“In the beginning there was only one. A single black infinitude…” Then suddenly there came a light from a convex curvature that immediately dominated everyone’s attention in the family room. Color projections would eventually follow before the onset of the digital revolution introduced the flat-screen and high-definition to living room walls all over. Then the impossible occurred in the new millennium when The Flash (the popular 1990’s action series starring John Wesley Shipp) was reimagined for a twenty-first century audience.
We had believed that a man could fly, and that the dark had bred a knight. We accepted the mission of a longbow archer to defend his city, but when lightning struck in The CW primetime and Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) inherited the speed force, the multiverse was introduced into primetime — suddenly the DC Universe exploded into existence like never before. At the end of Season 1 of The Flash Barry thwarted his nemesis, but defeating the Reverse-Flash (Tom Cavanagh) opened up a singularity — a wormhole — between two earths.
With the help and the sacrifice of some of his friends, the Flash was able to set things right, but there were consequences. Both Ronnie Raymond (one-half of the nuclear man, Firestorm) and Det. Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett) were lost. In the ensuing months following the closure of the singularity, the Flash has just learned there is a new threat loose on Central City — and its name is “Zoom!” This new enemy has already made it clear: Zoom means to destroy the Flash, but from the shadows emerges a potentially powerful new ally that may finally tilt the scales in Barry’s favor.
But what’s it going to take for Barry to trust this enigmatic stranger? Who is Jay Garrick — the “Flash” of the other earth parallel to our own? In the second episode of The Flash in its Second Season, already the stakes have been set dangerously high, and it’s quite possible that Barry Allen may not be up to speed to face the impending crisis to come. In a major departure from the heroic journey audiences signed up for in Season One, this new season of The Flash is full-steam ahead and delving deep into the comic’s mythology.
The advent introduction of the multiverse in this episode appropriately entitled “Flash of Two Worlds” (Original Airdate: 10/13/2015) is perhaps the biggest risk ever taken by a television series set in the world of the DC Comics Universe, but if there’s ever been a show to take on such a complex and mind-bending concept The Flash is certainly the one-hour drama to do it within. Series creators Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg and Geoff Johns have always agreed that The Flash would borrow plenty from the source materials, the origins of the character have always been set at the center of the DC Universe and deliberately dependent on science-fiction theories.
While Barry and Team Flash (all back at S.T.A.R. Labs) wrap their minds around the theory of the fifty-two fissures that have opened up all over the place because of the cliffhanging singularity, the world beyond Central City — certainly beyond the vibrational boundaries between the immediacy of these two worlds — is exactly why Jay Garrick (winningly played by Teddy Sears) has sought out Barry Allen. As difficult as it may be to accept Barry can’t continue on his mission alone, and even as the Green Arrow (played by Stephen Amell) (re)surfaces in nearby Star City to deal with the growing violence there, Central City is itself also under siege.
Recognizing the stress that her friend and still aspiring superhero Barry Allen is under, Iris West (Candice Patton) takes a very strong and deliberate position towards her long-time best friend. Barry’s continuing to act out of character, not trusting anyone has become his instinctual reaction, especially newcomers like Garrick. According to Garrick, their common enemy Zoom (making his first if-somewhat fuzzy appearance as well in this episode) is a force of nature who is gunning for the Flash, and has targeted Allen recruiting some fowl felons to take his vengeance to task. This episode introduces Sand Demon (played by Kett Turton), an Earth-2 enemy of that world’s Flash.
Eventually finding some common ground, the Flashes of two worlds team-up to rescue the Sand Demon’s hostage, Patty Spivot (a name familiar to readers of the comics and played by new cast member Shantel VanSanten) — the ambitious rookie cop is eager to join the “Anti-Metahuman Task Force” headed by Det. Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) finds herself in over her head. Fortunately, Central City has a Scarlet Speedster and a Crimson Comet on speed dial! In the climatic final moments of the episode a whimsically wink and nod recreates the famous cover image from the comic book The Flash #123 that introduced the Earth-2 Flash into the world of the Earth-1.
…in that instant, a multiverse was born! Thank you Professor Martin Stein (Victor Garber) for coining the phrase for television viewers. In fact, Stein’s explanation of the infinite worlds though simplified is wonderfully familiar territory to DC Comics fans. Nerds everywhere rejoice!
This episode also elaborates on the transformation that Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) is under going. Contact with elements from the counter-earths causes the young man to “vibe” out of consciousness and have visions. By exposing himself to grains of cellular matter from Sand Demon, he is able to locate and isolate a location for the villain’s lair. Prof. Stein the other half of Firestorm confronts the young man offering to help, but is suddenly stricken with seizures! And scene!
The episode sets a trajectory for the series which appears determined to realize the DC Comics Universe for the small screen and sets the stage for a more complex universe of storytelling that will undoubtedly emerge once the DC’s Legends of Tomorrow premieres midseason. The series arc on The Flash has suggested that in an eventuality “a crisis” event will claim the fate of our hero. Now that the multiverse is coming into play the path towards that pivotal storyline is realistically inevitable. Speed force ahead!
Spoiler Alert: In the episode’s “stinger” the audience gets a full glimpse of Earth-2 and are especially surprised to learn that one of its denizens is Dr. Harrison Wells…alive and well!