multiverse shenanigans, when Patty walks in on their conversation. Cisco approves of her metahuman naming skills on the King Shark story. Barry rebuffs her offer to get together and work on the police report, to which she replies, “Coolio.” I say Coolio. I officially love these writers. Barry explains what happened the last time he attempted to ask her out on a date. Cisco lets Barry know there will always be bad guys, but don’t let them get in the way of you living your life.
Barry challenges Cisco to get the coffee girls number, and it goes wonderfully awkwardly bad. The rebuffed Cisco then has a vision of the latest metahuman robbing the Central City Bank. Barry rushes off to engage the breacher after a clumsy lie from Cisco about how he knows about the robbery. Barry is foiled by the metahuman, who uses civilians to distract Barry and make her getaway.
Back at the Lab, HW2 confirms the identity of Dr. Light and explains her power set to Cisco and Barry. HW2 is curt with Cisco, and Cisco’s response is probably the best joke of the season, I won’t spoil it for you. HW2 wants to capture light and use her as bait for Zoom. Jay shows up and dismisses the plan as too dangerous. Barry is pragmatic and let’s the Team know that we have to find her first and then decide.
Barry finally asks Patty out to dinner at work. Meanwhile, HW2 and Cisco continue to argue while searching for Dr. Light. Cisco has another vision and they dispatch Barry to a vault she is robbing. Jay let’s Barry know that Light is not a killer and that she can be reasoned with. Barry attempts to bring her in peacefully, but he is shocked when she is revealed to be Linda Park of Earth-2. Dr. Light escapes and Barry is left blinded.
Back at the Lab, Team Flash gathers around Barry, while HW2 explains that Zoom will continue to use people from Barry’s past to confuse him and ultimately kill him. Iris enters and is momentarily dazed by the uncanny vision of a dead man walking, but she doesn’t respond emotionally to HW2. Barry and Iris catch up on her Bio-Mom situation and have an adorable and very real exchange when Iris has to read a text message from Patty to him. The love and playfulness between these characters never allows the material to go maudlin, at it’s core The Flash is a celebration of perseverance and optimism.
Barry is late for his date, luckily he has Cisco Debergerac to be his eyes via a pair of glasses with a camera. Barry is clumsy and awkward while having his literal blind date. Patty asks Barry what it was like to be hit by lightning, and he responds by saying, “It was life changing. It was like I was instantly connected to everything around me.” At which point Patty calls Barry out for being blind, mentioning what kind of detective would she be if she couldn’t figure out he was blind. Barry removes the glasses and the date continues to go smoothly, without secrets. Except of course the Big Secret.
Jay and Caitlin are on a stake out looking for Dr. Light near the Newspaper offices. A sort of parallel date, but unacknowledged. Jay admits that Zoom scared him and that he worries about Barry experiencing the same fate that befell him. Jay also mentions his best friend from Atlantis. Oh please give us a classic Aquaman on this show, please. As our two lovebirds are about to kiss Dr. Light shows up and topples the van with a light blast.
Dr Light enters the Newspaper offices and declares her intent to steal the life of Linda Park. Only Iris and the Editor remain to stand with Linda. When Light charges up an energy blast she accidentally kills the Editor when he leaps on her. Jay runs into the room to confront Light, distracting her long enough for Iris to take a shot with Joe’s gun. The bullet knocks Light’s mask of revealing her identity to Linda. Then in a blast of light the Dr. escapes.
Meanwhile back on the blind date, Barry gets a goodnight kiss from Patty, and then they are both summoned to the Newspaper offices. Linda is obviously distressed from meeting herself, but Joe puts her at ease. Joe, Barry, and Iris return to the Lab with Dr. Light’s mask. Jay is getting stitches from Caitlin and HW2 confronts him on his failed strategy of talking to Dr. Light. HW2 drops the bombshell that Jay was running from Zoom for the last two years in fear. “Barry can do it because he isn’t a coward,” HW2 says. Jay and HW2 proceed to have a real dust up of a fight, until Barry separates them.
At which point, after a brief talk about trust with Barry, HW2 outs Cisco as a metahuman via his fancy watch app. Cisco is apologetic and explains his concern of his gift being evil like Wells. HW2 has no patience or time for this and proceeds to demand that Cisco use his power on the mask. We get a pretty adorable scene of Cisco touching the mask fearfully. HW2 grabs the mask and shoves it into Cisco’s chest, causing a vision. Dr. Light is at the Train Station.
Barry races to the train station and confronts Dr. Light. I wonder if she is trying to escape from Barry or Zoom? She can’t think that a trench coat and a train are gonna hide her from Zoom. HW2 suggests that Barry create a speed illusion of himself in order to distract Dr. Light. Awfully weird that HW2 knows how to do superspeed stuff… Barry fails at first and Jay tells him to try again and not let fear hold him back. Barry is able to create the speed mirage and knock out Dr. Light.
Back at the Lab, HW2 suggests that they use Light to lure Zoom and Barry is willing to go along with it because he has his team with him and he trusts them. Jay is scared and says the plan is too dangerous to support and he leaves.
Later at Jitters Coffee, Cisco gets another shot with the cute Coffee Girl, who reveals her name to be Kendra Saunders! Yes Hawkgirl, finally arrives. Good to know Cisco is gonna get denied by a love that transcends death.
Barry has faith that Jay will return to Team Flash just when they need him. Cisco needs a name that really sings, and Barry says, “Vibe.” And everyone knows in their gut that it is the right name. HW2 watches creepily from afar.
Meanwhile back on Earth-2, We see that Zoom has HW2’s daughter in a cage. It would appear that Zoom has some serious leverage on HW2. And although his needs align with Team Flash, he most assuredly can’t be trusted.
I have a theory that if Iris hadn’t interrupted her Bio-Mom she would have discovered that Joe’s son is dead. I believe that Zoom is Joe’s son of Earth-2 and that he will infiltrate Team Flash as Joe’s long lost son. We will be treated to a conflict between two sons. Zoom wants Barry’s life because he wants a life with the Father he never knew. I predict tears.