Synopsis of 2×14: Team Flash must escape Earth-2 with their lives.
Jay Garrick, you damned moron.
You never turn away from a portal that isn’t closed. You never leave behind an enemy you haven’t made certain is dead. You never put your back to a tank holding genetically-engineered super sharks. You just don’t do it if you don’t want Surprise Death.
From a narrative standpoint, Jay’s demise (I guess it’s possible he’s still alive) is one of those great serialized surprises, where a character is obviously in the middle of a long-term narrative arc that is cut short by their shocking demise. We’re talking Shannon from Lost. We’re talking Anna-Lucia and Libby from Lost. Or Alex or Rousseau from Lost.*
*Lost was really good at these.
As beautiful as a death can be after an episode or series of episodes building you up to them (Charlie from Lost or Mr. Eko from Lost), there is just nothing like the surprise finisher to really heat things up.
Jay Garrick was recapturing his speed. Velocity 9 put him on the road to recovery. He and Caitlin had grown kissing close. And swift hand movement from a speedster, it was all over. He looked pretty dead to me. And there’s no swapping him out for another version. That was Earth-2’s Jay what died. The Jay of Earth One is the pleasant but boring Hector Zolloman. No sense in bothering that guy.
The great hope of all this is that it will inspire more out of Caitlin. Long the forgotten and underwritten member of Team Flash, perhaps a second dead paramour will inspire out of her what little else seems to be able to. Danielle Panabaker got to stretch her muscles and have a good time these past two episodes with Killer Frost. But Caitlin is often left behind. Moreso than any character I’ve seen on a show recently, Caitlin is defined by who she’s dating.
When Ronnie died, all she could be mad at was a breach.
Jay was killed by a face. A name. Caitlin should want Zoom’s head on a platter.
Maybe a good fridging is what she’s needed all along. Maybe a little Killer Frost will come out.
Jay’s demise comes at the end of a fantastic, whizbang episode of The Flash. “Escape from Earth-2” is thrilling, funny, and surprising. It feels more like a comic book come to life than perhaps anything ever brought to screen. In ways both good and bad.
These are the tradeoffs of adapting comic book logic directly. Zoom’s crazy mountain prison? Great! Geomancer causing earthquakes three feet from Iris and Caitlin that don’t so much as scratch them? Silly. Speed serums? Neat. Barry knowing POW code language? Meh.
But the great moments far outweigh the bad. Panabaker, Grant Gustin, and Candice Patton are having a blast as their Earth-2 counterparts. Bowtie Barry is particularly winning this time around. So adorably, horribly dorky. Killer Frost was a knockout last week and doesn’t stop in “Escape.” There is emotional legitimacy prominently displayed amidst the silliness. Killer Frost has had more of an arc in these two episodes than Caitlin usually gets across whole seasons. Though this is almost definitely the last we’ll see of her, it was a great finish for a fun little aside.
One that will hopefully bleed over into our Caitlin.
As silly as it may have been for Barry to just know the masked man’s code (it’s Eddie, right? It’s totally Eddie!), Barry working together with Jesse Quick to solve the problem was great. As was Barry’s struggle to break out of the cage.
The standout is still Zoom. Since he arrived many episodes ago, Zoom has remained consistently terrifying. A horrible unknown with an ungodly voice. Merciless. Coated in blue lightning. How they’ve kept it up for so long is a miracle. How they’ll keep it up for the last seven episodes will be another one. Character design and voice casting can go an awful long way.
So what do we take away from The Flash’s adventures into Earth-2? I have surmised the following:
- We’re going back before the season is over (“We have to go BACK!”).
- Barry is back in fighting shape.
- Jay Garrick is dead. Long live Jay Garrick.
- Patty has been mentioned far too often these past few episodes for her to be gone for good.
- Cisco has some spiffy new Vibe goggles.
- Zoom’s comin’, baby. Zoom’s comin’.