By Josh Melo
‘The Flash’ Review – S2 Ep.13 (Welcome to Earth-2)
Welcome to Earth-2 will forever go down as the most “nerdtastic” episode of The Flash. Easter Eggs galore, doppelgangers coming from every which way, great action to keep things interesting and some of the deepest character moments the show has seen. All of these elements combine to create one of the most purely enjoyable episodes of the series, especially if you know you comics!
Where to begin? So much happened this week it’s hard to settle on what to address first. With The Flash moving over to Earth-2 for a small arc, getting to see how vastly different these two worlds are would be a big deal, not only for the characters on the show, but for the viewers as well. A lot has been said about how advanced their civilization is and how meta-humans are much more rampant. From the moment they step foot on Earth-2, you can tell they weren’t just spouting hyperbole. We’ve seen the train running through the city via flashbacks, but witnessing Earth-2 in all of its multiverse glory was truly something special.
But before we get into all of that, the journey through the speed cannon offered tons in the way of Easter Eggs and hints at future story lines. The biggest, and potentially most important, hint refers to the upcoming crossover with Supergirl. As Barry runs through dimensions, flying alongside him is none other than Kara Danvers! We knew that the crossover was coming (if you’ve been paying attention to my Supergirl articles) but to see her physically appear in an episode of The Flash just begs for giddy laughter.
In addition to Supergirl, we also get glimpses of potential plot points for future episodes of The Flash as well as glimpses of what is to come in Legends of Tomorrow. Gorilla Grodd is seen roaring in the background implying his inevitable return. But even more intriguing than that is the glimpse of what looks like John Wesley Shipp once again donning the Flash suit! Will Henry Allen reveal himself to be a speedster? Is this a confirmation of the original Flash series falling into canon with this new series? Will father and son team up? Who knows! The potential for speculation is literally infinite after some of these teases, and I am ready to speculate with the best of them.
Before moving on to the larger plot, we also catch a few glimpses of Jonah Hex (played by Jonathan Schaech) and a completely new version of Green Arrow. Hex has already been confirmed to play a role in Legends of Tomorrow but the new Green Arrow could be a hint at a future for the Arrow series, or the rumored one-armed version of Oliver Queen we’ve been hearing about. Regardless, these are great clues that should keep fans hunger for rumor mongering well satiated.
Once on Earth-2, the Easter Eggs don’t stop coming. Floyd Lawton (Deadshot) makes his return, only this time he is a bumbling cop without any gun skill whatsoever (how is he even a cop?), Iris is the chief of police and married to Barry, Joe is a jazz singer at the Jitterbug and Ronnie, Caitlin and Cisco are all maniacal super villains working for Zoom! That’s a lot to take in; I’ll give you a moment… good? OK.
Having Barry kidnap his Earth-2 self in order to immerse himself in this new world was a great way of introducing him, as well as the audience, to how different this world actually is. Earth-2 Barry, having never suffered the loss of his parents, is a loveable dork without a care in the world. Grant Gustin does a great job differentiating the two versions from one another while still making them feel like the same core character. Gustin’s excellent performance doesn’t stop there however, once he makes his way to his home with Iris he gets a call from his mother. Grant has never shown more raw emotion than he has here. The tears streaming down his face while listening to his mothers voice feel real, and as a long time fan, I was absolutely elated for him. Twice now he has accepted his mothers fate, for him to have the chance to speak with her, tell her he loves her, one final time, must have been the world to Barry.
The high emotions continued with Iris and Joe. With the appearance of Deathstorm (who looks nothing like the comic version), Earth-2 Joe sacrifices himself in order to save Iris. His death scene may have been a bit rushed, but the chemistry between Patton and Jesse L. Martin has never been better. They each show how incredible they can be when given the proper material and I only wish that material came around more often. Plus it was awesome to see the writers incorporate Martin’s real world singing talents into the show (now let’s see Carlos Valdes, Grant Gustin and Jesse Martin all do karaoke!).
Sticking with the stellar performances for a moment, Danielle Panabaker was exceptional as Killer Frost. Her generic Caitlin skin was shed for a much more fun and free super villain. You could tell Panabaker was having a blast with her new powers and I’m glad she lived through her encounter with Zoom; more evil Caitlin is always welcome. Carlos Valdes also nailed his evil incarnation, which came as a complete surprise. Seeing Cisco as an evil mastermind with full control of his abilities was incredible and has me anxiously waiting for Cisco to fully embrace his powers as soon as possible. I mean, he said it himself, Reverb was a badass!
Having gushed over almost every aspect of the episode (I could have gone on forever talking about the Easter Eggs), there were some aspects I felt detracted from the whole. Those aspects being everything happening back on Earth-1. Jay Garrick suddenly reveals that Zoom never actually stole his speed; instead it was his addiction to Velocity 6 (a speed force enhancing drug). Zoom being a dimension hopping speedster hunter was pretty awesome, now he seems to have a personal vendetta against Barry Allen in particular. That being said, these new revelations about Jay make him look like the prime suspect for who is under Zoom’s hood. He conveniently disappears whenever Zoom is around, he has an addiction to Speed (LOL) and his doppelganger is named Hunter Zolomon. It all adds up to either Garrick, or his double, being Zoom.
I don’t mind the idea of Garrick being the bad guy, I just think the sudden change of backstory was a poor decision.
The second major negative goes by the name of Geomancer. He was completely random and way over the top. His appearance did nothing other than giving Jay a shot at showing off some moves (his hat thing was cool). His acting was terrible and the way he was used reeked of filler.
Other than that, this was hands down the best episode of the season. Hardcore comic fans are bound to gush over every frame while the casual viewers will be enthralled by the stellar performances and character work. Welcome to Earth-2 was an absolute blast.
Overall, Welcome to Earth-2 gets a 9.5/10.