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The Flash #2.2 “Flash of Two Worlds” Recap & Review

The Scarlet Speedster meets the Crimson Comet in a plot-driven, piece-moving episode.

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flashes2worldsSummary: The Scarlet Speedster meets the Crimson Comet in a plot-driven, piece-moving episode.

Recap

Jay Garrick reveals himself to Team Flash as The Flash from another world (which Stein later names Earth-2.) Barry has trouble believing anything Jay says, still burned by his misplaced trust in Harrison Wells. The team runs copious tests on Jay and find that there are no signs of the Speed Force in his body — when he crossed over, he lost his speed. Barry locks him in the Particle Accelerator prison until he can determine if he’s telling the truth. Jay’s story checks out; he explains that the singularity on Earth-1 opened a connecting rip in Earth-2, sucking Jay into it. It also brought over Zoom, Jay’s mysterious speedster archnemesis whose goal is to destroy every speedster across all worlds, and his sights are now set on Barry. Zoom has discovered how to traverse between the two Earths, and plans to bring villains over to fight this Earth’s Flash just as he did with Atom-Smasher. This week, Zoom brings over Sand Demon, a metahuman who can turn into sand. Barry is unable to take him down, but does get the prints to determine his identity as Eddie Slick. Meanwhile, a new cop named Patty Spivot pleads with Joe to let her join the anti-metahuman task force, but Joe denies her request on the grounds that everyone on his task force has died or quit. She tries to prove her worth by tracking down Eddie Slick on her own, and he’s brought in for questioning. He’s released due to lack of probable cause, but they quickly realize he’s the unpowered Eddie Slick from Earth-1…and the powerful Earth-2 version arrives, knocking out Joe and kidnapping Patty.

Jay tries to teach Barry how to harness the energy from his speed and essentially throw lightning — defeating Speed Demon by turning him into glass — but the similarities between Jay and Wells proves too much for Barry. Iris, however, convinces Barry that he needs to get back to believing in people like he used to before Wells betrayed him, helping him realize how important it is to keep everyone in STAR Labs close to him. While trying to figure out where Patty is being kept, Cisco harnesses his latent metahuman power to peer into Sand Demon’s previous locales, and sees his confrontation with Patty in the abandoned Woodrue warehouse with a concussive grenade. Jay puts on his Flash suit to distract Sand Demon while Barry rescues Patty, who is able to harness the lightning and defeat Sand Demon. Afterwards, Patty reveals to Joe that her desire to be on the task force is because her father was killed by the Mardon brothers — the two Weather Wizards —  before they got superpowers, and she wants to be able to stop the bad guys who have the ability to do anything. Stein confronts Cisco about his “hunch,” and Cisco explains his power, fearful of seeing things he doesn’t want to see, and asks that Stein keep it a secret. They reveal to the team that they have found 52 tears throughout Central City — the biggest of which is right at the Particle Accelerator — but just after that, Stein collapses and starts convulsing. In the end tag, we see a glimpse of Earth-2, where Harrison Wells is alive and well.

Review

“Flash of Two Worlds” is much more consistent and cohesive than the season premiere, even if it’s too plot-focused to excel as emotionally as its predecessor. This is definitely an episode about making things happen and not so much about making us feel — both of which are things The Flash as a whole has been really, really good at. But that doesn’t mean it’s not an engaging hour, not to mention a particularly strong one.

FLA202A_0322bFor an episode tasked with so much long term set-up, it surprisingly doesn’t feel tedious or overstuffed. This is the episode introducing Jay Garrick, Patty Spivot, Iris’s mom, Zoom, not to mention the entire concept of the season’s parallel world storyline, plus kicking off Cisco’s and Stein’s arcs, all of which are big concepts. So for “Flash of Two Worlds” to feel so uncluttered is a testament to the brisk plotting of the episode.

Part of that is because the main story of the episode — Barry overcoming his distrust of Jay — is essentially the aftermath of season one’s Harrison Wells arc. Whereas the premiere hinged on how Barry dealt with Eddie’s and Ronnie’s deaths, this follow-up deals with the events that caused those deaths. The first episode of the season was very character-centric as a result, but this macro-view of Barry’s general trust issues fits well as the linchpin of such a plot-heavy installment. Barry’s issue is clear from the start, and it’s easy to track as he steadily overcomes the barriers he’s put up. It’s nothing terribly complex or even particularly introspective here — the solution essentially amounts to Iris telling him to “believe in people” — but it works for an episode like this.

That issue also mediates something we were worried about regarding Jay Garrick: would he just be another mentor/father figure for Barry? That ends up being Barry’s exact thought-process; the poor guy had one mentor utterly betray him, and last week his real dad up and left. It makes perfect sense that Barry wouldn’t be excited to bring another person like that into his life, especially when that person suspiciously offers to bestow a wealth of knowledge that sounds ridiculous. The similarities between Jay and Wells is clever writing — both are experienced speedsters who lost their powers, both wanted to teach Barry how to be stronger, both have mysterious backgrounds that tie into the larger arc. Barry doesn’t feel in the wrong, even though he very clearly is, and that’s all thanks to how this builds on what we already know about his experience and sympathize with him. If there’s one major flaw, it’s that it doesn’t directly touch on Henry Allen’s abrupt departure — which in the show’s timeline just happened a night or two earlier — because it’s not hard to read Barry’s resurfaced mentor distrust as a result of that, too.

In any case, it’s not just about trust — it is, as Iris states, about believing in people in general. Barry excelled as a hero in the first season because of his unbreakable optimism, and so far this season he’s had a decidedly darker outlook. We saw shades of this darker Barry back in “The Trap,” and that certainly led to his failure. It doesn’t feel like backtracking thanks to the circumstances, but certainly makes it satisfying when Barry overcomes this hurdle finally teams up with Jay. The trust issues help skirt past the usual “heroes fight each other before teaming-up” — a trope that even this very show used — because it still has the two heroes go through an down period to make the joy of an inevitable tag-team in the climax palpable.

321902_0_20150811234307And of course, there’s that climax, which not-so-slyly recreates the iconic “Flash of Two Worlds” comic cover to ridiculous detail. The action sequence that precedes it is one of the show’s best, with great music and lightning effects as Flash races to save Patty, only to be hit by the concussive bomb. But the much-hyped comic recreation that ends the scene is an admittedly hokey moment, staged rather awkwardly with the sole intention to get those specific poses. It’s fun and silly and cute, don’t get me wrong, and it’s a fanboy-squee-inducing thing only The Flash could really pull off. But it normally does better at making these in-jokes and references a little more organic.

Teddy Sears is a commanding presence as Jay, and that authoritative air helps establish him as a mentor-like role despite being in close age to Barry. Sears has a notable big brother chemistry with Grant Gustin, and it will be fun to see the two play together further now that the barriers have broken down. His aesthetic matches his personality — he’s in the style of an old-fashioned, 50s era serial hero, and Sears plays Jay like a man out of time. He’s not, of course, as the well-rendered end tag reveals that Earth-2’s America is a stylized, 50s-inspired art deco culture. It will be exciting to see more of Earth-2 and Jay based on our glimpses here, especially with references to the “War of Americas,” an explanation for where his otherwise out-of-place helmet came from.

However, the Earth-2 villains ought to match that air too. So far they haven’t been much different from typical Flash villains, albeit a little stronger. Kett Turton (who also played Smallville‘s first invisible man) does nice dual work as Eddie Slick and his doppleganger, adjusting the thickness of his accent and general villainy of his delivery between the two. But there’s never the sense that Earth-2 Sand Demon is a villain from the same world stylized world wee see at episode’s end, nor does he seem like the type of old school villain we’d have expected Jay to face off against. The effects for him are great — basically on par with the much-bigger budget of Spider-Man 3 — but as per usual with the metahuman characters, he’s not much more than just a bad guy.

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 9.51.45 AMHopefully that will improve as the show continues to flesh out the parallel universe, now that the introductions are out of the way. There’s a hefty chunk of time spent on explaining the concept of parallel worlds — of which there are 52 portals to in Central City, in a clever reference. Though, there’s more exposition than probably needed for today’s audience, especially we genre veterans. Joe’s reactions are genuinely funny at first, but despite how on point Jesse L. Martin’s line readings always are, it seems more like Joe is being purposefully oblivious considering just how dumbed-down Stein and Cisco’s explanations are by the end. But then again, we do get Cisco telling Joe “Bless your heart,” so that just about makes up for it.

Zoom is promising here too, even if he’s not much more than an evolution of how Reverse-Flash was portrayed early on. As expected, Zoom is a mysterious, monstrous version of The Flash, made more mysterious considering he came from Earth-2 but looks like The Flash of Earth-1. Tony Todd is the perfect voice for this type of character, and it seems like he’s going to be more of a presence than a character, at least for a while. His motivation of “being the only speedster in all worlds” seems like a misdirect, because it’s way too simple for this show, so it will be interesting to see where this goes. He’s already upped the ante by throwing substantially more powerful metas at The Flash, to the point that the team has resorted to being lethal in both cases — something I dearly hope the show addresses soon — and there’s a definite sense that the stakes are higher.

Patty Spivot is also more of a presence than expected, especially considering her role as yet another love interest, and one who was to be modeled after Felicity Smoak. That last part doesn’t really check out, but that’s a good thing — Shantel Vansanten captures a unique energy for Patty, displaying spunky and geeky elements perhaps lifted from Felicity, but with much more confidence and solid footing. Patty is interesting because she seems to have such a steady head on her shoulders, not to mention a tragic backstory, but still adds to the joyous, jittery energy that makes The Flash so fun.

FLA202A_0125bShe’s very much in line with how Smallville tried to play late-entry Cat Grant, a sweet and eccentric newbie with a tragic past who wants to prove herself. But Vansanten has loads more charisma and strength than that character ever did, and she doesn’t ham up the geekiness. The whole “kismet” bit with she and Joe is a weird exchange of dialogue, but Vanstanten actually makes it sound relatively natural. She’ll surely be a divisive character simply because she’s plugged right in the way of Barry’s two other established love interests, but she’s on a much better track as a character than Linda Park was last year (and I’m saying that as someone who really dug Malese Jow as Linda.) The effort to get the sparks flying is a little heavy-handed — she reads Barry’s forensic reports…for fun? — but it’s charming that they’d hit it off so well with Monty Python references. That’s a specific type of geeky we never get to see Barry indulge in with any of his love interests, so it’s easy to see what Patty has to offer that his other suitors don’t.

Cisco, meanwhile, continues to get “vibes” that lead to visions of past events, and the fact that these events always involve death and evil have really shaken him up. This is another promising plot, as it’s the first metahuman power that truly has been a burden rather than fun, not even considering that Wells basically tainted the idea of the Cisco being a metahuman. It’s interesting that this episode has Patty Spivot address the injustice of bad guys getting cool powers, as we see how profoundly affected a good guy getting not cool powers is. It’s unfortunate for Cisco, who would have probably been uber excited to get a more typical superpower, but it gives Carlos Valdes a type of frustration and drama he’s very good at playing. It’s not totally clear how his power works — is it related to alternate timelines and parallel worlds specifically, since he’s only seen them in relation to events in or characters from outside the Earth-1 timeline? Either way, that he confides in Stein is nice for their budding relationship, even if it looks like the show is already starting to get Stein on his way to another separate story arc by episode’s end.

And then, in the style of the Harrison Wells tags of old, we close out with the man who laid the groundwork of all this grief and distrust in the first place. Earth-2 Harrison Wells isn’t exactly a shocker if you’ve seen Tom Cavanaugh’s name in the credits, but it does tie together this season’s major plots: Recovering from the damage Harrison Wells did, and Earth-2 in general. As a starting point, “Flash of Two Worlds” does a nice job reconciling those two storylines, and powering ahead as we’d expect. Even with the quantity of material we get, it’s still only a mere dip into the larger ocean of a plot this season is sure to provide. But it’s no less promising or exciting.

Odds & Ends

  • You can’t tell me the wormhole we see in this episode wasn’t at least partially inspired by the vortex on Sliders. (Also I’ll never stop arguing for that show to have a remake.)
  • This episode is packed with obscure references, from the abandoned Woodrue warehouse to a namedrop of Joe’s first partner that we all forgot about, who’s also a comic character.
  • How exactly does Caitlin measure how much “Speed Force” could be in Jay’s body? Is there a scale for that stuff?
  • Iris doesn’t have much to do this week, but I like her role as the person Barry can open up to in a way he doesn’t completely to anyone else. That worked well last week and this week. It’s not totally clear what she does with the rest of the STAR Labs team — I expect she could use her journalism contacts the same way Clark Kent does as Superman — but we haven’t seen much of that yet.
  • That said, I love Iris and Caitlin hanging out together and fawning over a hottie. “I was being thorough!”
  • Also, Iris’ mom shows up, so we’ll see where that goes. We’re still waiting for Wally West, right?
  • Green Arrow’s heroic speech pops up on a television screen — with Cisco remarking that he “hates when they put a color in their name.” I’d be okay if the shows kept their references to background gags like this except for the major crossovers.
  • I like that Caitlin bonds with Jay via their respective losses, no matter how different those losses are. This wiser, healing version of her character is really working for me.
  • “Gettin’ goosies!” may be my new favorite Cisco line. Victor Garber’s silly, excited run out of that scene is also adorable.
  • “Hey, beautiful mind? I think you need to take a breather.”

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Gerri

    October 14, 2015 at 11:46 am

    How can you state definitively that the Wells scene at the end is on Earth-2? How do we know that it isn’t a glimpse into a potential future for Earth-1?

    • Halberdier17

      October 14, 2015 at 12:10 pm

      Because it was lit differently and they stated that STAR Labs was founded in 1991 while on Earth 1 it was founded around the time Barry’s mom died in 2000.

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Blu-ray Review: The Flash: The Complete Sixth Season

Review of The Flash Season 6 Blu-ray set from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

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The Flash: The Complete Sixth Season is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, and we have been provided with a copy of the set to review on the site!

The set features all 19 episodes of The Flash Season 6 plus extras — the Blu-ray includes all of the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover!

Here’s what’s up:

Packaging & Design: Starting with this because it’s probably the first thing you’ll notice. The box art for this set has changed since the original press release — the fired Hartley Sawyer’s Ralph Dibny is no longer on the packaging. While I understand the show distancing themselves — Ralph was indeed an important part of Season 6, with his Sue Dearbon story, and I’m not 100% sure how I think they should have handled it. As it is, it looks odd with just the other four members of Team Flash on it. Though, to be fair, Nash Wells isn’t on the cover either.

With that said, The Flash sets usually have some of the best designed packaging and menu art and this set is no exception.

The Episodes: Also seems I am repeating myself but the Blu-ray presentation on The Flash is loads better than what we see on TV and is pretty cinematic. All 19 episodes of Season 6 are here, and — spoiler warning — because of COVID-19, they were cut off at 19 episodes, so that means some storylines aren’t completely wrapped. With that said, this season saw Eric Wallace taking over as showrunner, and with him came a new tactic that he referred to as “graphic novels.” The first “graphic novel” included the character Bloodwork (Sendhil Ramamurthy) as characters are facing death, and the second, after Crisis, dealt with a new “Mirror Master.”

I will say that The Flash under Eric Wallace has a great vision and I love his enthusiasm, which you can actually hear on the “Kiss Kiss Breach Breach” commentary. He’s as big of a geek as we are, and I mean that in the absolute best way. The only thing I’d have to say negative about Season 6 is that the mirror storyline has gone on way too long — and I wonder, if they had known all along that we’d end with 19 episodes (an impossibility, because who would?), it might have been a bit shorter.

This “graphic novel” set-up, however, does offer the chance to binge the season in parts, which is pretty cool, and the Blu-ray bonus disc of all of Crisis on Infinite Earths is a good thing to throw in the middle to tee up Graphic Novel #2.

The other thing I will say about Season 6 is that I really liked some of the new characters that are set up. Chester P. Runk, Sue Dearbon, Kamilla, and Allegra — all fun characters that add to rather than detract from the series.

The Extras: The set includes a bonus black and white noir version of “Kiss Kiss Breach Breach” with commentary by Eric Wallace. Commentaries don’t happen too often these days, so I’m so glad they put something on this set. There is also a gag reel and deleted scenes. And, of course, all of Crisis which has a lot of great Flash content!

Is It Worth It? If you’re a Flash completist or want to see the most recent season in high definition, sure. You might want to start at the very beginning, though. Still, I think The Flash is on its way back to its former glory and Season 6 is the start of that journey. Can’t wait for Season 7, and for now, this set will be revisited often.

Get your copy of the Blu-ray from Amazon.com at a discounted price and support FlashTVNews!

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Blu-ray Review: The Flash: The Complete Fifth Season

Review of the Flash Season 5 Blu-ray set.

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Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided FlashTVNews with a free copy of this set for review in this post. The opinions shared are my own.

The Flash: The Complete Fifth Season hits Blu-ray and DVD this week, containing all 22 episodes of Season 5 plus bonus episodes from the Elseworlds crossover. In addition to the entire season, there are few extra features for all to enjoy, though some are duplicated from other sets that were made available this year. Here’s the review.

The Episodes: As mentioned, all 22 episodes plus extras are on this set. And as I tend to write every year, the show isn’t quite at the high level it was in its first season, but there are definitely standouts in Season 5. A big theme for the season is family, and the conflicts between parents and their children. Caitlin and her parents are a part of that. The season’s villain is a part of that. And the biggest part of that is Nora West-Allen (Jessica Parker Kennedy), the daughter of Barry and Iris brought back from the future. Kennedy is fantastic in the role, though it is at times disappointing to see so much attention on a new character when we are here for the ones we’ve seen for 100+ episodes.

The Flash Season 5 contains the series’ 100th episode which is a great journey through the five years of the show. Sadly absent from Episode 100, though, is Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) who was recovering from an injury for a good part of the season. Martin’s presence was certainly missed though it is nice that the show upgraded Danielle Nicolet (Cecile) to series regular this year.

I’ll be honest: I wasn’t very invested in the Cicada story, at least not as much as I probably should have been. And I was even less into the latest Wells, “Sherloque,” which was a joke that stopped being funny within about 2 minutes, with no offense meant to the writers or Tom Cavanagh. It was nice to see the talented Cavanagh in another role, though part of me still is wondering why it was not Matt Letscher, though I’m forgiving that because, again, Tom Cavanagh.

I’m also not sure what to make of Vibe’s eventual fate, unless it is a way to make things less easy for next year’s crossover. In any event, watching these episodes still has me excited for Season 6, and The Flash is certainly a series that is worth the Blu-Ray upgrade.

The Extras: There’s a fantastic featurette about the origins of Killer Frost which is really well put together. I was, however, surprised that such attention wasn’t paid to XS/Nora as she was also a major arc for Season 5. Was there only room to cover one story? I’m also surprised there wasn’t some kind of 100th episode spotlight, especially since Warner Bros. did have press kit people on the line interviewing the cast.

There are Elseworlds, villains, and Comic-Con featurettes that you can find on the other DC TV shows this year, which I can only imagine is a cost-cutting measure to include them everywhere.

The set also has deleted scenes, with the most notable being Superman running with Oliver Queen from “Elseworlds Part 1.” It’s a shame that was cut. There was also a “My Name Is Barry Allen” from “Elseworlds” with Stephen Amell replacing Grant Gustin as Grant replaced him in the aired Part 2 — this was surely cut and unfinished so as to not blow the reveal that Oliver was Barry in Part 1. It’s still really cute and fun.

Finally, there’s a gag reel. While they are introduced with credits like The Office, they’re still a bit… meh.

Packaging and Design: Seeing Barry and Nora running side by side is the perfect way to sell this. Very nice looking.

Is It Worth It? I’ll always recommend picking up Flash Blu-Rays from the beginning, but this is certainly worthwhile, especially to prepare for Season 6 to premiere on October 8. You can purchase this set (and support this site!) here.

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Blu-ray Review: The Flash: The Complete Fourth Season

Review of the Blu-ray set for The Flash: The Complete Fourth Season

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The Complete Fourth Season of The Flash hits Blu-ray and DVD this week (Tuesday, August 28), and we’ve got our hands on a review copy!

Before we get to the review, here’s how the season is described:

In Season Four, the mission of Barry Allen, aka The Flash (Grant Gustin), is once more to protect Central City from metahuman threats. First, he’ll have to escape the Speed Force. With Barry trapped, the job of protecting Central City falls to his family – Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin); his fiancée, Iris West (Candice Patton); and Wally West/Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale) – and the team at S.T.A.R. Labs – Dr. Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker), Cisco Ramon/Vibe (Carlos Valdes) and brilliant scientist Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh). When a powerful villain threatens to level the city if The Flash doesn’t appear, Cisco risks everything to break Barry out of the Speed Force. But this is only the first move of a life-or-death chess game with Clifford DeVoe aka The Thinker (Neil Sandilands), a mastermind who’s always ten steps ahead of Barry, no matter how fast he’s running. Shocking surprises come fast and furious in all 23 action-packed adventures featuring The Fastest Man Alive.

So, how’s the set?

The Episodes: It’s going to be very hard to ever replicate the greatness that was the first season of The Flash. Unfortunately, one thing that The Flash Season 1 did so well that still didn’t connect for Season 4 is a strong villain. While I have more appreciation for The Thinker after rewatching some episodes and checking out the extra interview features on this set, I still don’t really feel that empathy and care for him that I had for, say, Eobard/Wells.

Season 4 also tried to course correct with more humor to varied success. Sometimes it worked; others the show was far too amused with itself. (I don’t need to see any more Wellses no matter how much I love Tom Cavanagh, for example, and “psychic pregnancy” will never not be too campy for me.)

There’s some good stuff, though. The best version of Barry’s suit so far premieres in Season 4, and Barry and Iris finally get married this year, even if every time they got married, they ended up interrupted. There are some episodes that worked to innovate, and there are also things like Barry in jail which seem to go on for too long. But at least with a DVD or Blu-ray you can fast forward, right?

Season 4 is also where we meet Ralph Dibny. He grows on you until you finally stretch your appreciation levels. By season’s end, you love Ralph as much as everyone else might.

The Extras: Of all the DC TV shows, The Flash usually gets the best treatment as far as extras go. We’ve got deleted scenes (including some WestAllen!), bloopers, and the all-encompassing Comic-Con video… and some other great extras, including Sterling Gates and Eric Wallace with Katee Sackhoff offering commentary on Amunet (who I do enjoy more after seeing Sackhoff speaking about her, but I still don’t understand why the silly accent was a thing). There’s also a really nice feature about the Elongated Man, and all four episodes of this year’s DC TV crossover are represented.

There’s also talk about The Thinker, and as I said, I appreciate the storyline more but I still didn’t have that emotional connection with the character that I feel I needed. The other bodies thing at midseason made that all even worse.

Packaging & Art: This is one of the best looking Flash Blu-ray sets so far. Dynamic design on the box art and on the discs. I like it.

Is It Worth It? As I said, nothing will be Season 1 again, but if you’re a fan of The Flash there are a lot of extras to make this worth it. Order yours from Amazon.com at a discounted rate and support this website!

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