The Flash finally took viewers to DC's parallel world on the February 9 episode and it delivered on every level. "Welcome to Earth-2" saw Barry, Cisco and Harrison Wells on the chase for Zoom and that chase saw some great moments along the way.
Chief among them was the first appearance of Earth-2's Barry, who is a Central City CSI but not quite the valiant hero fans know and love. This Allen is more reserved, more proper and more soft spoken than his doppleganger.
Basically he is Earth-1's Barry without the Speed Force.
Grant Gustin gives a very convincing performance here and for a while it's hard to remember just how heroic he can be. This Barry is just a regular guy with no aspirations of saving the world, he's just trying to do his job.
That job is directly tied to Detective West as it is on Earth-1 but this West happens to be Iris, Barry's wife. It served as a reminder of Barry's glimpse into his own future, in which he and Iris are indeed married. Seeing Candice Patton finally in a position to take charge and not play the damsel in distress was a nice change of pace and showed her range as well.
The Allens of Earth-2 live in a world that borrows heavily from Tim Burton's Gothic architecture of Gotham City as well the Art Deco style of the original Flash series. This earth appears to be stuck in a time warp in terms of fashion and cars but is perhaps more technologically advanced than Earth-1.
When it comes to fighting Zoom, they will need all the technology they can get.
Zoom is the ultimate evil in Central City, the most dangerous villain of them all. He's so powerful and so feared that Central City is under curfew as its citizens attempt to lead their lives with some sense of normalcy.
Normalcy is of course not a word that Earth-1's Barry Allen knows that well; his life has been wrought with trauma for years. So he is of course brought to tears when he finds out his mother is alive on Earth-2.
The moment that Gustin chokes up when he speaks to her on the phone is perhaps the most gripping moment of the entire series thus far. Once again fans have another reason to praise him and it's well deserved.
The surprises of Earth-2 continued as Joe West is not a cop, he's a lounge singer. Caitlin Snow is Killer Frost, Ronnie Raymond is alive and operates as Deathstorm while Cisco's doppleganger is a villain called Reverb.
All three work for Zoom and that means that all three are on the wrong side of a conflicted Barry, who just wants to help the ones he loves and cares about. But as is often the case on the show, it's Wells that becomes the voice of reason.
This is key to the success of the show's overall storyline. Barry is an emotional hero, a guy that wears his heart on his sleeve and he often acts on those emotions when fighting the evils around him. However, it is Wells that is able to bring him down to earth and keep him focused on the task at hand.
Therein lays the value of Tom Cavanagh's performance as once again he brings a stark dose of reality to the show's heroic exploits. He warns Barry about staying on track but it ultimately falls on deaf ears as Barry runs headfirst into trouble.
Wells just wants his daughter back but Barry insists on helping the family that is not really his and it backfires on him.
By the end of the episode, Earth-2's Joe West, Deathstorm and Reverb are dead as Barry is whisked away by Zoom. The show closes with a helpless Barry locked in a cell next to Wells' daughter and Zoom is having the last laugh.
Then the show ends and the fans riot in the streets.
Perhaps the last part is a bit exaggerated but it's definitely true that Greg Berlanti left fans wanting more once again. This was The Flash's Empire Strikes Back as it saw the heroes on the defense with seemingly no way to beat the odds. The main protagonist is captured and now it appears all hope is lost.
That is until part two happens on February 16. The fact is it can't get here fast enough.