Last week, the Flash threw himself into the Speed Force to get back the powers he gave to Zoom in exchange for Wally‘s life. But Zoom has brought himself an army of meta-humans from Earth-2 and Central City is on the losing side of the war.
We begin with the CCPD vainly fighting against a swarm of meta-humans, including what appears to be the Earth-2 Kendra and Carter. Captain Singh takes a green energy burst to his chest and Joe tries to get them to safety but the pair is cornered in their car by the mob. This opening scene is utterly amazing, capturing the bravery of normal men and women as they stand their ground against superior forces. Although Singh and Joe appear ready for the great beyond, Flash arrives and subdues the group within seconds, speeding off to fight the next fire as Zoom watches from atop a building.
Back at STAR Labs, Caitlin has returned to the group and tells the team that they can’t stop Zoom. Barry raises her spirits with a corny ‘the universe is with us’. Seriously, that’s actually what he says. The rest of the group is equally worried about Barry’s current state as he seems ridiculously over-confident of himself. Over at Mercury Labs, a dark figure approaches outside and screams at the building. Under the sheer force of her voice, concrete pillars begin to crack and shatter within moments. From this alone, you can probably guess who it is. I even went as far as to give a little cheer. Cisco experiences a vibe in front of a building and sees a single dead bird by his feet. Whether or not this is referencing the death of Black Canary is unclear but I think it might be. Just as he comes out of his vision, alarms start going off, alerting the group to the attack at Mercury Labs. Barry runs in and saves Dr. McGee from the midst of a falling pile of rubble and, when back on the ground, she thanks him by name. Seeing Tina McGee figure out who the Flash is was a brilliant twist that I wish had come in sooner. In the 1990’s Flash series, Tina was his version of Team Flash at STAR Labs. As the rest of the building watches, the destroyer walks away: Laurel Lance.
Team Flash convene with McGee and try to figure out who attacked Mercury Labs. McGee directs Barry to find a ‘crash survivable memory unit’ – a black box for the building. As the group talk, a couple across town are mugged and Wally tries to be the hero. If not for Joe, the meta-human attacker would have killed him. Joe is furious but Wally is determined to show he was worth being saved because he wants to make up for the mistakes of his past. Shortly before Barry returns, Caitlin sees Zoom’s reflection in a pane of glass but doesn’t mention it. Barry drops off the black box and Henry tries to reason with his son to be more down to earth but Barry is angry that he is trying to ruin his happiness. Zoom calls Barry by scarring the CCPD headquarters and waits patiently in his lab. When Barry arrives, he knows that he isn’t a hologram anymore and labels it ‘interesting’. Although he knows of the Speed Force as the source of his powers, does he know about the world inside and information that Barry has yet to discover?
Zoom believes them to be similar but that Barry should embrace his anger and comments that it must be exhausting being a hero all the time. Before Barry can make a move, a building outside starts to collapse. Zoom sends him to save the people and calls his compassion his weakness. This is something that consistently irritates me about villains. All they have to do to win is endanger innocent people elsewhere and the hero is unable to stop them from committing crime. Sadly, it will always work for as long as heroes remain themselves.
Not willing to let another building be destroyed, Team Flash try to come up with a plan to stop Zoom and his followers. Barry wonders if they could take down all the Earth-2 metas at once. Referencing the Time Wraith and Pied Piper, he, Cisco and Wells decide to create vibrational technology. As the group splits, Cisco experiences a second vision where several birds fly into the building from before and collapse at his feet. Joes asks the Flash to talk with Wally about attacking the meta-humans. As Cisco works on trying to design his vibration machine, Caitlin sees another reflection of Zoom before he appears before her and she starts screaming. Cisco notices and the awful truth is revealed: Zoom was never there. Caitlin is psychologically suffering from being his captive for so long. As Wally sits listening to a police radio, the Flash appears outside and tries to get him to stop endangering himself. Wally thinks that all of Central City should help but the Flash is called away to deal with another meta-human: Laurel.
Going by the moniker ‘Black Siren’, Laurel’s meta-human ability is a much more powerful version of Black Canary’s Canary Cry. After just one scream, Barry is unable to move and at her mercy. Before she can land a killing blow, Wally sideswipes her with his car and drives the Flash out of danger. Although Caitlin fixes the damage, Joe is angry that Barry was unable to persuade Wally not to help out. Iris tries to reason with Barry about which risks are worth taking. In Barry’s lab, Siren and Zoom discuss their next move. Siren asks why she is taking down buildings and Zoom reveals that it’s a distraction whilst he is doing ‘no good’. Seeing an evil Canary is exciting twist to the Arrowverse. Earth-2 has Barry, Joe and Iris still on the side of good but Cisco, Caitlin and now doubly deceased Raymond on the other side of the line. I wonder which side Constantine, Felicity and Roy fall on.
Team Flash has discovered a way to take down all the metas at once. As Earth-2 vibrates on a more erratic, sorry, higher frequency, if they send out the right frequency as Barry runs around the city, everyone from the parallel planet will collapse. All of them, even Zoom. To protect them, Wells has designed headphones to keep Jesse and himself safe. Although another Siren sighting is reported, Wells insists that Barry start running to create the vibrational barrier as Cisco has what he dubs ‘the worst idea of all time’. Siren contemplates destroying another building but is interrupted by the arrival of Reverb and Killer Frost. That is, Cisco and Caitlin playing dress up. Surprisingly, it wasn’t actually his worst idea ever. They actually pull it off rather well. As Reverb, Cisco tries to recruit Siren to fight against Zoom.
Unfortunately, Siren discovers their ruse when Cisco catches a pipe with his right hand. Reverb was a lefty. Just before she kills them, Cisco somehow blasts her but it doesn’t work when she next approaches them. Barry reaches the right speeds and Wells engages the vibrations, causing everyone from Earth-2 to collapse. Fearing his defeat, Zoom punches a new dimensional breach and escapes as Wells gives his protective headphones to Jesse after hers fail.
Although most of the metas are taken to Iron Heights, Siren and a few others are imprisoned in the pipeline. I think that if Sara and Quentin Lance were told about other Laurel, they’d spend much of their time trying to change her to become their Laurel and it could make a good sub-plot. Sadly, the team decides against revealing her. Barry convinces Joe that Wally is just like his father: driven to do what’s right.
That evening, Team Flash, Tina, and Henry all have a dinner party to celebrate. Barry realises that Tina and his father have some chemistry and asks Iris if maybe they could give being together a chance. This is a rather important moment, both in and out of continuity. In continuity because Barry and Iris finally take their first steps to being together and out because of Tina and Henry. Something that not many of the younger Flash fans will recognise is what happened over twenty-five years ago. In 1990, Wesley-Shipp played Barry Allen and Amanda Pays played (then and now) Dr. Tina McGee. Barry and Iris split early in the season and there was some ‘will they, won’t they’ moments between Barry and Tina afterwards. After so long, it was gratifying seeing them finally sort-of get together.
Before we go any further, I called it. I definitively and categorically called it.
Cisco has another vibe and sees more dead birds at his feet. As screaming people flood around him, he turns around and realises that he is viewing Earth-2. More importantly, Earth-2 as it is being destroyed. Moments after he tells them, Zoom speeds in and kidnaps Henry, forcing Barry to chase after him. Zoom takes him back to where his mother was killed. Zoom plans to kill Barry’s father so that Barry will experience what he did and end up the same. Henry is able to tell his son that he is proud and that he and Nora love him before Zoom plunges his hand through his heart.
I know that Barry originally proved his father innocent only to have Henry die in jail and that he would inevitably die in the CW continuity. But I was really hoping that he could go out in a heroic streak. Saving people from a burning building. Saving a baby from a burning building. Much as I wish it could have happened another way, that final blow is just one of the things that made Invincible yet another brilliant episode in the Flash legacy. Back near the beginning, Iris does a small voice-over and references ‘the blackest of nights‘. Later on, Cisco labels his device a ‘dimensional tuning fork‘. Both are referring to major DC events that ultimately shaped the continuity and allied heroes and villains alike on a single front. With the destruction of Earth-2 (which I called waaay before anyone else) could we finally be looking at a CW Crisis-level event? One episode is left for our Scarlet Speedster and I fully intend to enjoy every moment of it.