Last week’s epic-sode of THE FLASH worked on many different levels.
Creatively, “Welcome to Earth-2” was a well-written and acted hour of television. The show was able to transport its characters to another reality where their doppelgangers existed. But always with a twist. Earth-2 Barry Allen wore glasses, a bow tie, worshiped Harry Wells and…was married to Detective Iris West. Yes, Iris was the officer in the family. Not her dad. Joe was an amazing lounge singer.
Meanwhile, we finally got to see the evil spin on Caitlin Snow. Killer Frost and her man, Ronnie Raymond aka Deathstorm, worked for Zoom. Well, maybe not directly for Zoom. There was a menacing middle man and he looked a lot like Cisco Ramon. One of the best moments of the episode was when Vibe met his other self, Reverb, who was so arrogant to think he could double-cross Zoom. Before Zoom took out Reverb, Cisco witnessed his potential. The risks and the consequences were real. By the end of the episode, Zoom had captured Barry while Reverb, along with Earth-2 Joe West and Deathstorm were dead.
Emotionally, seeing our Barry navigate this new reality provided a number of feels. When he first saw this world’s Iris. Realizing Earth-2 Barry doesn’t get along with Joe. One of the most compelling and heartbreaking moments had to be the phone call between Barry and his mother, who’s alive and well and receiving great gifts from her son. Grant Gustin can’t be beat in those types of scenes.
Stylistically, the look and feel of Earth-2 was on point. It was futuristic yet retro at the same time. Who could blame Barry and Cisco for taking selfies and being in awe of this world? “We have this amazing production designer — Tyler Harron — and I think from the beginning there was always this sort of art deco feel,” explains executive producer Todd Helbing.
“Super retro with like a modern tech aspect,” says Todd’s brother Aaron Helbing, who’s also an executive producer on THE FLASH.
Todd continues, “That’s basically all we have to say to Tyler. And he blows everybody out of the water. It’s amazing the stuff he comes back with, we get these sketches of Earth-2 and all the buildings. And what they’re gonna look like. It’s amazing.”
As far as the ratings game, “Welcome to Earth-2” grabbed a great audience. In the 18-49 demo, it snagged its highest numbers of the season. Overall, it scored its highest numbers in more than a year, to the tune of 3.96 million viewers.
Now that Barry’s trapped with Harry’s daughter and some other mysterious man in Zoom’s lair, it’s time to “Escape from Earth-2.”
“Cisco and Wells are trying to come up with a plan on how to get Barry out of the predicament he’s in,” previews Todd. “So they seek out somebody that you’d never expect. And they do their best to set up this rescue mission. On Earth-1, they still have to deal with Geomancer and the breach issue.”
Guess who’s going to step up tonight? Earth-2 Barry, who was knocked out pretty early in last week’s episode.”You will see a lot more of Earth-2 Barry. And he’s quite a bit different than Earth-1 Barry,” teases Todd.
While coming up with the configuration for Earth-2 Barry was a team effort, they did rely a lot on Gustin’s contributions. “Originally, we felt he should have this Jimmy Stewart quality,” reveals Todd. “But we really just gave Grant a few ideas and he just sort of took that upon himself and created this amazing guy that you can see in the next episode.”
Aaron says Earth-2 Barry “plays a pivotal role” in the rescue mission to save Barry. “You’ll see,” says Todd. “You meet him in one spot in the beginning of the episode and the way he is. And he has his own arc and journey throughout this episode to become something bigger than he is.”
As for Zoom, sure he’s got Barry right where he wants him. But he can’t steal his speed just yet. “He doesn’t have all the ingredients, per se,” admits Aaron. “We established earlier in the season that he needed other aspects or other people to help that process.”
In “Welcome to Earth-2,” Jay Garrick warned Barry to “not let yourself get sucked in emotionally.” How could he not, though? The EPs admit there are going to be some lasting effects from this phase of the season.
With Barry, Todd says his Earth-2 journey, “affects him quite a bit. I think the relationship with Iris, it really sits with him. That’s going to be on his mind quite a bit in upcoming episodes.”
Cisco saw how powerful his doppelganger was. Just because Reverb is gone doesn’t mean Vibe won’t develop these powers in his own world. “I feel like once you’re exposed to something that’s possible…it’s like the first time Tony Hawk did a 720 on a skateboard, everyone can then do it,” theorizes Aaron. “When Cisco saw the magnitude of the powers that he’s capable of, anything’s possible in his mind. We may explore that.”
Operation #SaveBarryandJesse kicks into high gear tonight at 8/7c when Barry and the gang attempt to “Escape from Earth-2” before time runs out on THE FLASH.
Credit : Tina Charles