Season Two, Episode Five — “The Darkness and the Light”
By Jarrod Jones. Holy smokes, how much happened this week? Everything happened this week.
The fifth episode of The Flash shifts the second season into a higher gear, not just for the series, but for the ever-expanding CW DC Multiverse as well. There are a couple of dead giveaways that this episode was going to be all business: every single major player involved with the Zoom/Flash paradox was assembled this week for maximum head s’plode-age (© 2015 DoomRocket), and the teasing opening credit roll teased the name, Ciara Renee. (Legends of Tomorrow, today!) We even got to hang out a little longer in the sepia bronze of Earth-2, just to see what’s doing with the other Dr. Wells… and then there was the most humbling fistfight the show ever gave us.
There was a big, glaring problem with this episode’s big bad, Doctor Light (more on that in a bit), but “The Darkness and the Light” can be summed up thusly: Tom Cavanagh’s back, and he’s glorious. (Never realized how much I missed his halting inflection. Like Adam West by way of Nicolas Cage by way of Willam Shatner, only far more dashing.)
WHAT WORKED: Now that he doesn’t have Professor Stein to lean on with his burden, Cisco has to work overtime to obscure the fact that he too is a metahuman. So you know the subterfuge wouldn’t last a single episode. And by the end of it there’s yet another mind-boggling paradox to chew on: Harrison Wells may have given Cisco his metahuman powers, but it was Harrison Wells that made him control them. (Head ouchy.) Vibe is here! Now, give that kid some goggles.
The Barry/Patty hookup was painfully obvious, but their first date was more adorable than it had any right to be. And with Barry’s lights temporarily knocked out (courtesy of Doctor Light), he automatically got to hustle right to first base, so. Good for him. (Squeals. All over the living room.)
The Flash isn’t afraid to admit that it’s embracing the entire DC Multiverse (or, at least, the parts made available to the CW), and utilizing Earth-2 as the impetus of our weekly metahuman headaches is a clever way to further the drama of the show. (I can’t wait to see if they decide to dip even further into the Earth-2 well; perhaps a cameo from Lor-Zod of Earth-2??? Yeah, I doubt it too.) Adding Doctor Light to The Flash‘s already complicated equation is an exciting prospect indeed, especially when we have a light-hurling, CGI-dependent void that needs filling. And yet…
WHAT DIDN’T: Doctor Light’s appearance on The Flash might have been a killer superhero/villain showdown (I love it when this show eschews all pretense by giving its baddies cool costumes), but the reveal of Doctor Light’s true identity definitely made me shift in my seat. In place of Dr. Kimiyo Hoshi, our favorite Doctor of Post-Crisis Earth-1, Light’s identity is revealed to be… Linda Park? Now, this may not seem like a huge deal to the casual viewer, but for a longtime DC Junkie like myself, playing “swap the Asian” to fill the role of a prominent DC superhero instead of simply introducing a new female character of Japanese descent was the easy road for the show to take, and it was definitely an unfortunate one. (Malese Jow, who portrays Linda Park, and wonderfully so, is of Chinese and Cherokee descent.) The fact that the show purposefully obscured the characters big reveal only makes me sour to the idea more. (Though the point was to obviously avoid spoilers, when the spoiler involves a problematic bait-and-switch on its audience, that’s an issue.)
“It’s strange to be holding your autobiography. Especially when you didn’t write it. And it’s not about you.” – Wells-2.
“I was gonna ask her out, and then a land shark tried to eat me, and then Doctor Wells: The Sequel showed up!” – Barry, who is never not adorable.
“Y’know, our Doctor Wells might have been evil, but you are just a diiick.” – Cisco.
“Why don’t we take it down a lumen. Have a conversation?” – The Flash, to Doctor Light.
“I think coffee is the one constant in the Multiverse.” – Jay.
BEST MOMENT: Jay vs. Harry. The title of this week’s episode, “The Darkness and the Light”, isn’t just a snappy handle for Doctor Light’s introduction, it’s a deliberate nod to the warring ideologies foisted upon Barry this season. In one corner we have Jay Garrick, The Flash of Earth-2, trying to show “the kid” how to become a stronger hero through patience, and in the other we have Dr. Harrison Wells of, yep, who is attempting to push Barry further than he’s ever gone before through a sheer display of power. So when they’re put in a room together, things are gonna get dicey, and quick. That fistfight, fleeting as it was, had more drama for our hero than the inevitable Light/Flash skirmish could ever match. (And now Tom Cavanagh really spooks me.)
EPISODE’S MVP: Dr. Wells of Earth-2. How great is is to have Tom Cavanagh back? The best part about The Flash is that death is a rather impermanent thing, especially for its stable of fan-favorite actors. Yeah, Dr. Wells 2: Dark Territory might be a total putz, but watching the S.T.A.R. kids squirm while he’s hanging around the lab is a joy for me. I wonder where they’re letting him crash?
– C’mon, show. “Earth Two”? EARTH-2! Wave that geek flag high!
– Interesting that we finally get to see Violet Beane appear on The Flash… and she’s not Jesse Quick. (It appears that she is the Earth-2 daughter of Harrison Wells.) What makes that even more peculiar is that her IMDb page still hasn’t listed her role on the series. Hmm…
– Doctor Light has a rather troubled history in the DCU. I’m not going to get into the particulars surrounding Doctor Arthur Light of Pre-Flashpoint Earth-1 today (and hopefully, never again), but his superheroic avatar, Kimiyo Tazu Hoshi, first appeared, fittingly enough, in Crisis on Infinite Earths #4.
– Barry started it, so let’s finish it: Best Dr. Wells Sequel Subtitles. Go!
- Dr. Wells 2: With a Vengeance
- Dr. Wells STILL Knows What Barry Did Last Summer
- Harrison Wells: The Squeakuel
- Dr. Wells Too
- Wells 2: All’s Wells That Ends Wells
- You try one! Best response gets a DoomRocket sticker/button combo sent to their door.
– One of Jay’s best friends resides from Atlantis? Now. Who could that be.
– “I don’t think any of us would become evil if we suddenly got powers.” Big talk coming from the woman who would be Killer Frost.
– Cisco’s brimming confidence just landed him a date with none other than Kendra Saunders, who you may know better as Hawkgirl. Saunders first appeared in JSA Secret Files #1 (and should not be confused with the other Hawkgirl, Shayera Hall, who first appeared in the DCU wayyy back in 1940, in Flash Comics #1).
– I love that Barry got to give Cisco his superhero name.
– So, any guesses as to who Zoom actually is? We tossed around some ideas here at DoomRocket HQ and came up with a couple of interesting theories:
- maybe it’s the Earth-2 doppelganger of Henry Allen, who resents losing his son Barry to some unseen force?
- could it be the Barry Allen of Earth-2, as cold and evil as our Barry is loving and kind?
- or maybe, just maybe, it’s the Jay Garrick of Earth-1, who’s been traversing the Multiverse all along, knocking off any speedsters that might steal his thunder? Whoever Zoom is, if he’s gonna matter at all (because, let’s face it, he’s kinda the weakest part of this season so far), he has to be someone with close ties to Barry, on this Earth, or the next.