‘The Flash of Two Worlds’
At the end of last week’s episode, S.T.A.R Lab’s improved security was breached by the mysterious Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears). His break in triggers the events of ‘The Flash of Two Worlds’, an episode that races out of the starting blocks and maintains its speed. Jay quickly lays down the multiverse theory and The Flash suddenly shifts genres from a superhero-show-with-a-bit-of-science to a fully-fledged, hardcore science-fiction opus with superheroes. The Flash is now a show that is dealing with time-travel and parallel universes.
Credit should be given to the show’s writers for crafting a complex narrative filled with science mumbo jumbo with clarity. Using Joe (Jesse L. Martin) to hold the audiences hand is The Flash’s go-to tactic for when things get complicated and, luckily, Martin can deliver say-what-now lines with aplomb. The opening scenes may have been exposition heavy but the fact that no one muttered “In English”, shows that The Flash revels in its characters’ intelligence.
The cast should also be praised for being able to say these lines with the upmost sincerity and Teddy Sears is likeable as Jay, the first Flash, but he seemingly lacks an edge and consistent steadfastness may make him boring. As a result of the writers, Aaron and Todd Helbing, needing to clarify the multiverse idea, the story this week was weak, broadly replaying the last episode’s beats. Barry (Grant Gustin) once again had trust issues and the villain, Sand Demon’s (Kett Turton), role was to make Barry trust Jay.
However, the damning repeated beat was Iris (Candice Patton) having to talk Barry out of his glum slump. It was a nice scene that built their relationship but hinted that the writers don’t know what to do with Iris. She may not have the science know-how, but she can help Barry in ways the other characters can’t and the show needs to work out what those ways are because Candice Patton deserves it.
Speaking of Barry and Iris, the show has given us another obstacle between their destined coupling by introducing Patty Spivot (Shantel VanSanten). The show efficiently establishes Barry and Patty’s connection and nerdy tendencies as they both quote Monty Python at the SAME TIME. VanSanten makes Patty spritely and capable but her performance can’t shake the idea that she is just a plot point, a way to add tension to a pretty predictable storyline.For all her competence Patty still becomes the damsel-in-distress. This is a step backwards as the show has mainly resisted the urge to turn the main female characters into damsels and there must have been less clichéd devices to unite the two Flashes for the final battle. The final Sand Demon fight felt rushed and whilst it promised to be a superpower throw down, it served to reinforce that even though there are two Flashes, Barry is the hero.
With ‘The Flash of Two Worlds’ The Flash went complete sci-fi loco on the audience and once again presented everything with speed and clarity. The storytelling has always felt organic but it can’t start repeating its storytelling rhythms, otherwise people will start to lose interest.