Earth-2 is frakkin' awesome.
Even though two earths are better than one, I'm not sure The Flash Season 2 Episode 13 was a great episode of the series, despite it's absolutely tremendous fan service utilizing the actors and the characters in very unique ways.
Hear me out. While it was a very fun viewing experience, there were issues story wise. It was kind of a double edged sword, but we play with swords all the time in this world, so that's not necessarily a bad thing, right?. Let's hash it out.
Let's start with the Easter Eggs. There were a ton of them. From seeing the 1990, John Wesley Shipp Flash in the speed force on their way through to Earth-2 to having Hal (Jordan), Diana (Prince) and Bruce (Wayne) on speed dial at E-2 Iris and Barry's home, I honestly couldn't keep up.
Trying to capture quotes, writing a recap and just watching for the little things is nearly impossible enough when you're also trying to see all the nuances of your favorite actors in new circumstances and then fab Easter Eggs planted here and there. Will you point out to me which you saw? I'd love your list.
I'm a huge fan of Doppelganger stories when done right, and Fringe was one of my all-time favorite television series. I believe they were done right on Fringe, and with alternate earths, they're being done right on The Flash, as well.
It not only adds life to the story and gives us new perspective on characters and how they might have been under slightly different circumstances, it allows the actors a chance to show off their skills, proving they're truly bringing to us a character from a page and not portraying themselves on screen.
We get to see good characters go bad and bad go good, the dead come back to life, the living die and the well-liked become unpleasant. There are so many possibilities for changes both big and small with doubles.
Is anybody else feeling panic right now? I chickened out of bungee jumping when I was 18, but this is categorically a lot scarier.Cisco
With a wide brush, we saw Caitlin as Killer Frost, Ronnie came back to life as Deathstorm and Cisco was Reverb. Three heroes gone bad. Joe was never a detective, but Iris was. Barry had the same job, married Iris and had a terrible relationship with his father-in-law. The captain was a petty criminal, Leonard Snart was Mayor, Deadhot was a terrible shot and Iris' partner.
Talk about a boat load of material for the actors to play with!
But while it was fun to see them play against themselves and one on one against each other in different situations, it didn't do a whole lot for the characters in the long run.
There was a point to their visit to Earth-2, after all. They closed off all of the breaches but one. That one was left open so they could join Harry and help him save his daughter from Zoom.
But upon arrival, it was too exciting. Cisco and Barry were immediately caught up in all that Earth-2 was, just like I was as a viewer. That's fine and dandy for me, because I'm not Harry. I've not been waiting past countless villains of the week to catch Zoom and rescue his daughter.
Oh. Well, yes I have, as a matter of fact. I, too have been wondering why nobody paid enough attention to Harry's plight to the point he felt he needed to side with Zoom to gain any traction. Still, he's in the same boat.
When Cisco's vibing didn't work and Barry saw himself on TV, he kidnapped himself for his own purposes without thinking about the consequences. As a result of that, he wound up getting his father-in-law killed.
With Joseph dead, Barry was even more invested in Earth-2. Harry tried to tell Barry these people were mere reflections as far as he was concerned and of no consequence to him. Um, Harry, if that's the case, then why are they here? Major foul to Harry for faulty logic.
Essentially, the point of the mission was put off to have fun on Earth-2 (fun for us more than those living and dying on Earth-2).
How will Barry get E-2 Barry back into his life without him noticing? He missed Joseph's death! That's major. There were big moments that happened, and he was gone. It was logistically poorly thought out.
That stuff kept annoying me while I was otherwise enjoying everything, because there is an overarching point to all of the fun. If they just went over and there wasn't a Zoom to contend with and these people didn't have to get on with their lives after E-1 folks left, it would be different. But it's not.
But, back to the fun stuff. Killer Frost was amazing and her Ronnie is now dead. She was saved only as a result of her rational thinking when Deathstorm and Reverb were pummeling The Flash.
Cisco: Ronnie? Is Martin Stein in there?
Ronnie: Oh, I haven't let him out in years. Doesn't talk much anymore.
Zoom slicing into Reverb in the same way Reverse Flash killed Cisco might trigger some PTSD for our Vibe, but he might also be so entranced with what he learned from Reverb that he overlooks it completely.
Cisco is going to be coming into a lot of powers. There is a lot he can do that he does not know how to do yet, and you bet your ass he's interested in knowing how. I have a feeling we have witnessed both his and Caitlin's destiny if they do not try hard to keep it from happening.
In other words, they will probably both have access to great powers in their lives and using it for good or evil will always be a struggle. Because, yeah, there's no way we won't see Caitlin get something someday, too.
It's a real shame Reverb died, because as was all the rage on the internet, the only thing better than one Cisco is two. The layer between Zoom and the little people is gone now. Maybe that will flush out Zoom somehow.
Barry is caged with Jesse. That should be of some help. The preview suggests that E-2 Barry will also be of assistance. How on earth (any earth) will that go down?
One thing is clear with the multiple Barrys. Anybody who thought there was no chemistry between Candice Patton and Grant Gustin full stop can set that aside. They may be pulling back on it because of how their E-1 characters are written, but that is all.
What we saw with E-1 Barry and E-2 Iris proved that there can be more, much more, to their relationship. First of all, Iris looks fantastic in mid-century fashions. I love that "vintage modern" vibe. The best oxymoron in our language.
There was something so comfortable with the way Iris acted around Barry, even more than the friendship she shares with him on E-1. They were warm and intimate, and it was apparent they were more than friends, yet they also shared a passion you'd want in a romantic couple. I was digging it.
It was a great way to show us the potential that's there without upsetting the apple cart before our Iris and Barry are ready. Although it's hard to imagine Barry won't be ready after seeing how things could be if they were just a little bit different.
There was even a side story about Earth-1 in which Jay admitted his speed wasn't stolen from Zoom and he lost it taking Velocity-6. That didn't stop him from taking Velocity-7 to be heroic and a little bumbling, but where will that story take us?
Honestly, I could talk about this installment forever. Truly, I loved it, even though I had issues with the story progression. Seeing the characters and hearing Jesse L. Martin singing, and Barry talking to his mother...there is so much I didn't cover which was also beautiful or moving or just plain fun to see.
What about you? Just go for it! Talk about what moved you during "Welcome to Earth-2," and don't hold back!
If you want to see it again, you can watch The Flash online right here via TV Fanatic.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.