Spoilers ahead for “Welcome to Earth-2,” the latest episode of The CW’s Flash.
Wow. The Flash has always played things fast and loose when it comes to DC easter eggs, but “Welcome to Earth-2” was a veritable easter egg farm full of easter bunnies. From doppelgängers to blink-and-you’ll-miss-it bits that will have fans geeking out for days, this one had it all. Oh, and it also did a heck of a good job advancing the plot, too.
First, the high points: Barry, Cisco and Harry go to Earth-2 through the final breach in an effort to save Harry’s daughter Jessie, but it does not go as planned (shocker). Barry goes undercover as his Earth-2 version, who is married to Det. Iris West. Earth-2 Joe is shot and killed by Killer Frost (Earth-2 Caitlin) and Deathstorm (Earth-2 Ronnie). They (along with Reverb, aka Evil Cisco) get the drop on Barry and knock him out — but not before Zoom kills Deathstorm and Reverb for not following his orders.
The episode ends with Barry locked up in Zoom’s prison, which is probably not the infiltration method he had in mind.
Supergirl, vintage Flash and the Speed Cannon
The Speed Cannon used to fire our heroes off to Earth-2 is basically an Easter Egg Machine, as it crosses through the nexus of realities and offers up tantalizing glimpses at all the different worlds out there. With everything from a Supergirl crossover to Legends of Tomorrow’s time-jumping insanity brewing, they took full advantage of the sandbox.
While on their trip, the gang got an eyeful of awesome stuff, led by a peek at Supergirl flying through the air, providing a nice little nod before the crossover episode set to hit next month, which will find Barry traveling to Kara’s world. This also seems to be a semi-confirmation that the crossover will feature Supergirl’s world as part of the multiverse, meaning it’s not within the same world of The Flash and Arrow.
But, beyond Supergirl, the trip also showcased a mysterious different version of the Green Arrow (possible from that upcoming future-set Legends episode); the 1990’s version of The Flash (featuring John Wesley Shipp in the title role, who plays Barry’s father now); Grodd; Jona Hex (from another upcoming Legends episode); and a Legion Flight Ring (used by Booster Gold, and created by Brainiac 5). Yeah, not bad for about five seconds, right?
More easter eggs than you can count (but don’t worry, we did)
But, that’s just the beginning. Once the gang actually arrives on Earth-2, it’s a total overload of quick nods and tweaks to the reality we know and love.
As they walk through Earth-2 STAR Labs, Barry and Cisco are stunned to learn Dr. Henry Hewitt (Demore Barnes), who was a bad twist on Firestorm on Earth-1, is a pleasant and polite assistant to Harry. The looks on their faces are priceless.
We don’t actually get a look at him (probably because Wentworth Miller is busy on Legends of Tomorrow), but the Earth-2 version of Leonard Snart is apparently the mayor of Central City. Hey, he’s always been a bright guy — turns out he just needed the right motivations to turn it all around.
Where the Earth-1 Central City Police Department has an homage to the Justice League in its huge mural, the Earth-2 lobby features a nod to the Justice Society.
Deadshot returns! But, you know, he’s basically the exact opposite of his Earth-1 version. This was, arguably, one of the best easter eggs — if only because it was a total shock. Michael Rowe came back to the role he made so memorable on Arrow (R.I.P., bro), but instead of being a criminal who can’t miss, he’s a scaredy cat cop who can’t hit the broad side of a barn. We need more Earth-2 Deadshot. Please.
Barry and Iris are married! Following a storyline that is all-too-familiar to comic fans, the Barry and Iris of Earth-2 are married. Of course, in this reality Det. West is Iris, who gave up journalism to become a cop, but still — those crazy kids got together. This is an obvious, but interesting angle to take. For one, with Patty gone (PLEASE BRING HER BACK. Ahem, sorry), you’d have to think they’ll be circling back to Barry’s long-simmering feelings for Iris.
It’s an interesting way to reintroduce that storyline, by basically thrusting Barry into a doppelgänger marriage where he has to deal with those feelings in a rush. You’d have to think his Earth-2 experience with Iris will come back into play down the line.
Oh, Captain: Captain Singh (Patrick Sabongui) is a criminal on Earth-2, apparently.
Old friends, new enemies: We knew this one was coming, but it was still deliciously fun. Danielle Panabaker gets to play Killer Frost on Earth-2, working for Zoom and killing people with an icy heart (sorry, couldn’t resist). Considering how little Caitlin gets to do on Earth-1, it’s great to see her cut loose. This episode also featured the return of Robbie Amell, playing Deathstorm, the evil version of Firestorm. These two are having fun causing trouble, and it shows.
Barry cries, and so do we: Barry's mom is alive, and the brief phone call he shares with her was an excellent way to throw a nod to Barry’s past and rip your heart out in the process. It’s also sweet to think she at least got her happy ending on Earth-2, and it must bring Barry some comfort to know there’s a version of her out there still alive and well.
Barry's phone on Earth-2: Did anyone else notice the other numbers on speed dial? We’ll recap: “Eddie,” “Bruce,” “Hal” and “Diana.” Best guesses: Eddie is a nod to the dearly departed Eddie Thawne, while Bruce is a sly wink to Bruce Wayne/Batman; Hal is Hal Jordan/Green Lantern; and Diana is Wonder Woman. No, we’ll probably never see those characters on the small screen (though we’re still holding out hope for Green Lantern), but it’s a sly wink that fans should enjoy.
Jitters is Jitterbugs, and Joe is a singer: Hey, this episode was loaded to the gills, so why not reuse a set or two when possible? The trademark Jitters coffeehouse is transformed into Jitterbugs, a classy establishment where Joe West is belting out the classics.
… Speaking of Joe, he absolutely hates Earth-2 Barry. This is a fun story to play out, considering we’ve never really seen Barry and Joe and odds on Earth-1, before. But, right before he dies from wounds sustained protecting Iris, he has a nice moment with Barry. Different worlds or not, family is still family.
Jay’s story finally gets interesting
Jay Garrick has been a big pile of wasted potential for a long time now, but his story finally got a spark this week. With Barry gone, someone needs to step up and face off with the Metahuman of the Week back on Earth-1. So, Jay is pushed into trying an updated version of Velocity 6 (Caitlin has worked it up to Velocity 7, which works briefly) to regain his speed, to face off with the baddie. It doesn’t go well, but it’s a long-overdue reminder that this guy used to be a hero.
But, just because he’s a hero, that doesn't mean he’s perfect. Turns out, there are a few details Jay left out of his origin story. Once he got a taste of the Speed Force, he got greedy, and that’s how he developed Velocity 6 — and it’s part of the reason he lost his speed and is now sick. It provides a chink of interesting armor in his wooden veneer, and here’s hoping they keep scratching at that story. It also explains Jay’s random aversion to using Velocity 6 when it’s come up in the past. In all honesty, this needed to be revealed weeks and weeks ago. As for how this relates to that recent Hunter Zolomon reveal? Hmm...
Now he just has to figure out how to fix that Speed Cannon.
Cisco could be more powerful than anyone
A running joke throughout the episode found Cisco searching for his Earth-2 doppelgänger, and you just knew he would find him eventually. Turns out, Cisco’s alter ego is keeping a low profile because he’s an evil kingpin going under the name Reverb. He’s also learned a whole lot more about the “vibe” powers both versions of Cisco share, and is strong enough to have Deathstorm and Killer Frost positively terrified of him.
Having Cisco come face to face with his own Evil Spock holds a ton of potential, and it’s also a nice tease to set-up Cisco eventually discovering more about how his powers work. His power set has a ton of potential, but sadly Earth-2 Cisco won’t get to explore it, since Zoom zips in and takes him out (in the same way Reverse-Flash killed Earth-1 Cisco in the aborted timeline last season, by the way).
Barry (kind of) succeeded
After Barry gets his butt kicked by Deathstorm and Reverb, Zoom takes him prisoner and tosses him in the mystery prison we’ve already glimpsed with Harry’s daughter Jessie. Speaking of which, Barry found Jessie! By getting himself locked up in the cell beside her, but still! Progress?
Also, who was that guy in the metal mask in the adjacent cell? Diggle? Wally West? Is he tapping morse code? Any guesses?
Great little thing: Cisco brought Twizzlers. You know, just in case Earth-2 doesn’t have them. Good thinking.
Up Next: The Earth-2 gang has to help save Barry, and hopefully we’ll peel back a few more layers of the mystery surrounding Zoom. Also: Earth-2 Barry is a total dork!