“The Flash: The Darkness and the Light”

Courtesy of Warner Brothers Television.
Courtesy of Warner Brothers Television.

There’s one thing to take away after watching “The Flash,” which is that it’s simply a fun show. And it truly did deliver in bringing the fun in the show’s fifth episode of season two, “The Darkness and the Light.”

After sidetracking with a couple episodes, “The Flash” continued its exciting multiverse story arc the show has built after its epic season one cliffhanger. As seen in last week’s episode, Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) from Earth-2 has arrived to Earth-1 Central City through one of the 52 breaches in the city that connects both worlds. After much shock that Harrison Wells is back, Team Flash learns that Wells has arrived to help Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) stop the evil speedster Zoom. But things are not all too well with Wells back, as Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears), the Flash from Earth-2, warns Team Flash that just like Earth-1 Harrison Wells, he is hiding many secrets and should not be trusted. And Zoom himself has not stopped his goal of trying to kill Allen by sending more Earth-2 metahumans through the breaches. And this time he sends Dr. Light, a metahuman with blinding light abilities.

Right off the bat, the episode started with the longest look we’ve ever had at Earth-2 in the show. Earth-2 is decidedly very futuristically retro and it’s an Earth in which Harrison Wells is still alive and highly revered, unlike Earth-1. The highlight of this look at Earth-2 is that we actually get to see Jay Garrick as his interpretation of The Flash. It’s pretty fun seeing Sears in the role of a much applauded superhero and is totally convincible as the crimson comet. Unlike Gustin’s Flash, Sears is able to transform into a leader.

An important point is that Wells has developed a “Metahuman Awareness” app where it can warn people who have the app when a metahuman is near. We also see where the heated relationship between Wells and Garrick comes from. After revealing the new app, Garrick barges in and in front of the people of Central City, accuses Wells of creating the metahumans that have caused trouble in the city. With the whole crowd watching, Wells denies this accusation and refutes that Garrick should have stopped the villainous Zoom already if he would stop running from him. It’s an exciting look into a world we’re unfamiliar with and elevates the potential of what’s to come for the show.

This episode’s big drawing point is that Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells is back as a full cast member instead of cameos he has had in the previous episodes. I’ve always said that Cavanagh’s performance as Wells was the best thing of season one. I’m happy to say Cavanagh once again brought his A game and was easily the best thing about this episode. Also what’s exciting is that Cavanagh is playing a completely different character than his season one counterpart. In season one we saw the mysterious and wise Harrison Wells. Now in season two we are seeing a demanding, abusive, pushover Wells. Much credit goes to Cavanagh and it’s a testament to his acting ability as it’s a vastly different interpretation of Wells. He has changed everything ranging from the sound of his voice to the presence he makes when he enters a scene.

A major development happens for the series as Wells reveals that, thanks to his Metahuman Awareness app, Cisco (Carlos Valdes) is actually a metahuman. In previous episodes, Cisco has had strange visions where he sees something happening somewhere else. He has kept the secret to himself and now it’s out. But due to a very demanding Wells, he is insistent in using Cisco’s abilities to be able to track down Dr. Light. With his newfound abilities, the potential what the show can do with Cisco’s character just got more exciting.

Among these developments though, I can safely say that this is also by far the funniest episode “The Flash” has ever had. Wells’ presence in Earth-1 gives way to hilarious interactions between him and Team Flash, whether it’s Cisco giving wise cracks to Wells because of his inner hatred for Earth-1 Wells, or Wells’ deadpan realization of how much his doppelganger hurt Team Flash. Most of the humor in this episode is actually derived from the effect Dr. Light has. She blinds Allen when he’s facing off with her, which leads to hilarious fiascos, such as him bumping into things and talking in the wrong direction to people.

This all leads to a literal blind date between Allen and Patty Spivot (Shantel VanSanten), Joe West’s (Jesse L. Martin) new partner-in-crime. Gustin and VanSanten’s chemistry is off the charts and their interactions are so natural that it’s a joy to watch the two interact. The date also leads to more hilarity as “The Flash” introduces a more sitcom-y aspect to the series as Allen asks Cisco to be his eyes throughout the date in which Cisco sees everything that’s going on from STAR Labs through special glasses he gave him. Amongst the menacing Zoom, the pending danger, and the dramatic multiverse storyline it’s nice to see that “The Flash” doesn’t shy away from having light moments and consequently, the show does a great job of balancing drama and comedy.

“The Flash” continued its exciting multiverse story and delivered exciting aspects such as a vastly different Harrison Wells and tension between him and members of Team Flash. It also ventured into more comedic territory, which was very welcome. All in all, these aspects of “The Darkness and the Light” made for a very balanced and more importantly fun episode of “The Flash.”

 

Rating: 4 stars

 

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