Spoilers ahead for “King Shark,” the latest episode of The CW’s The Flash!
This episode was set up to be a fun, Flash-esque riff on Jaws — but it turned out to be so much more. If anything, it’s truly the spiritual third act in the “Earth-2” two-parter, and it’s the perfect footnote to wrap up that story and ask a whole lot of new questions in the process.
The short version: King Shark escapes an ARGUS facility, sending Lyla and Diggle to Central City in an effort to warn Barry (since King Shark was sent by Zoom, and still wants to kill The Flash). Caitlin also grapples with the apparent death of Jay, and Barry is processing the alternate life he witnessed on Earth-2. But by far the biggest moment came in the post-episode stinger. Zoom pulls off his mask, and he’s none other than Jay Garrick. WHAAAAA?
Its official: Zoom is Jay Garrick
The writers had been telegraphing the option that Jay could really be Zoom, what with the Mysterious Masked Man tapping out “J-A-Y” and the fact that Jay’s Earth-1 doppelgänger is named Hunter Zolomon (Zoom’s name in the comics). But after Zoom seemingly killed Jay and yanked him through the final breach at the end of last week, it seemed to throw a wrench into that theory.
Well, apparently not. In an post-episode interview with Variety, producer Andrew Kreisberg said they were setting this up from the beginning, and actually used the fact that fans would recognize Jay as a hero to conceal the fact that he was really Zoom all along. They’re also aware it paralleled the Wells/Thawne twist reveal from last season, but felt bringing in Jay was a way to fill that void and set-up this season's reveal. Which is a bit on the nose, but hey, it worked:
“Jay had been watching them and knew that so he was able to masterfully step into the role each of them needed. He became a friend and mentor to Barry. A love interest to the heartbroken Caitlin. He skillfully played them all… We knew there’d be a fair amount of the audience who would know who Jay Garrick was and would take the character and anything he said at face value because of his past history. With this, we were better able to hide the ball as it were as to Zoom’s true identity. Who would suspect the big bad was the classic hero from the comics?”
But, this still begs a million more questions: Is Zoom a future (or past?) version of Jay? Is it all the same Jay? If so, how the heck did he seemingly kill himself when he pulled Jay through the breach (which Zoom/Jay admitted was a bit of a complication)? How does Hunter Zolomon fit into all this? AND WHO IS THE MYSTERIOUS MASKED MAN? Is he another Jay?
Yeah, there are arguably more questions than answers at this point.
If nothing else, Jay finally has something to do.
King Shark is crazy fun
The effects team got to go crazy this week, as they brought King Shark to life and set up more than one battle with The Flash. It seems we’ll be getting at least one huge, WTF metahuman episode each season, and King Shark joins Grodd in the larger-than-life arena this season. It’s also worth noting that final battle in the bay (“Biblical,” as Diggle points out) seemingly left King Shark alive. So, there’s always a chance he could break out of ARGUS next season and cause even more trouble.
The King Shark fight was excellent (The Flash Bait! Ha!), and it provided a nice thematic connection to the Earth-2 debacle and the lingering shadow of Zoom. Gotta love the symmetry.
The Earth-2 secrets come out
After vowing to keep the events of their adventure on Earth-2 a secret from the rest of the team, pretty much all the dirty details come out by the end of this episode. Cisco tells Caitlin about her evil Earth-2 doppelgänger, and can’t seem to get over the fear that Caitlin could eventually turn into Killer Frost (we’ll just ignore that fact that Cisco is also evil on Earth-2, but whatever). Caitlin uses the fear to pull a nice fake out on Cisco, but reassures him she is definitely not turning evil.
She’s just dealing with the loss of yet another lover, in very similar circumstances just one year apart. Which, yeah, it’s a miracle she’s not turning evil at this point. It goes without saying, but it’s high time Caitlin catches a break in the love life department. Losing Ronnie, and now Jay? It’s getting a bit silly at this point.
Barry also spills the beans to Iris and Joe, telling Iris about their Earth-2 marriage and Joe about his other version’s death at the hand of Zoom’s henchmen. You knew the Barry/Iris story would certainly get a kick from the Earth-2 events, and the look on Iris’ face is proof enough it’s definitely kicked up some ideas in her head. Look for this one to keep creeping along as we roll through Season 2. Might we finally get the classic, Barry/Iris relationship by the end of the year?
Diggle gets to be Barry’s Diggle
Along with King Shark and all the big reveals, this episode also included Flash alums Diggle and Lyla, bringing the ARGUS connection over to Central City. Along with providing some back-up to Team Flash, Diggle also gets a chance to give Barry a classic pep talk that echoed the ones he often gives Oliver. Barry has taken on a lot this year, trying to defend not just one universe but a whole new one in the process. Diggle tells him to take stock of that, and not let it weigh him down — noting he’s starting to act more and more like Oliver (and not in a good way).
No matter what show he’s on, Diggle’s gonna Diggle, y’all.
Welcome to the crazy, Wally West
Keiynan Lonsdale told us we’d see some sibling rivalry between Barry and Wally this season, and it’s finally starting to play out. Wally is understandably jealous of Barry (though Joe does a good job of calming that down). Wally gets to witness King Shark busting through the ceiling of Joe’s house, because he can track Barry as the Flash (though apparently not discern among the people in the room?).
This is the second time Wally has crossed paths with the Flash now, and you have to wonder how long it’ll be until they bring his character into the fold. It seems a bit soon, now, but you know it’s coming down the line. Plus: When might Wally become a speedster, himself?
The team gets a little bigger: Harry’s daughter Jesse is finally free from Zoom’s prison, and is already starting to pull her weight on Team Flash. She’s definitely Wells’ daughter, and that big brain is shining through. There’s a chance she could also become a speedster, if they follow the comic canon.
Barry regroups on the Earth-2 problem: Though they still don’t know how to beat Zoom, Barry is committed to finding a way back to Earth-2 and taking on Zoom once again. You knew those breaches wouldn’t stay closed forever, and it’s encouraging to see Barry regain some of his confidence in the fight against Zoom. Which, we’re curious how long it’ll last once he realizes they’ve been terrorized by their good pal Jay all this time.
Line of the night: “We're gonna need a bigger Flash” - Cisco
Up Next: A new speedster comes to town! The down side: We have to wait until March 22 for the season to resume!