-->
TV

The Flash: Season 2, Episode 14 - "Escape From Earth-2"

Gregory L. Reece

After last week's disappointment, "Escape From Earth-2" is a welcome return to form for this winning series.


The Flash

Airtime: Tuesdays, 8 pm
Subtitle: Season 2, Episode 14 - "Escape From Earth-2"
Network: CW
Air date: 2016-02-16
Amazon

After last week's disappointing journey to Earth-2 –- that parallel but alternative version of Earth-1 where our familiar heroes and villains exist in parallel but alternative doppelganger forms -- this week's "Escape From Earth-2" is a welcome return to form for this winning series. The first episode of this two-part story quickly went off the rails when -- shortly after arriving on Earth-2 to rescue Wells' (Tom Cavanagh) daughter Jessie (Violett Beane) from the terrifying clutches of Zoom (voiced by Tony Todd) -- Barry (Grant Gustin) became obsessed with his doppelganger family. The fact that on Earth-2 Barry was married to Iris (Candice Patton) and at odds with Joe (Jesse L. Martin) was apparently more than the Flash could handle. He kidnapped, then impersonated, his Earth-2 version and took up temporary residence in his life. It all struck me as more than a little creepy and way off track in the quest to rescue Jessie and defeat Zoom.

Meanwhile back on Earth-1, Jay (Teddy Sears) continued on his mopey way as a Flash without superpowers who’s also dying from a terminal illness. One of the greatest characters in the DC Comics canon was reduced to a pitiful state. Together, those two storylines almost managed to kill any joy that came from seeing Caitlin (Danielle Panabeker) as the villain Killer Frost and being introduced to Reverb, the cooler and more powerful version of Cisco's (Carlos Valdes) Vibe.

Luckily, things start full speed ahead in this episode, with the menacing Zoom scouring the city for Harrision Wells. The speed demon patrols the city, leaving crackling blue lightning in his wake and burning flaming messages into the side of skyscrapers. Zoom wants to take Barry's speed but needs Wells in order to do it.

Zoom's rampage sends Wells and Cisco scurrying to find Barry before it's too late, but not before they remember to free the captive Barry-2. This Barry is a lot less heroic than his Earth-1 version, constantly hyperventilating as if the speed force is trapped inside and trying to get out. The three soon team up with Iris, who in this world is a tough and competent police detective. These two provide much of the fun of this episode. Gustin gets to play his usually somber and serious character for comic relief, while Patton is given a chance to turn Iris, who in her Earth-1 from is often left out because she is neither a superhero nor a super-scientist, into a strong heroic lead.

The heroes team up with Killer Frost in order to find Zoom's lair and free Barry and Jessie, although, of course, once they’re on Zoom's turf, things are anything but easy.

All this unfolds while, over on Earth-1, Caitlin finally hits upon the right formula that promises to restore Jay's speed, cure his disease, and allow him to finally stop feeling sorry for himself and get in on the action. It's a welcome change.

Fun, alternative versions of the characters, combined with plenty of action and a few unsolved mysteries (who is the man in the iron mask?), make this episode one to remember. From start to finish, the episode maintains a sense of excitement and danger. Our heroes are in trouble and it isn’t clear, even to the last moment, if they are going to fulfill the title's promise and make their escape.

To give credit where it's due, most of the threat and tension in this episode is provided by the sheer force of Zoom. Tony Todd's menacing voice, combined with the leathery, fleshy blackness of the speedster's mask, makes Zoom seem more monster than man. And, for the second time this season, Zoom's overwhelming physical assault makes Gustin's Flash look like a broken doll. Zoom is like an avenging angel, like death itself. This series moves at near the speed of light, but I sure hope they take their time with revealing the mystery of Zoom. He's too good to waste.

Last week's trip to Earth-2 left me disappointed. This week's escape from the alternative Earth left me laughing then shivering in fear, cheering then collapsing in disappointment. Last week's episode left me wishing the series had never gone there. This week's left me wishing they could stay.

9
Music

The Best Indie Rock of 2017

Photo courtesy of Matador Records

The indie rock genre is wide and unwieldy, but the musicians selected here share an awareness of one's place on the cultural-historical timeline.

Indie rock may be one of the most fluid and intangible terms currently imposed upon musicians. It holds no real indication of what the music will sound like and many of the artists aren't even independent. But more than a sonic indicator, indie rock represents a spirit. It's a spirit found where folk songsters and punk rockers come together to dialogue about what they're fed up with in mainstream culture. In so doing they uplift each other and celebrate each other's unique qualities.

With that in mind, our list of 2017's best indie rock albums ranges from melancholy to upbeat, defiant to uplifting, serious to seriously goofy. As always, it's hard to pick the best ten albums that represent the year, especially in such a broad category. Artists like King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard had a heck of a year, putting out four albums. Although they might fit nicer in progressive rock than here. Artists like Father John Misty don't quite fit the indie rock mold in our estimation. Foxygen, Mackenzie Keefe, Broken Social Scene, Sorority Noise, Sheer Mag... this list of excellent bands that had worthy cuts this year goes on. But ultimately, here are the ten we deemed most worthy of recognition in 2017.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less
Music

The Best Country Music of 2017

still from Midland "Drinkin' Problem" video

There are many fine country musicians making music that is relevant and affecting in these troubled times. Here are ten of our favorites.

Year to year, country music as a genre sometimes seems to roll on without paying that much attention to what's going on in the world (with the exception of bro-country singers trying to adopt the latest hip-hop slang). That can feel like a problem in a year when 58 people are killed and 546 are injured by gun violence at a country-music concert – a public-relations issue for a genre that sees many of its stars outright celebrating the NRA. Then again, these days mainstream country stars don't seem to do all that well when they try to pivot quickly to comment on current events – take Keith Urban's muddled-at-best 2017 single "Female", as but one easy example.

Keep reading... Show less

It's ironic that by injecting a shot of cynicism into this glorified soap opera, Johnson provides the most satisfying explanation yet for the significance of The Force.

Despite J.J. Abrams successfully resuscitating the Star Wars franchise with 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, many fans were still left yearning for something new. It was comforting to see old familiar faces from a galaxy far, far away, but casual fans were unlikely to tolerate another greatest hits collection from a franchise already plagued by compositional overlap (to put it kindly).

Keep reading... Show less
7

Yeah Yeah Yeahs played a few US shows to support the expanded reissue of their debut Fever to Tell.

Although they played a gig last year for an after-party for a Mick Rock doc, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs hadn't played a proper NYC show in four years before their Kings Theatre gig on November 7th, 2017. It was the last of only a handful of gigs, and the only one on the East coast.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image