[Review] The Flash (2014) Episode 2×15: “King Shark”

We’re gonna need a bigger context on this week’s recap of CW’s The Flash.


BECKY

Picking up where we left off last time…

Spoilers under the cut.

…Jay was just killed by Zoom in front of everyone and yanked back through the breach just before it closed. Caitlin is having a perfectly justifiable freakout to seeing her budding love interest murdered in front of her, especially after last season ended with killing her recently-back-from-the-presumed-dead husband in front of her. I never really liked the Jay/Caitlin thing because it seemed so fast for her to move on, but adding this? Normally I complain about fridging women, but honestly, the dedication to giving Caitlin the trope reversal as a Killer Frost origin story needs to leave her a little room to breathe in-between.

All the breaches between Earth-1 and Earth-2 are now closed, supposedly permanently, trapping Harry and Jesse with our Team Flash. Harry encourages Barry and Cisco to not tell anyone about what they experienced on Earth-2, which sounds reasonable in general. In the context of this show, however, lack of communication has come to bite Team Flash in the arse too many times for me to really support this plan.

Jesse, who has gone from imprisoned by Zoom for months to now living on a cot in a backroom of S.T.A.R. Labs on a strange new Earth is also understandably not having the best field trip ever.

The Villain Of the Week is a memetic favorite of many comics fans, King Shark. I love the character because he’s a fun villain to figure out how to fight, but he doesn’t leave a lot of depth to discuss. (Hah, the fish villain lacks depth.) He is great for letting Team Flash make a lot of Jaws and Sharknado jokes. I’ll leave reveling in that to George.

Of course Barry’s trauma at having watched Earth-2 Joe die is exactly why he needs to talk the events of that trip out with Joe and Iris, and they know him far too well to not notice something’s wrong. Meanwhile, Cisco is nervous around Caitlin because he can tell she’s traumatized and he’s worried this is her Earth-1 Killer Frost origin story. JUST TALK TO EACH OTHER. Ignore the bad idea bear named Harry. Cisco spills before long and he and Caitlin talk it out, thank goodness.

Barry and Wally are trying to bond at Joe’s encouragement, but Barry is extremely awkward at it in part because it is awkward, both of them are used to being only sons, and both want Joe’s approval. Wally is the “real” son Barry can never be, but Barry is the honor student son with all the history with Joe that Wally can never have. It’s also awkward because Barry is traumatized and not discussing it with anyone.

Of course, King Shark pops in to interrupt just as Barry and Wally start to actually air out their issues with each other, because narrative convenience. I’m really questioning how big King Shark is here, because he ripped off a corner of the roof and is leaning in to talk through it, and I recall the West home being raised with almost a dozen steps to get up to the front porch. That’s a bit much.

There’s a brief fight before King Shark leaves, and Wally is (again, understandably) angry that Barry was MIA while the rest of them were cleaning up, and angry at Joe and Iris’ blasé reaction to the event. I understand that Wally is new, but he’s family; they really ought to let him in on the Flash secret.

Joe, being the great dad that he is, gets Barry to spill about his Earth-2 trip because the thankfully resolved-in-one-episode lesson here is TALK TO EACH OTHER.

One of the final scenes is Joe having an important heart-to-heart with Wally, making sure he feels validated, and giving him the long explanation of the family situation with Barry and letting him know that Barry wasn’t perfect either. They still need to let him in on the Flash secret, though, because there’s no possibility that Wally’s going to be a transient figure in their lives, and it will simplify explaining things to him while also making him safer the same way Iris knowing what she was dealing with made her safer.

The episode finishes out on a great Flash speech where Barry openly talks about his regrets, fears, and hopes, and he emphasizes that they will find a solution as a team. Together. As Team Flash. Which has been the strength of the legacy in the comics as well – their willingness to work with their closest group of people (the Flash Family) to solve problems.

Overall, it’s a very satisfying breather of an episode to follow the twist-heavy two-parter we just came off of.

We get one last scene of Zoom dropping the dead Jay in front of Iron Mask’s cell, only to remove his mask to reveal he has the same face. So now we have two Jays? That’s not going to be confusing at all.


GEORGE

Zoom slammed his hand through Jay’s chest, Chief. We was comin’ back from the parallel Central City. We’d just rescued Harry’s daughter. Jesse Wells. We didn’t talk about it for weeks. The things we saw on Earth-2.

Didn’t see King Shark outsmarting people. Escaping. Living. You know how we thought he was dead, Chief? We were told he was dead. What we didn’t know, was that A.R.G.U.S. was keeping him alive, studying him. And he still had his orders from Zoom. Very first chance, Chief, we start looking for King Shark, but other things are happening. Caitlin’s still in shock and acting all cold, like we see in Earth-2, like the Killer Frost; and Joe’s trying to get me and Wally to like each other, but I gotta keep my mouth shut about watching him die on Earth-2 and Zoom’s prisoner and sometimes you gotta bury yourself in you work…and sometimes your work tries to bury you.

Sometimes that work looks right at ya. Right into your eyes. And the thing about King Shark is he’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll’s eyes when he comes at ya, right to where you’re livin’…’til he attacks ya, and those you love and then…ah, then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin’. Then you realize that everything you’ve been holding on to needs to be said because you can’t deal with it alone and if you do, then it rips you to pieces.

You know by the end of the night, I told Joe and Iris everything. I didn’t know how much Jay’s death affected me. And we figured out how to track King Shark. In the early mornin’, Chief, we got together with Diggle and Layla. Strategized. Set a trap. We set out to the docks. Caitlin was with us. She was taking Jay’s death as hard as I was. Maybe more. Well, we had a plan and a decoy for bait.

It took a few hours but he finally showed, he snagged the bait and all the tranqs, couldn’t reel him in, then he leaps out, and I get him to chase me on the water and electrify it to knock him out. You know, that was the time I was most frightened. Runnin’ for my life. I decided I’m not running away from my problems anymore. So, we gathered at S.T.A.R. Labs. All of us, including Harry and Jesse, and I promised them we’ll reopen the breaches and save Earth-2.

Anyway, Jay is Zoom.

Farewell and adieu to you fair Flashcaps readers. Farewell and adieu to you readers of Fail. For George Hatch is on Twitter, you can find him @Raeseti. And so, evermore, we shall see you again.

Becky Shire is everyone’s favorite Flash Guru, cosplayer and all-around badass. You can find her on Twitter at @ElfGrove.

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