The Flash: 2.13 Welcome To Earth 2
may have had a mild case of the second-year slump but there were no signs of that this week as Barry, Harrison and Cisco travelled to Earth 2 to rescue Jessie and defeat Zoom. Of course, it was never going to be wrapped up so easily and over the course of the forty two minutes we were treated to some wonderful alternate takes on many recurring characters, lots of in jokes and a shocking cliff-hanger that will leave fans desperate for next week.
In last week's Fast Lane I noticed that the show was started to find a renewed sense of purpose and Welcome To Earth 2 kicked things off with a bang as team Flash closed down every portal except the one in Star Labs. A brief family dinner and some goodbyes done, Barry and Cisco took the trip with Harrison over to his universe. There were plenty of glimpses of alternate worlds along the way as they travelled through the 'wormhole', including a vision of Supergirl, setting up the Flash's journey to her Earth in the upcoming Supergirl episode World's Finest.
But the real fun was had once the three heroes arrived on Earth 2. Bathed in a golden filter, with its art deco buildings and 1920's style transport merged with modern technology, Central City looked gorgeous. And with any alternate reality premise, the best bit is seeing actors play different versions of their characters. In this world Iris was a kick-ass Detective, looking very Agent Carter-esque in her fashion sense and attitude. Joe was a blues singer and Barry was a bumbling, extra-geeky CI who in this version of Earth was also married to Iris, the love of his life.
There were some other great ideas at play too, from police captain David Singh being a petty criminal to [Captain Cold's dad?] Mayor Snart to Michael Rowe making his first return to The CW's DC universe as Floyd Lawton since Arrow season three's Suicidal Tendencies. Only in this universe he wasn't killer for higher Deadshot but a bad detective who couldn't fire a shot to save his life. It was a great gag for a character who was the perfect 'crack shot' in the main universe. But of course the best easter egg had to be the names on the phone in Barry and Iris's home; Bruce, Hal and Diana - coincidences or are the Allens friends with Batman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman in Earth 2?
The best thing about this episode had to be seeing the show's heroes transformed into evil metahumans and this was where Welcome To Earth 2 was clearly having a blast. Danielle Panabaker must have relished finally getting to play the evil comic version of Caitlin Snow and Killer Frost truly was evil. Kissing people to death, slaughtering at will and throwing icicles at the Flash, she was a great villain. A vampire Willow of sorts from Buffy The Vampire Slayer - I suspect we will see more of her later in the show. Robbie Amell made a welcome return as Ronnie Raymond - still the love of Caitlin's life in this universe as Firestorm-gone bad Deathstorm and the fire and ice motif going on between the two baddies made for some great action sequences.
And then there was evil Cisco - aka Reverb. There had been some publicity around Killer Frost and Deathstorm, but his appearance was a complete surprise. Carlos Valdes played a baddie very well and Reverb made for a deadly opponent for both Cisco and Barry. The final showdown in the factory was brutal, topped by a shocking twist with the arrival of Zoom to capture Barry in his lair. It was a shame to see both Firestorm and Reverb slaughtered by Zoom for daring to harm the Flash but it showed just how dangerous this villain was. And the final ending in the lair made for a shocking cliffhanger, leading to one big question - who is in the iron mask?
The only thing that felt unnecessary this week was the need to have a continuing story on Earth 1. While Jay and Caitlin attempted to repair the damaged gateway to Earth 2, the arrival of new metahuman Geomancer left Central City defenceless. He seemed like a good villain, wasted as a side-plot to the events happening in the alternate reality. But at least fans got to see Jay Garrick in full Flash mode for a brief moment.
Welcome To Earth 2 was a fun, action-packed episode that really had fun with its premise. It took the conflict with Zoom in an interesting new direction and I can't way to see how Barry gets out of this next week.