THE FLASH Recap: Of Doppelgangers, New Universes and Refreshing Villains

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What an insane ride to another universe that was, FLASH fans!

So much happened in the short space of 43 minutes, making “Welcome to Earth-2″ one of the best episodes of the series to date. Dare I say it was even better than “Enter Zoom”?

I actually believe it was, which was no small feat, considering how outstanding episode 6 had been.

“Welcome to Earth-2″ was the kind of episode that – if it had not been handled just right – things could have gone horribly, horribly wrong. Because we are dealing with another universe and another version of our beloved characters and – had it not been written beautifully and performed to near perfection – it could have just been a bizarre, poor imitation of Earth-1. Thank goodness that was not the case, though. THE FLASH has established itself as a complex drama and, last night, we were treated to exactly that.

Before their imminent trip to another Earth, Team Flash was busy closing all the breaches in Central City. Much like “Enter Zoom”, last night’s episode was set up in a way that everything seemed light and fun up until about halfway through, when the episode turned on its head and we were suddenly watching complete disaster unfold before our eyes.

But while we were still in the fun and happy part, Iris tried to make sure that Barry was going to Earth-2 for the right reasons and not because he didn’t have anything else to lose in this universe, what with Patty leaving him and all that. The speedster reassures her that this is not the case and that he would be back. She didn’t need to worry at all, because he loves his life on Earth-1 and he wouldn’t trade it for anything.

There is only one breach open now and, after Jay gives them a warning about not getting emotionally involved there, Harry, Barry and Cisco speed right through it. That was a neat little moment, where we got to see flashes of other universes and nods to other DC superheroes. However, when they crossed over, the surge of energy was too great and it completely destabilized the breach, meaning Cisco and Barry are trapped in Earth-2 until Jay and Caitlin can find a way to stabilize it again.

Earth-2 is so different, though. The colors, the feel, the atmosphere. Everything feels different and Barry and Cisco are so excited to be in another universe that it looks like they are on a trip to Disneyland, much to Harry’s dismay.

We soon find out though that Cisco’s powers are not working because this Earth vibes in a different frequency. While they’re discussing that, they see Earth-2 Barry on TV giving an interview on behalf of the CCPD about Zoom’s reign of terror in Central City. Our Barry decides to kidnap him and take his place, so he can have access to CCPD resources and figure out what is going on.

That’s the first doppleganger we meet and I really wish we could have had more time with him. Even though our Barry quickly stepped into his shoes and took over his life, Earth-2 Barry was just so excited and adorable. When Barry-1 gets to CCPD, however, he gets the surprise of his life when, not only he finds out that the Detective West he had heard about on TV is actually Iris, but they are also married. This was the moment when we saw that it seems like Barry really is over his whole “I’m in love with Iris” phase, because he just looks so awkward and at a loss of what to do. For our Barry, Iris really is just his best friend and sister and the fact that she was suddenly kissing him and undressing in front of him was absolutely priceless.

Also, let’s talk about how this amazing cast took their own characters and created a whole new life and personality and speech pattern to go with their Earth-2 doppelgangers. Barry was the first, but we didn’t see much of him and he just seemed to be an excitable, cute nerd. The first big surprise came from Iris-2 and how Candice Patton tackled this chance to really showcase her talent. And that was just the tip of the iceberg, because there was so much more coming our way.

The surprises just kept on coming. On this Earth, Barry’s mom is alive and well and had just left him a message. When he calls her back, we get to witness one of the most touching scenes of the season (maybe the series? Grant Gustin sure knows how to make me cry), as Barry struggles to pull himself together and not break down as he talks to his mom for the first time in years. This moment right here hit really close to home to those of us who have lost a parent and I do admit that there were a lot of tears happening on my part. Kudos to Gustin, who really is at his strongest with these emotional scenes and last night was no exception.

Then they go to a bar (Jitterbugs!) to see Joe, who is a freaking musician on this Earth, perform. However, to Barry’s neverending surprise, it seems that they do not get along at all.

That’s when Killer Frost (Caitlin!) and Death Storm (Ronnie! Remember Ronnie? The dude just can’t stay dead, can he?) attack. They work for Zoom and are searching for the breacher. Barry tries to get through to Caitlin, but she is just plain evil on this Earth. And I have to say, I really like Danielle Panabaker, but I have been feeling that she’s not at her best this season. Tonight, though, she presented a whole other side as a villain and Killer Frost absolutely suits her. She was absolutely amazing and her chemistry with Robbie Amell is so much better than her total lack of chemistry with Teddy Sears.

Anyway, Iris identifies herself as CCPD and they attack her, but Joe pushes her out of the way and gets hit instead. That’s when Barry outs himself as the Flash to the meta couple and just barely gets away.

When he returns to Star Labs, Harry admonishes him for getting involved, but he says he needs to help Iris and Joe because they are his family, no matter what universe they are in. He gets to the hospital and we watch Joe die and Iris is breaking down and my God this episode is just punching me in all the feels. My heart can’t take it.

So Iris decides to go after Killer Frost to avenge her father’s death and Barry introduces her to Cisco, saying he has a gun that can stop the freezing meta human. Although she is not entirely comfortable, she takes Cisco along, plus Captain Singh, who, in this Earth is her partner and a terrible shot.

They find the meta couple and then we come across the biggest surprise of all. They are not working for Zoom directly. They are actually working for Cisco, who in this Earth, answers to Zoom. The scene that follows is just absolutely priceless and hilarious and it is a testament to Carlos Valdes’ comedic timing because this was one of those moments that it all could have gone so completely wrong and fallen flat and cheesy with the audience.

Weaver tries to lure Cisco to the dark side, showing him what his powers can become. And it just totally hit me tonight that his powers are actually very similar to Daisy Johnson’s powers in AGENTS OF SHIELD, because over there, Daisy also has the ability to control the vibrations on Earth. So I hope we get to see more action coming Cisco’s way as his powers grow.

But he obviously knows better, and calls out for Barry. Turns out, though, that they are unevenly matched and Ronnie and Evil!Cisco kick Barry’s ass. That is until Zoom, in all his terrifying glory, shows up and kills them – sparing only Killer Frost – and takes Barry with him.

Meanwhile, back on our Earth, we find out that Jay is actually the one to blame for losing his own speed. He had used velocity 6 on himself, so he could be faster, and that’s why he is dying. He tries to help Joe catch a meta human and things don’t go his way at all. But Caitlin is trying to come up with a new serum to restore his speed.

Back to Earth-2 – where the real action is happening – we see Barry locked up in a cell where Zoom is keeping Jessie, and we see a guy who looks remarkably like Diggle locked up there as well. Knowing that David Ramsey is crossing over to THE FLASH in the near future, I wonder if it really was him that we saw.

Zoom tells Barry that this is the last place he will ever see.

Fade to black.

I need next Tuesday to get here now. While we wait, though, why don’t you take a look at what is in store for us next week?

The next new episode of THE FLASH airs on February 16 at 8/7c on The CW.

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