‘Escape from Earth-2’
It is a moment that is dotted around everyone’s lives, whether you’re about to kiss someone, take a very important test or travel to a parallel universe, there is always that moment where you pump yourself up. In ‘Escape from Earth-2’, The Flash takes psyching yourself in the mirror quite literally.
After being captured at the end of last week’s ‘nerdtastic’ episode, Barry (Grant Gustin) is trapped in Zoom’s lair — “he’s a villain, we’re calling it a lair”, thanks, Cisco (Carlos Valdes) — and he can’t phase through the cell walls. So, up steps the impossibly nerdy Barry-2 to give his superhero-self the pep talk he needs. Face to face, Barry-2 talks to Barry through the glass and psyches him up. It’s an engrossing bit of TV in an episode that rides the high wave of last week but doesn’t manage to reach the same feats.
It’s hard to see why because all of the same elements are in place with the same Earth-2 retro-futurism, an evolution of the Barry-Iris relationship that will get the shippers in a spin, and Cisco delivering puns. But, the problem is that Barry was not the emotional through-line. Sidelining Barry and making the hero the thing to be saved is an awesome idea but the joy of ‘Welcome to Earth-2’ was that Barry was reacting to the world and was the face of the revelations. Things were happening to Barry and that is what made them work. Gustin’s performance was an anchor amongst all the crazy shenanigans and it was what was missing from this episode.Not that Gustin was missing. His performance as Earth-2 Barry, a man who uses the word “frisky” seriously, was adorkable and funny, but he wasn’t the star. The double-team of Harry (Tom Cavanagh) and Cisco brought a great vibe to proceeds with Valdes’ one-liners nicely counterbalancing Cavanagh’s calculated impatient snark. The actors in the entire ensemble have an easy chemistry with each other that’s a joy to watch and even the weak link of Teddy Sears isn’t too noticeable.
Like most weeks, Sears’ Jay Garrick didn’t have much to do as his storyline predominantly focused on Caitlyn (Danielle Panabaker) perfecting the super-speed steroid Velocity-9. There has been so much fuss over this particular drug that its invention on Earth-1 will probably have major ramifications down the line. This storyline was boring as it seemed like filler compared to the fun hijinks happening in the parallel universe and even though Jay Garrick has been a lacklustre character so far, there are hints that the first Flash is about to become much more interesting.
The trip to Earth-2 has been a fun romp; hopefully it will make another appearance before the season ends and as the cliffhanger indicates, Zoom is too powerful a foe to keep down for long. It seems there will be many more scenes where our characters are going to have to look in the mirror and pep themselves up.