THE FLASH Review: Dickish Harrison Wells is Even Better in “The Darkness and the Light”
By Justin Carter
The Flash typically sprinkles in bits of humor over the course of an episode, but this is the first installment that was consistently funny from start to finish. That’s not to say that the show goes into 21 Jump Street territory delivering jokes and gags every other minute, but “Darkness and the Light” does feel like the show is embracing how ridiculous everything has gotten in Team Flash’s lives thanks to the Singularity, and nowhere is that more apparent than when everyone meets Earth-2 Harrison Wells for the first time. Caitlin looks at him like an awkward child, Joe tries to shoot him (which is hilarious), and Cisco gives him a childlike death stare before going “Hi” in a short, pissed off tone that Harry (Cisco’s nickname for him) quickly mimics.
Harry’s a lot different from season one Wells, and not just because he’s the genuine article instead of a time traveling body snatcher (ah, comics). To put it bluntly, Harry’s a dick, uncaring and confused by Caitlin’s clunky exposition dump about his Earth-1 version, and incredibly arrogant and short tempered. Tom Cavanaugh was a delight last season giving out sagely advice with a sinister agenda, but dickish Tom Cavanaugh is even better. Yeah, he’s a complete tool, especially since he wears a watch with a metahuman detecting app that he made, but unlike Jay, who mostly exists at the moment for Caitlin’s sake, Harry helps the plot move forward. His full motivations for wanting Zoom gone are unclear besides the speedster having his daughter, but that’s sure to be explained as time goes on.
This week’s villain is Doctor Light, a recurring DC baddie who sometimes alternates between being a goofy joke for heroes to whale on, or, not even joking, a serial rapist. This Doctor Light is the Earth-2 version of Barry’s ex-girlfriend Linda Park from last season, robbing banks so she can escape Zoom, but later decides to blind Barry and kill her Earth-1 version to…appease Zoom for failing at the Flash assassination, I guess, but I’m not really sure how she came to that conclusion. I don’t think Zoom will care about Light murdering a “random” woman when her orders were the kill the guy that can run really fast. In any case, Barry manages to take her down, but Light’s already confirmed to be making an appearance next week as bait to lure out Zoom. It’s an awful plan, but hopefully we’ll get some insight into what makes Zoom scary and threatening…besides his scary all-black costume and Tony Todd voice, I mean.
Before her defeat, Light blinding Barry ends up being hilarious to watch because of his date with Patty. Since he can’t see a thing, he uses Cisco as his watchful eyes during the date. The whole thing straddles the line between sitcom levels of goofy and stupid, but the chemistry between Barry and Patty, along with Cisco’s peanut gallery commentary, help elevate it. If nothing else, I actually did find myself hoping that things eventually work out between these two more than I did last week. That I’m starting to give a crap about this pairing shows that The Flash is playing its cards right on the romance side, and when you add up all the other stuff this episode does pretty well, you’ve got one really solid hour of TV.
- Cisco’s superpowers are finally outed to the team, helping him embrace his freak flag and get a code name: Vibe. I will gladly admit to grinning like an idiot when they said his name.
- Joe: “How are you still alive?!” Harry: “I dunno, because you missed?” Earth-2, where the snark is strong.
- Cisco chats up a girl at the coffee shop who later reveals herself to be Kendra Saunders. She showed up for a brief second in the final moments of last season, and she’ll be in Legends of Tomorrow as Hawkgirl. Too soon to really judge how she’ll be as a character, since Ciara Renee is only given about two minutes of screen time, but it’ll be interesting to see how much of her backstory they bring in for Flash before fully diving in for Legends.
- Seriously, the plan they come up next week is f$%^ing awful. I can’t imagine this ending well for poor Linda, since she’ll be face to face with Zoom.