‘The Flash’ 2×05 Roundtable: Discussing ‘The Darkness and the Light’

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Every week, Fangirlish writers will be discussing new episodes of The Flash and sharing their thoughts, feelings, and speculation about the hour’s hot topics in a little something we like to call Fangirlish Roundtables.

Today, we’re breaking down the fifth episode of The Flash season 2, titled “The Darkness and the Light,” which featured the introduction of Harrison Wells of Earth-2, the reveal of Cisco’s metahuman abilities to his team, and the humor we’ve been missing from the show.

So we met Harrison Wells of Earth-2. What is your impression of him?

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ALYSSA: Well, I’d never thought I’d miss the Reverse Flash version of Harrison Wells because the Earth-2 Wells is a douche. He’s insensitive and stuck-up and clearly is not interested in doing anything but what he wants. But with that said, dick Wells of Earth-2 is pretty funny. He gives no fucks whatsoever. He’s here for himself and himself only and he makes no attempts to hide that fact. At least he’s honest in that regard. He sort of came off like a robot in this episode, seeing as we didn’t glimpse too much emotionally from him. With this Earth-2 version of Wells having a daughter, and with said daughter now being held captive by Zoom on Earth-2, I believe that we’ll begin to delve into the emotional depths of who this Harrison Wells of Earth-2 really is. But for right now, when I hear Harrison Wells of Earth-2, all I hear in my head is “Harry.” And that word is enough to relay my thoughts on Wells for now.

LIZZIE: He’s an asshole. An uncaring, unfeeling, truth-telling, hold-nothing-back asshole. And I love him. Can we keep him forever? He can comment on the stuff that happens on the lab, out of it… let’s even bring him to the police station! I don’t even need him to be part of any actual plot. I just enjoy the level 4 sass. (Is level four the highest level there is?). From calling Cisco “Crisco” to mixing up the names on purpose, to calling out Jay for his cowardice, to just having no fucks to give when it comes to outing Cisco’s abilities, Wells was on point this episode. In many ways, he’s even more enjoyable than Earth-1 Wells who was really Eobard Thawne, and maybe it’s because we know this is him. This is actually Wells: A brilliant man who cares not one iota about the rest of the world, but who seems to care enough about his daughter to travel through that portal.

Morally grey characters! My favorite kind.







BETH: He's a jerk. Pushy, arrogant, admits to his mistakes like they're a benefit to others rather than actually apologizing in a sincere way - yeah - not a nice guy. However, I called it early on as to why he showed up. There's nothing he won't do, you know, to get {redacted} back.

LYRA: He's a d**k. Sure he's not evil but he's so mean and rude. He's making it pretty obvious he isn't original Wells. I found myself contemplating if he was worse than Earth-1's crazy psychopath. Also found myself weighing the options if Team Flash should even take his help. This man is a disaster coming either way!

So Cisco’s secret about his ability is now out – no thanks to Wells – and he proved himself an even more valuable resource. What are your thoughts on Cisco’s metahuman arc?

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ALYSSA: I’m so very pleased and relieved that the show finally gave Cisco a storyline of his own. While Cisco serves as the right-hand man of Barry Allen’s Flash, it was about time Cisco got his own arc, which revolved around him developing metahuman abilities that allow him to sense things – or get a “vibe.” I’ve really enjoyed this storyline because it’s allowed the show to explore the vulnerable side of the Cisco character, revealing his self-doubt and fear regarding the kind of person he is, whether it’s about the purpose he serves or these powers that he was given. It clearly has been incredibly hard on Cisco to keep this secret from his friends for not only weeks of episodes but months that we never even got to see. Cisco is someone who is naturally so bubbly and optimistic that when someone like him is hurting, it makes you pay even more attention and feel even more when something has threatened that light that emanates from them. While I hate that Wells was the one who outed Cisco from the metahuman closet, I loved seeing his friends support him and encourage him in this time where he was vulnerable, where he was afraid what Wells did to him, the powers he received, would make him someone he’s not in his heart. Also, when Team Flash was discussing nicknames at Jitters, who else screamed at their television, “VIBE!!” loud enough to wake their neighbors?

LIZZIE: Cisco is a precious puppy that must be protected at all costs and I love him so much so it’s going to be PAINFUL when he goes bad, and OF COURSE he’s going to go bad, because why would the writers pass up an opportunity to make us suffer? (The answers to this is always: They wouldn’t. Trust me. I’m a writer)

I don’t think this is going to happen soon, though. They’re going to let him enjoy his powers a bit more. They’re going to let him save the day a few times. And then, just when he’s getting over his fears, just when it seems like the worst is over, then …bam! Something will happen that will turn Cisco from the adorable puppy we all love into a villain. And then I’ll cry and cry and probably write about twenty million words about how much I love Cisco and how much I need him back.

BETH: Makes him even more innocently adorable than before, but also, opens him up to attack. The ability to read an object like he does and know the history of it, what's about to happen - heavy and very nifty for an evil villain in desperate need of tracking down other metahumans to destroy, yeah?

LYRA: I think they're dealing with it the right way, slow and steady. I was afraid that they would rush into Cisco having powers when Season 2 started. But nope. None of that happened. They've skirted around it and let us become used to the idea of Cisco being more than a long haired and smart cutie. Now that everyone knows I hope they keep the same pace. Maybe even throw some of his family into the mix. Team Flash is lacking backstory for our favorites. *cough* Caitlin. *cough*

One of the most humorous sequences on The Flash in a while came when Barry was temporarily blinded by Dr. Light, which prompted Barry to run into everything and he even went on his date with Patty while still blind. How much did you enjoy that whole Blind Barry sequence?

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ALYSSA: No lie, I was laughing so hard that I was shaking by the end of it. I assumed that Barry’s temporary blindness would last a few minutes or an hour at the most – not six, seven or however many hours it was. And I’m so glad that it lasted for as long as it did because we got to witness the funniest moment on the show this season and the funniest moment in a long time on this show. It was so simplistic in the comedy, but it was the dynamic duo of Grant Gustin and Carlos Valdes that really drove it home. Whether it was Barry trying to walk normally and bumping into literally everything or trying to have a conversation with Iris and facing the opposite way and whipping back and forth, this was a sequence that the show needed in order to breathe some humor back into the show. I loved how Cisco was essentially giving a color commentary about Barry and Patty’s date, as Barry struggled with the basics of operating a menu. It was a refreshing, light-hearted sequence for a show that has taken a darker turn than its first season. While I don’t want The Flash to not delve into the serious, I don’t want it to lose the humor that makes it The Flash. And this is the way to do so. Not temporarily blind Barry every week, but use the natural comic stylings of these actors – especially Grant and Carlos – and create organic humor.

LIZZIE: The whole scene was so funny that I had to re-watch it three times to get everything they said, because I was laughing so hard that I just could not concentrate. In fact, I was laughing so hard I actually teared up. It was amazing. I think I need to go watch it again, as a matter of fact. I might need to save the clip for when I’m having a bad day and need a laugh. Grant Gustin, Carlos Valdes, and Shantel Van Santen do comedy so effortlessly that it’s a joy to watch. Gustin was on point as blind Barry, not only with his words, but with the physical side of comedy, Valdes’s facial expressions were a thing of beauty, and Van Santen, who, as the innocent bystander, actually had the easiest role in the scene, easily outshined them all when she took the scene from a light funny bit to serious time by confronting Barry with his blindness.

Sometimes scenes work because the writing is in point, other times it’s because the actors make it work. This, to me, seems like a pretty cool marriage of both those things, and easily the funniest scene of any show I saw this week.

BETH: So, so much! Everything plot-wise has felt heavy and laden with grief lately. And all the secrets that everyone is keeping, sharing, hiding behind has made for a lot of tension. Patty's adorable and I'm so happy to see how she brings joy to Barry's life.

LYRA: It was refreshing. Barry has depended so much on his abilities for everything! (Remember when he was a creep and stole blood?!) This time around he couldn't depend on his abilities. He had to depend on Cisco and his natural dorky magnetism. After this date we know two things. One, Cisco definitely secretly loves soaps. He was way into it. And two, we know Patty's secret. *leans in close to whisper* Patty digs the dorky magnetism. I demand more dorky dates and kissing.

Barry and Patty went on their first date and although Barry was temporarily blind for up until the end, it look like things went really well. What are your thought on Barry and Patty and their relationship moving forward?

acklesjensn

ALYSSA: While I count myself a WestAllen shipper, I can’t help that Barry and Grant Gustin is incredibly shippable with just about every character on this show. Barry has chemistry with everyone, and that includes Patty Spivot. While the two have been shamelessly flirting since they met, Barry finally stepped it up – after awkwardly bowing out to do “science things” – and asked Patty out, and it was so stinking cute. When we learned Barry was temporarily blinded by Dr. Light, I was afraid that he’d end up unintentionally breaking her heart if he had to cancel. Instead we got a highly entertaining and amazing first (blind, for Barry) date. Even when Barry couldn’t physically see her you could tell how attracted he was to Patty. And the fact that he was blind was even more important – you could see just how much he was attracted to her spirit, and I loved that. Of course the date wouldn’t have been complete without a goodnight kiss, which was passionate with a capital “P.” Swooning all over the place.

Here’s the thing, I love Barry and Iris, but for right now I’m okay with Barry being with Patty just like I was okay with Iris being with Eddie. Why? Because eventually Barry and Iris will both get to the place they both need to be in order for them to be a couple. And right now, Barry is with a person who is a good fit for him, just as Iris was with Eddie before he died (sobs). But the difference is, Barry and Iris aren’t/weren’t with their soul mate. So it’s okay that they’re out there testing the waters and growing into who they’re destined to be, because eventually they’ll find their way back to each other and they’ll be ready.

LIZZIE: Okay, I have a lot of words about these two adorable creatures. A lot. First, I thought I wouldn’t like Patty. Just another Felicity Smoak wannabe, I remember thinking when they announced the role. But then Patty came on, and she was charming, funny, brave, and I actually liked her for who she was. I’ve wanted more of Patty from the first time she appeared on screen, more interactions with Joe, with Barry, a meeting with Cisco (thank you for that!), a friendship with Caitlin (pretty please?). My point is, I liked Patty, and that made liking her interactions with Barry easier.

But Patty, to me, was still the rebound girl. The girl Barry was going to use to try to get over Iris. I was loving Patty as a character, while, at the same time, failing to see all that her character could bring to a relationship with Barry. I was looking at everything through WestAllen colored glasses, and because of it, I was missing out on the fact that, to Barry, she wasn’t just a rebound girl. Not really. She might not be the love of his life (yet?), but Barry was really interested. More than he was in Linda. This wasn’t just dating for the sake of dating. This was dating Patty because he wanted to.

I saw that clearly in this week’s episode. In one awkward moment on Jitters, I finally got it. Barry was afraid because Barry really liked this girl, and she liked him back. But our Barry is no coward, no. He got over his issues and asked the girl out on a date. And despite temporary blindness, it was a good date. A great date. A date that ended with a perfectly framed goodnight kiss and me dropping my notebook on the ground and stating out loud: Okay, fine. I ship it.

Can someone explain to me how it’s possible to ship Barry with absolutely everyone?

BETH: Gimme more of them. They fit in a way that seamlessly allows for awkwardness but also, a genuinely deep connection - like the two of them fill the voids in each other's lives. They also have shared, similar traumatic experiences in their pasts that make them relatable to each other in ways that we haven't seen with others.

LYRA: They're like two cute puppies getting to know each other in one of those dog pens. They're shy, hesitant, and rambunctious when they get to each other. It's easy...for now. Soon they're going to hit the same blockades that other superhero couples have. One will eventually catch the other lying and ask to be told the truth. They will pout, doubt each other, get angry, and go through some road bumps. It's a tale as old as time! Let's hope they might it up!

Surprise, surprise, Harrison Wells of some world pissed someone off. There was a lot of animosity between Jay Garrick and Wells. What do you think happened between them in their world?

  

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ALYSSA: New world, same old animosity between a Flash and a Harrison Wells. Some things never change. While I’ve no idea exactly what Wells did (yet) I just know that he somehow betrayed Jay because regardless of the world, you can always count on Harrison Wells to pull that card. I’m guessing that he did something similar to what he was warning Barry about – not rushing into the situation with Zoom so quickly. Perhaps Wells pushed Jay too hard, too fast, and it ended up costing him, well, nearly his life, if this has anything to do with that brief glimpse we got of Garrick battling Zoom before the singularity opened and sucked Garrick into our world. You know that whatever Wells did was something bad because semi-pacifist Jay Garrick doesn’t take a swing at just anybody.

LIZZIE: I think what we saw is exactly what happened – I don’t think there’s any secret that these two men are keeping from the team. They just don’t like each other because Jay knows Wells is responsible and Earth-2 Wells just won’t take responsibility for creating all the meta-humans. Also, Earth-2 Wells is a dick, and Jay is just …well, a nice guy who really wants to be a hero and seems to think that everyone should act according to a code. In a way, Jay and Wells don’t see eye to eye because they both exist in a black and white world. Things are either good or bad. For Jay, Wells is a liar. For Wells, Jay is a coward. Neither of them can possibly comprehend that there is no such thing as absolutes, and people are hardly ever just one thing.

Team Flash, however, has had to deal with shades of grey. They understand. In a way you can say that they’re better equipped to deal with Harrison Wells and Jay Garrick (when he returns).

BETH: Oh... let's be honest! Harrison Wells might not be a superhuman evil pod person this time around, but he has a chip on his shoulder and ego that could rival Zeus's. How one believes they're God's gift to humanity while understanding they've unleashed some of the worst dark potential onto it at the same time definitely probably qualifies Harrison for sociopath. High-functioning for sure, but he certainly has not found the right outlet for his rage, boredom and apathy nor is Zoom going to let him. He pretty much opened his mouth and Jay called him on his BS. Really, would it take much more than that for these two? However, in the interest of speculation, I do believe there was personal loss in the wake of some incident involving both Jay and Harrison back on Earth-2 and now they're always at each other - trying to pin the blame on each other because the guilt is eating them both alive.

LYRA: I think it's a rivalry that spans more than the metahumans issue. Maybe Wells stole Jay's lunch money. Heck it could even be that Jay cut Wells off in the line for coffee. All joking aside, it's something big enough to make Jay angry/wary but not serious enough for him to kill Wells. If it was something significantly bad he'd stop Wells from working with Team Flash. Biggest hope is that they mix it up. Don't make it just about the metahumans creation.

Wells said he was the one that created Zoom. What do you think he meant by that?

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ALYSSA: Every villain has to start somewhere; they aren’t just born a villain; they’re created. So I believe that when Wells said he “created” Zoom that he actually “created” the Zoom persona. Whoever Zoom is (and I’ve got my theory) I’m sure that he started out as someone ordinary who became something extraordinary until Wells got his hands on him. According to Jay Garrick, Wells was responsible for the Particle Accelerator explosion in Earth-2, which also created the metahumans of Earth-2. I can’t help but believe that maybe Zoom started off as some kind of hero like Barry, but was turned to the dark side after Wells did something to betray him. It’d explain why Zoom hates Wells, as well as hint at the personal reason for Zoom’s hatred. Because even villains are affected by personal betrayals – it’s what drives them to madness. The difference between heroes and villains is that the heroes learn to respond to that adversity in a positive manner.

LIZZIE: It felt like a big declaration, but I think it’s one of those things that was phrased like that for the effect. Wells created Zoom, yes. He’s responsible for all the meta-humans. Not that Wells cares about the rest of them, no. He’s only concerned with the man who took his daughter. So, in truth, it’s like him saying, well, yes, I created all the meta-humans, but I didn’t really care about that until one of them did something to ME. So now, it’s personal. Now it’s ON.

BETH: Harrison has a knack for creating natural disasters that lead to supernatural gifts in humanity. Not sure if there's more to the story, but that's certainly where it all probably started, yeah?

LYRA: Maybe Wells is Zoom's father? He did kidnap his daughter and that girl looked perfect! Did you guys take note of her hair? Who looks that good when they get kidnapped??? Sara, from Arrow, sure didn't. Back to the story. S.T.A.R. Labs exploded and created Zoom or killed someone close to him. Afterwards he vowed to take Wells down for taking the most important thing away from him, his love. *end scene*

The Flash continues to play its part in setting up DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. We briefly got to meet our Hawkgirl, Kendra Saunders. What are your thoughts on her and what are you excited to see from her moving forward?

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ALYSSA: While we only got a little taste of Kendra in this episode, I really like what we saw. Unlike with Arrow’s additions to Legends of Tomorrow with Sara and Ray, Kendra is someone that we don’t know, and that’s exciting. She seems like a sweet girl, although at first I was questioning her taste in men when she turned down Cisco. But in her defense, Cisco’s asking was rather awkward. But the girl learned real quick that she’d missed out on how amazing of a guy Cisco is despite his awkwardness. Just knowing that there’s so much history with Kendra and that we haven’t even begun to tap the surface, I’m so thrilled to learn more about her past and her future as a legend.

LIZZIE: I’ve heard some complaints about the new characters and how they’ve been taking time away from the core of Team Flash, and though I love my Cisco/Barry/Caitlin time, I’ve loved each and every one of the new characters that has popped up, so I don’t really agree with the criticism.

Kendra Saunders was no exception.

In fact, I almost wish we could have seen more of her. I imagine we will next week, since she’s going on a date with Cisco and all. And I’m here for it. I’m excited. I think both Arrow and The Flash have done a really good job of setting up Legends of Tomorrow and getting me, if possible, even more pumped for it. Plus, the world can always use one more badass female superhero.

BETH: Hawkgirl's introduction delighted me. She looks so much like how I wanted her to look. Shall we tally how many kisses Cisco receives this season? He is on a roll! Wowzers, he has got to lock lips with some gorgeous ladies.

LYRA: She was an adorable addition that blended in perfectly with our cast. They like to slide into things on The Flash. Hawkgirl is no different. What's most exciting about her journey are the little hints she dropped when talking to Cisco. She referred to her home and how things were so different in this city. Will we get an opportunity to see her home on Legends of Tomorrow? When will we encounter Hawkguy. So many questions. The best part is that I'm willing to wait to get the answers. I'm willing to stick it out with another female superhero! Bring it on DC!

With the surprise of doppelgängers, where we saw Linda Park as a metahuman, who do you think Zoom is from our world? Is he/she someone we know or someone new?

The Flash -- "Enter Zoom" -- Image FLA206A_0346b.jpg -- Pictured: Zoom -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

ALYSSA: When I have a theory I tend to stick to it until I’m proven wrong. Well, the big theory that I have regarding “who is Zoom” is that he is Barry Allen of Earth-2. Ever since I saw that theory floating around I grabbed onto it with everything I had. It just felt like something that the producers would do to us. The beauty and terror with this Earth-2 stuff is that the different versions of these characters that we love could literally be anyone. Before this episode I was clinging to this Barry from Earth-2 is Zoom theory just because I had a feeling, but after “The Darkness and the Light” I finally have proof to back up my theory.

In a world of literal parallel universes, these Flash (and Arrow) producers live for their parallels. One of the things we learned in this episode was that Wells is solely responsible for the creation of Zoom. There was something about the way Wells said, “I created Zoom” that just really stuck out to me. Like he was the person who created – not just the metahuman abilities – but the terrifying persona that defines who Zoom is now. This wasn’t just so random occurrence. It sounds as if Zoom trusted Wells and was betrayed, and Zoom chose to turn to the dark side and seek vengeance against Wells. Sound familiar? Barry Allen of our world was betrayed by Wells, technically Reverse Flash as he was the person who killed his mother, and there were times where Barry was flirting with the darkness that encompassed that dark betrayal. But Barry didn’t turn that way, he chooses the light. Perhaps in this alternate universe Barry chose differently?

LIZZIE: I don’t want to say Barry, but I want to say Barry. I mean, it’s NO reveal if it’s someone we don’t know, so that narrows it down a bit. And Zoom being Earth-2 Barry would be JUST the kick-in-the-gut to end the season, kind of like when they, you know, killed Eddie when we least expected it. The other thing that would be super cool is if they somehow made Zoom someone from the world of Arrow, like, who knows, Quentin from Earth-2, just because, imagine all the head-scratching?! But it’s most likely someone we know and love from The Flash, so as much as I don’t want it to be Barry, it could be.

Or, like, I don’t know, I just thought about this, but could it be Earth-2 Henry? That’d be poetic.

BETH: ARGGGGGHHHHHHH... I don't know. I don't want to know. This questions scares me. *hands covering my ears, rocking back and forth* Oh the trauma!

LYRA: We're going to use Dwight Schrute's method of deduction. It's not the person we least expect, Patty Spivot. But it's also not the person I most expect, BARRY! That only leaves one other option. Someone who I medium suspect! And who is that? Joe West. Imagine the shock and stress of finding out that the newest enemy is the doppelganger of your adoptive father! BUT WAIT! Don't Earth-2 people have to kill their Earth-2 counterparts? What if Zoom does that to Joe and then it's revealed that our unicorn has been dead for months. (Oh dear, I'm freaking myself out right now!)

Join us for another Fangirlish Roundtable with The Flash next Friday.

The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.

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