What is it about monorails that the people in alternate universes love so much? This week’s episode of ‘The Flash’ takes us briefly to Earth Two, which I’m pretty sure is the same alternate Earth from ‘Fringe’. What an unlikely crossover. If we ever see some dirigibles hovering over Central City, that will surely seal the deal.
Episode ‘The Darkness and the Light’ opens with a flashback to eight months earlier. Earth Two appears to be one of those Art Deco-inspired, retro-futuristic worlds like you’d see in ‘Sky Captain‘ or the ‘BioShock’ videogame series. (A dirigible would look right at home there.) In a press conference, alternate Harrison Wells announces the latest S.T.A.R. Labs product launch for Meta-Human Awareness Apps that will detect when someone with superpowers is near. They really work, as evidenced when Jay Garrick, that universe’s The Flash, races in and sets off the alarms. Garrick angrily accuses Wells of creating all the meta-humans through some dirty science shenanigans. Wells in turn accuses Garrick of being too incompetent and cowardly to stop the supervillain known as Zoom. These two men do not care for each other.
We then return to the present day and to the original Earth (though I’d imagine that the residents of Earth Two consider theirs to be the original and ours #2). Dr. Wells, who rescued Barry from King Shark at the end of the last episode, is in the lab. Barry tries to explain to the others that this is not the Wells they all knew. Nonetheless, everyone is suspicious of him. It probably doesn’t help that this Harrison Wells is kind of a dick.
When Joe walks into the room and sees Wells, he immediately pulls his gun and fires three shots without so much as a warning. Barry catches the bullets in mid-air and talks Joe down. Wells claims that he came through the portal to help Barry defeat Zoom. He says that Zoom wants to be the only Speedster in any universe and will continue sending meta-human assassins through the dimensional breaches until Barry is dead.
Joe leaves to tell Iris about the new Dr. Wells. He also gives her a gun to defend herself if the need arises. Hmm, I wonder if that will come back around?
Using the meta powers he still doesn’t want anyone else to know about yet, Cisco sees a vision of a new “breacher” robbing a bank. Barry races over to stop the woman, but she uses some sort of light-based weapon to distract him and get away. Wells identifies the woman as a meta-human from his world known as Dr. Light (hey, did she invent Mega Man?) and says that she derives her power from starlight. He wants to capture her and use her to set a trap that will lure Zoom to this Earth.
Garrick arrives at the lab and makes it clear how much he despises Wells. He says that Dr. Light is a thief, not a killer, and that they can talk her into surrendering. Wells insists that Zoom can bend anyone to his will and make them do things they normally wouldn’t.
After having previously blown off a possible date with Patty, Barry finally works up the courage to ask her to dinner. He says that he won’t miss it for anything. That’s the sort of promise a superhero shouldn’t make.
Barry encounters Dr. Light again and tries to talk to her. He knocks off her helmet and sees her face. It’s his ex-girlfriend Linda Park! Or rather, the alternate universe version of Linda park. Light blasts Barry with her weapon and blinds him. Garrick estimates that it will take Barry’s super healing powers about 6.25 hours to restore his vision. In the meantime, Garrick and Caitlin will check on the original Linda in case alt-Linda tries to harm her.
Barry realizes that he’s late for his date with Patty. He’s still blind, but he can’t let her down by canceling. He convinces Cisco to do a weird twist on ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ by acting as his eyes (via a camera in his sunglasses) and whispering in his comms about what he sees. It’s a literal blind date, get it? Patty sees through the act, but thinks Barry’s very cute for trying. She kisses him at the end of the date, which coincides with his vision coming back.
Garrick and Caitlin park outside the Central City Picture News office. Their stakeout very nearly becomes a makeout, until it’s interrupted by Dr. Light, who sees them in the van and blasts it upside down. Light charges into the office and orders everyone except Linda to leave. She plans to kill Linda and take her place in this world, because she believes that’s the only way she can escape Zoom. Iris and their editor refuse to leave. The editor tries to attack Light and gets killed in the process. Iris pulls the gun Joe had given her and shoots Light in the arm. Light flees the scene. The original Linda is totally freaked out about everything that just happened.
Wells blames Garrick for underestimating Dr. Light. He also calls Garrick a coward for not taking down Zoom yet. The two men have a fight in the lab.
Barry brings Dr. Light’s helmet to the lab and breaks up the fight. Wells outs Cisco as a meta-human to all his friends. (His little app confirms it.) He makes Cisco touch the helmet to feel its vibrations and have a vision. Cisco does so, and sees Dr. Light trying to flee town at the train station.
Barry rushes to the station and has another confrontation with Dr. Light. Wells tells him to run fast enough to create a “speed mirage” that will confuse her about where to fire her weapon. Barry does so and eventually captures Dr. Light, locking her up in the Pipeline.
Wells still wants to set a trap for Zoom. Garrick refuses to be a part of that and walks away from the team.
Cisco realizes that coming out as a meta-human wasn’t as bad as he thought it would be. Barry coins his new meta-human name: Vibe. Cisco’s day gets even better when he scores a date with a hot new barista at CC Jitters who’d shot him down previously.
At episode’s end, we return to Earth Two and discover that Zoom has kidnapped Dr. Wells’ daughter. That would explain why Wells is so adamant about defeating Zoom as soon as possible. Although we still don’t get to see his face, we do hear him speak, which should be enough for some viewers to recognize the distinctive voice as veteran character actor Tony Todd.
Even as soon as Dr. Wells was killed off last season, I never had a moment’s doubt that we’d see Tom Cavanagh return to the show. If that had to happen, I like the way this alternate Dr. Wells is such a jerk who can’t be bothered to put up even the charade of fatherly affection. He’s all business and has no time for niceties. I also enjoy his feud with Garrick.
I’m glad to see an end to Cisco’s consternation about being a meta-human, though I feel that storyline was needlessly drawn out and ultimately came to nothing.