Season Two, Episode Fifteen — “King Shark”
By Jarrod Jones. Leave it to The Flash to have its last-minute stinger practically eclipse everything in the forty-odd minutes that preceded it. That’s no slight against the return of King Shark, mind you: the Finned Foe was just as glorious in the fleeting moments he had onscreen as he was in his killer cameo late last year. And don’t forget — with the appearance of Lyla & John Diggle, “King Shark” counts as an Arrow/Flash crossover, and it has enough Easter Eggs and shout-outs to make you giddy with geek power that you understand all of them. But that ending. That ending.
Zoom finally stands revealed — to us, anyway, the S.T.A.R. Kids are still in the dark — and while that reveal is designed to make the casual viewer scratch their heads and say “whaaa–?”, for those of us well-versed in the scarlet-hued lore of DC’s favorite speedster, “King Shark” marks a turning point as far as expectations for The Flash go.
That The Flash kept us guessing over Zoom’s identity as much as it did is a testament to its top-notch storytelling (Henry Allen, I can’t believe I ever suspected you), but once Jay Garrick and Caitlin Snow gave us a peek at Jay’s Earth-1 doppleganger — Hunter Zolomon — the cat was truly out of the bag. (C’mon. It’s not enough that the name is a dead giveaway, you had to let him wear nothing but black.) I can only imagine next season’s big mystery; where a guy named Hal (or John, or Kyle, or Guy) shows up to S.T.A.R. to ask for help in looking for a mysterious green lantern, possibly hidden in the jungles just outside — why not — Gorilla City. Sure, that’d be exciting, even fun, but shocking? “Shocking” ran out the door along with The Harrison Wells of Earth-1.
WHAT WORKED: Now we know why Tarpit was a big ol’ CGI mess: King Shark’s return meant a noticeable budget swell for this fan-appeasing episode. Not only did The CW have to shell out cash for their Arrow guest-stars, they had to make damn sure KS looked as monstrous and terrifying as he did during his thirty-second cameo in “The Fury of Firestorm”. That investment paid off. Barry’s latest battle with a computer-generated nemesis was the most convincing one yet, and that promises grand things for the future. (Say it with me, now: Grodd.)
WHAT DIDN’T: Now that we’ve been left to chew on the big ol’ matzoh ball that is the (purported) death of Mr. Jay Garrick, we find ourselves stuck watching everyone act the fool. Caitlin’s being rather, um, chilly to everyone (I know that was supposed to be the “big intrigue” of the week, where Cisco suspects Caitlin of walking over to the dark side, but gah!); Barry’s shut off to everyone, including Wally, who’s never been the most polite human being in the world. (If there’s anyone you don’t want to get into a thing with, it’s that moody putz. There’s no winning that battle.) Detective Joe comes in and knocks some sense into Barry, and Caitlin Snow is far more responsible than I think Cisco was given her credit for this week, but the walk along the way was a mopey one, to be sure.
Lyla: “He’s fast, John. Get over it.” Diggle: “Never.”
“I don’t suppose my homeowners insurance covers a sharknado attack.” – Det. Joe.
Jessie: “Hey, you set the right distortion scope, right?” Cisco: “Oh, f’real? Okay, you know what? We’re gonna play a game here, it’s called ‘if you’re from Earth-2 you’re gonna be quiet’, okay?”
BEST MOMENT: King Shark vs. The Flash. It was a splash page sequence ripped from the comic books inside our hearts. (“Splash” page? Eh? Oh, puns.) It’s a fascinating thing indeed that DC Films insists on Dawn of Justice being grim and dark and generic as practically everything we’ve seen from a superhero film ever, while the CW DC TV Universe feels comfortable letting loose to show us The Flash being pursued by a giant, pants-wearing man-shark. (Nice one by the way, Wally.) This week’s Best Moment was a big-screen adventure beamed directly into our homes.
EPISODE’S MVP: It was a team effort this week. With Jay’s apparent death (I’m not coming to any conclusions until I see a tombstone, people), the S.T.A.R. Kids had to learn to lean on each other a little more than normal. Detective Joe took a family gathering and made it a confession. Cisco relentlessly expressed concern over Caitlin’s newly-applied distance. Even Wells-2 leaned on his daughter, Jessie, to solve a pressing issue. It’s nice to see that The Flash never forgets what it is — a show about family.
– Didn’t take Jessie long to tastefully modify her own S.T.A.R. sweatshirt. I guess this is part of the grieving process?
– What was running around King Shark gonna do, Barry.
– Don’t recall Harry being such a big coffee drinke–ah. The CW made a S.T.A.R. Mug. Gotcha.
– Amanda Waller name-drops: 4. Yes, we know all about Suicide Squad.
– Totally appropriate Jaws references: 4 (ARGUS agents calling King Shark “Bruce”; “we’re gonna need a bigger Flash“; “just when you thought it was safe to go back to the suburbs“; “it should be me playing Quint in this scenario“)
– Totally inappropriate Jaws reference: 1 (“Cue the ‘Jaws’ soundrack.” – Cisco.)
– “Prometheum”, aside from being a really cool name for an alloy, is the favored metal used by Vic Stone, aka Cyborg.
– I would feel less worried about the finality of Jay Garrick’s death had Teddy Sears not just signed a deal to star in Fox’s 24 reboot. Is The Flash gonna be Teddy-less next season? Signs point to ‘yes’. (*sniff*)
– So, it looks like we’ll all be Flash-less for about a month. (AAAHH!) The next episode of The Flash, “Trajectory” airs on Tuesday, March 22. See you then.
8.5 out of 10
Next: “Trajectory”, soon.
Before: “Escape From Earth-2”, here.