The Flash: King Shark

"We're going to need a bigger Flash."

King Shark is the last Earth-2 metahuman left in town-and depending on the angle, he's up to five times Barry's size. Worse, Barry's pulling an Oliver Queen and letting guilt overtake his mind after closing off the breaches between worlds and leaving Earth-2 alone with the evil Zoom. Will our hero have survived Earth-2 and Killer Frost only to succumb to grief and Great White Sharks?

Yes, I know, the stunning reveal! We finally know who Zoom is. Or do we? We will discuss. But first...

One thing that I think the writers are deliberately NOT being clear about on this show is the relationship between worlds. Some individuals seem to display similar characteristics across universes. Firestorm and Deathstorm looked, frankly, the same. Cisco had the same powers in both 'verses. Patty turns out to be fighting monsters one way or another. For others, there seems to be a relationship dynamic; Joe and Iris seem to exchange places, for example, and so do Iris and Barry. And for still others, there's no connection at all, or only a tenuous one. King Shark himself is a perfect example. In one world he's a marine biologist turned Were-Shark from an accident, sent by Zoom and trapped by ARGUS (and hunted by Diggle, visiting from Arrow.) In ours, he's a cancer victim, and his wife is the one getting oceanic with it.

Whatever the relationship between worlds might be, the fact is people here really are not people there, as Wells-2 himself already proved. I was glad the show didn't take the easy route in this episode and turn our Caitlin into Killer Frost; I thought her anger and frustration were palpable and easily understood (and I was glad someone remembered she has no metahuman gene.) Danielle Panabaker is a force on the screen and this episode and the last few have showcased her acting abilities; she's not just playing different characters, she's doing a great job at giving them range. That lovely scare for Cisco near the end - and that beautiful smile and laugh, the open eyes, the warm and living proof that she's still she. Yeah, I'm still 'shipping Barry/Caitlin. (Baitlin? Maybe for this episode.)

Unfortunately, this truth isn't easy for the Flash team. Barry and Cisco each have to make their own mental compartments in order to deal with their visit to Earth-2. Neither makes it more than a couple hours after promising Wells to keep things on the down low. Cisco's worry and paranoia and Barry's guilt drive them into confession mode... and to be honest, after the episode was done, I thought they were right to confess. Iron Man Wells might not have feelings or reactions, but our heroes are the type that need to process. The scene when Barry confesses to Joe and Iris his feelings of culpability in Joe-2's death, I thought, was right on. And Diggle's right. While Barry has the mega-guilt, he doesn't need to hold on to it. He can transform it.

Mind you, that's not always easy while working to get to know a new brother. Barry's moodiness prevents him from connecting well with Wally, and to Wally Barry seems like an arrogant coward. The scenes between the two feel plenty awkward and forced; I can't tell if it's the acting or something else, but it doesn't feel like these two are gelling yet. In a way they're interesting opposites too; both sons of Joe, and both entirely different.

While King Shark was a fun villain-and yes, kind of scary, and I was loving the Jaws references-I found he palled after the first several scenes. It was a good way to bring in ARGUS and Diggle, but after the opening and a glimpse of cars at the end, neither ARGUS or Diggle has much impact (unless you want to talk about Diggle's emotional reinforcement of Barry, or his potential new uniform.) At times the special effects used for King Shark put me more in mind of the Power Rangers and another creature sent from Rita Repulsa - such as when King Shark leaps out of the water onto the docks. He was far more terrifying as a nearly invisible force attacking the fake Barry. I was totally there at the end though, with Barry creating an electrical whirlpool in the ocean. And it was good to see Barry have a win, because he needs it.

That final reveal didn't totally surprise me, but now I have so many more questions! Jay Garrick's face is under the mask of Zoom. I'm cautious though. We finally see Zoom's face, but in this world, it means nothing. Which Jay Garrick is he? Earth-1's? Earth-2's? Another Earth? 3? 4? 40? I think it's safe to say the Jay Caitlin loved is dead at Zoom's feet, unless Barry can pull off another time travel stunt. Hunter Zolomon might be Zoom, but Jay was observing him, so I wonder.

I also wonder increasingly who the Man in the Iron Mask is. It's clear now why that prisoner was tapping out Garrick's name, but who is he? I caught a glimpse of blue eyes under the Iron Mask as Zoom's victim panicked in terror and am becoming more and more convinced the man is Eddie Thawne of another world, trapped for some reason by Zoom.

Barry's last words linger: those breaches won't stay closed forever. Think they'll be open again next week?

Flashpoints

Who else was shouting at the stupid soldiers who turned off the electric grid?

Iris didn't have much to do this episode except be concerned. What happened to her whole cranky-editor-at-the-Picture thing?

Barry feels guilty for everything from Eddie's death. I'm surprised he isn't blaming Zoom more. Zoom's greed makes him want what Barry has, not anything Barry himself did.

Barry's been calling Felicity, but Felicity hasn't been answering jack. Diggle agrees to intercede.

The slow-motion shot of King Shark leaping through the water after Barry was really fantastic.

From the Husband, near the end: "Barry's all cocky and happy now after beating the shark. We're going to find out something bad." And so we did.

Flashcards

Cisco: How's the helmet?
John: Could use some improvements.

Joe: I don't think my homeowner's insurance covers a Sharknado.

Cisco: Dear God! Caitlin, your hands are freezing.
Caitlin: Caitlin. I've always hated that name.
Cisco: Oh, no. No, no, no. It's starting. You're starting to become...
Caitlin: Killer Frost?
[she laughs]
Cisco: That ain't right.

Overall

I think the best part of this episode was the long-awaited reveal at the end, but there were lots of thrilling moments throughout. Three and a half stupid shark-shocking shield-shutting-down soldiers.

10 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Wow. Look how tight Barry's pants are in that photo at the top... wait a minute, I was distracted.

I thought this was two episodes that didn't mesh well enough together. The shark stuff (for me, anyway) was like the gorilla stuff -- I just don't get it, wish they hadn't done it, tempted to fast forward through it. But the Barry and fam stuff and the Caitlin/Cisco stuff was good, much more there to take a bite out of.

I was also totally confused by the reveal. Which Jay is that? Did "our" Jay know? I bet you're right that the Man in the Mask is Eddie. It has to be someone we know, or he wouldn't be wearing a mask.

JRS said...

That should become a new Billie's rule for television. "It has to be someone you know, or he wouldn't be wearing a mask." Key. Is it already there?

You can't complain of the view in that photo.

Billie Doux said...

:) I just added it to the Ten Rules comments.

http://www.douxreviews.com/2011/01/billies-ten-rules-of-television.html

WADEZILLA said...

I was all about King Shark, moreso than anything else in the episode; in fact, it was Grodd, and eventually King Shark, that won me over to watch this show regularly (I'm very much pro-Marvel). The fact they have the guts to be so comics-accurate with such monstrous characters goes a long way with me.


I was dying for some verification that Earth-1 King Shark was in fact still alive; the widow's mention that he had cancer (which sharks can't get) made me suspicious, so much that I expected a second blip to appear on the radar.

Lydia said...

I ship Snowbarry too! They have a lot more chemistry than WestAllen. If Earth 2 proved anything, it's that I would not like to see Iris and Barry married, feels like incest. Yikes!

King Shark was hilarious. I don't know if he was supposed to be scary, but I don't think anyone can take a giant walking talking Shark seriously. It felt very true to the show's comic book roots though and I loved it. Also, there were some great effects during that 'biblical running on water' scene. Ironic after Wally called him off saying that Joe and Iris talked him up as if he could walk on water. He's eventually gonna find out Barry's the Flash and feel stupid.

I don't know how to feel about the Zoom reveal. I don't enjoy Zoom as a villain, his motivations are flimsy at best and we know nothing about him, he feels like a killer robot the audience can't feel for or understand or even love to hate. I don't like Jay Garrick either, I was so happy he was dead, now I'm afraid he won't stay dead. He's too much of a caricature for my tastes. Honestly though, didn't he already have a doppelganger? (the one he showed to Caitlin at the park?) i'm so confused with this logic.

My final note, Grant Gustin is so good looking it's painful. Every episode I just wanna kiss the screen, but when he gets teary eyed I'm just like 'SOMEONE GIVE THIS SAD MELON A HUG! LOOK AT THIS ADORABLE LITTLE GUMDROP! HE DESERVES TO BE HAPPY MY BABY BOY!' guess I have a thing for boyish guys.

Lydia said...

P.S IS ANYONE ELSE SHIPPING HARRY'S DAUGHTER AND CISCO? No? Just me then? *crawls back into hole*

Diogo said...

Lydia, I ship them too!
How shall we call it? Jessisco?

jeremiah wright said...

I believe the guy zoom is holding maybe another jay from another earth? I say that because it seems earth1 is the only one earth with Barry as the flash. Zoom needed Wells to steal berry's speed. He didn't with earth2s. Also remember when they tried to find Jays doppelganger and it didn't work?.. well I believe zoom can only steal from his doppelgangers if they have become speedsters, and if something happens to them something happens to zoom... curiouse to see if right!

Josie Kafka said...

JRS, this was a hilarious review!

I'm really curious about the Jay Garrick reveal and how it didn't so much reveal as complicate. Fun! I love parallel worlds.

Lei said...

The only reason I am thinking man in mask isn't Eddie, is because he never met Jay. He died before Jay came over. I heard some speculation that Jay is a twin on both earths. But I also feel he would've mentioned that.

And yes Josie the reveal did complicate. But I loved it. It is what I love about this show. There is always a payoff. And the questions they come up with we love to guess and speculate on. Unlike Arrow where they set up things and then after a while, you really don't care. Like who is in the grave. At this point I could care less.

And Billy why did I laugh out loud about the tight pants comment. I had just scrolled back up because it caught my attention and then right after read your comment. Great minds think alike.