SPOILER WARNING: The following containers spoilers for tonight’s all-new episode of “The Flash.”
The only thing that came racing in faster than Barry Allen in tonight’s episode of “The Flash” were the questions that it posed.
The introduction of Earth-2’s Flash Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears) and the enigmatic new big bad Zoom may have been the centerpiece of “Flash of Two Worlds,” but the storyline was supercharged with a seemingly endless mysteries and possibilities that will, of course, form the thrust of Season Two. You might have noticed multiple references to the Multiverse and the veritable can of worms that opens up.
The writers of tonight’s episode, brothers Todd and Aaron Helbing, recently gathered with Sears, the man beneath Garrick’s metal helmet, to face the press and provide some answers — sometime concrete, sometimes cryptic — to the burning questions posed by all the new plot twists.
This episode brings in lot of the comic book mythology. How do you balance fan expectations with the show’s universe?
Todd Helbing: Well, it’s always a balancing act. I guess the way we approach it with every episode is we want people that have read all the comic books to sort of get all the joys that they got from reading those. But we also want the people that aren’t fans or that aren’t comic book-savvy to get that same experience. So we just try to make them as cool as possible and just swing for the fences every episode.
What were the things in the source material that you knew you wanted to figure out how to translate for the show when bringing in Jay Garrick? There’s a nod to the cover of “The Flash” #123, for instance…
Todd Helbing: I mean, obviously, the cover was the most iconic thing, right? And that was a pitch from the beginning, that if we could figure out a way to recreate that, that was definitely something we wanted to do. But other than that, I think we always go from a story sense first, so it has to fit in the story. There’s obviously going to be a lot of things in the comics that we can’t do — that I think the reality of shooting some of those, it’s not going to play very well on screen. So we just have to pick our moments and go with those.
What is Jay’s goal?
Teddy Sears: Well, I mean, Jay’s biggest rival is Zoom, and he needs Barry’s help to defeat this guy. We see him when he arrives without his speed, and he knows what Zoom is capable of. And so he very much needs Barry. He needs to enlist Barry, and he needs to, I guess, have Barry harness these powers and these depths that he didn’t really know he could reach. He needs Barry to achieve these things in order for him to defeat Zoom.
It’s sort of that wonderful mentor/mentee thing we start to see develop. His larger goal? I don’t know. It’s just that I think he wants Zoom gone, and he certainly can’t do it by himself.
I just think it’s going to be sort of a coach/athlete relationship. Jay is the older brother that he didn’t have. He’s more experienced. His attitude is a little bit more confident. Yeah, he’s the teacher to him.
I think last year, he didn’t really have anybody that he could speak about being a speedster with. It’s not like he could go out and have drinks with Wells and talk about being a speedster, but he can with Jay. And Jay can sort of mentor him on some of the powers that he has and figure out the best way to sort of get him to use those.
Sears: Yeah, I like the older brother analogy, too…There’s some things that you can only talk to an older sibling about than wouldn’t maybe feel comfortable talking to like a dad character about. And I really like Grant [Gustin]. Like, as a person, I really like Grant.
Todd Helbing: It’s hard not to like him.
Sears: It’s hard not to like Grant, but for Jay and Barry, that translates. There’s a real desire to be around him and want to lend help, which is also fun to play with.
Will we see Jay get his powers back any time soon?
Todd Helbing: I mean, the thing that Jay wants more than anything is to get his powers back. That’s something that is definitely on his mind, but right now, he’s focused on stopping Zoom.
Will we seeing any frustrations about Jay’s inability to help the team as a speedster?
Sears: Yeah, I would certainly say there are frustrations to not being able to do what he’s used to doing and helping in the way he’s used to helping. But given his background as a scientist, he’s able to put that into play. So even though he’s not able to sort of physically do what he’s used to doing, he’s absolutely able to help with his knowledge.
Todd Helbing: He can’t use his legs, he still has a brain that he can use, and it’s a really good brain.
Sears: And I think because of that, he can’t do it himself, so he might as well use what he knows and push Barry to go further and go deeper and there’s something to that. There’s a bit of motivation. Maybe he would just jump and do it himself, but he’s got this young guy. So that also deepens and strengthens that sort of coach/athlete dynamic.
It seems like Jay’s still not telling Team Flash something crucial.
Todd Helbing: Jay? Well, there’s something that he is struggling with that you’ll start to learn in the next couple episodes. And that’s partly where Caitlin [Danielle Panabaker] comes into play to help them with something.
Caitlin appears to develop a bit of a crush on Jay Garrick. Does that develop into anything more?
Sears: Well, I will say that there’s sort of a connection that these two have. I don’t know — a comfort level: sort of an instant comfort level, a wonderful thing that you don’t get with too many people in life that I believe that these two experience. And so I think they’re going to explore that a little bit. Jay and Caitlin are part of this bigger team at S.T.A.R. Labs, and they’re going to have a series of interactions that I think we’re going to explore a little bit.
We also can see that Barry has a pretty instant spark with Patty Spivot [Shantel VanSanten]. Are you going to explore that relationship further?
Todd Helbing: I would say Iris [Candice Patton] is always Barry’s lightning rod, best friend, first love of his life, but she just lost Eddie. So as she is dealing with this, and Barry and Iris are slipping back into that sort of friendship mold, I think it just leaves an opportunity to explore a relationship with Patty, and you’ll see how that sort of develops. But Iris and Barry — I mean, they’re childhood friends and loves. That’s always going to be there, for both of them.
How did you want to introduce Patty and what kind of impression did you want her to make?
Todd Helbing: I think we wanted to make her this very strong, hardcore female cop who has a clear purpose, and the Mark Mardon story behind it. We also wanted to make her somebody that was — originally, we had talked about she’s kind of like Felicity [Smoak], but the second we started writing her, we felt like we had to make her quite a bit different.
We wanted to sort of have her feel part of this show and part of the universe that we set up, but just something that was in this for the right reasons, hell-bent on stopping Mardon and meta-humans and somebody that could feel that she was part of the meta-human task force and hold her own.
So many of the villains are at large — will we be seeing some of them returning this season?
Todd Helbing: There will be some villains that you saw last year — different combinations. There’s a lot of new villains. There’s still meta-humans running around Earth — or Central City — that we didn’t get to last year, so there’s going to be some new people that you’ll be introduced to soon.
What can you tell us about Zoom? He’s a speedster, but how does he differ from, say, the Reverse-Flash?
Todd Helbing: He’s a speed demon. I think Reverse-Flash, [Harrison] Wells, had to sort of hone in on Barry to get what he wanted, but Zoom is just like your worst nightmare. He’s going to come in, and if he doesn’t get these guys to do what he wants, he’s going to eventually show up and try to take him down himself. He’s the scariest speedster on the planet.
Aaron Helbing: Yeah, I think where Wells had a bit of a conscience now and then when it came to Barry, Zoom — he just wants to kill Barry.
We’re seeing Zoom bringing people like Nuklon through the portal to kill Barry. Are there any good people that might also come through?
Todd Helbing: Well, right now, Zoom is the only one that’s able to bring people through. So he’s not going to bring somebody that helps the team. He’s just going to help somebody that does want things specifically for him.
Is there a reason why Zoom’s not going there and killing him himself?
Todd Helbing: Yeah, there is a reason, but you’ll learn that down the line.
Can you talk about the multiversal breaches, the biggest one being at S.T.A.R. Labs?
Todd Helbing: Yeah, it’s not good for them, but they figure out a way to sort of control it. It’s very bad, the 52 breaches, and Zoom can come through any of them with whoever he wants, so they have to sort of figure out quickly how to manage the biggest threat to them.
We got a glimpse of Killer Frost last season. How long are we going to have to wait until we explore that storyline?
Todd Helbing: Your answer will be questioned down the line a little bit. I can’t tell you exactly when you’re going to see it, but the question will be answered.
Aaron Helbing: We thought about it, and we definitely talk about it. And we revealed it. It’s just everybody’s powers manifested at different times, so we’re going to focus on Cisco for a little bit.
What can you say about Cisco’s big secret?
Todd Helbing: Well, I think just like what we saw him say to [Martin] Stein, what Wells said to him: that Wells gave this power to him — and Wells was very evil, so he’s just a little freaked out. And so I think as the season goes on, you’ll start to see him deal with that problem of, “How do I tell these guys? When do I tell them?” And then, sort of figure out this power that he has and how to control it more.
How off the chessboard is Barry’s dad at this point?
Todd Helbing: He’s still part of the fabric. He still provides that emotional support Barry needs, and he will make an appearance down the line.
On the parental front, Iris’ mother Francine made a surprise return. Anything you can say about the upcoming West family dynamic?
Todd Helbing: Iris, obviously, has this conception about her mother and her being away from her, her whole life. And I’m sure you can imagine learning that that is not the case, it can sort ever turn your world upside down, so that’s sort of the jumping off point in which she’s going to be struggling.
Will we see more universes than Earth-1 and -2 during the season?
Todd Helbing: Right now, I think it might be a little too confusing to have Earth-17. So I think, right now, we’re just going to keep it to Earth-2.
Sears: I was just going to add, I love the possibility of an Earth-17 exists, or on Earth-49. What does that look like with 52 different choices? I mean, we’re in Season Two, but the possibilities, really, are kind of limitless.
Aaron Helbing: Would Jay always have that helmet in Earth-17?
Sears: Or would it be a mutation or a version of that? So a lot of fun things to explore down the line, potentially.
Will we have a chance to see the other Jay Garrick — the Earth-1 Jay — in our world with some other occupation?
Todd Helbing: Possibly.
Aaron Helbing: Keep watching. It’s always a possibility.
Sears: Yeah, I didn’t even consider that! We are in the world of doppelgängers after all.
Was it a foregone conclusion at the end of last season that you wanted to keep Tom Cavanagh — and Harrison Wells — in play in some form, or did you have to kind of talk it all out?
Todd Helbing: If it was up to me, I’d have Tom Cavanagh in every show. He’s amazing. It’s such a unique opportunity to have a character that everybody fell in love and that everybody hated at the same time. Then try to reinvent him in a different way. So yeah, I think that was always the plan. It was just a challenge to figure out exactly how to do that and have it be satisfactory.
“The Flash” airs Tuesday at 8 P.M. on The CW.
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