Okay, I want to get this out of the way before I start talking about the episode proper. I’ve talked about it before and I’m sorry if I sound like a broken record, but it’s the one thing that is keeping me from utterly enjoying this week’s episode.
The mystery of Zoom’s identity should have been revealed by now.
At this point, the reveal has been built up to such a momentous level that we are approaching Lost levels of guaranteed disappointment. Unless it’s the most earth-shattering of revelations, it just can’t live up to the hype that’s been built around it. It’s going to take one hell of a rug pull to get it right, and I’m not saying that the writers won’t accomplish that, but I feel like this week’s episode left us with a perfect place for the big reveal.
Instead, we get a Lost-esque tease with the man in the iron mask. I will admit that I dug this a whole bunch when I thought it was going to lead to the reveal of Zoom’s identity (or at the very least the man in the iron mask’s identity. More writers need to know that it’s okay to introduce a great mystery and answer it in the same episode), but it’s only done that most Lost-y of things: added mystery on top of mystery. I have a lot more faith that The Flash will pay this off, but it’s starting to get a little frustrating and not in a good “Gosh, I wanna know!” way.
What makes this all exponentially more vexing is how much everything else in “Escape from Earth-2” works but makes me realize what we’ve been missing. The opening bit with Zoom running around the city leaving “Bring Me Wells” messages is awesome. This is the villain all of season two has needed, and it’s a real bummer that the writers couldn’t have figured out a way to keep Zoom present through the run. Maybe just have him meeting with the metas he’s sent to get The Flash? Every time one of them is eliminated, we check in with Zoom in his lair? We could have had the man in the iron mask teased much earlier in the season if such a set up had been in place, making that mystery not seem so tacked on in this episode. I haven’t been satisfied with how Zoom has been handled overall, which makes the times he is being used to maintain a presence in the story feel so good but also so bad. Why haven’t we had this awesomeness peppered out throughout season two?
Another bit from this week — much like last week — that shows off what we should have had was Jay’s speed. I know having two Flashes could have been difficult to write around, but it wouldn’t have been impossible. Seeing Jay use his speed and be a part of the team is so great. I’m very doubtful that we’ve seen the last of him, even though the finale of this episode would say otherwise. The man in the iron mask’s coded message seems to indicate that there’s something very important about Jay. Is the man in the iron mask some version of Jay (he must be a speedster since he was in a similar cell as Barry) ? Is Zoom? Has the Jay we’ve seen not actually Jay but Hunter Zolomon from Earth-2? Don’t count Teddy Sears out just yet.
Don’t take my criticism to mean that I’m in any way done with this show (especially considering next week’s episode), but I’m starting to resign myself to the fact that season two of The Flash has been a lot less solid than the first season, and it’s probably not going to magically redeem itself in one fell swoop. Could it still end in a satisfying way? Of course, but I’m confident it won’t be anything near as impacting as the season one finale. It just hasn’t handled its main villain well enough.
Still, as season two episodes go, this was a definite winner. Lots of great interplay with the characters (especially now that they’ve gotten over the “Gee whiz! It’s Earth-2!” bullshit), good action, and propulsive momentum in the overarching plot. It’s a bummer that we’ll probably not be revisiting the main plot for at least three or four episodes, because this two-parter has been a big boost in that regard. Let’s hope all of this comes together by season’s end.
Favorite moment: Earth-2 Barry was easily the standout of the week. Grant Gustin managed to create a different version of the same character and infuse him with an entirely different kind of charm and heroism. Earth-2 Barry is definitely the thing I’m going to miss most about Earth-2.
Unfavorite moment: Besides my rant abut Zoom’s identity, season two feels like it’s been way more miss than hit when it comes to the metas of the week. Geomancer might in contention for the worst meta of the show.
Next Episode: King Shark (FUCKING YES. Here’s a promo to tide you over)