The Flash: “The Darkness and the Light” Season 2 Episode 5 Review

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Yay! There were only a few minor setups for Legends of Tomorrow this week! The Flash got to just be its good old self again! Even more so than the rest of season two, in fact, largely due to the reintegration of Dr. Wells to the team.

While the show pretty much completely ignores the shocking, awesome cameo by King Shark at the end of last week’s episode, it can’t ignore the shark humanoid’s undoing. The Earth 2 version of Dr. Wells has made his way to Earth 1. The opening of the episode smartly shows us the rocky relationship between Wells and Jay on Earth 2. Through flashbacks in season one we got a glimpse of Earth 1’s version, showing him as more of an ambitious scientist than the megalomaniac Earth 2’s version seems to be. This is a smart way to play the talents of Tom Cavanagh, who was at his best last season when playing Eobard Thawne rather than Harrison Wells. I wouldn’t exactly be shocked if the Earth 2 version turns out to be that world’s Reverse-Flash, but for now it’s just fun to have Cavanagh overplaying the role and having a good time.

His return to Team Flash comes with another metahuman from Earth 2, calling herself Dr. Light. In a fun twist, she actually turns out to be Linda Park, Barry’s brief love interest from season one. Much like some of the other metahumans we’ve seen cross dimensions this season, one of her main objectives is to eliminate the Earth 1 version of herself. Aside from this, she’s a relatively run-of-the-mill foe for Team Flash to face. The writers try to give her some pathos, but it doesn’t feel as explored as it could have been.

But the real treat of the episode is the familiar but fresh dynamic the new Dr. Wells brings to the team. First off, he ends a subplot that was relatively close to being overdrawn. By matter-of-factly revealing to the team that Cisco has powers, this subplot ends right about when it should. As the climax and resolution of the episode shows us, it’s much more fun to have Cisco, now known as Vibe, using his powers in conjunction with the team.

Even better was Barry facing off with Dr. Light and having Wells back in his ear. The return this encouragement, even if its in a more dickish demeanor, is very welcome, as is Wells showing Barry the range of ways he can use his speed. By creating “speed mirages” of himself, Flash is able to subdue Dr. Light. It’s the good ‘ol days of season one with a twist! Something old is new again and adheres to everything season two has thus far been about. After last week’s misstep, this generally “typical” episode was exactly what the show needed to get back on track. Grade: B+

Some Other Thought Bubbles:

  • The major Legends of Tomorrow tease came with the arrival of Kendra Saunders, who is destined to become Hawkgirl before that series starts. As opposed to the C-list superheroes Arrow and The Flash have been introducing, Hawkgirl is actually awesome and a chief member of the Justice League.
  • As it turns out, back in Earth 2, Zoom is holding Wells’ daughter captive. But what does Wells have up his sleeve to get his daughter out of captivity?
  • Right now, one of my favorite things about season two is Iris’ evolution to becoming a more level-headed character. She even gets the badass moment of shooting Dr. Light here. It appears the writers learned from their mistakes in handling Laurel a few seasons ago on Arrow.
  • Next week, it looks like we’ll be getting our first official face off with Zoom!

By Matt Dougherty


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