Some thoughts on last night's The Flash coming up just as soon as I'm Cloud City Vadering you…
“Welcome to Earth-2” fit into a rich tradition from comic books and sci-fi television where characters meet their counterparts from a parallel universe and marvel at how different some things are, and how similar others are. See also the various “Mirror, Mirror” Star Trek episodes, Evil Willow on Buffy, Peter Parker befriending Miles Morales, and, of course, the many DC Comics stories (starting waaaay back with 1961's “The Flash of Two Worlds”) that brought together the heroes and/or villains of Earth-1 and Earth-2.
Earth-2 was originally dreamed up as a way to explain why Flash, Green Lantern, and a few other DC heroes of the '50s and '60s were so different from the characters that bore the same name during World War II, and I appreciated that this show's version of Earth-2 had fashions and architecture straight out of the '40s, even if the technology was more advanced than what's available on Earth-1. But beyond the production and costume design, there didn't seem to be much of a unifying theme to the differences between the two earths in the way DC usually tries to have in the comics (Earth-1 is more science fiction, Earth-2 more magical, Earth-3 flips the identities of all the heroes and villains, etc.). Here, some good characters were now evil, and some relatively passive ones were now more active (Iris is the cop, Caitlin is a supervillain), but there wasn't a clear through line. It was just, as Harry warned before he went through the portal with Barry and Cisco, everything is different!
Still, you could tell the actors were having fun playing very different versions of themselves. Jesse L. Martin got to sing (which is a thing he does well), Candice Patton got to use a gun, Carlos Valdes got to play coolly all-knowing, and Danielle Panabaker got to let completely loose as Killer Frost. It was an entertaining hour, even if Barry's reasoning for replacing the Earth-2 Barry never made much sense, and there were loads of Easter eggs along the way, particularly during the trip between the earths, where we could glimpse, among other people and things, Supergirl (thus establishing the shows as being on different earths and solving whatever qualms I had about the upcoming crossover), a future version of Green Arrow, the John Wesley Shipp version of the Flash, and a Legion of Super Heroes flight ring. (Speaking of the Legion, was that supposed to be Ferro Lad in the cage near Barry and Jesse, or another DC character who wears an iron mask?)
Jay Garrick's unfortunately been a dud so far, though, and his story last night was kind of a mess. So not only did he not admit the actual reason he lost his speed, for no good reason whatsoever, but then Caitlin is able to synthesize a workable speed formula in, like, a half hour? I realize this is a show where Cisco was able to build a gun that could turn anything into gold – thus solving a problem that scientists have been trying to master for centuries – and it was barely worthy of mention, but the ease with which Caitlin came up with a new Velocity formula (even if it's still a couple of generations away from really working) only underscores how dumb it was for Jay to keep his secret in the first place. (As always, secrets on these shows are never a good idea, for either the characters or the storytelling. Ever.)
Overall, though, this was a fun one, and badly needed after the show had been bumpy for a little while, between the obligatory Legends of Tomorrow set-up, all the angst over Patty, Wally, etc.
What did everybody else think? If you're a comics fan, did this live up to expectations? If not, could you make sense of most of what was happening?