Review: ‘Flash’ Impales the Jay Garrick-Zoom Mystery in its ‘Escape From Earth-2’
It was definitely the right call on The Flash’s part to divide its “Earth-2” arc across two episodes. The first hour had enough room for the palpable excitement that comes with introducing another world, along with its many quirks and characters, freeing up tonight’s “Escape” for a more traditional episode of The Flash. Light on the easter eggs, and a few notable weak spots, but definitely deepening the mystery around Zoom and Jay Garrick.
I’ve spoken before on the increasing tendency of Arrow and The Flash to plot their respective seasons around specific mysteries to unravel; a more than tricky prospect over 23 episodes, especially when so many of those hours end up serving another purpose altogether. In The Flash’s case, long stretches of Season 2 have elapsed with a curious silence from Zoom, or strangely unaddressed absence of Jay Garrick, atop the already-questionable decision to bring in one of DC’s most classic speedsters without his powers.
“Escape From Earth-2” didn’t exactly bring any major answers on either end, even if Jay briefly seemed to regain his speed (at least without killing himself), but it definitely cast some suspicious light on their relationship all the same. The masked man in Zoom’s lair almost seemed to be identifying himself as Jay, frustrated by the inability to explain any further* to Barry, however that possibility might complicate what we already know about Zoom, the Jay we’ve met, and Hunter Zolomon. It’s definitely suspicious that Jay needs help regenerating his cells, just as Zoom needs help adding to his own speed, but the closing kill** certainly threw a wrench in there as well.
*A few points of note: Use of the 5x5 code could follow Jay’s history with Earth-2 soldiers, and it’s definitely telling that the masked man was kept behind the same speedster-resistant glass as Barry, while Jessie was only chained up. In any case, could they not have tried charades? Writing letters in the air? How about asking a question, and he’d give a thumbs up?
**In a perfect world, Jay standing so close to the portal to end up impaled by Zoom was an intentional deception of some sort, rather than awfully telegraphed staging on the episode’s part.
In any case, the emphasis on Zoom brought a nice horror bent to some of the pursuits, definitely playing to one of the villain’s few strengths at this point, while the woodland confrontation with Killer Frost also brought a nice change of scenery. “Escape” allowed more time overall to flesh out some of the inversions of these characters, showing a much more human side to Danielle Panabaker’s Killer Frost than the hammy bent last week. Earth-2 Barry also got his due, considering the sideline last week, though the character obviously couldn’t add much* beyond Grant Gustin’s own palpable enjoyment of a Jimmy Stewart take on Barry.
*Well, that and another of those pep talks that always seem to instantly enable characters failing at a given task.
Earth-1 Iris definitely got the short end of the stick this week, but by far the hour’s weakest moments belonged to the battles with Geomancer, the characterization of which was either a terribly regressive misstep on the writers’ part, or a vast misunderstanding of The Flash’s tone from actor Adam Stafford. Obviously, “Escape” didn’t want to draw too much attention to the story back home, but the hammy portrayal felt so terribly implemented, the entire hour dragged with it.
Overall, “Escape” wrought a mostly-satisfying conclusion to the Earth-2 arc, and I suppose the remainder of Season 2 will need additional explanation of any threat Zoom could pose with the last breach closing. There definitely wasn’t as much outright fun to be had this week, but the Zoom/Jay Garrick connection at least gave us something to chew on in the coming weeks.
AND ANOTHER THING …
- Did Zoom go to Kinko’s for all those flyers?
- The man in the metal mask could just as easily be revealed as Barry’s father, a parallel of the two always ending up separated by glass, but it’s still a fairly open market at this point.
- Iris has a new editor. He’s not crazy about The Flash. Okay.
- On the wall of Earth-2 Barry’s lab, I caught a mugshot for Dr. Light, but couldn’t make out any of the others. One looked like he had had Captain Cold’s comic glasses, but Snart is mayor here.
- Would Earth-1 just assume that Jay was The Flash with a new costume, or recognize him as a separate person? Iris’ article would clear it up, but in the moment, I mean.
- Does Killer Frost just … hang out in forests?
- Definitely some awkward editing in the climax, that I momentarily couldn’t tell on which side of the breach Zoom held up Harry.
- I’d presume we were spared explicit confirmation of Killer Frost’s death, so as to leave the persona in play without committing to a drastic change for Earth-1 Caitlin.
The Flash Season 2 will return February 23 with “King Shark”, airing at 8:00 P.M. on The CW.
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