Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Flash Season 2 Episode 13 "Welcome to Earth-2" - Recap and Review

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This has to got to be one of the best episodes in this show so far.

As seen by the end of the last episode, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) had volunteered to go to Earth-2 in an attempt to rescue Jesse Wells (Violett Beane), the daughter of  Dr Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh).

True to his word, Barry along with Dr Wells and Cisco Ramon/Vibe (Carlos Valdes) arrive in Earth-2. DC Adaptations featuring alternate universe/versions tend to be my favorites and this episode is no exception.

We see news flash on television mentioning Mayor Snart (Leonard Snart or his father Lewis Snart). Iris West (Candice Patton) is a cop and  her father Joseph West is a singer. Even more hilarious is Floyd Lawton (Michael Rowe), the cop with the worst record for shooting. No points for guessing his nickname....

As comic book fans are aware, in alternate realities/universe, good guys tend to be the reverse of what they are in our world. In this case, Caitlin Snow, Ronnie Raymond and Cisco's doppelgangers are the bad apples.

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Caitlin is “Killer Frost and Ronnie is Deathstorm, with the powers of ice and fire respectively. Cisco is Reverb” and all three of them work for Zoom (voiced by Tony Todd).

To set things in motion, Barry kidnaps his Earth-2 version, Bartholomew Allen and takes his place. He is surprised to learn that he is married to Iris. To complicate things further, Iris has a Meta human warning app that is set off constantly, whenever our Barry is in close vicinity to her.

In yet another twist, Joseph West hates his son-in-law and as per Iris, the feeling is mutual. Just as Barry and Iris finish watching Joseph's latest performance, Killer Frost and Deathstorm gatecrash the club. Barry tries to stop them but Deathstorm ends up severely injuring Joe. Joe dies shortly in the hospital.

Back on our own Earth, Adam Wells/Geomancer (Adam Stafford) is the latest meta-human to menace Central City and Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears) has to stop him in Barry's absence. Jay also reveals that he has been using Velocity-6 (V-6) and that it is the main reason for his declining health.

Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) develops an upgraded version: Velocity -7. This works to a certain extent, but still needs work.

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On Earth-2, Iris is determined to catch her father's murderer. Cisco helps her locate Deathstorm and Killer Frost. Flash intervenes but is quickly overpowered by the combination of Deathstorm and Reverb.

Deathstorm and Reverb keep attacking Flash, despite Zoom's strict instructions not to do so. He appears and promptly kills Deathstorm and Reverb for harming our hero. Only Killer Frost is left alive.

Zoom takes the Flash as hostage and imprisons him.

This was a stunner of an episode and deserves to be seen by all fans of DC Comics in general and the Flash in particular.

There are tons of references to the DC Universe. In addition to the alternate versions of our favorite characters, my personal favorite is the scene featuring Bartholomew's phone listing the following individuals: Bruce, Hal and Diana - references to Bruce Wayne (Batman), Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) and Diana Prince (Wonder Woman).

Another nice touch was the brief cameos of Gorilla Grodd and Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) as our trio travel to Earth-2.

There are two main reasons why this episode was so spectacular: the humor and the acting. As consistent as the show has been so far on both these counts, this episode is on a whole different level.

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The actors are in top form in this episode. Grant Gustin is terrific as the mild-mannered Bartholomew Allen. But he is out of action for a majority of the episode.

Candice Patton is equally good as Detective Iris West-Allen. This Iris is very different from the one on our Earth. Kudos to the actress for clearly differentiating between the two versions. The reason for her being a cop is that she became one to support Bartholomew's pursuit of his PhD.

I also enjoyed the alternate version of Deadshot. His comment about improving his accuracy by 2% was a nice touch. Another hilarious aspect was Police Captain David Singh (Patrick Sabongui) himself being in handcuffs.

The actors were clearly enjoying themselves. Last but not the least, are the performances by Carlos Valdes and Danielle Panabaker as Reverb and Killer Frost respectively. Danielle gets to show off her acting chops and not do the usual serious stuff as Caitlin Snow. Even better is Carlos. He is a hoot as Reverb and relishes delivering each word of his dialogue. Reverb's introduction scene is one for the ages. Even as Cisco, he manages to elicit laughter (as is his wont). A standout scene was his using the device to track Zoom on Earth-2 shortly after they arrive.

The action scenes were very well done. Zoom was spellbinding as always. The Flash vs Deathstorm sequences were far better than what the trailers for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (BvS) are promising us. Better special effects and execution at a budget that should be only a fraction of what Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder must be spending for BvS.

There is a new mystery factor surrounding the unnamed prisoner being held captive by Zoom.

This is a classic Alternate Earth episode, that ranks among the best along with Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Justice League: Gods and Monsters, and Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox.

Must watch for fans of DC Universe/Comic Books.


The song “My Funny Valentine is performed by Jesse L. Martin himself in the club scene on Earth-2.

Recommended watch to fans of The Flash/DC Comics.

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Image Source: Berlanti Productions, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television, The CW Television Network

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Friday, February 5, 2016

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Season 1 Episode 3 "Blood Ties" - Recap and Review

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At the end of the previous episode, Carter Hall/Hawkman (Falk Hentschel) was murdered by Vandal Savage (Casper Crump). Kendra Saunders/Hawkgirl (Ciara RenĂ©e) was severely injured and her condition was being closely monitored.

Similar to the previous episode, we see different team members go on separate missions (two of which are for greater good and one for decidedly personal reasons). All of these missions are motivated by their  loved ones and hence the title of the episode.

Sara Lance/White Canary (Caity Lotz) convinces Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) to go after Vandal's wealth. The rationale is to bankrupt him and weaken his attempts to take over the world. Or as Rip puts it, delay by a few decades.

Dr. Martin Stein (Victor Garber) guides Ray Palmer/Atom (Brandon Routh) as he uses his Atom suit to enter Kendra's body and heal her injuries. Ray faces defeat in his first attempt and it is upto Dr Stein to boost his morale in order to save Kendra's life.

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A far less altruistic minded is the attempt by Leonard Snart/Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) to have a better childhood by preventing his father from going to jail for stealing a highly valued emerald.

After a great first part and a relatively weak concluding part of the pilot episode, the show returns to smashing form in the third episode.

I have remarked in the reviews of the previous episodes that Victor Garber, Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell are my favorite parts in the show. They are in good form here too.

But what makes this a standout episode is that even the actors who were bland so far really got to shine this time. I am referring to Arthur Darvill and Brandon Routh.

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Brandon Routh finally manages to show some acting chops as Ray Palmer. We get to know more about what inspired Ray to make the Atom suit and become a superhero. His scenes with the always excellent Victor Garber were pretty good. The special effects were much better this time for the Atom. 

Equally good was Arthur Darvill as Rip Hunter. He finally gets some screen-time to emote and not just stand around barking orders in a stiff British accent. Similar to Ray Palmer and Captain Cold, we get to know more about his background. Rip had crossed paths with Vandal 4000 years ago.

Despite coming close to killing Savage, Rip hesitated and that is one decision that has resulted in a lot of self-loathing for our Time Master.

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The third cast member who comes into the limelight is Caity Lotz as Sara Lance/White Canary. She gets to beat up  a bunch of bad guys/assassins and looks totally at ease in the action scenes. She reveals how her recovery with the help of the Lazarus Pit considerably affected her psyche and unleashed a more brutal side.

Sara even gets to do some deduction using her skills of observation (like Sherlock Holmes) at the Brumberg Bank.

The characters in the show seem to be taking turns to visit their younger versions. Last time, it was Dr Martin Stein. Now, it is Captain Cold's turn. This is getting a bit repetitive. Hopefully, the writers will stop using this plot device (or) at least resist using it for the rest of the season.

Finally, we come to the villain. Casper Crump is suitably macabre and egotistic as the immortal Vandal Savage. His brutal ritual involving drinking of the blood of the dead Carter Hall/Hawkman was captured quite effectively.

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A notable guest appearance was made by Nikolai Witschl as Caleb, one of Vandal's cult members. Readers might remember him as Ansel Barbour from the FX Vampire series: The Strain.


1. The song “Fight the Power” by The Isley Brothers can be heard as Rip and Sara do their slomo walk to the Brumberg Bank.

2. The song “I Got the Fire by Montrose is played as Sara fights the assassins disguised as employees of the Brumberg Bank.

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Image Source: Berlanti Productions, Bonanza Productions, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television, The CW Television Network (The CW)

© 2016 - All rights reserved. No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.