Spoilers are coming at a blur, so don't say that you haven't been warned!
Regular Cast (Plus Earth-2 Counterparts): Grant Gustin (Barry Allen/The Flash/Bartholomew Allen); Candice Patton (Iris West/Iris West-Allen), Danielle Panabaker (Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost), Carlos Valdes (Cisco Ramon), Tom Cavanagh (Dr. Harrison Wells), Jesse L. Martin (Joe West); Guest Starring: Teddy Sears (Jay Garrick), Violett Beane (Jesse Wells), Adam Stafford (Geomancer); Written by David Kob; Directed by J.J. Makaro
Serving as the conclusion to last week’s Welcome To Earth-2, this installment alternates between our world and its doppleganger.
Earth-2: Aware that Harrison Wells is back and did not come alone, Zoom hunts the scientist as well as Cisco who, with the Barry Allen of Earth-2 (Barry-2), hides in a “time vault” at Star Labs to avoid him; a trick that Wells states won’t work a second time. Meanwhile, in Zoom’s lair, Barry, Wells’ daughter, Jesse; and a mysterious, non-speaking masked figure are trapped in individual transparent cells. Barry attempts to offer words of support to Jesse, but she refuses to listen — until he conveys to her how much her father cares and how desperately he’s been trying to get her back. Seems things have been rocky between father and daughter for quite some time.
During these sequences, the masked man taps out letters in a kind of Morse code that spells the name “Jay,” but then Zoom arrives, demanding he not “talk” to them, before vibrating through the wall of Barry’s cell to deliver a super speed beat down. He states that Barry only need be barely alive for him to eventually steal his speed force. He also states that the reason Jesse is alive is so that he can kill her in front of Wells.
Earth-1: The final gateway to Earth-2 has been stabilized by Jay Garrick and Caitlin, giving the others about 20 hours to come back through it. During these sequences — in which romance begins to blossom between them — she’s attempting to restore his speed force so that he can stop Geomancer, the earthquake-causing meta-human who continues to threaten Central City. Eventually she develops a “Velocity 9” drug that is administered to Jay, which not only gives him back his super speed, but allows his cells to repair themselves from the disease he’s been suffering from. As a result, he’s able to take down Geomancer – but not before an impressive sequence in which he manages to rescue people from a collapsing office building.
Earth-2: Once Iris-2 is brought up to speed about the multiple Earths, she, Cisco, Barry-2 and Wells set out in pursuit of Zoom’s hideaway. They track down Killer Frost, who they’re able to convince to help them in retribution for Zoom killing Deathstorm. She brings them to his mountain lair, creating an icy means for them to scale the mountainside.
Upon arrival, they’re able to free Jesse, but Barry remains trapped, unable to vibrate his way out of the cell. It’s actually the nebbish Barry-2 who delivers a stirring speech that gives him the confidence to try again, this time succeeding. Victory is short-lived, however, as Zoom arrives, it being apparent that Killer Frost has betrayed them. But then she turns again — thanks to words spoken by Cisco regarding Ronnie Raymond/Deathstorm — and is briefly able to immobilize Zoom in ice. The others manage to escape, though they’re aware that it’s only a short matter of time before Zoom catches up to them. Barry-2 and Iris-2 leave Central City, while Wells, Jesse, Cisco and Barry proceed to Star Labs to step through the breach to return to Earth-1 (Wells telling his daughter that they have no choice but to start life over). Cisco and Jesse make it, though at the last moment Zoom shows up and is about to kill Wells - but the scientist jabs him with a hypodermic needle that creates enough of a distraction for Barry to grab Wells and leave through the gateway.
Once they’re through, Jay tosses a device that detonates, beginning the process of collapsing the final breach to that other world. Inexplicably, Jay then walks all the way up to the breech as it's closing, turns to face the others with a smile and starts to step away, when Zoom’s arm comes through the breach, penetrates his chest and pulls him back to Earth-2 as it closes.
Watching this, Caitlin screams out in horror, though we suspect it could actually be her reaction to the clumsiness of that particular set-up. It’s (Jay's death, not Caitlins's scream) a moment that really takes something away from what was otherwise an effective conclusion to the two-parter.
The effects as always are first-rate and the performances are all well-handled. Danielle Panabaker does fairly well in giving Killer Frost a darker edge that her Earth-1 counterpart, Caitlin Snow, doesn’t have. But the standout is once again Grant Gustin, who successfully creates two versions of Barry. As each attempts to inspire the other at different moments, you do come away feeling as though you’ve seen two distinct performances.
There's a silly subplot involving Iris and her new editor at the paper who seems determined to trash The Flash, particularly since he seems to have disappeared, that is resolved almost as quickly as it's raised.
Empire Theory: The masked guy on Earth 2 – who in frustration was tapping out the letters J-A-Y on the front of his cell – is actually the Jay Garrick from that world. Earlier in the episode Zoom noted that as long as Barry has a trace of life in him, the speed force can be taken. Soooooo, what if the Garrick Caitlin has been working with wasn’t the real guy? This pretender – maybe he’s the Jay Garrick from Earth-1 taken to Earth 2 by Zoom to pretend to be the Earth-2 Flash claiming to have lost his speed force – is artificially given speed powers, which Zoom will ultimately be able to steal. Or…we could be overthinking the whole thing.