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Superhero series have the freedom to toy with the laws of physics and chemistry and biology on a regular basis, and audiences get to enjoy the fantastical in each episode. The Flash has been one of the superhero series most successful at making the fantastical just plain fantastic, and rarely has it been more fun than Barry’s first visit to Earth 2. While some things remained the same from Earth 1 to Earth 2, there were definitely plenty of major differences, and here's a look at the 10 best things The Flash gave us on Earth 2.
1. Barry And Cisco’s EnthusiasmIt’s always nice to have an audience surrogate on TV to react the same way that we would, so watching Barry and Cisco geek out when they first arrived to Earth 2 was perfect. Who among us can claim that we wouldn’t immediately want to whip out our phones and take a selfie upon arriving in an alternate world? The boys probably should have been a bit more genre-savvy about not messing with their alternate selves considering their knowledge of sci-fi movies, but their enthusiasm was infectious and wonderful.
2. Dead Characters Came BackWhat would a trip to a parallel universe be without some dead characters still alive and mostly well? Ronnie Raymond got a reprise on The Flash after his somewhat ambiguous death back in the Season 2 premiere, and Grant Gustin got to bust out his masterful cry-face during Barry’s conversation with a never-murdered Nora Allen. Even the presumed dead Floyd Lawton – also known as Deadshot from the Arrow-verse – made an appearance as a cop with terrible aim.
3. Bizarro CharactersEven more surprising than each of the resurrected characters were the bizarro versions of still-living characters. Caitlin Snow embraced her inner villainess as Killer Frost and Cisco was an evil version of Vibe. Somewhat amusingly, Ronnie was brought back to life in Earth 2 as Deathstorm only to be killed off again, and CCPD Captain Singh turned out to be an Earth 2 criminal as well. Conversely, Captain Cold evidently became mayor. The only downer was that we already knew that Earth 2 Oliver Queen was dead and we didn’t get to see a perky good-natured cameo from Stephen Amell.
4. Zoom Is Super ScaryEver since breaking Barry’s back and parading him all around Central City to scare the pants off of the citizens, Zoom has been the best and most horrifying villain of all of The Flash's rogues so far. As it turns out, however, Zoom is even scarier on Earth 2, where he apparently caused such a wave of terror attacks on Earth 2 that Mayor Snart was forced to enforce a curfew of only 9 p.m. Zoom terrorizing the public is far scarier than specifically targeting Barry on Earth 1, and stopping him ASAP feels more important than ever.
5. Barry Gets To Play Out His Dream Life With IrisEarth 2 Barry Allen seems to be pretty similar to Earth 1 Barry, just somehow dorkier, more self-centered and lacking superpowers and a tragic past. The biggest outward change has to be that Earth 2 Barry has married and is living a happy life with Iris. Watching Barry play out his dream life with Earth 2 Iris might have been creepy, but Barry being gentlemanly about trying not to kiss her and averting his eyes when she started shedding clothes kept him from crossing lines as a character. We got a look at a Barry with Iris, and he was awfully sweet.
6. Detective Iris WestEarth 2 Iris wasn’t only notable for being a loving wife to Barry. Seeing Iris in full Detective West mode was frankly awesome. She’s been mostly unexplored as a career woman on Earth 1, and we haven’t heard much about her early cop ambitions since the Flash pilot, so watching her kick ass and take names as a police officer was great. Luckily, she’s an excellent shot as well, so she and partner Floyd Lawton were not helpless in the field.
7. Joe Can SingSeeing evil Caitlin and married Barry was surprising, but nothing was quite as unexpected as Joe West being a lounge singer at Jitterbugs. Jesse Martin crooning tunes as Joe before leaving the stage to chat with the Earth 2 Detective West and her husband was strangely believable, despite his insistence that “Bartholomew” call him “Joseph.” The episode didn’t reveal whether or not Joe got his start as a star of Rent, but it is a slight shame that Barry didn’t try to mend fences with Joe over a duet.
8. ConsequencesThe Flash may be the perkiest of the CW superhero series, but the trip to Earth 2 couldn’t be all impersonations and singing. Watching the repercussions of Barry popping up on Earth 2 and not showing as much care of not disrupting the status quo as he probably should have was a great grounding element to the episode. Just as Barry had to learn the consequences of messing with time travel, he had to learn the consequences of messing with a parallel world. With Joe actually dying, we can say that he won’t forget this particular lesson.
9. The FashionAside from Joe dying and all the consequences turning things pretty dark on Earth 2, the fashion of the folks on the other side was fun. Despite Earth 2’s advancements in technology, style choices seem to have not progressed out of the middle of the twentieth century. Barry was adorable with his bow tie and spectacles, Iris looked killer in her daywear and after-hours attire, and Joe West should never be allowed to wear anything except for three-piece suits and fedoras. Throw in the retro architecture, and Earth 2 was a visual delight.
10. Supergirl ForeshadowingRumors of a crossover between The Flash on The CW and Supergirl on CBS have only recently been verified, but the trip through the Speed Force to Earth 2 featured an awesome piece of foreshadowing: a clip of Supergirl in flight. The vision seems to confirm that Barry will be meeting Kara in a world other than his own, which really makes a lot of sense for both networks. Also, Earth 2 being closer to Kara’s Earth at least sets a precedent for a pair of glasses being enough of a disguise to convince anybody of anything.
To catch another look at Earth 2 before Barry and Cisco return home, be sure to tune in to The Flash next Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.