The Flash Review – S02 E05 – The Darkness and the Light

I believed last week’s episode of The Flash was one of the worst things to present itself over the airwaves. I seriously believe it wasn’t good, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was because of how rushed it was. You can check out the review and terrible score it received on Nerdopotamus by clicking the following link.

SPOILERS ABOUND

Pictured (L-R): Candice Patton as Iris West, Grant Gustin as Barry Allen and Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West — Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

All of that changed this week however. This week’s episode, titled “The Darkness and the Light,” was possibly one of the best episodes of any television series to grace optic lines.

The episode began by introducing Earth-2 Harrison Wells. That’s right, he’s back, and as different as ever. We saw Wells in his worldline being the reason for the “Metahuman problem” and Professor Zoom, much like he was the reason for their existence in Earth-1. Although he’s just as secretive, less upbeat, and much more cynical than the Wells we’re accustomed to. The Earth-2 Wells assists in developing plans to defeat Zoom with Team Flash, a mission he seems bent on completing, for reasons not completely understood yet. We might at the end of this review.

Jay Garrick was not a fan of Harrison Wells in his universe and still isn’t convinced of his intentions on Earth-1. Since Wells created Metahumans, then he’s the issue at hand, according to Garrick. Both men have tried for years to stop Zoom, who creates whirlwind chaos no matter where he goes.

It’s unclear how to measure Wells’ trustworthiness because he’s secretive. The guy’s always looking over his shoulder, kind of smiling, and definitely has less patience than the guy we’re used to interacting with. He dresses differently too, with messier hair and oversized clothing. The man we knew, although he wasn’t even the “real” Wells in Earth-1, was calm, cool, and collected. The man we know now is as Cisco put it, a “dick.” I’m taking the new guy in town at face value. He’s Frankenstein and wants to put an end to the damaging creatures he’s made. He also invented an efficient cuff to detect nearby Metahumans.

Cisco was grade-A hilarious. Every line he delivered was comedic genius, practiced carefully with precise timing. I can’t pinpoint a favorite moment. They all were laughter inducing or emotionally charged.

One moment worth nothing was hard to watch, in a good way. Cisco asked out a barista, after berating Barry for being terrible with the opposite sex. When he was asking the female out, who is Hawkgirl by the way (refer to Legends of Tomorrow trailers floating online), the awkward despair protruding from his cheekbones left me squirming in my seat hoping that she would just give him her number. He was shot down and emotionally crushed. It was all in his eyes.

The situation redeemed itself later on in the episode when she gave Cisco a proper yet unexpected shot, explaining she’s new in town and afraid of change.

It wouldn’t be a weekly super hero show without a villain, and this week’s villain was nasty, in the raunchiest way imaginable. Dr. Light, aka Linda Park, Barry Allen’s ex-girlfriend, started to rob banks. It’s not the Linda we know though. It’s actually Linda Park from Earth-2.

Dr. Light’s abilities are simple, complex as the psuedo-science behind it is. She harnesses the ability to unleash pure energy comparable to explosions in the darkest parts of any universe. She’s not known as a murderer in any dimension, but when she learns of another Linda Park on Earth-1, she decides Linda-1 has to go. Avoiding confusion, Linda-2 wants to ax Linda-1. Linda-2 is convinced that’s the only proper route to become Linda-1.

Early on in the episode, Barry was blinded by Light’s cosmic strength. She escaped unseen for a great length of time.

Pictured (L-R): Tom Butler as Eric Larkin, Malese Jow as Linda Park and Candice Patton as Iris West — Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

The first attempt to vanquish Linda-1 encountered failure. Linda-1, working on a project at Central City Picture News, was greeted by Linda-2. Linda-2, hesitant and scared, killed Eric Larkin on the grounds. Iris West, also on the scene, shot Linda-2’s forehead, who survived the shot, but lost her identity concealing helmet.

On the other side of town, unbeknownst to everyone else, Cisco Ramon equipped Barry with glasses that had tiny cameras in them to guide him during his date with Patty Spivot. Holy mackerel, that led to some old-school sitcom antics.

Pictured (L-R): Shantel VanSanten as Patty Spivot and Grant Gustin as Barry Allen — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Cisco was his usual humorous self while Barry stumbled, literally and figuratively, so many times during his dinner date with Detective Spivot. At one point, she called him out on the eye-ware and he came clean. She is after all, a cracker jack detective. They finally kissed too!

Cisco, like many others, confronted Wells on who he really is. Wells continuously explains he isn’t the man they remember, because he is another man entirely. If there’s anything anyone has learned, it’s that looks are deceiving. Cisco explains his once father-son-like relationship “they” had. The new Harrison Wells straight up doesn’t care. He just exclaims that they don’t have to like each other, but for the time being they must “help” one another. Cisco barely agrees, telling him “We’ll see.” I can’t blame him for being pessimistic, and I valued seeing a shielded Mr. Ramon.

I’m glad to see that the writers aren’t making all of our characters goody-goody twenty-four-seven. Watching their pain resurface due to a person’s appearance brought back elements of mystery the show had almost lost. Seeing as Flash and his comrades involvement in crime solving inherently revolves around mystery, I can’t help but to notice when the show starts to lack desires to withhold certain information from our characters.

Call me out on this if I missed it, but Wells knows something we don’t know.

Pictured (L-R): Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon and Grant Gustin as Barry Allen — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Harrison Wells called Cisco out for having being a metahuman. As the audience, we’re well aware that he has powers, but doesn’t know how to reach them willingly. Wells used his technology to uncover the truth about Cisco’s powers and revealed them to the team. There wasn’t indication that his device explained what kind of powers Cisco had though. I found that unsettling. I don’t know if that’s a story point or a continuity error. He just assumes that Cisco is a telepath. Regardless of how Wells knew of Cisco’s specific power, Wells is the reason everyone knows Cisco is a super powerful being now.

Iris brought Dr. Light’s helmet to S.T.A.R. Labs for examining. The lab couldn’t run any tests on it without it telling the scientists it’s “Linda-1.” No matter, because Cisco Ramon came to the rescue, with a little push from an ever demanding Harrison Wells. After almost destroying his vocal folds, Wells got Cisco to believe in himself. Cisco picked up the helmet a half a dozen times, held it, and telepathically revealed Linda-2’s location.

Prior to the fight, Jay and Harrison had a quick debate about how to take out Zoom. They actually duked it out. Barry allowed it for several moments before interfering. So much happened without the need for over indulgent exposition, which is a key reason for this episode’s undeniable success in storytelling. Fisticuffs aside, Jay and Harrison concluded they’re both the reason for the other’s demise.

Flash forward to Barry battling Dr. Light, and Jay also concluded that Barry is faster and better than he ever was or will be, hinting that Wells was right all along. That end part was all done with a glance over. Perfect. Insert clapping emoji.

Harrison Wells intruded voice communications, informing Barry of a skill he didn’t know he had. He suggested that if Barry ran fast enough, Barry could manifest mirages of himself to his enemy. Barry, listening to his new friend in an old friend’s body, used his newly discovered skill to confuse and ultimately defeat Dr. Light.

The episode ended on an off-note. Jay left for Earth-2, having trust issues with Wells. A glimpse on Earth-2 revealed a menacing Zoom holding Well’s daughter in a makeshift prison chamber. My educated guess is that’s why Harrison Wells is on Earth-1 to begin with. He wants to save his daughter from Zoom, an evil metahuman he’s responsible for making.

Pictured: Grant Gustin as Barry Allen — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

I was mostly enamored with how the episode looked and felt. Its cinematic traits kept up with qualities of major motion pictures. Hats off to Ben Sokolowski and Grainne Godfree who have sweet understandings for act structure and knowing when, where, and how to use dialogue. I’m downright envious of their amazing joint abilities. I’ve considered watching it a couple of times just to study everything it did right, not something I do before completing an entire season of anything.

Effects weren’t overused, and when they were, I didn’t question them. Blocking and camera movement kept a dance to die for. When Barry was still blinded at S.T.A.R. Labs and walked left to “exit” the facilities, I was on the floor. The show runners just cut, not taking an amateur route of telling the actor to walk again in the “correct direction.” That would have been an off-beat waste of time. That wasn’t the case and my reaction was pure gut-busting amusement. I could go on about the nuanced direction of the episode, but then this would end up being an effusive essay.

Hey, Team Flash, how much does your editor cost? Their scrupulous editing hasn’t gone unnoticed. Thanks for using them.

It wouldn’t be the internet if I didn’t have one complaint. I review things I watch based on first impressions. The introductory fifteen minutes or so were completely out-of-sync. Every time someone said something, their mouth was out of touch with their words by a smidgen. After several promotional breaks, the sync caught up, but it did throw me off.

Jay Garrick mentioning he had a buddy in Atlantis made me forget about that strange overlook though. Oh yea. Jay Garrick mentioned Atlantis exists on Earth-2. They’re going places!

WRAP-UP

This week’s episode was comedic genius wrapped in perfect storytelling format. No shot went unnoticed and every line of dialogue mattered. The audio sync was too messy not to mention. The talent in front of the camera proved to be one of the most dynamic and underrated ensemble casts of a generation, acting in ways they aren’t normally required to.

9/10

Daniel Mihailescu
danjamllc@gmail.com