SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't yet watched this week's episode of 'The Flash,' then turn back now! This contains spoilers and key plot points.
This week on [The Flash](tag:1068303), we finally headed over to Earth-2 to take the fight to Zoom, and it was incredible. The first of a two-part episode, 'Welcome To Earth-2' was chock full of Easter Eggs and doppelgängers, and puts the focus squarely back on Team Flash, Cisco and Caitlyn. Because it's both the first of a two-parter and undoubtedly the true beginning of the end for Zoom, the episode is more focused on exposition than resolution, but it still doesn't lack action.
Harrison Wells and The Plan
We open with a Harrison Wells voiceover as Barry uses the Breach Implosion Reactors that they created last week to close the breaches between worlds. It seems that this is the end for Zoom and his metahumans's ability to flit back and forth between Earths, as the one remaining breach now exists only in Star Labs.
Harrison Wells reminds us that Zoom still has his daughter, and that the purpose of this trip to Earth-2 isn't to take on Zoom directly (yet), but to save Jessie. The plan is for Harrison, Barry and Cisco to head into Earth-2, scoop up Jessie, and get back within 48 hours. Of course, everything immediately starts to go wrong.
First up, the last breach/speed canon was destabilized by Barry & Co's journey through, and unless Caitlyn and Jay Garrick can fix it, they won't be coming home. Barry and Cisco are absolutely useless at acting cool when seeing doppelgängers, or just walking around. Then, we learn that Cisco's vibe glasses don't work on Earth-2 (the wavelength trigger isn't responding, because Earth-2 vibrates at a different frequency to Earth-1), so their original plan to use his Vibe powers to find Zoom isn't going to work.
Luckily, Barry has a new plan. He'll pose as his Earth-2 counterpart, a particularly dorky CSI, and find out everything he can about Zoom's attacks in this Central City, thus giving them a way to triangulate Jessie's location. Barry knocks out Barry to take his place, but (obviously) ends up deeply involved with his Earth-2 friends and family.
When Barry & co head through the breach, we get to see flashes of other characters from different times and worlds (we previously saw this in the Season 1 finale, when we got a glimpse of Caitlyn as Killer Frost). This time, we saw '90s Flash, Supergirl, Oliver Queen from the future (or potentially Connor Hawke), Gorilla Grodd, a Legion of Superheroes ring and Jonah Hex.
- [Supergirl](tag:2246875) has a Flash crossover confirmed as in the works, so this is a preview for that episode.
- Jonah Hex will be joining Legends of Tomorrow, so this is clearly a nod to Legends Season 2.
- Presumably, the Legion of Superheroes is also connected to Legends of Tomorrow, as they are a time-traveling team from the future. Could we see them tangling with the Time Masters and Rip Hunter next season as well?
- Finally, if the archer we see is future Oliver Queen, this is also something that will appear in Legends, although it could be Connor Hawke, who is also slated to appear on the show.
- The shot of Gorilla Grodd may be hinting at a possible return for the giant, telepathic ape, in a future episode of The Flash.
- The image of the Flash from the '90s TV series is presumably a simple nod to that first incarnation of Barry Allen on the small screen.
Jay Garricks's Confession
We do get a metahuman on Earth-1 this week, but he is almost not worth mentioning. Adam Fells (a.k.a. Geomancer) is a meta with the ability to cause earthquakes. His appearance is incredibly brief, and the only reason that we see a metahuman threat on Earth-1 at all is to spark a confession from Jay Garrick.
With Barry gone, Joe suggests that Jay should be the one to protect Earth-1 from this new threat, with the help of the speed-enhancing serum, Velocity 6. Garrick has taken the serum before, and it helped him regain some speed to save Harrison Wells. However, he has always been strongly opposed to chemically enhancing his speed, and this week, we finally found out why.
Turns out, Garrick had already been taking Velocity 6 on Earth-2, and the continued use is what took his speed, not Zoom. It's the drug that is killing him. He decides to use again in order to take down Geomancer, but the drug wears off quickly, and Geomancer flees the scene. Caitlyn, still determined to save him, gets to work on a new Velocity serum that could save Jay's life.
Iris, Joe, Barry and Lawton on Earth-2
We don't see a lot of Iris on Earth-1 this week, but we do get a little glimpse of her with Barry before he leaves. She appears as the voice of caution (much the same way she did last week for Wally), as well as giving West-Allen fans a little hope for the future. We do see a lot of her in Earth-2, however, as it is revealed that not only is she in the police force in this parallel universe, but married to Barry! Earth-1 Barry gets the surprise of his life when she starts kissing him, heading home with him, and even stripping off in front of him.
With Iris in Joe's position on the force, we discover that Earth-2 Joe is a singer at a jazz lounge (the Earth-2 Jitters, Jitterbugs), and that he and Barry absolutely despise each other.
Barry gets another, much more intense surprise when "at home" with Iris, who mentions that his mother called. In an absolutely heartbreaking scene, Barry finds out that on Earth-2, his mother is alive and well, and he gets to tell her that he loves her one last time. *sob*
We also meet the Earth-2 version of Floyd Lawton (Deadshot), who is still alive on Earth-2. He appears here primarily as comic relief - Iris West's partner, he is apparently still nicknamed Deadshot... but here, it's because he is the worst shot in the entire department.
Evil Team Flash
Some of the biggest changes on Earth-2 are to the rest of Team Flash. Ronnie Raymond is still alive and madly in love with Caitlyn Snow, both of whom are metahumans (Deathstorm and Killer Frost, which we knew was coming from trailers). These two are the absolute opposites of their Earth-1 counterparts, caring only about killing, torturing... and each other.
You could be a god. We. Could be gods. - Reverb
The evil doppelgänger that we didn't expect was Cisco's. Cisco himself thinks that his other half is probably an inventor somewhere, never expecting that he is actually a meta named Reverb, who makes Killer Frost and Deathstorm look like cute fluffy kittens in comparison. Reverb is revealed to be a much smoother version of Cisco, who has far more control over his powers.
As well as being able to catch glimpses the way that Cisco can, Reverb can apparently watch people for longer periods and with greater control (he has "been watching" Cisco, even though he is in a different universe), and implies that he has more power than Zoom. He also claims to be able to "shatter [Killer Frosts] entire central nervous system without breaking a sweat. He also shoots some kind of energy/vibration from his hands to take down Lawton, telling Cisco that he can do it too.
The Death Toll Rises
There is an impressively high body count in this episode - the benefits of an alternate universe. Characters can be killed off for the emotional pull, and be right back where we left them on Earth-1.
Starting with Joe West. When Killer Frost and Deathstorm try and track down Barry for Zoom, they end up in a shoot-out with Iris, Barry and Joe, and Joe ends up on the receiving end of Deathstorm's blast. Joe's death spurs Iris to try and take on Killer Frost and Deathstorm herself, and Barry and Cisco go with her, along with one of Cisco's inventions that could neutralize Killer Frost's powers.
In the final confrontation, Barry is able to get Iris out of harm's way, but she is the only player who leaves unscathed. Lawton is taken down by Reverb before Reverb and Deathstorm take down Barry. Killer Frost tells them that Zoom wants him alive, but the two are just too caught up in what they are doing.
Zoom appears, and immediately kills Deathstorm for hurting Barry. He then turns to Reverb, and reminds him that he asked for the Flash to be brought to him "unharmed". Reverb meets the same end that Cisco did in the Earth-1 alternative timeline, with the speedster's hand going straight through his heart. (Which makes this yet another episode where Cisco bites the dust!) He chokes Killer Frost, but doesn't actually kill her, as she obeyed his orders. Instead, he leaves her weeping over Ronnie's body.
Barry Gets Caught
After his murderous rampage, Zoom scoops up Barry's unconscious form, and takes him to the same place where he holds Jessie. Locked in a glass cage, he is opposite another prisoner in a metal mask, with Jessie in a third cage. Here is where the episode ends, with Zoom telling Barry that this cage is the last place he will ever see.
What's Next? Escape From Earth-2
Obviously, next episode is going to complete the rescue mission that Team Flash started in 'Welcome To Earth-2', but it won't be Earth-1's Barry Allen that is the star of the show. From the promo, we can see that it's Earth-2 Barry (who spent this episode locked up so that our Barry could try to save the day) who ends up heading out with Iris, Cisco and Harrison to try and get Jessie and Barry back.
It seems that Killer Frost will be joining them, too. Presumably, the death of her fiancee (husband?) has turned her against Zoom - at least enough to try and help Team Flash find him. Presumably we get Barry and Jessie back, but Team Flash may not close the breach between worlds just yet. Barry has an incredible sense of duty, and having been involved in the death of Earth-2 Joe, he will undoubtedly want to keep the breach open until Zoom is defeated.
We'll also potentially discover who it is in Zoom's third cage. With a heavy metal mask over his (or her) face, there's no knowing who it is just yet, but they are bound to be important. Zoom has an obsession with speedsters, and wants them unharmed, so this may well be another Earth-2 speedster. Given that we have seen almost every other doppelgänger from Central City, could this be Earth-2 Wally West?
Back on Earth-1, we'll be seeing Caitlyn and Jay work to try and fix the speed tunnel so that Barry & co can come back at all. Logic dictates that they will succeed in some way (we won't be spending the rest of the season on Earth-2, after all), but we don't know how quite yet. We'll also see them working on Velocity to try and get Jay's speed back, and if they manage it, he could potentially be headed over to Earth-2 to help out.
A final minor moment in this week's episode saw Wally West coming to see Joe, with something obviously weighing heavily on his mind. Their conversation is interrupted by Geomancer, but it's clear that there is something Wally has to say. Presumably we will find out what in the next few episodes (and we're guessing that it has something to do with his potential to become Kid Flash, like his comic book namesake).
Things You May Have Missed
- Cisco's Shirt: As always, Cisco is letting his nerd flag fly with his wardrobe choices. This week's geeky nod is to The Lord of the Rings, as he is wearing a Mordor t-shirt.
- Holy 2001: When Cisco lands on Earth-2, he says "Holy 2001. I think I just opened my third eye." Here, he is referencing 2001: A Space Odyssey, another time-traveling film.
The Wizard of Oz: Cisco continues to reference other movies throughout the episode, following up his 2001 comment with "Toto, We aren't in Kansas any more...", famously said by Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.
- Tokamak: One of the many doppelgängers that we meet this episode is that of Henry Hewitt. Respected scientist on Earth-2, he greets Harrison Wells with a smile. On Earth-1, however, he is the metahuman Tokamak, one of the two possible candidates for Ronnie Raymond's FIRESTORM replacement. Upon learning that he wasn't capable, he attempted to murder Caitlyn and Team Flash. No wonder Cisco and Barry weren't thrilled to see him!
- Mayor Snart: When Cisco and Barry head into Harrison Well's office, he turns on the TV and we hear that a citywide curfew is now in effect thanks to Zoom. We also hear that this curfew was enacted by Mayor Snart! It seems that either Leonard Snart (Captain Cold) or his sister Lisa (Golden Glider) has made it into office in Earth-2.
- The New 52: The news has another Easter Egg for the eagle-eyed. It's turned to channel 52, this week's reference to DC comics's New 52.
- Captain Singh: Another blink-and-you'll-miss-it doppelgänger appearance is that of Central City Police Captain David Sign, who is definitely on the other side of the law on Earth-2. We see him being led away by a uniformed officer when Barry heads to the precinct.
- Atlantis: While talking to his mom on the phone, Barry finds out that "he" bought her and his dad "tickets to Atlantis". Clearly on Earth-2, people aren't just aware of the existence of Atlantis, but can head there on vacation. For anyone not aware, Atlantis is the home (and kingdom) of Aquaman - yet another DC universe reference.
- Speed Dial: As well as having his mom on speed dial (d'aww), Barry and Iris have a few other important names on their phone. The buttons read "Eddie, Bruce, Hal, Diana" - easter eggs for Eddie Thawne, Bruce Wayne (Batman), Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) and Diana (Wonder Woman)
What did you think of 'Welcome To Earth-2?' Tell us in the comments!