This week we see the emergence of Cisco as Vibe, the team’s acceptance of another Wells in their universe, and the contentious relationship between Wells and Garrick of Earth 2. But like in other examinations of these episodes from me there is the emergence of a theme that has been building ‘til now and is a primary target for the audience hive mind. That theme is trust and once again it is something both Arrow and Gotham have used to immense success.
Did episode 5 shipwreck or sail? I have the breakdown below.
So let’s get this monkey smoking…
SYNOPSIS from Xfinity.com
S2 | Ep5
The Darkness and the Light
“Barry learns a new breacher, Dr. Light, has come through the portal and sets off to capture her. During a fight with the Flash, she blinds him and drops some shocking news about Zoom. Meanwhile, Barry and Patty go out on a date.”
In the newly revealed multiverse, doppelganger is the word of the season and this episode is no different. Introduced here is Dr. Light in the form of Linda Park from Earth 2. After accidentally learning from Barry that she has an Earth 1 doppelganger Dr. Light quickly sets off to exterminate her Earth 1 counterpart and is instead taken out by a pistol packing Iris, courtesy of her dad the detective. Also Well and Garrick fight constantly until Jay leaves the team.
But does anyone wonder where the hell he was when Firestorm part two was going down? Nope no one even asks. Cisco is at last given his meta-human name – Vibe – and Barry and Patty finally make good on a date and even manage a kiss. How long before she learns the secret and joins the team? I say she figures it out in another 5 episodes, but officially by the midseason finale. Watch for the introduction of Hawkgirl as well…things are about to get all Justice League-y in here….
“Hubba, hubba, hubba who do you trust?” – Joker from Batman (1989)
While it is still apparent that one of the primary focuses of this season is to set up Legends of Tomorrow this episode took some much needed time off from that theme in order to steer the rudder of the show back to its own narrative and this anything but self-contained chapter did just that. While it is the norm not the exception to take the hard writing choice on The Flash, it is also necessary to propel the story in chunks from time to time. So as we observed the slow paced building block of episode 3 and the new series setting in episode 4, here in episode 5 we see the payoff we have been waiting for since Garrick and Wells both were revealed on planet.
Yet in typical Flash fashion, the payoff is not what we expected but in many ways better. For instance, the scene where Jay and Wells have words on Earth 2 was a scene we didn’t know we needed until it was over and in a few brief seconds the creative team establishes real meat and conflict for the rest of the story to sit on top of. A skeleton of iron in just one short minute.
Yet along with these necessary working devices they managed to do what Arrow and Gotham both did not. They explored the theme of trust without cliché or double deal over explanation. Trust is the most prominent theme so far (much like family was in the first season) being addressed openly and explicitly in the two opening episodes and percolating like kettle tea until returning in this episode. You see unlike Oliver and Gordon’s worlds the Flashverse contains a lot of light to throw your trust issues up against. In the other two dark and brooding shows the mistrust and confidence issues seem to lose their sting or relevance because there is little reason to trust that makes sense. Here we are shown again and again that there is always something to be gained from trust no matter how much loss results when it is broken.
The struggle by Barry to overcome his nature with Wells, the fear of Cisco revealing his powers to his best friend is overcome with the reaction of his loved ones – inclusion and joy not shame and guilt like Arrow or death by gangster in Gotham – despite being forced out by the last person Cisco would trust. Add to this the parental issues of Iris, the lies being told to Patty and the Snow/Garrick relationship and trust is the underlying element of the entire story structure this season. In this episode they let the audience in and put the trust theme on full display but still do not ruin the good time and escapist action of superhero drama done right.
The Flash keeps getting better with each episode. Not only is this show (along with Arrow) creating a lasting DC TV Universe but they are making it memorable. While expanding the multiverse is risky it is being handled with restraint and with careful consideration thus far.
The characters are some of the most fun to become attached to in the medium of TV and where darkness and gloom can be wanton substitute for plot it never is here. Run to the Flash.
Watch every episode if you like serial superhero tales done in a modern but traditional style.
Tell the monkey to crush his butt…