Television

The Flash: Season 2, Episode 22 - "Invincible"

Gregory L. Reece

"Invincible" manages to ratchet up the angst in anticipation of the season finale, while still providing tons of fun to counterbalance the menace.


The Flash

Airtime: Tuesdays, 8 pm
Cast: Danielle Panabaker, Teddy Sears, Katie Cassidy, Grant Gustin, Jesse L. Martin, John Wesley Shipp, Candice Patton, Carlos Valdes, Tom Cavanagh, Violett Bean
Subtitle: Season 2, Episode 22 - "Invincible"
Network: CW
Air date: 2016-05-17
Amazon

Things are pretty grim for Team Flash at the beginning of the penultimate episode of the second season of this terrific superhero drama. Zoom (Teddy Sears), the dark and evil speedster from Earth-2, has released Caitlyn (Danielle Panabaker) from captivity, but she’s struggling to overcome the traumatic experience. Meanwhile, Zoom has brought an army of metahuman villains from Earth-2 to seize control of Central City. Among those villains is the doppelganger of Arrow's Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), a metahuman who goes by the name of Black Siren and who has the ability to bring buildings crashing down through the power of her sonic scream. Team Flash calls the situation the Metapocalypse, and it feels as dark and dangerous as anything they've had to face.

Despite the danger, however, Barry (Grant Gustin) is feeling confident and self-assured, invincible even. His life-changing experience inside the Speed Force allowed him to finally come to terms with the death of his mother and to become convinced that the universe is on his side against Zoom. Barry's two dads, Joe (Jesse L. Martin) and Henry (John Wesley Shipp), as well as Iris (Candice Patton) are worried that Barry's overconfidence threatens to put him at risk. Barry’s having none of it.

The first blow to Barry's newfound optimism comes when Zoom signals for Barry to meet him at Central City police headquarters. Zoom and his minions have made this the headquarters for their assault on the city, and Zoom has taken Barry's office there as his own. Zoom seems less interested in fighting the Flash than in talking to him, however. Digging around Barry's office has revealed Barry's obsession with his mother's murder and convinced the villain that he and Barry have a lot in common; namely, that both men lost their mother to violence.

Of course, there are important differences between the two as well. Both men saw their fathers arrested for the crime, but only Zoom's dad was truly guilty. Barry was then taken into a loving home, while Zoom was sent to an orphanage. And, as Zoom points out, Barry was whisked away so that he did not actually witness the crime, while Zoom saw the heinous act unfold before his young eyes.

The differences outweigh the similarities, according to Zoom, which is why both men are driven to keep running. Zoom, however, unlike Barry, can do so without concern for whom gets hurt along the way. Barry, unlike Zoom, is destined to play the part of the hero, even when that role puts the Flash at risk.

Then, as is so often the case with this series, things really take off in the second half.

Barry and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) concoct a scheme to create a device that will pinpoint visitors from Earth-2 by focusing on their different vibrational frequencies. (I know, this is crazy science, but it's right out of the pages of DC Comics, so who's complaining?) This means that Harry (Tom Cavanagh) and Jesse (Violett Beane) are placed at risked, but it also means that Zoom and his metahuman army can all be taken out at the same time.

Things aren't that simple, of course, and Cisco and Caitlyn are forced to masquerade as their Earth-2 doppelgangers, Reverb and Killer Frost, in an attempt to stall Black Siren from destroying more of Central City before the plan can be implemented. Their plan almost fails, until Cisco finds that his own metahuman powers are more formidable than he had thought. It's a move that brings Cisco's Vibe persona more in line with the comic book version of the character and, with all the talk of vibrational frequencies, may mean that Cisco is yet to play an even bigger role in the unfolding drama of multiple Earths.

The plan does finally work, and the metahumans from Earth-2, with the exception of Zoom, are captured. Zoom's escape is unfortunate, however, and when he returns, right in the middle of a celebratory party at Joe's house, things take a dark turn. Zoom ensures that Barry experiences another loss, a loss that reveals Barry isn’t as invincible as he thought; that’s sure to shatter the hero's confidence.

"Invincible" is a fine episode of The Flash that manages to ratchet up the angst in anticipation of the season finale, while also maintaining a light touch that provides tons of fun to counterbalance the menace. It leaves me dying to know what happens next. How is the dramatic conclusion of this episode going to be resolved? Can Barry manage to finally defeat the evil Zoom? And who is the man in the mask?

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