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

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.







The 10 Best Experimental Albums of 2015

Music of all kinds are tending toward a consciously experimental direction. Maybe we’re finally getting through to them.


John Lewis, C.T. Vivian, and Their Fellow Freedom Riders Are Celebrated in 'Breach of Peace'

John Lewis and C.T. Vivian were titans of the Civil Rights struggle, but they are far from alone in fighting for change. Eric Etheridge's masterful then-and-now project, Breach of Peace, tells the stories of many of the Freedom Riders.


Unwed Sailor's Johnathon Ford Discusses Their New Album and 20 Years of Music

Johnathon Ford has overseen Unwed Sailor for more than 20 years. The veteran musician shows no sign of letting up with the latest opus, Look Alive.

Jedd Beaudoin

Jazz Trombonist Nick Finzer Creates a 'Cast of Characters'

Jazz trombonist Nick Finzer shines with his compositions on this mainstream jazz sextet release, Cast of Characters.


Datura4 Travel Blues-Rock Roads on 'West Coast Highway Cosmic'

Australian rockers Datura4 take inspiration from the never-ending coastal landscape of their home country to deliver a well-grounded album between blues, hard rock, and psychedelia.


Murder Is Most Factorial in 'Eighth Detective'

Mathematician Alex Pavesi's debut novel, The Eighth Detective, posits mathematical rules defining 'detective fiction'.


Eyedress Sets Emotions Against Shoegaze Backdrops on 'Let's Skip to the Wedding'

Eyedress' Let's Skip to the Wedding is a jaggedly dreamy assemblage of sounds that's both temporally compact and imaginatively expansive, all wrapped in vintage shoegaze ephemera.


Of Purges and Prescience: On David France's LGBTQ Documentary, 'Welcome to Chechnya'

The ongoing persecution of LGBTQ individuals in Chechnya, or anywhere in the world, should come as no surprise, or "amazement". It's a motif undergirding the history of civil society that certain people will always be identified for extermination.


Padma Lakshmi's 'Taste the Nation' Questions What, Exactly, Is American Food

Can food alone undo centuries of anti-immigrant policies that are ingrained in the fabric of the American nation? Padma Lakshmi's Taste the Nation certainly tries.


Performing Race in James Whale's 'Show Boat'

There's a song performed in James Whale's musical, Show Boat, wherein race is revealed as a set of variegated and contradictory performances, signals to others, a manner of being seen and a manner of remaining hidden, and it isn't "Old Man River".


The Greyboy Allstars Rise Up to Help America Come Together with 'Como De Allstars'

If America could come together as one nation under a groove, Karl Denson & the Greyboy Allstars would be leading candidates of musical unity with their funky new album, Como De Allstars.


The Beatles' 'Help!' Redefined How Personal Popular Music Could Be 55 Years Ago

Help! is the record on which the Beatles really started to investigate just how much they could get away with. The album was released 55 years ago this week, and it's the kick-off to our new "All Things Reconsidered" series.


Porridge Radio's Mercury Prize-Nominated 'Every Bad' Is a Wonderful Epistemological Nightmare

With Every Bad, Porridge Radio seduce us with the vulnerability and existential confusion of Dana Margolin's deathly beautiful lyricism interweaved with alluring pop melodies.


​​Beyoncé's 'Black Is King' Builds Identity From Afrofuturism

Beyoncé's Black Is King's reliance on Afrofuturism recuperates the film from Disney's clutches while reclaiming Black excellence.

Reading Pandemics

Colonial Pandemics and Indigenous Futurism in Louise Erdrich and Gerald Vizenor

From a non-Native perspective, COVID-19 may be experienced as an unexpected and unprecedented catastrophe. Yet from a Native perspective, this current catastrophe links to a longer history that is synonymous with European colonization.


John Fullbright Salutes Leon Russell with "If the Shoe Fits" (premiere + interview)

John Fullbright and other Tulsa musicians decamped to Leon Russell's defunct studio for a four-day session that's a tribute to Dwight Twilley, Hoyt Axton, the Gap Band and more. Hear Fullbright's take on Russell's "If The Shoe Fits".

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.