A look back on The Flash Season 2 Episode 5: The Darkness and the Light

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Harry: Stars having a temperature of 5,300 degree Kelvin and a blinding luminosity, I would say, “Not very cool at all.”

Beware: Spoilers may follow.

After two filler episodes framing two characters for the then upcoming Legends of Tomorrow, the Flash goes back to its main plot involving breachers sent by the nefarious Zoom to kill the Flash. This episode provided a good metahuman of the week story and provided some interesting characters and relationships on Earth 2.

The story is that Barry (Grant Gustin) finds himself up against a petty thief from Earth 2 named Dr. Light who is in fact the doppelganger of his ex-girlfriend Linda Park (Malese Jow). A fight between the two results in Light using her powers to temporarily blind Barry mere hours prior his first date with Patty Spivot (Shantel Vansanten).

The episode opens with a glimpse of Earth 2 and while we would get a much better full fledged look at the place later on, it’s shown well on how different it is from Earth 1 in terms of technological development, architecture, fashion design, and so forth. In doing so it establishes the seeds of bitterness between “Jay” (Teddy Sears) and Harrison Wells of Earth 2 (Tom Cavanagh). Sears while sidelined still gives a good performance in showing his vulnerability. Although knowing what we know now about him this plotline is complete bogus but also knowing what we know now gives the scene where Jay asks about Cisco’s powers a whole new meaning. When he asks about them he has an expression of nervousness as he knows full well that Cisco could probably find out the truth.

While the Earth 2 Harrison Wells was seen two episodes prior, this was the first episode where he finally meets Team Flash. There’s a great deal of hilarity in seeing just how suspicious the team is about him and Cavanagh’s performance contributes vastly to that. Harry’s cynicism, lack of consideration, and uncaring demeanor in reacting to being mistaken for Thawne make the jokes when our heroes meet him for the first time hit right on. Cavanagh’s performance also differentiates him from Thawne’s Wells, as whereas that Wells was more calm and methodic this Wells is far more agitated and aggressive. At the same time there are still traces of the original Wells in him as he encourages Barry to be the best that he can be. Particularly noticeable of his similarity to Thawne was when in trying to trigger Cisco’s (Carlos Valdes) vibe powers he shoves Dr. Light’s mask into his hands similar to how Thawne shoved his hand into Cisco’s chest back in season 1. Interestingly enough both versions of Wells developed over the seasons through their bonds with Cisco.

Having Dr. Light as a villain was certainly an interesting choice. She isn’t just being a villain for the sake of being a villain. She’s just afraid of Zoom and wants to take on her Earth One counterpart’s life in order to hide from him. Her final fight against Barry is a nice one as Barry gets to cleverly use his new speed mirage ability.

Barry’s blind date with Patty is one of the cuter scenes of the episode. Seeing Cisco secretly guide a blind date with Barry as well as Barry trying to navigate through all of this gives way to some nice comedy and wonderful chemistry between the two (in a vein very similar to Barry and Felicity’s flirting pre-Flash days and in season 1).

If there is one real nitpick about the episode it’s that towards the end Cisco apparently gets a date with a barista named Kendra Saunders (Ciara Renee) who we all know was Hawkgirl and would merely be around to frame the story for Legends of Tomorrow and we knew that no matter how much we liked the two it wouldn’t last. And sadly she was one of the weaker parts of Season 1 of that show. However it’s only focused on for a couple minutes and the rest of the episode is far greater.

The Darkness and the Light blends in both aspects and introduced some new chess pieces into the game who would prove to be enjoyable characters. At the end of the day, light comes out on top, which works well for this TV show, as its light-heartedness has been its greatest strength.

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