“King Shark”, the 15th episode of the second season of the CW’s “The Flash” dealt with a lot of emotional issues and a shark puns when it aired Tuesday night.
The episode picked up where the last episode, “Escape from Earth-2” left off: Earth-1’s Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) returned home through the Earth-2 breach with Earth-2’s Dr. Harrison “Harry” Wells (Tom Cavanagh) and his daughter Jessie (Violett Beane) in tow. For some odd reason, the man known as Earth-2’s Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears) stepped in front of the closing breach and was pulled through it, by way of Zoom’s arm poking through his chest.
After a state of disbelief, time passes for the characters and they try to adjust to new surroundings and deal with the emotions they are feeling. Barry and Cisco are also advised by Harrison to keep what they experienced with the Earth-2 dopplegangers to themselves, especially in concern for Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker), Det. Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) and his daughter Iris (Candice Patton).
Of course, Barry and Cisco can’t help themselves and do the exact opposite.
Barry is full of guilt for getting caught up in the life of his Earth-2 doppleganger, who is happily married to Iris, but had a bad relationship with her father Joe. While Barry was living it up on this alternate Earth, even after being warned not to get caught up emotionally, his presence caused Earth-2’s Joe to be murdered.
Barry is unable to separate his feelings for his Joe and Iris from their Earth-2 counterparts and it is in his sullen, guilt-ridden, emotional state that viewers are shown that his heroic heart has grown even stronger.
The writers wisely brought in Lyla Michaels (Audrey Marie Anderson) and John Diggle (David Ramsey) from the CW’s “Arrow” to allow Barry to receive some sage advice from Diggle. While tracking Earth-2’s King Shark (voiced by David Hayter), who was being held in an aquarium by A.R.G.U.S. (Advanced research Group United Support), Lyla, who is now in charge of the organization, is able to give Barry a heads-up that King Shark is heading to Central City to kill the Flash.
While Diggle knew about Jay’s death, he didn’t know about Barry’s Earth-2 experience. However, the advice he gave Barry applied to both incidents. Diggle wisely told Barry, like he’s told Oliver Queen/the Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) so many times before, that if he doesn’t control his guilt, it will tear him up inside.
“Use this, man,” Diggle said. “Let it guide you so it never happens again.”
Diggle is a solid, strong African American character who has been the moral compass on “Arrow” for four years and it’s nice to see his character crossover to “The Flash” and share his wisdom with Barry. These kinds of moments are what truly connect the series and make them feel like one strong television universe.
Diggle’s advice helps Barry accept his part in Earth-2’s Joe and Jay’s deaths and strengthens his resolve to defeat Zoom, who is revealed to be another Jay at the end of the episode. (Show producer Andrew Kreisberg promises the show will reveal how this is possible and who the person in the iron mask is on Earth-2.)
While Barry dealt with guilt, Cisco dealt with his fear that Earth-1’s Caitlin Snow will eventually become Killer Frost like her Earth-2 doppleganger eventually did. He believes that the death of Ronnie Raymond (Robbie Amell) and now Earth-2 Jay, who she had fallen for, were just the incidents to cause her to turn to “the cold side”. While Caitlin did seem “frosty”, she later explained to Cisco that she would be okay and that she was only letting out her emotions of grief, anger and frustration.
Caitlin also brought up the fact that Cisco has tested her and she doesn’t have any metahumans gene. But, could it be, like Marvel’s mutants, that the metahuman gene can lie dormant until it is triggered by an event or incident?
While the emotions Barry and Cisco dealt with related to what they experienced on Earth-2, the jealousy of Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) was borne of what he experienced on Earth-1. As Wally begins to really connect with his biological father and sister, he is plagued by feelings that they love Barry, who they took in when he was a young boy, more and that he’s Joe’s favorite child because of how “perfect” they make Barry out to be. Wally’s brief interactions with Barry don’t make things better and neither does Barry, who is so wrapped up in his guilt that he doesn’t see what he is doing.
At the urging of Iris, Joe confronts Wally about the way he has treated Barry and also lets his son know that he has room to love both Barry and him. It’s understandable that Wally would be jealous of Barry, especially since Barry lived the life that Wally was denied.
Wally’s character is becoming very likable and offers a fresh look at the world of “The Flash”. His commentary on the strange occurrences that happen around the main characters are humorous and delivered like a person who is curious as to why the characters act like those events are everyday occurrences, which they are. It doesn’t seem like it will be too long before he becomes a part of “Team Flash”.
Other highlights of the episode include the numerous shark and “Jaws” puns, King Shark and Flash’s electrifying battle, Harrison and Jessie giving Cisco grief, Caitlin pretending to “become” Killer Frost and Lyla finally agreeing with Diggle that Flash’s speed is “kinda freaky”.
“The Flash”, which is executive produced by Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti, will return on March 22. The show airs on at 7 p.m. Central on the CW.