When Jay Garrick's helmet came out of the breach at the end of the Flash's first season fans eagerly began to discuss the possibility of the show presenting Earth-2.
Producers confirmed that the multiverse was coming during the summer hiatus, and the current season's second episode -- "The Flash of Two Worlds" -- had Professor Martin Stein officially name Jay's homeworld Earth-2. A world of opportunities opened up and viewers waited to see just who would be the next citizen of Earth-2 to emerge from the breach. Promos featuring Atom-Smasher and mentions of Hawkman and Hawkgirl only fueled the desire to see the Justice Society appear.
Yet as the season went along and Zoom sent new villains to face Barry and his team a curious thing occurred. Many of the villains Barry fought had doppelgangers on Earth-1...and each tended to be the opposite of their Earth-2 counterpart. Rather than seeing brand new characters viewers were treated to dark reflections of ordinary people from Barry's Central City.
So is it possible that what we've been calling 'Earth-2' isn't the traditional Earth-2 we know from the comics, but instead is a different world, just as familar to comic fans? Is it possible that Jay Garrick is in fact from the world of the Crime Syndicate?
For those that haven't read the comics, the Crime Syndicate is a criminal organization from Earth-3, where good and evil have been flipped and the villains always win. The Syndicate is made up of doppelgangers of the Justice League: Ultraman, Superwoman, Owlman, Power Ring, and Johnny Quick being their traditional members but also featuring the likes of the Blue Bowsman, The Grid, and J'edd J'arkus. Characters like Jimmy Olsen and Commisioner Gordon are, on this world, perverted snitches and crime lords, respectively, while Lex Luthor and the Joker are Earth-3's greatest heroes, struggling to defeat their foes but always falling short.
Earth-2, by contrast, is the world of the Justice Society. It made up of heroes and villains from DC Comics's Golden Age, including the Jay Garrick Flash and Alan Scott Green Lantern, Sandman and Hourman, as well as older versions of Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman. Earth-2 is much like Earth-1, but with older heroes who have begun to pass their legacies on to their children and sidekicks. Helena Wayne, the daughter of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, became Huntress while Supergirl grew up and became Power Girl.
The Earth-2 Breachers presented on The Flash hardly resemble the citizens of the comic's Earth-2, with many of them being evil duplicates of people Barry knows. Albert Rothstein of Earth-1 was a normal man with no powers and no criminal record; he was killed by his Earth-2 counterpart, Atom Smasher, who then set his sights on the Flash. Sand Demon, one of Jay Garrick's more dangeorus rogues, also murdered his Earth-1 counterpart who had no powers.
Then, The Flash gave us Earth-2's take on Linda Park. While the Linda Barry knew was a reporter for the local paper, the Earth-2 version was a thief who murdered Linda's editor and tried to murder Linda herself so she could take her place on Earth-1. She held no remorse for her actions and at the first chance fled S.T.A.R. Labs to try and avoid Zoom.
Previews for the second half of Season 2 have given us two more denizens of Earth-2: Caitlin Snow, in this reality the happily wicked Killer Frost (who playfully purrs in one promo "But it feels so good to be bad"), and her newly-revealed boyfriend Ronnie Raymond, aka Deathstorm. It should be noted that in the latest version of the Crime Syndicate, who first appeared in Trinity War, features Deathstorm as a member; he was made up of Earth-3's Professor Stein and a corpse.
Even the supposed heroes of Earth-2, save for Jay Garrick, edge towards more of the gray. The Arrow of that universe is Robert Queen, whose arrest is treated more like the capture of a supervillain than the imprisonment of a vigilante. The Harrison Wells of Earth-2, with his sarcasm, biting dismissals, and utter lack of social skills, manages to make Earth-1 Harrison, aka the Reverse-Flash, appear kind and supportive.
Speaking of Jay Garrick, while the show has made mention of Barry and his team having duplicates on Earth-2, no mention has been given to Jay's Earth-1 counterpart. Could it be that the Jay Garrick of Earth-1 will turn out to be a thief or criminal and the writers are waiting to spring that reveal on us at the best moment?
To further support the idea that The Flash's Earth-2 isn't the one we are used to is the lack of Justice Society shoutouts. No mention of Alan Scott or Doctor Fate, no hints of Hourman, and mainstays like Hawkman are introduced on Earth-1 rather than Earth-2. For a series that loves to throw out little winks and nods it seems odd that they wouldn't feature mentions of the Starheart or Sandman. While we hear plenty about the villains of Earth-2 Jay has yet to mention a single hero, nor has Harrison Wells of Earth-2 suggested contacting anyone else for help. While Earth-1 sees their heroic roster grow with the likes of Black Canary, Firestorm, The Atom, and Vixen, Earth-2 seems to lack heroes, with Jay being the only one around to battle the forces of evil.
(It's worth mentioning that Jay did, at one point, make mention of knowing somebody from Atlantis, but that's it.)
The comics even have a precedent for renaming Earth-3 to Earth-2. After Crisis of Infinite Earths, the multiverse was swept away -- and with it the Crime Syndicate. The late 90s saw them return as the residents of a parallel, anti-matter version of the current DC Universe in Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's graphic novel JLA: Earth 2.0comments
In that book, which was loosely adapted into the animated film Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the Lex Luthor of Earth-2 arrives to seek help from the Justice League to defeat his foes. Like Harrison Wells in Season 2 of The Flash, the Earth-2 Lex was arrogant and was met with distrust by the heroes he was seeking to enlist, but in the end, he did earn their trust. He as also, in other media, expressed annoyance at being compared to the evil Lex Luthor of Earth-1 much like Harrison has and chosen to go by a different name, using Alexander much like Harrison goes by Harry.
So, what do you think? Could it be that The Flash's producers have pulled a fast one on us and the Earth-2 of The Flash is in fact Earth-3, filled with evil mirror duplicates of our heroes?