Just when it looked like the good folks of The Flash were getting a momentary reprieve from Earth-Two drama — easy laughter! a home-cooked meal! at least six sets of googly eyes! — holy hell rained down like pretty birds flying into the side of a skyscraper in the final moments of this week’s episode.
That last scene felt like a tragedy wrapped inside a nightmare, and while my inner optimist wants to believe there’s some sort of timey-wimey, Beats by Wells solution to it all, the realist within can only see one conclusion: Henry Allen is dead.
Damn you, Zoom! Why do you want to make sweet Barry your Earth One mirror image: A guy super-powered solely by bitterness and selfishness, a guy who’d let a skyscraper full of innocent people collapse if it meant he could get an edge on the competition?
I want to believe* Barry won’t succumb to his darker angels, but there’s got to be some sort of PTSD/psychological fallout from watching your dad die a pointless death so soon after his release from wrongful imprisonment, no? (*Yes, that’s a reference to The X-Files.)
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With that in mind, let’s pithily recap the action from Season 2, Episode 22, “Invincible”:
A SIREN BLARES | As if the Metapocalypse that’s come to Central City isn’t bad enough, Katie Cassidy’s Black Siren (Earth-Two’s Laurel Lance) arrives and uses her vibrating war cry to wreak havoc on behalf of Zoom. She makes the silly mistake of pausing her ass-kicking of Barry to give a speech, and who zooms in (via car) and knocks her to her butt (via fishtailing bumper) but Wally. Dude’s got something of a hero complex — even when The Flash tells him the metahuman battle isn’t his to fight.
SPEAKING OF HERO COMPLEXES… | Back from his Speed Force Experience (that seems like the kind of phrase that should be initial-capped, no?) Barry’s walking on sunshine, and he doesn’t just feel good, he feels downright invincible. Henry, Joe, Cisco and Iris all try to slow his roll, but he’s convinced he can bring down Zoom and thousands of metahumans — all evidence to the contrary be damned. Luckily, Cisco realizes all the Earth-Two metahumans are vibrating on a higher frequency, and devises a plan to send out a “dimensional shock therapy” amplified by Barry generating a refracting field around Central City. (I know that explanation sucks, but all I have is a Bachelor’s in Communications, people!)
As Cisco and Caitlin don Reverb and Killer Frost disguises to (briefly) distract Black Siren, the rest of the plan TKOs the Earth-Two baddies — giving Barry time to round them up (Black Siren included) and imprison them in the Pipeline. (No due process, no trial, no problem?)
Later, though, as Iris makes a meal for all the good guys — and is pleased when Barry says he’s open to giving their relationship another try — Zoom zooms in, snatches up Henry and brings him back to his childhood home. This time, he reasons, it’s Barry who needs to watch a(nother) parent die — and it’ll make Barry realize he’s no different than Zoom, Jay sneers. Henry plays the role of the selfless dad beautifully — “Whatever happens, you have made me the happiest father” he smiles through his tears — but it doesn’t stop Zoom from putting his vibrating fist through his chest. And just like that, Barry is forever changed.
MEANWHILE, BACK ON EARTH-TWO | Cisco spends the episode grappling with visions of birds crashing into skyscrapers. At the Dinner Party That Ends Badly, he has his final vision: Earth-Two being literally torn in two. Here’s hoping dude’s soothsaying powers aren’t 100-percent accurate!
IN OTHER NEWS | Henry and Dr. McGee eyed each other like two hyenas looking at an impala carcass — and I can’t imagine the show’s writers would introduce that November lovin’ if the former character was dead-dead-dead, right? Wally and Jesse exhibit some chemistry, too, although Joe’s son is acting so foolishly heroic, I wonder if he’s long for the world. Caitlin keeps seeing visions of Zoom — though he’s not actually there — but by the end of the hour, it seems like there’s a light at the end of her kidnapping trauma. Oh, and did I mention that just before the sound-wave hoo-hah incapacitates Black Siren, Cisco throws some kind of crazy force field that knocks her on her butt — much to his and Caitlin’s shock. (Dude might be more powerful than we think!)
What did you think of this week’s Flash? Did Henry’s death break your heart — or is it possible he’s not dead yet? Sound off in the comments!