Nerd Talk, Review: #TheFlash, “The Flash of Two Worlds”

"Wow you look just like a guy I met earlier today, but with red leather on. You must be somebody completely different."
“Wow you look just like a guy I met earlier today, but with red leather on. You must be somebody completely different.”

Review & Recap: The Flash

Season 2 Episode 2, “The Flash of Two Worlds”

Bechdel-Wallace Score: (2.5/3)

(High on spoilers!)

Season 2 of The Flash continued strong on the CW last night. The show runners continue to defy narrative gravity, somehow keeping the episodes light and fun by cramming them full of character development and universe building (multiverse building, I should say). The episode started off with a continuation of Jay Garrick’s introduction from the end of episode 1 while properly introducing our new villain. This episode also introduced a new ally & romantic interest for our hero and a new member of the West family. The singularity continues to be the catalytic event for this season, just as the STAR Labs explosion was for the first season. And Barry continues to struggle admirably to become both a better hero and a better young man. Oh and Cisco finally crossed the threshold separating witnessing his own powers to using his powers with intention. All that and I didn’t even mention the villain of the week yet!

This week’s villain was Sand Demon, a character from the Firestorm comic books. The character was like most of the show’s villains, a bohemian-esque career criminal that happened to get super powers on accident and now uses them to commit more crimes instead of just using his powers to alleviate the stress in life that drove him to crime, but I digress. Not an especially exciting villain, he nonetheless served nicely as the thread around which all the episodes real action was woven. And he did have an especially exciting ending: Barry seems to have killed him (!) and he did this by throwing lighting at the guy (!!)!

Barry’s personal challenge this week was to learn to trust a new mentor, which is difficult for him after he was betrayed by “Dr. Wells” in season one, who actually turned out to be Eobard Thawne. I really like how this show handles Barry’s personal development. They let him spend some time being a jerk, he ignores advice, spurns help, then a peer or elder intervenes, he listens, and learns to make a new, better choice. The lesson that Barry is learning, over and over, is to trust himself and trust his friends and allies. It is a good message for a TV show to work over every week. In other exciting character development, Cisco is really starting to turn into Vibe and this week he actually used his powers, on purpose, to help the team catch the bad guy. Iris continues to be the least hard working journalist in Central City and the most underutilized character on the show, but that will probably change next week since her previously-unseen mother showed up to talk to Joe at the end of the episode. I’m looking forward to the West family backstory next week.

Dr. Stein collapsed, which will probably also be a big part of next week’s episode. Presumably this is because Ronnie is no longer around to be the other half of Firestorm. This is related to a surprising non-development in the episode: when Jay Garrick revealed that he traveled from a parallel Earth through the singularity six months ago, nobody immediately said “hey maybe Ronnie came out on the other side, too!”

And good for Ronnie, because that parallel Earth looks like an Art-Deco Futurist paradise, and I am already interested in relocating. Dirigibles, elevated maglev trains, and modern architecture. Even the tour guides have cool looking uniforms I hereby endorse the show moving to Earth 2 immediately (and permanently, unless Earth 3 is even better.)

Did you run any tests on his killer abs yet, Caitlin?
Did you run any tests on his killer abs yet, Caitlin?

The episode got a 2.5 out of 3 on my still-evolving Bechdel-Wallace scoring system. As always, there is more than one female character with a name and speaking part – so that is an easy point. In this episode, two of those characters had a scene to themselves, and that is another point. The last part of the test is if they discussed something other than a man, which they did not. I did however award half a point since they were sexually objectifying the man when they discussed him.

The show also introduced a new young woman, Detective Patty Spivot, to the cast as a romantic interest for Barry and a new partner for Joe West. She is going to be both Barry’s girlfriend and Joe’s partner, what could go wrong?! Totally wild & crazy prediction: Barry and Patty will date and Barry’s life as a superhero will complicate the relationship, making Barry alternatively eager and resistant to falling in love. Just a hunch.

Want some futuristic candy?
Want some futuristic candy?

Final thought: Hooray! Actor Tom Cavanaugh returns as Earth 2’s Dr. Harrison Wells. Kudos to the writers for reintroducing last season’s emotionally manipulative villain by having him utter the words, “Hello kids.” Of course we see Dr. Wells just after Dr. Stein collapses while telling the Earth 1 team that the biggest doorway between realities is right there in STAR Labs. I’m guessing that Earth 2 Dr. Wells will be the actual scientist, not Eobard Thawne, but that he still won’t be an entirely good guy.

Hopefully we will find out some more about Earth 2 and its Dr. Wells during next week’s episode, “Family of Rogues.”

#TheFlash airs on the CW Tuesdays at 8pm Eastern. #Arrow airs on Wednesdays. Reviews of both shows appear the day after a new episode airs, right here on TLP. Got some thoughts to share on this week’s episode? Leave a comment below.

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