‘The Flash’: Ready or Not, Here Comes the Multi-Verse
The Flash has never been a show to shy away from its comic book roots. The Season 2 premiere proved this in spades, as it hit the ground running in just its first few minutes. By the time it was finished, we’d already seen the death of a major character, the freeing of Barry Allen’s father from prison, the introduction of a new meta-human, and a tease the newest big bad known simply as “Zoom.” In the closing moments, our Flash met his alternate reality counterpart, Jay Garrick, bringing up to date on the events preceding the recently aired second episode.
Garrick’s introduction is exciting for a number of reasons. First off, his status as the original Flash is a nod to fans of the comics, and demonstrates a continued commitment to the hero’s source material. More importantly though, it introduces the existence of the multi-verse, and more specifically “Earth 2.” Here’s where things get a little crazy, so strap yourselves in. Earth 2 is a concept first developed in the comics to explain away the presence of two Flashes: Barry Allen and Jay Garrick.
DC originally developed the idea around 1956, five years after they canceled their line of Flash comics featuring Garrick as the titular speedster. Even after trying to erase Garrick from the canon in favor of Barry Allen, fans still missed the old hero, and so the parallel reality known as Earth 2 was born. You wouldn’t blame a TV show for not wanting to include alternate realities on top of time travel, and yet CW’s show is doing quite the opposite. More than that, they’re diving in headfirst.
The second episode of this season spent a fair amount of time trying to make the complexities of the multi-verse as simple as possible, even going so far as to have the esteemed Dr. Martin Stein draw us a helpful picture. With “there are two separate realities” clearly established, it’s kicked the door wide open for the rest of the season. Our villain Zoom is the terror of Earth 2, and is sending meta-humans through wormholes to kill Barry Allen over on Earth 1. The possibilities here are boundless, and it’s all thanks to the fearlessness of The Flash‘s showrunners.
The multi-verse gives us more than this season’s villain though; it also marks the return of Harrison Wells, albeit the version of him that exists in the alternate parallel dimension. It’s not entirely clear what his motives or intentions are, but any excuse to get Tom Cavanaugh more screen-time is a worthy cause. Things are only going to get crazier as the show spends more time expanding on Earth 2. If one thing’s clear, it’s that this is only the beginning.
With Zoom sending a villain to Earth 1 on the regular, The Flash is given an easy “bad guy of the week” distraction to keep its story fresh over 20 plus episodes. Like it did in its debut season, we expect it to circle back on the larger arc regularly, but the true beauty of this show comes in its utilization of the original comics. Earth 2 is set to become the true triumph of a show that already amazed us with its first season. Soon, Season 2 is going to top even that.
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