THE FLASH Review: “Welcome to Earth-2” Goes That Extra Mile
By Justin Carter
Last week on The Flash Barry told Harry that the team would help him recover his daughter Jesse from Zoom, which would require a trip to Earth-2. For weeks, we’ve been wondering what the alternate Earth would be like, and it’s even greater than the teases that have been offered in the season thus far.
With Barry having closed the other Breaches as the episode opens, he’s given a 48-hour timetable along with Cisco and Harry to go to Earth-2 and save Jesse. As the three travel through the multiverse to their destination, there’s quick glimpses of other universes, including one that will feature greatly in Legends of Tomorrow and the universe of CBS’ Supergirl. It’s great to see something like this following last week’s confirmation that the two shows will cross over in March. It’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as the future is concerned.
To say that Earth-2 is different from our normal Earth would be an understatement. Aside from the sepia filter and having an aesthetic that’s retro-futurist (some younger viewers may think of Bioshock’s Rapture and Colombia or Disney’s Tomorrowland), Barry soon learns during his mission to track down Zoom that he and Iris are married, and his mother is alive. Earth-2 Iris is great all through the episode, but it’s the phone call between Barry and his mother that nearly steals the show. It hits all the right emotional beats and nearly demands a family dinner with them and Henry.
Unfortunately, it can’t all be “grass is greener” for Barry. While his real family is all well and alive, the family he could have had is very much not. Joe hates his guts, and Caitlin and Ronnie are the romantic deadly duo Killer Frost and Deathstorm, who are in turn led by Cisco’s slicked up doppelganger Reverb. So that’s a thing.
Danielle Panabaker’s having a lot of fun being able to let it go (pardon the pun) as Frost, and it’s appropriately jarring to watch her Earth-1 version be this nice, demure scientist while watching her be a killer in another world. Robbie Amell does alright as Deathstorm, though some of his spark is perhaps missing since he decided to shut Martin Stein up in his head. While Carlos Valdes doesn’t get a lot to do as Reverb because he shows up pretty late, his time as the villain is pretty fun, and gives our Cisco an idea of what he’s capable of with force blasts. It’s a shame that Zoom shows up and guts him and Deathstorm at the end of the episode, because his offer to teach Cisco would’ve been great to follow up on.
“Welcome to Earth-2” is a big shot in the arm that the series has needed. It succeeds just as a fun episode, but then goes the extra mile by being packed to the gills with references for folks to comb over for the next few days and keeping our heroes in this new world. Sure, Barry’s captured by Zoom, but is that really so bad when there’s plenty more goodness in this world that awaits us?
…Well, yeah, it’s bad for Barry. But still, pretty fun!
- This episode would’ve been worth it if it was just Barry and Cisco taking selfies everywhere at Earth-2 and freaking out at the doppelgangers of everyone they knew.
- Once Reverb walked on screen, my immediate thought was that he looked like a character from Zoolander, and I’m not ashamed of this.
- Other glimpses through the portal: Grodd, a ring from the Legion of Superheroes, maybe Jonah Hex?
- Meanwhile, in Earth-1: Jay tries to take over Barry’s speedster gig up against a guy named Geomancer. Not much happens, Jay tries taking a new Velocity formula, it only works briefly, and the bad guy escapes. When will this show just let him be a speedster again?
- I got very excited when I saw who was on the contact list on the West-Allen home phone, that’s all I’ll say.
- Oh hey, Earth-2 Floyd Lawton is a police officer! Just also not a very good shot.
- Y’know, when you get down to it, Reverb is a better name than Vibe…