By Josh Melo
‘The Flash’ Review – S2 Ep.14 (Escape from Earth-2)
After falling into the clutches of the nefarious Zoom, Cisco and Wells must devise a plan to save Barry and return to Earth-1 before the portal home is forever closed to them. Easing off of the tidal wave of Easter Eggs, Escape from Earth-2 provides a fun conclusion to the Earth-2 arc while laying the foundation for interesting reveals in the future.
Coming off of an episode as jam-packed with fan service as Welcome to Earth-2, Escape from Earth-2 would never be able to match the pure enjoyment derived from seeing so many fun teases. That being said, Escape from Earth-2 is still a ton of fun. If last week was all about setting up the myriad elements of Earth-2, this week brings those burgeoning plot threads to the forefront. Cisco and Wells team up with the even dorkier Earth-2 Barry, Killer Frost deals with the fallout of her lovers death and light is shed on the mystery man behind the iron mask.
The Man in the Iron Mask (Jay Garrick? Henry Allen? A freakishly masculine Patty Spivot?)
One of the most compelling aspects of Escape from Earth-2 came from the intrigue provided by Barry and Jessie’s attempt at communicating with the masked man. Figuring out the intricate POW (prisoner of war) code he was tapping on his cell walls, only a single word was deciphered before Zoom came in to interrupt the fun. That word, or more accurately, that name, was “Jay”. Ever since Jay mentioned that his doppelganger’s name was Hunter Zolomon and he was addicted to speed, something didn’t sit right with me. While neither of those things inherently ties him to Zoom, they do spark considerable suspicion. The fact that a scene involving Jay overcoming his speed issue paralleled each scene involving the man in the mask also seemed allegorical.
Combine the suspicious narrative structure with the fact that Jay was sucked into a closing Earth-2 portal and you have to at least suspect that Jay Garrick has a crucial role to play in the eventual unveiling of who Zoom is. Whether it is Jay Garrick himself, his doppelganger Hunter Zolomon or his deranged, drug addicted neighbor, something’s gotta give.
Speaking of Jay Garrick and the Earth-1 plot this week, aside from the connections to Zoom, it all felt a bit flimsy. Geomancer was a terrible villain from Welcome to Earth-2 and his appearance here does little to change anything. The introduction of Iris’ new Flash hating editor seemed abrupt and unimportant considering everything else going on. And the convenience at which the Speed Cannon was destroyed and subsequently repaired felt like coincidence as opposed to compelling storytelling. Thankfully the Earth-1 narrative was mainly a distraction from the happenings on Earth-2.
Getting back to the good stuff, Grant Gustin playing dual Barry’s was a treat. As was the case with Joe, Iris, Caitlin and Ronnie, Barry does a great job distinguishing his everyday counterpart from his second dimension alter ego. But Grant Gustin takes things even further. Whether it be because we’ve become so used to Earth-1 Barry’s dweebish bravado over the years or he simply provided a greater performance, Grant Gustin was excellent. Earth-2 Barry somehow manages to become an even bigger nerd than the prime Barry yet he provides the push needed to see Barry escape his prison cell. Having someone other than Wells handle the motivation for once was a welcome deviation from the norm that hopefully starts happening more often.
Killer Frost’s betrayal of Zoom, while clearly choreographed before hand, was a fun story unto itself. It was interesting to see Cisco lean on his relationship with Earth-1 Caitlin to connect with her cold-hearted other half. It goes to prove that, despite the surface differences between one person and their respective other, on the inside, who they are at their core remains consistent. This theme will surely play a role in the inevitable take down of Zoom, provided he ends up being a known characters doppelganger (including Garrick’s). It also sucks once you realize that Killer Frost more than likely bit it off screen. Zoom clearly escaped from her ice trap and considering he had no problem gutting his henchman last week, it’s a sure thing we won’t be seeing her again.
It would have been nice to see a little more fallout from Cisco in regards to realizing the true extent of his abilities, but with an episode so focused on providing hints to the larger mystery of the season, it can be forgiven. The same goes for the lack of Joe. Jesse L. Martin is always fun to watch and with the action returning to Earth-1, he will be back in the thick of things.
With the secrecy surrounding Zoom beginning to fade away, the main narrative is starting to pick up speed. Jay Garrick’s sudden capture, the intrigue of the man in the mask and the disconnect between worlds, future episodes are about to get crazy. Is Jay Zoom, Is Zoom Henry Allen or some other psychotic doppelganger? Hopefully we get the answers soon!
Overall, Escape from Earth-2 gets an 8.5/10.