“I opened up our world to new threats, and I am the only one fast enough to stop them.”  You sure about that, Barry?

Barry spends the episode denying the existence of another speedster due to some residual other-speedster trust issues, when he should really be wrapping his mind around the existence of another freaking Earth. It’s official: Earth-2 is a thing and pretty much everyone, except Barry, is running with it. C’mon Barry, it’s exciting! Like Cisco, the king Nerd of Color, we’re getting goosies!

I didn’t think this episode would be better than the premiere, but I dare say that this second chapter won by a nose — Jay Garrick’s perfectly-sculpted-man nose, to be specific. In the last cliffhanger, Jay Garrick shows up uninvited (like so many before him) to S.T.A.R. Labs; we learn that he’s been staking out the team for half of the year gathering intel. Yeah, not a good first impression, Jay, but it’s okay! He wants to help despite the creepiness! Oh, an he’s from an alternate world! And he’s also a speedster like somebody that we used to know. Barry glowers and starts nope-circling, but Caitlin and Cisco believe Jay’s story after administering secret Lie Detector Tests and gaining accurate info about the latest metahuman, Sand Demon. Eventually, Barry gives Jay a chance, and together they fight the meta in ultimate comicbook glory and nerdiness.

…and that wasn’t even the most important part of the episode! Let Doc Stein demonstrate his chalkboard artistry and superior intellect by explaining to the team (and the way-too-confused audiences at home):

No, Stein is not drawing boobs.

Important Explanations for the rest of the season/series

“Multi-verse” would be a more apt description.  –Dr. Stein

Two.. three.. four.. infinite earths all exist at the same time and are nearly identical to Earth-1. Nearly identical. This distinction is crucial!

Barry isn’t the same on each earth. Joe West isn’t the same on each earth. Harrison Wells isn’t the same on each earth. I like to think that on another earth I’m in some sort of lab chilling with random Justice Leaguers like a female Cisco. That is what I like to think. Anyways, the point I’m trying to make is that Barry is fosho visiting other earths during this series, if not this season; think the “Apocalypse” or the “Luthor” episodes of Smallville in which Clark was never raised by the Kents.

I see you, Flash Writers, using Doc Stein as your megaphone: There are endless alternatives to events that take place on the show. This is brilliant because the writers have essentially created a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card for themselves.  All deaths, relationships, and terrible decisions have a mark of impermanence, even moreso considering that time-travel is still a thing that exists in this universe, right? This is why I’m not even fretting about Ronnie or Eddie or whomever else is “dead.”

Oh hey Snowbarry shippers, it’s also an “easy out” for the dreaded comic book fate of Caitlin Snow: she doesn’t need to become Killer Frost and betray our Barry anymore! …But the opportunity to meet another earth’s Caitlin as a fully-formed supervillain is a 500% inevitability now. Funny how Cisco is the one who believes that he’d be the metahuman to turn villain in the group.

Isn’t this what you always wanted, Cisco? Why keep it a secret? The only person you told was Stein, and then he dropped in the lab? Was that you? Control it, Vibe!

The actual meta-human of the week is the Sand Demon who was sent/ dragged through the Breach by Zoom. Episodically, this is the bad guy story I expect until December, with the exception of the occasional appearance by an escaped Rogue. I love that we don’t really focus on the MOTWs that much anymore: they show up, push forward the development of the characters we’re actually invested in, illustrate badass visual effects and Flash fighting moves, and then they’re gone. And by “gone,” I mean dead. Because Season 2 Barry takes no more chances with villains.

Barry suits up with a speedforceless-but-still-regenerative Jay Garrick, who has fought the Sand D-Bag before. After less than a day of training, Barry uses Jay’s lighting hurling move to turn the Sand Demon into glass and shatter him. That is two weeks and two kills for Barry Allen for anyone keeping count.

Season Two: Faster, Lightning-ier, and Murder-ier

Recent Arrivals

Notice the colors of their “speedster exhaust.”

Jay Garrick.  “Powerless. Unable to return home.” No wonder, Barry is wary… the exact words were used to describe Eobard Thawne/Fake Wells/Reverse Flash. But Jay isn’t a bad guy; we know this from DC’s Golden Age. Part-time chemist, part-time physicist, part-time superhero: Jay is the good-looking Flash from Earth-2 and was sucked through the breach created by the Singularity just as he was getting his ass handed to him by his universe’s evil speedster, Zoom.

While being physically examined as per Barry’s orders, Jay confides in Caitlin — who apparently puts him through a full body scan in the name of “being thorough” — that the loss of his Speed Force powers has put him through a personal identity crisis. Hell yes. personal superhero drama is good TV. This means he’s going to channel all of his Need-to-Be-a-Hero energy into mentoring Barry! And not in the two-faced, self-serving way that Thawne/Wells “mentored” Barry. I like Jay.

Patty Spivot. An officer and a scientist (triple major of bio, chem, and physics) new to CCPD only seven months ago. Apparently, her father was killed by the Weather Wizard(s). She wants justice… but that can quickly turn to vengeance. I’m still weighing in on her.

Pleeeeeease, Joe?

Zoom. Black suit. Blue lightning. Death. That’s all we know so far. Oh, and he keeps sending Earth-2 bad guys to kill Barry Allen… how? Can he not get through the Breach himself?

Mama West. So that’s who Joe has been ignoring on his phone. I was wondering why he was being rude.

 Budding Relationships

Barry x Jay. I’m so f*cking into this. Barry’s been hurt by his Speed Force mentor before… badly. Thawne/Wells is like the ex-boyfriend that ruined Barry’s wide-eyed sensibility to love again; Iris commented on trust issues, and I feel like it’s going to be one of Barry’s trials until the mid-season finale at the very least.

Jay is going to teach him how to trust again, and it’s going to be so bro-ed out and cheesy and sweet if this interaction is anything to go by. It’s like watching Mel Gibson and Danny Glover congratulate each other on their police promotions.

Iris x Caitlin. This was the most interaction between the two of them in any episode so far. I want more. I need more.

They’re learning more about each other! Checking out supermen is always a sisterhood event.

Jay x Caitlin. “Did you say lab?” asked Caitlin excitedly, her face lighting up. And the #SnowJay took flight.

Barry x Patty. Patty read all of his forensics reports. She’s his fan. Central City is rocking Flash tees, and this girl is rocking Barry’s face + perfect brow combo on her fangirl heart… (I would too. Hint to Grant Gustin to follow Stephen Amell’s lead). Also, I just really like watching Barry flirt.

Doc Stein x Loneliness. He misses Ronnie. He’s throwing himself into helping The Flash so much that he faints from the fervored frenzy of it all. Well, not really, but even Cisco notices he’s gone off the deep end. Like Jay Garrick, Stein is dealing with his lost powers in a identity crisis kind-of-way.

Overall

This episode is a game changer. The second death in a row for Barry hints that he’s not playing it safe anymore in order to protect the people he cares about. It’s as if Barry is anti-meta, regardless of what they claim their alignment to be; he believes that he is the only one who can protect humans from the superpowered.

Jay Garrick is going to be a different mentor than Barry’s ever had before: different from Wells and Oliver. Compared to Jay, Barry seems unruly and rebellious, a far cry from the happy-go-lucky Barry from season one. Jay gives off the old school, golden superhero vibes that I think will play well against Season 2 Barry. Plus, he keeps calling Barry “kid.” That’s gonna piss Barry off, eventually, and I can’t wait for it to happen.

Livetweet with me next Tuesday on @TheNerdsofColor twitter account or follow me at @christellexoxo.

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