When the man you thought was one of your surrogate father figures who wanted to protect you and nurture your skills turns out to be the man who killed your mother in disguise, you’re understandably going to have some trust issues. Even months after the Reverse-Flash’s demise, Barry is still finding trust, and it’s the cause of much of the tension in “Flash of Two Worlds.”
Granted, a man claiming to be the Flash of another reality but who has also lost his powers is plenty suspicious, but even as everyone around him warms up to Jay Garrick, Barry keeps the man locked up on the off-chance he’s another double-sided villain. Lightning rarely strikes the same spot twice, and the only lightning Barry really needs to look out for is the kind he can use as a weapon. Not the metaphorical, life-altering kind.
“Two Worlds” picks up right where the season premiere left off, with Jay entering S.T.A.R. Labs and trying to explain why he’s there. On the brink of death at the hands of Zoom in his world, he was sucked into Barry’s world when the Singularity opened, though he lost his speed force (and his helmet) in the process.
He’s been hiding out in Central City for six months, stalking Barry and the gang to learn about them before approaching. Although he speaks with authority, Barry isn’t quite ready to take him at his word and wants to run some tests to prove he has the genetic signs of a speedster. Cue the shirtless-Jay Garrick hour, as Caitlin gives him the full gamut of Flash-qualifying exams, as well as a subtle lie detector test to gauge how authentic his whole spiel is.
She comes away impressed, taking Jay at his word, but Barry wants to be doubly safe rather than let another snake into their garden. In the meantime, Cisco and Stein have been giving some credence to Jay’s multiple-reality story, explaining how their world is Earth 1, Jay’s is Earth 2, and there could be an infinite number of earths for there to be crises on. It’s all too much technical mumbo jumbo for Joe, who decides to focus on his job while he’s still trying to wrap his head around time travel.
The seeds of mistrust have been sown, however, and so Barry has Jay locked in a metahuman tank while he speeds off to put a fire out. Using his arm turbine move (which is quickly becoming a bit rote; good thing he learns a new move this episode), the fire dissipates in seconds, but another problem hits Barry hard. Literally.
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A giant fist-shaped pile of sand sails straight at Barry, knocking him off his feet and clueing him in to the only other guy standing in the just-burning building. Barry can’t quite keep up, the man’s entire body’s apparently made of sand. So for the second week in a row, Barry flees the fight before being clobbered.
It turns out this Sand Demon, as Jay names him (which Cisco thankfully approves of), is from Garrick’s Earth. They guess correctly that Zoom sent him to this world through an interdimensional breach to kill the Flash. (What is it with Big Bads sending minions to do the dirty work when they’re obviously not up to the task?) Jay wants to help Barry prepare, take out this Sand Demon, and ensure everyone’s safety, but Barry’s content to do so with Jay locked up. He still can’t verify his story and is disappointed that all of the scientists and journalists around him seem willing to trust someone on faith, not facts.
But Barry’s mind begins to sway when lives are at stake. There’s a cop on the force, Patty Spivot, who wants to join Joe’s metahuman task force. He declines her request, but Patty is not the type who understands the meaning of “no.” Her luck seems to turn when she captures Slick, a.k.a. the Sand Demon, just as Barry and Joe are on his tail.
He’s brought in for questioning, and Barry and Spivot have a moment to connect. She’s a fan of his — she mentions earlier that she’s read all of his forensic reports, which means she’s more invested in Barry’s work than Barry — and the two have a clear connection as they bond behind the one-sided window at the police station. On the other side, Joe is interrogating Slick, who claims innocence, and unfortunately Joe finds little to hold him on.
NEXT: You’ve been…lightningstruck [pagebreak]
He releases Slick later, only to have Slick (but is it the same one?) return moments later, knocking Joe out with a sand punch and kidnapping Spivot.
Slick brings her to a moisture-dense room, which he needs so his sand-like molecules don’t dry up, where he slaps together a concussive bomb that he intends to rig to her chair. She remains resolute in her belief that the Flash will save her, but it’s not without the help of a certain vibe that he does so.
Earlier in the day, Cisco has a vision of the Barry and Sand Demon fight, and he realizes this new ability might come in handy when the group is having difficulty locate Slick. They know he needs to be somewhere with plenty of moisture, but other than that their leads have run dry.
At least in the interim Barry has learned to trust Jay enough to let him help. Iris gives Barry a pep talk earlier in the episode about how he’s given up trusting people, but trusting others was the very thing that allowed him to stop Reverse-Flash. If he continues to prove he doesn’t believe in his team, they soon will stop believing in him.
So in the spirit of self-improvement, Barry is letting Jay teach him a new move, harnessing the energy around him as he speeds by and using it Zeus-style to hurl essentially a lightning bolt. Using that on Slick will combine lightning with sand and turn that sand demon into a glass one. Barry isn’t quite catching onto the ability, and it looks like time is running out.
Cisco comes running to explain his “hunch” about the abandoned facility (is everything abandoned in this city?) where Spivot is being held. And even if Barry hasn’t quite caught on to his latest trick, he and Jay have another idea in mind, and it comes courtesy of Barry’s newfound trust. All it really takes to fully invest his faith in Garrick is… Jay’s hat. Yes, the mention of losing his helmet in the other world is apparently the lightning bolt-shaped straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Barry speeds Jay into the building where Slick is hiding out, using the new Flash to distract his old foe. Slick soon catches on that Jay has lost his speed, but by then Barry sweeps in to save Spivot, protecting her from the immediate blast while still suffering some blowback from the bomb. She’s knocked out, and Jay is injured, too, so Barry gives the lightning strike the old college try and successfully pulls off a shock to Slick’s system. He turns the man to glass, only to see him shatter seconds later on the floor.
Back at base, Caitlin patches up Jay, their connection deepening as they bond over the idea of loss: she speaking of Ronnie and he of his speed force. For someone who was driven to seeming seclusion following the death of her beloved, Caitlin appears to be handling it quite well all of a sudden. And while her speech about learning to live with the pain didn’t quite feel 100 percent in step with what we’ve seen with the character, it’s clearly setting up at least some friendship between the two.
Barry and Jay are also becoming closer in the aftermath, the former learning to let this newcomer into the group with some sense of trust that he won’t turn out to be the future murderer of another person Barry loves.
Joe also gains in an ally in the form of Spivot, who he finally gets the truth out of in regard to her persistent request to join the metahuman task force. Her father was killed by Weather Wizard Mark Mardon. She doesn’t like the idea of bad people out there who can do anything, and she’d like to put a stop to them. Joe shares that goal in her mind, and so she’s come to him to help. He finally agrees to let her be part of the team, but Joe is immediately met with another unexpected face: Francine, his estranged wife and Iris’ mother.
To only make things more complicated for Team Flash, Cisco’s powers, a “vibe” as he calls it before his premonitions come on, are surfacing more frequently. And though he makes Stein promise not to tell anyone else about his newfound ability, Cisco remains worried that it could only spell trouble, as Harrison Wells claimed to give him the power.
Cisco doesn’t have to worry about Stein spilling his secrets for now, though, as the good doctor, explaining that there are 52 breaches between the worlds Zoom could use to travel through, collapses on the floor of S.T.A.R. Labs.
Speaking of S.T.A.R. Labs, the Earth 2 version of the facility is in tip-top shape, with an alive, healthy, and wheelchair-less Harrison Wells still in charge. Could he possibly help with all of these interdimensional nuisances, or might he be as nefarious as the Reverse-Flash’s Wells was last season?