'The Flash': Teddy Sears Previews Jay's Ultimate Rival, "Connection" to Caitlin

"It's a very different dynamic," the 'Masters of Sex' alum says of his character's relationship with Barry.
Cate Cameron/The CW

Is Central City big enough for two speedsters?

Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears), aka the original Flash, made his much-anticipated debut at the end of The Flash's season two premiere. He walked right into STAR Labs despite all the new security features and introduced himself to Barry (Grant Gustin) and the rest of the STAR Labs team, before warning them that their world was in danger.

When episode two kicks off Tuesday, both Barry and the audience are going to learn much more about Earth 2's Flash and the danger he's there to warn them about.

Sears, who cut his teeth playing lawyers, cops and doctors on many different TV shows including Masters of Sex, The Defenders and Raising the Bar, couldn't be more excited about playing the first ever live-action Jay Garrick.

"It's thrilling but I didn't anticipate how thrilling it was going to be when I said yes," Sears told a small group of reporters following an early screening of episode two. "Besides the obvious stuff, where suddenly I'm eight years old, running around in the backyard, playing superheroes with my friends -- that was a given that that would happen. But what I didn't anticipate was how important it felt when I was doing it."

Sears reveals that it was when he first got to hold and put on Jay's winged helmet that he truly grasped how big of a role it was.

"It's weird and hokey and maybe very actor-y but there was something very important that began happening, especially and most specifically putting on that helmet," Sears says. "There's a scene where I'm reunited with the helmet for the first time and I remember shooting it. There was a real awe and reverence for seeing this thing, and that was absolutely not acted at all. There was such substance in that moment. I keep coming back to that moment of, 'Wow, this feels really important,' and I can't sum it up any better than that."

But what does Jay hope to accomplish by outing himself to Barry and the rest of the STAR Labs team?

"Jay's biggest rival is [season two villain] Zoom and he needs Barry's help to defeat this guy," Sears says. "He arrives without his speed and he knows what Zoom is capable of. He very much needs Barry and needs to enlist Barry and have Barry harness these powers and reach these depths he didn't know he could reach. He needs Barry to achieve these things in order to defeat Zoom. It's a wonderful mentor/mentee thing that we start to see develop. His larger goal? I think he just wants Zoom gone and he certainly can't do that by himself."

Sears explains that while Barry has his fair share of father figures, Jay is going to play a role more like an older brother to him.

"I like the older brother analogy better than father-son," Sears says. "It's a very different dynamic. There's certainly going to be some overlap but there are some things that you could only talk to an older sibling about that you wouldn't feel comfortable talking to a dad character about."

And even though Jay has arrived in Earth 1 without his speed or his powers, he is still going to prove to be helpful to the STAR Labs team. "Given his background as a scientist, he's able to put that into play," Sears says. "So even though he's not able to physically do what he's used to doing, he's absolutely able to help with his knowledge."

And that scientific background and expertise is going to bring him close to one member of the STAR Labs team in particular: Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker). "I will say, there is a connection that these two have, an instant comfort level, that wonderful thing you don't get with too many people in life," Sears says. "They're going to explore that a little bit. Jay and Caitlin are a part of this bigger team at STAR Labs and they're going to have a series of interactions that we are going to explore a little bit."

As for Jay's superhero uniform, Sears loves what the costume department came up with based on the original comic book look.

"I wasn't really sure what they were going to do," Sears says. "You look at the 1940, when he was introduced, was it like his old football jersey that he puts on? It's very red, very yellow, and I wasn't sure how they were going to handle it. So they have successfully modernized it in this cool, motorcycle jacket aesthetic. The jacket is wonderful, the pants, the boots, it's all great, but it's really the helmet, you know? The helmet caps the whole thing off."

He continues, "I love what they did to the helmet too. If you look at the helmet, it's been around. It's beaten up. It's got the dings. It's seen its share of battles. The detail that the team put into those things to have it arrive with a story and a history and a past, that's really what made it work for me."

The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.