Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Flash Season 2, Episode 5: The Darkness And The Light

This week's episode of The Flash was jam-packed full of plot developments, but somehow it never seemed crowded or rushed.

The main attraction in The Darkness And The Light was of course our first good look at the Earth-2 Harrison Wells. And what a difference a dimension makes! This version of Wells is brusque and abrasive, and doesn't care what anyone thinks of him. Tom Cavanagh does an excellent job of distinguishing the Earth-2 Wells from his Earth-1 counterpart, and it's great to finally have him back on the show.

Linda Park (remember her?) finally gets something to do as the Earth-2 Doctor Light. Her appearance may well be a clue as to how the show will handle the whole Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost thing.

And once again, The Flash spends time laying groundwork for the upcoming Legends Of Tomorrow series. Cheezus, enough with the nods to this series already! This week's introduction of Kendra "Hawkgirl" Saunders wasn't as intrusive or extensive as last week's All-Firestorm-All-The-Time episode, but I'll be glad when Legends finally premieres so The Flash can stop setting it up and concentrate on its own characters.

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
In a Earth-2 flashback, Harrison Wells holds a press conference to unveil his new metahuman-detecting app. Hey, maybe he's the Steve Jobs of his world! Jay Garrick, the Earth-2 Flash, accuses Wells of causing an underground explosion that created their metahuman population, and asks what he's doing about it. Wells denies this, accusing the Flash of not doing his job. Wells' daughter witnesses the exchange and looks worried.

In the present on Earth-1, Barry is saved from King Shark by the Earth-2 Wells, who's traveled to our dimension. He introduces E2 Wells to the STAR Labs Gang, who naturally don't trust him. Joe walks in, sees Wells and immediately shoots at him. Barry catches the bullets with super speed and explains what's going on to Joe. Wells admits he did create the metahumans, including Zoom, and has come to Earth-1 to do something about it.

At the Picture News, Linda Park argues with Larkin, her editor. Joe visits Iris, tells her about the new version of Wells and gives her a gun to protect herself. Barry and Cisco visit Jitters, where they meet Patty. She flirts with Barry, who blows her off. Cisco tries to ask out the Jitters barista, who turns him down cold. Cisco then gets one of his visions, this time of a superpowered woman robbing a bank.

Barry zooms to the bank and encounters a masked metahuman woman who's robbing the vault. Barry tries to reason with her, and she raises her visor to reveal she's the Earth-2 Linda Park. She says she doesn't want to steal but is being controlled by Zoom. She gets spooked when Barry recognizes her and calls her by name. She blasts the vault with light and escapes, blinding Barry.

Back at STAR Labs, Caitlin says Barry's retinas were scorched, but due to his powers should regenerate in a few hours. Barry's worried about the E1 Linda, since Doctor Light now knows she has a doppelganger. Caitlin and Jay volunteer to keep an eye on Linda. Barry decides to cancel the date he made earlier with Patty, but Iris talks him into going. It'll be a literal blind date! Barry meets Patty for dinner, wearing sunglasses equipped with a camera so Cisco can monitor the date and tell him what to do. Patty sees through this lame plan and realizes Barry can't see. He makes up an excuse about having his retinas dilated, and she's impressed he went through with the date.

At the Picture News, Doctor Light blasts Caitlin and Jay's stakeout van. She enters the building, intent on killing E1 Linda. She says the only way she can be safe is to kill Linda and become her. Larkin attacks Light and is killed. Iris shoots at her, knocking her helmet off her head. Light blasts the room and escapes.

At STAR Labs, Wells blames Jay for Larkin's death, saying he's a coward because he always ran from Zoom. He says Barry should be teaching Jay, not the other way around. Wells then outs Cisco, using his watch to reveal he's a metahuman. Barry and Caitlin are puzzled as to why Cisco hid his powers. He explains it's because he feared they'd turn him evil like the E1 Wells.

E2 Wells forces Cisco to touch Light's mask, which gives him another vision. He sees her at a railway station. Barry zooms there and confronts Doctor Light. He discovers another new power— running so fast he creates multiple images of himself. This confuses Light long enough for Barry to knock her out.

With Light in custody, Barry plans to use her to lure Zoom out into the open in order to defeat him. Jay refuses to help, telling Barry that facing Zoom will end in disaster. He also tells him not to trust Wells. Cisco returns to Jitters for coffee, and the barista gives him her phone number. Her name is Kendra Saunders, which doesn't mean anything to the audience now, but lets just say you should watch her like a hawk. Barry and Caitlin tell Cisco that now that he's a metahuman he needs a cool codename. They decide on Vibe. Unknown to the trio, Wells watches them through the window, which isn't the least bit creepy.

Back on Earth-2, Zoom holds Wells' daughter hostage. She defiantly says her father will save her.

Thoughts:
• Dr. Wells calls Cisco "Crisco." So I guess they sell that product on Earth-2.

• In the Earth-2 flashback we finally get to see Jay Garrick use his super speed. Briefly. I'm anxiously awaiting him getting his powers back. What good is having two Flashes on the show if only one has super speed?

We also learn in this episode that Barry is much faster than Jay ever was. That follows the way things are in the comic as well.

• Earth 2 looks like an awesome place, with its bright & sunny atmosphere, monorails and art deco architecture. I'd like to see an entire episode set there.

• In the recap we see Dr. Wells save Barry from King Shark. In the very next scene, Barry's presenting Wells to the STAR Labs Gang and explaining that they can all trust him. 

It felt like there were a few scenes missing here. Heck, they could have devoted an entire episode to Barry learning to trust the E2 Wells before bringing him to STAR Labs. I guess they're leaving how all that happened to our imaginations.

• “You know, our Dr. Wells may have been evil, but you’re just a dick.” Oh, Cisco. Don't ever change.

• Wells googles his Earth 1 counterpart while listening to "You're No Good." Gosh, The Flash writers, what could you be trying to say here?

• There've been a couple different Doctor Lights in the DC comic universe over the years, none of whom were Linda Park.

The first was a man named Arthur Light, a supervillain who often clashed with the Justice League. Originally his powers came from his suit, but over time he gained the ability to emit light from his body, and use it as a weapon. He could generate light blasts, form force fields out of light (?) and even fly. For some reason DC turned him into a very disturbing and unpleasant character in recent years (don't ask).

The second Doctor Light was an Asian woman named Kimiyo Hoshi. She was an arrogant scientist who was struck by a cosmic ray and gained the power to control and wield light. Unlike the original, this second Doctor Light was a superhero.

• As has become the custom, the minute Doctor Light finds out she has an Earth-1 counterpart she wants to kill her. But why? She says the only way she can be safe from Zoom is if she becomes the Earth-1 Linda. If that's true, why does Light try to kill Linda in a room full of witnesses? That would tend to blow her cover, wouldn't it? Plus it wouldn't be hard for Zoom to figure out what she did once she stopped reporting to him. It just doesn't seem like a very well thought out plan.

Also, when Doctor Light confronts Linda, she says, "It's not murder if you kill your double, right?" Umm... yes. Yes it is murder. I'm pretty sure deliberately killing anyone is murder, even if they are your exact duplicate.

• When Barry first loses his sight, why does he act more like he's drunk than blind? He staggers around STAR Labs bumping into things and people with his eyes half closed and a very dopey expression on his face.

• E2 Wells' smartwatch app doesn't flag Caitlin as a metahuman. This confirms my theory that we'll eventually find out that her Earth-2 counterpart is Killer Frost, leaving our Caitlin untouched by evil.

• Speaking of Earth-2, I wonder if we'll ever see doppelgangers of Barry, Cisco, Iris or Joe? Or even Eddie Thawne?

• During their stakeout, Jay tells Caitlin that Earth-2 has an Atlantis that's still above water. He also mentions having a friend who lives there. Smart money would suggest he's talking about Aquaman. I'm guessing this is just a throwaway line, and wouldn't hold my breath waiting for him to show up on the series. The DC Movie people won't let the DC TV people use any of their characters, and Aquaman's going to be in the upcoming Darknight V Hopeman movie, so...

• Barry and Patty are really cute together, and seem like a perfect match. That means she'll probably either be dead or forced to relocate by the end of the season. Or who knows, she may even turn out to be Zoom!

• After Barry was blinded by Doctor Light, why didn't he get Cisco to whip up some sort of souped-up sunglasses for him? Heck, last season Cisco nearly spent all of twenty minutes cobbling together a gun that somehow shoots streams of gold, so a pair of sunglasses shouldn't have given him much trouble.

• When Barry inexplicably has trouble capturing Doctor Light, Wells tells him he can defeat her by running fast enough to create "speed mirages," and appear to be in several places at once.

You know, if Barry can really move that fast, then there's no reason he couldn't have just run up behind Light and conked her in the head before she even knew what was happening. Christ, earlier in the episode he snatched three bullets out of midair with his bare hand.

This glossing over the reality of super speed has always been a problem for the show (as well as the comic). Barry's speed always seems to fluctuate depending on the needs of the plot.

In reality (heh) every episode of The Flash should last about two minutes. Barry enters STAR Labs, Cisco says, "I'm reading an alarm at the Central City Bank." There's then a loud WHOOSH as Barry disappears and reappears in the space of a second, saying "OK, foiled the bank robbery. What else you got?"

• At the end of the episode, E2 Wells observes Barry, Caitlin & Cisco from the shadows. The implication here is that he's got some secret agenda or is just plain evil like is E1 counterpart.

I thought it was a bit too early to be implying that. This is E2 Wells' first full episode, so it seems like it would have been better to convince us he's benevolent for a couple of weeks before he plays the evil card.

• So is it too early to start speculating on Zoom's identity? It's Screenwriting 101 that any time a character wears a mask, their identity is supposed to be a shock to the audience. I expect the same to apply here.

I don't think the E2 Wells is Zoom, since that would be a little too repetitive. Plus neither was even on the same Earth in this episode. So Wells is out.

I doubt he's really the E2 Caitlin, since I believe she'll turn out to be Killer Frost. I don't think he's the E2 Cisco either, since he probably has Vibe powers too.

Zoom turning out to be a sinister version of Barry might be interesting— the Flash fighting his evil twin and all that. It would also be a shock if he turned out to be Joe. I could definitely see Barry hesitating to kill Zoom if he pulls off his mask and looks like his godfather.

What if Zoom is somehow Patty Spivot? It's possible, but unless Zoom can shuttle between dimension in a second, that wouldn't be possible, as we saw them both on separate Earths in this episode. 

Zoom might also be the E2 Henry Allen. That could help explain Henry's abrupt and puzzling departure a few episodes back.

I still like the idea that Zoom could be Eddie Thawne. At the end of last season we saw his dead body get sucked into the singularity. Who knows what happened to it after that? He could have been brought back to life and dumped on Earth 2, and now has a vendetta against the Flash.

As you can tell, at this point I have no idea who the hell he is, but I'm convinced he'll turn out to be someone we know.

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