Sep 23, 2019
The Flash: Demons, Vibes, and Shirtless Jays
We’re back to our familiar voiceover this week, with a few changes: now, Barry hunts metahumans with “the help of his friends at STAR Labs,” and he found the person who killed his mother and freed his dad from prison.
Previously on The Flash: Atom-Smasher tried to kill Barry on the orders of Zoom, and Jay Garrick wandered into the new, improved, and supposedly secure STAR Labs.
We pick up immediately after Jay shows up. He starts expositing right away, and probably would have without Joe’s helpful gun-pointing routine. Basically, Jay’s from Earth-2 (comic check: Earth-2 is a second earth (you’re welcome)), and so was Atom-Smasher, and the singularity from the Season 1 finale opened up some sort of breach to the alternate world. (Comic check: As you’ve gathered, Jay Garrick is also the Flash. He was the original Flash from the Golden Age; in Earth-1 he got his powers from an experiment with hard water, while in Earth-2 the god Mercury gave him his powers.) The breach pulled Jay in when he was down and out from a fight with Zoom, and he’s spent six months doing recon on Team Flash before coming forward, because that seems normal.
Meanwhile, Zoom pops through a handy breach-portal to Earth-1, deposits a probably-meta on the ground, and tells him if he wants to go home, he just has to kill the Flash.
At STARLS, Caitlin does some tests that obviously involve Jay being shirtless to try and see if he’s telling the truth. What tests prove you’re from an alternate dimension aren’t clearly stated, and Jay has conveniently lost his powers. He tells Caitlin that he did indeed get his powers from experimenting on heavy water, and she seems thrilled that he’s a scientist too.
In the Cortex, the team plays “explain multiverse theory to the idiot!” or more specifically Joe. I get that not all characters are technical, but there’s a difference between “I don’t understand technobabble” and “I don’t understand how English words work.” Anyway, Martin does a pretty good job, and Joe heads back to the station. Caitlin reports that there’s no evidence of speed force in Jay, but he did pass her stealth lie detector, so there’s that.
At the police station, Joe gets accosted by a young officer by the name of Patty Spivot (comic check: Patty was actually Barry’s lab assistant in the comics; they dated in one continuity – in another, she stole a speed suit and spent some time as the hero Hot Pursuit). She wants to join Joe’s metahuman task force and proceeds to recite her qualifications: triple major in biology, chemistry, and physics (real life check: literally no school will let you do this), she’s strong, and she’s a good shot. He says no; she doesn’t seem deterred.
At STARLS, Barry locks Jay up in the metaprison. He’s not too upset about it, but he does warn Barry that he’s going to need his help if Zoom really is behind Atom-Smasher’s attack. Barry would love to stay and listen, but he has to go rescue people from a burning building.
It’s not burning long, though. Flash puts the warehouse fire out, but as he’s recovering, he gets hit with a large lump of…sand? The sandman (comic check: this is probably Eddie Slick, a.k.a. Sand Demon; he’s a Firestorm villain, but not an important or well known one) throws a sand punch at Barry, who speed-tackles him into a pile of sand. The sand slithers off or blows away or whatever, and Barry takes off.
The next morning, Barry’s back at the crime scene as a tech, and he tells Joe that the fire was definitely arson. Patty is also there, and it turns out she’s a giant nerd (no surprise given she was comic-Barry’s lab tech) and a big fan of Barry’s forensic reports. Joe is watching this interaction with decided amusement, but Patty stops fangirling long enough to show Barry some metahuman evidence, along with sand samples she took and fingerprints. Joe says it’s still a “no” to joining his task force, but Barry is doing the fangirling now.
At STARLS, Caitlin is running some more tests on Jay that mostly seem to involve ogling him half-naked on a treadmill, but Iris doesn’t seem to be complaining. Cisco is examining the sand Patty found, and Jay is there to give a comic book science exposition as to why the sand is actually human cells (in grains big enough to see, apparently). Despite his knowledge of Sand Demon, because he’s fought him before, Barry decides they don’t need his help fighting this, let me reiterate, villain from Jay’s dimension who Jay already knows how to beat. But no, let’s go ahead and spend half the episode reinventing the wheel.
Cisco comes across Martin doing some intense calculations/drawings on a chalkboard, and turns out he’s been working on the problem of how travel is possible between Earths 1 and 2. He and Cisco come up with a plan to photograph exotic matter from space and find the breach. Martin rushes off to retrofit a satellite or whatever, and Cisco dumps some Sand Demon residue out to look at under the microscope. But when he touches it, he gets one of his meta-visions: it’s a FLASHback to the brief encounter between Barry and Sand Demon.
Sand Demon’s name, by the way, is still Eddie Slick, and Joe has found him. Eddie sees him and runs, but Patty catches him as part of her ongoing interview/stalker behavior to get on the anti-metahuman task force. As you’ve probably guessed, this Eddie isn’t Sand Demon Eddie. It’s Earth-1 Eddie, and he swears he didn’t start the fire (it was always burning). While Joe confirms that Eddie was indeed in jail when the accelerator exploded, Patty and Barry flirt over Monty Python, as you do.
The flirting doesn’t seem to have put Barry in a better mood, however, as he scolds the team back at STARLS for daring to believe Jay, given they don’t have any evidence of a breach or of Jay’s apparent speedster-ness. They all know he’s just suffering from an inability to trust thanks to Harrison, and they all also think the Earth-2 hypothesis explains their anomalies better than Barry’s “I don’t know but not that” hypothesis.
Joe and Patty are cutting Eddie-1 free because they don’t have any reason to keep him, but as you probably expected, as soon as Eddie-1 is out of sight, Eddie-2 shows up. He knocks Joe out with a sand punch, and Patty tries to shoot him, which doesn’t work. Eddie-2 seems to think that Patty will be good Flashbait, even though he would have no idea that Flash even knows her. Unless Zoom can see the future where she’ll probably be dating Barry.
Barry goes to let Jay out of metaprison because now that Sand Demon has kidnapped a cop, it’s time to give up and start trusting the guy. It was inevitable, but Barry’s demeanor is quite telling – he wants to trust Jay, he always did, he’s just trying not to make the same mistake he did with Harrison. Anyway, Jay has an idea to beat Sand Demon: he tells Barry that he can actually project the energy he creates when he runs as a type of lightning, which would render Sand Demon more…Glass Demon. Barry looks eager to learn a new trick.
In his greenhouse hideout, Eddie-2 is building a concussive bomb, which Patty recognizes “because she’s a cop,” though I don’t know that distance bomb-type identification is a standard course at the academy. She does some amateur-psychological profiling (that wasn’t one of her many majors at Hudson, if I recall), telling him that he isn’t special just because he has powers, but he doesn’t really care. He’s going to kill her with the bomb and kill Flash himself.
At STARLS, Caitlin and Martin are striking out on identifying a potential hideout for Sand Demon, but Cisco has an idea – he rushes back to touch the sand again, and sure enough, his superpower lets him peek in on Patty and Eddie’s conversation in the greenhouse. He glances around for some identifying information and of course sees the bomb, and then he snaps out of it. Martin is suspicious of his “hunch,” but obviously rescuing Patty takes priority.
Jay is trying to train Barry in how to Thor-blast an enemy, but Barry keeps missing. Jay advises him to slow down when he’s directing the bolts; he’s rushing. Barry admits (immediately) that the last mentor he trusted murdered his mother, and Jay’s just like…uh, Barry, I don’t know your mother. But before that can get any more awkward, or before I have to induct Jay into Team Barry Allen’s Hot Dads, Cisco rushes in to give Barry the location. He also suggests that if he were trying to divert the attention of a speedster, he might use, I dunno, a concussive bomb? Jay remembers that Eddie used on one him before, and Team Flash decides on a diversion of their own: Jay.
Eddie-2 straps the bomb to the base of Patty’s chair, and Jay and Barry rush in. Jay provides the diversion – though Sand Demon realizes pretty quickly he’s lost his speed – while Barry grabs Patty. They all get knocked back by the explosion, but of course he gets her far enough away to save her. Sand Demon is delighted to kill two Flashes, and he grabs Jay’s throat as Barry starts to run to gather lightning energy. Annoyed that Flash is daring to use his superpower to his advantage, Eddie releases Jay and yells at Barry to “come on!” Barry hurls his lightning like he’s throwing out a runner at home plate (that’s a baseball reference, nerds) and nails Eddie in the chest—sand goes glassy, and Eddie is hurled to the floor…where he shatters.
Back at STARLS, Caitlin wraps up Jay’s ribs. They commiserate about losing someone until Barry approaches. He sheepishly apologizes and thanks Jay for his help. They talk about Zoom – they don’t know who he is, but Jay says he spent two years tracking him down and Zoom still got away from him. His explanation is that Zoom has a bit of an Evil Queen complex and needs to be the only speedster anywhere.
At the police station, Patty is of course not home resting, and Joe quizzes her again on why she wants to join his task force. This time she tells the truth – the Marden brothers (remember Weather Wizard?) murdered her father in a bank heist, and then they got superpowers, and that wasn’t fair, so she wants to stop bad people who can do ridiculous things. Obviously this time around, Joe says yes, and apparently her assignment comes with a promotion, because he calls her “Detective,” even though she’s been an officer for 7 months.
As Joe heads upstairs, probably to the Worst Lab Ever, a woman calls his name. She’s about his age, and you can probably guess she’s an ex-wife, although I was never clear on whether he was divorced or she died. He asks what she’s doing in Central City, and she says he didn’t return her calls and she wanted to see him and Iris.
At STARLS, Cisco and Martin are working on the satellite picture of Central City to find the breach, but Martin wants to know how Cisco had two successful “hunches” in one day. Cisco ‘fesses up about the visions he’s been having and that he gets a “vibe” (nice shout-out to his probable future code-name!). Martin wants to study it and figure out what’s going on, but Cisco nixes that idea. He’s scared, he says, because Harrison gave him the powers (via accelerator, of course) and Harrison was evil. Martin says he understands and he won’t tell anyone until Cisco is ready.
The satellite image finishes rendering rather quickly, and Martin and Cisco show the rest of Team Flash what they’ve found: 52 breaches around the city, the biggest of which is right inside STARLS. Martin starts to explain the smaller breaches, but before he can get much out, he stutters and collapses.
In an oddly futuristic-looking and sepia-toned Central City, a STAR Labs employee leads a class of schoolchildren on a tour. She says the place was founded in 1991 and researches AI, genetics, and metahuman studies, but as she does, she gasps—it’s the founder of STAR Labs! Harrison Wells! “Hello, kids,” says Harrison.