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, we returned to Earth-2 for the conclusion of a two-parter that took us to another world and left us with some big questions about Earth-2 and Zoom. Last week left off with Barry captured by Zoom, a whole lot of death on Earth-2, and a de-stabilized speed canon that could prevent Barry, Cisco, and Harrison from ever returning to Earth-1.
'Escape From Earth-2' is most definitely conclusion-focused, and we don't get the kind of hilarious introduction to an Easter Egg-filled world that we did last week, but that's not to say that it's not as good. It's a little slower, with fewer big reveals and shocking twists, but it's got more than enough to keep fans on the edge of their seats.
For a villain who has only made brief appearances thus far, this week we see a lot of Zoom. The episode opens with Zoom speeding through Earth-2 Central City, searching for Harrison Wells. He is determined to find Wells and use him to take Barry's speed, and he wants the city to turn him in. He's not only telling the police to bring Wells in, he's burning it into the sides of buildings, just to get the point across. Zoom manages to track Cisco to Star Labs, where Wells's time vault keeps them hidden... but they know that it won't save them in the long term.
Zoom also reveals the true extent of his evil plan. Not only does he want Barry's speed, but he plans to kill Jesse in front of Wells, and then kill Wells and Barry once he has Barry's speed. He also makes a point that he only needs Barry alive, not healthy, in a scene where he brutally beats Barry in his cell. Throughout this episode, we see Zoom getting more violent and threatening — it's a reminder to fans that although he has been spending time in the background up until now, he's still a serious force to be reckoned with.
The New Plan
Harrison and Cisco reunite, and Cisco fills Wells in on everything that he missed in last week's epic final battle with Zoom. Cisco is still trying to stick to the original plan: use his powers to find Zoom, then charge on in and save the day. He even stole Reverb's glasses to get past the issue of the different frequency, but Wells isn't having it. It's time for a new plan to find Zoom, rescue Jesse and Barry, and get back to Earth-1.
The new plan that the team comes up with is to find Killer Frost and convince her to lead them to Zoom's lair. Barry-2 is able to help them track Frost with an algorithm that he has developed to find metahumans. Wells, Barry-2, Iris, and Cisco find Killer Frost, and after a short show-down, the gang manages to get the jump on Killer Frost and convince her to take them to Zoom's lair.
Barry's doppelgänger, who we saw briefly last week, has been locked up since Barry-1 came to Earth-2. This week, Wells and Cisco release him, and we learn that Barry-2 isn't exactly the same cool and collected superhero that we know from Earth-1. Bow-tie and wingtip-wearing, non-swearing (unless you count a very vehement "heck"), and generally completely overwhelmed, Barry-2 provides a lot of comic relief in this episode.
However, he's more than that. He's an incredible CSI, whose files allow them to find Killer Frost (and convince her to take them to Zoom). He's the kind of brave that allows him to be constantly terrified, but refuse to stay behind anyway. Barry-2 spends the episode reminding us that being a hero isn't just about superpowers, it's about what's inside. His absolute faith in Barry (both Barrys!) is what allows Barry-1 to escape his cell, and it's something that Barry-1 is going to need to remember in his ongoing battle with Zoom and his obsession with speed.
The Mystery Man
The biggest, and still unanswered question from this week's episode is the identity of the third prisoner in Zoom's lair. We find out from Jesse that he has been in the cell since before she was captured, and that they know nothing about him. Presumably his metal mask is in some way preventing him from speaking, as Jesse and Barry are easily able to hear each other.
Our mystery potential speedster is still trying to communicate, though, by tapping on the glass of his cell. Barry and Jesse, working together, figure out that he is actually using a 5x5 tap code to communicate: he is tapping in pairs of numbers under five, which correspond to letter positions on a 5x5 grid containing the alphabet. (I.e. one tap followed by a pause, then a second tap would be position 1x1, which is "A".) The three begin to communicate, but all they can say before Zoom comes in and stops them is "Jay" — as in Jay Garrick. We don't know what he is trying to say about Jay, but it's obviously deeply upsetting, and Jay will be a key to this mystery.
Back On Earth-1
Jay has managed to stabilize the breach, leaving him and Caitlyn to keep working on stopping Geomancer and finding a way to save Jay's life. Last week, Caitlyn was able to create Velocity 7, but not only did it wear off quickly, she has learned that it is continuing to damage Jay's cells. Velocity 8 is in the works, but she's not thrilled about the idea of hurting Jay. Luckily, she manages to crack the problem, and this episode introduces us to Velocity 9, the version of this serum that we know from the comics. Having finally solved the issues they were having, Jay is able to take the Velocity 9 to save the day when Geomancer knocks down a building, and Caitlyn even discovers that the new serum has kickstarted Jay's regeneration, and can save him.
Geomancer makes his final appearance when he comes to Star Labs to try and take down Jay and Caitlyn. The lab takes a serious pounding at his hands, but Caitlyn manages to take him down with one of Cisco's guns. He damages the lab, and de-stabilizes the breach again, leading to a final race against the clock to get it fixed in time for Barry and co. to come home.
Geomancer is rapidly carted off to Iron Heights with a collar to dampen his powers — so why did he show up in this episode at all? Like many other metas in this season, Geomancer didn't appear in order to be a serious threat, but to forward the plot in other ways. It's his appearance that prompts Caitlyn's breakthrough with Velocity, that gives Jay a chance to be a hero again, and that puts a new time crunch on the Speed Tunnel.
We also meet Iris's new editor, Scott Evans, a brash, no-nonsense man who isn't interested in fluff pieces. Could this be a hint that Iris is going to have some future personality clashes with Evans about the Flash?
The Final Escape
Barry is desperately trying to phase through the walls of his cell, but he just can't manage it. Luckily, Wells, Frost, Cisco, Iris, and Barry-2 are on the way. They discover Zoom's lair at the top of a cliff, and Frost builds them an ice-ladder to get to the top. Surprisingly, the actual rescue is almost anti-climactic in its simplicity. Wells is able to free his daughter (with a little help from Frost to shatter her chain), and although Frost is unable to freeze Barry's cage open, Barry-2 is able to give him a heart-to-heart about believing in yourself, and he manages to phase out after all.
There's a brief issue when Zoom shows up and it looks like Frost may have double crossed them, but before he can kill Jesse, Frost steps back in. It seems that she can hold Zoom off in ice, but not long enough for Barry to help the mystery man out of his cell. They flee, but not before Barry vows to come back for him.
The final jump back to Earth-1 is also a little anti-climactic. Although there is a brief struggle to stabilize the breach, it's dealt with relatively easily (and we know that it will be, seeing as Barry and co. are back on Earth-2 next week). Iris and Barry-2 have a brief, heartwarming goodbye with Barry-1, and Wells tells Jesse that they have to start a new life on Earth-1. Barry speeds Jesse and Cisco through the breach, but Zoom arrives before he can get Wells through. It looks for a moment like we might lose Wells, but he is able to break free of Zoom, and everyone gets home ok. The breach is closing, everyone is safe, and it looks like everything is going to be just fine... until Zoom's hand bursts through the breach as it's closing, straight through Jay Garrick's chest, dragging him back to Earth-2.
What's Next? King Shark
Escape from Earth-2 left us with some big questions, and it seems like we aren't going to get them answered right away. Next week's episode is titled 'King Shark,' as King Shark breaks out of an ARGUS facility and comes after Team Flash. Diggle and Lyla are coming by to say hello, and from the Jaws-style promo, it's going to be more fun-focused than the last few. It will be nice to see a return to the metahuman battles after several episodes where the villains were footnotes, rather than major players, but that's not going to help us deal with the aftermath of the Earth-2 episodes.
First and foremost — who is the man in the mask? Presumably, he's another speedster (as Zoom only seems to be keeping speedsters or people who can help him steal their speed), and he definitely knows something important about Jay Garrick. Could he even be the real Jay Garrick? Since Hunter Zoloman showed up on Earth-1, fans have been speculating about why Zoom's comic alter-ego might have been mentioned, but not really used. Perhaps the man in the mask is Jay Garrick, and the man we know as Jay Garrick is actually Hunter Zoloman, aka Zoom?
We also need to know whether Jay is actually dead, and the breach closed. Presumably a breach will re-open at some point, either accidentally or by design. At the very least, we need to learn who the masked man is, and what happened to Jay! Barry has also promised to go back for the third prisoner, and we know that Barry keeps his word. Finally, we aren't done with Zoom yet. We still need to know who, exactly, Zoom is, and Barry needs to find a way to beat him. It may be a few episodes from now, but we aren't done with Earth-2 yet.
Things You May Have Missed
This episode had nowhere near the number of references that we saw last week, but there were still a few shots for the eagle-eyed viewer.
- Channel 52: Again, we see the news is on Channel 52, a reference to DC's New 52. No big surprise on Earth-2, but it's also seen on Earth-1, when Iris is watching the news at work.
- Commander Carl: Barry-2, while nerding out about a sci-fi show, mentions a series called 'Commander Carl, Space Marshall of the Galaxy', which is a reference to 'Commando Cody, Sky Marshall of the Universe', a 12-episode sci-fi series from the '50s.
- Metahuman Mugshots: On Barry-2's lab wall, we can see mug shots/information sheets about various metahumans, including Reverb and Dr Light.
- Patty Spivot: Barry-1's ex girlfriend also exists on Earth-2, and in this universe, she is already a CSI. Barry mentions her as the one who worked most of the Killer Frost cases.
- Frozen: When the gang find Killer Frost, she laughs at Cisco's inability to use his powers the way Reverb did. He responds with "It's a work in progress, Elsa" - a reference to the ice-powered queen in Disney's Frozen.
- Atlantis: For the second time in as many episodes, Atlantis is mentioned. Iris and Barry-2 have to leave Central City now that Zoom is after them, and Iris says that they have some family in Atlantis that can help them. This could be a different family member, or it could be a reference to Barry-2's parents, who are in Atlantis for their anniversary which we learned about last week).