Season 2 begins to expand its Multiverse.
Picking up directly where last week left off, with a strange invader in STAR Labs, we are fully introduced to Jay Garrick, the Flash of Earth 2 (that this show blatantly uses phrases like “Speed Force,” “Multiverse,” and “Earth-2” fills me with a delight that I cannot fully articulate). As Jay explains his backstory (he’s been the Flash for two years and was sucked into the wormhole during a fight with Zoom, his nemesis), he offers his help finding the wormholes that have surely developed in Central City. So in response, Barry locks him in the pipeline.
It’s understandable why Barry would be having trust issues, especially where a super-speeding mentor figure would be concerned, and again it’s nice that the episode skips through this storyline with its customary speed. Teddy Sears brings an appropriate amount of maturity and authority to the role of the original Flash, despite the character being de-aged a bit. He also *looks* like a Silver Age hero, square jawed and dependable. A hero who seems to fit right into what we see of Earth-2 in the epilogue (more on that later), and its Neo-Enlightenment, Art Deco future.
Anyways, this episode’s plot picks up on two fronts. First: the introduction of Officer Patty Spivot, Joe’s new eventual partner and Barry’s new eventual love interest. Spivot, as played by Shantel VanSanten, practically bounces around on screen, and while she’s entertaining, it’s often in a way that feels a little more forced than this show usually is.
The second front this episode starts in earnest is Zoom. As of right now, Zoom is merely a special effect. A blurry, faceless streak of a man, voiced by Tony Todd, who is always a welcome presence on my television screen. As for who he might end up being, I’m sure most of us have an idea, what with the potential for alternate versions of every character showing up (hello, Earth-2 Harrison Wells. No, that’s not who I mean).
You’ll notice that there’s not much to talk about with the episode’s villain, Sand Demon, or Eddie Slick. That’s because, for the second week in a row, nothing much happens. The only really interesting wrinkle about the character, played by Kett Turton, is how the Earth 1 civilian version is shaded differently than the Earth 2 Metahuman version. Then again, it’s really only interesting in how it might effect other characters. Again, the main villain of the episode is only a pawn of Zoom, but at least Atom Smasher is an interesting character. Also concerning is how readily Team Flash kills these Earth 2 Metas. Aside from a very neat lightning throwing trick Jay teaches to Barry, there’s nothing much else the character provides.
That being said, we’ve got a very nice pattern going for Season 2 here. Where last year’s early weeks were marked by the gradual expansion of Barry’s abilities and relationships as he hunted down metahumans created from the Particle Accelerator explosion, this year seems to be based on Barry recovering his sense of optimism as he hunts down metahumans streaming in from the 52 (hah!) inter-dimensional breaches caused by the wormhole.
It should work for now. And hey, this show is nothing if not quick.
Episode Grade: B+