In the action packed conclusion to the two-part “Earth-2” saga, Cisco and Harrison must find a way to save Barry and Harrison’s daughter Jessie from Zoom. While back on Earth-1, Jay and Caitlyn must face off against Geomancer and repair the portal between the Earths. “Escape from Earth-2” was an episode that almost became too bloated with content, but there was plenty that still worked to make this another successful week for The Flash.
The beginning was a highlight for Grant Gustin, as he got to explore his portrayal of Earth-2 Barry. Everything from his speech to his mannerisms to the way he runs (hunched over, arms flailing) gives us an image of a very different Barry from the one we’re familiar with. Gustin’s innocent approach to Barry-2 was extremely necessary not only for comedic relief in a largely dramatic episode, but to build to the show-stopping Barry-to-Barry speech at the end.
I, personally, have never been a huge fan of the “Jay’s dying” storyline. It feels forced and crammed in, especially on a week where there is so much story to tell. Teddy Sears is an endearing actor and easily makes Jay an accessible and likable character, particularly in scenes opposite Danielle Panabaker’s Caitlyn. It’s frustrating, then, to see him saddled with an illness we never really see in any tangible form, and stuck with sequences such as pulling three people out of a collapsing office building. (Really?! There were only three people in that office building?? In the middle of the day?! Come on, guys.)
Another character saddled with excess story this week was Iris, portrayed by Candice Patton, who had some nice moments last week playing Earth-2 Iris. This week, Earth-1 Iris met her new editor who wants her to write about how the Flash will not always be there to save people. Iris counters by writing about Jay’s Flash saving three people from the collapsing office building. Thrilling stuff. Then Earth-2 Iris was pushed to the back of the group, overshadowed by Wells and Earth-2 Barry.
Those two complaints, however, were not enough to weigh down the effective successes of the rest of the episode. Earth-1 Barry and Jessie working to decipher the masked man’s code was fascinating. (If you don’t know anything about 5×5 POW code, or Tap Code, I recommend checking the PBS link out HERE.) Panabaker’s Killer Frost was a bit messy in terms of intention, but had some great moments with effects and use of powers. Tom Cavanagh’s Wells plays a frantic approach that drives scenes, and his interaction with Jessie comes with a sigh of relief.
Zoom continues to show his formidable villainy through sheer aggression and violence. Every time he mentions stealing Barry’s speed, it falls a bit flat, but his raw power is well represented. A stellar scene this week was when Zoom phased into Barry’s cell and beat the complete crap out of him. Not only did our optimistic protagonist take away a valuable lesson on how to escape from this, but Zoom, as a character, displayed his dominance in full force to great effect.
My grumblings on Jay’s arch aside, the final moment of the episode was jarring. Not in its surprise (you could see it coming from a mile away), but rather in its pending repercussions. This week’s episode was a success, but it opens a lot of questions for the rest of the season. Is Jay dead? Now that the portal is closed, how will they save him? Will Caitlyn’s love life ever catch a break? Find out next time on The Flash!
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Catch new episodes of The Flash, Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW