Why are the writers of ‘The Flash’ so determined to make Barry into a jerk this season? In last week’s premiere, he was annoyingly mopey and pushed all his friends away. This week, he still refuses to listen to anyone.
I get that Barry’s supposed to have major trust issues as a result of Dr. Wells betraying him, but the character’s upbeat, optimistic personality is one of the show’s biggest selling points over its glut of superhero competitors. We need fun Barry back soon. Maybe the mopey one can run into one of those dimension-hopping portals and an alternate, peppier version can come out in his place?
At the end of the premiere, an intruder in the S.T.A.R. Labs building introduced himself as Jay Garrick and warned our heroes that their world is in danger. In ‘Flash of Two Worlds’, he explains that he comes from an alternate dimension Earth, where he’s The Flash. Unfortunately, he got sucked through the singularity that bridged the two worlds and has lost his powers. He spent the last several months researching this Earth and learning everything he could about Barry and the gang before saying hello.
He also claims that a mysterious Speedster supervillain from his world called “Zoom” has been using another portal to drop meta-humans on our Earth and send them to kill Barry. That’s how Barry got attacked last week by someone he’d seen dead a few hours earlier. The Atom Smasher meta was the alt version of the guy who died here. This Zoom fella wants to be the one and only Speedster on any world.
Lest anyone have trouble following the story, Dr. Stein attempts to explain the theory of multiverses. Joe still doesn’t get it and gives up trying to understand.
Because Barry doesn’t trust anyone anymore, he’s skeptical of Garrick and asks Caitlin to run tests on him to prove that he was ever a Speedster. When she can’t find anything conclusive, Barry has Garrick locked away in the reactor core prison until they can sort things out.
In the meantime, a warehouse fire draws Barry’s attention. He puts out the blaze, only to find out that it was a trap to lure him there set by a meta-human who’s a blatant copy of Marvel’s Sandman. (See ‘Spider-Man 3‘.) They fight and Barry is forced to retreat.
Back at the lab, Garrick informs Barry that the attacker is a meta from Earth-2 known as Sand Demon. (Cisco is very annoyed that he’s been cock-blocked from issuing nicknames for the second week in a row.) Garrick offers to teach Barry how to defeat Sand Demon, but Barry doesn’t want any help and ignores him.
At the police station, a young officer named Patty Spivot (Shantel VanSanten from CW’s ‘The Messengers’) volunteers to sign up for Joe’s anti-meta task force. She’s a big fan of Barry – as a forensic scientist, not as a superhero (which she doesn’t know). Joe assumes that she’s some sort of weirdo science groupie and turns her down. The task force was disbanded after Eddie died anyway. Nevertheless, Spivot is persistent and determined to prove herself. She keeps showing up wherever Joe goes, working his cases before he can.
Both Patty and Joe track down an ex-con named Eddie Slick who matches the description of Sand Demon. Sadly, he has an airtight alibi. He was in prison at the time of the S.T.A.R. Labs reactor meltdown and can’t be a meta-human. They have to let him go. After he walks away, however, he appears to turn right around and come charging at them. It’s not the Eddie Slick they just released, but the Earth-2 version who is a meta. He knocks Joe out and kidnaps Patty.
After Joe comes to and tells the team, Barry admits that he was wrong and lets Garrick out of his cell. In return, Garrick teaches him a new Speedster trick – how to build up a static charge and toss lightning bolts. Pretty cool stuff. Garrick explains that a lightning strike will turn sand to glass. That’s how to defeat Sand Demon.
Barry and Garrick set a trap for Sand Demon. Even though he doesn’t actually have powers anymore, Garrick dresses up in his own Flash uniform (including that silly metal helmet that fell out of the singularity) and distracts Sand Demon long enough for Barry to rescue Patty and blast the villain with a lightning bolt. Sand Demon turns to glass and shatters into a million pieces on the floor. Awesome.
Joe asks Patty why she wants to be on his task force. She explains that her father was murdered by the Mardon brothers, the first evil metas that Barry encountered after waking up from his coma. That’s apparently good enough for Joe. He welcomes her to his team.
- Cisco has visions of things that he couldn’t know. He’s freaked out by this and assumes it’s a meta power that Dr. Wells gave him, which he doesn’t want. He tells Dr. Stein but asks him to keep it quiet.
- Dr. Stein attempts to locate the dimension portal by using satellites to scan for exotic matter – or some pseudo-science BS like that. Eventually, he discovers that the city is filled with lots of little breaches, 52 of them to be exact. (As in DC Comics’ “New 52”?) The biggest one is right in the middle of S.T.A.R. Labs. As soon as he tells the others about this, Stein mysteriously collapses.
- Joe’s ex-wife (Vanessa Williams from the first season of ‘Melrose Place’) shows up in town and wants to see Iris. Joe has mixed feelings about this.
- An epilogue scene takes us to Earth-2. (You know it’s an alternate dimension because the city has a monorail.) S.T.A.R. Labs is open for business and Dr. Harrison Wells (fully able to walk) is labeled the “Savior of Central City.”
It seems pretty obvious to me that Zoom will turn out to be the Earth-2 alternate version of Wells. I suppose that’s a convenient way to keep Tom Cavanagh on the show.
As I mentioned, I think it’s a bad idea to make Barry so petulant this season. Hopefully he’ll get over that soon. That aside, I think this is generally a better episode than the season premiere. The science parts are of course complete nonsense, but the inclusion of a multiverse should expand the show’s mythology in interesting ways. I also like the idea of Barry having another, more experienced Flash to mentor him, even if just for a little while.
I have one major unanswered nagging question, though: How would that dumb metal helmet stay on Garrick’s head if he ran at super speed?