Alright, fans of the Scarlet Speedster, here it is – the big showdown with Zoom! A lot of questions got answered this week, and not always in ways that were truly satisfying. Let’s dive in to my Top 5 for The Flash episode 2.18, “Versus Zoom”:
#5: Really, We’re Not Gonna Talk About Supergirl?
If you blinked, you missed the moment where Barry went and had his crossover adventure on CBS’ Supergirl. As he’s racing back to S.T.A.R. Labs at the top of the show, he winks out for a fraction of a second, then winks back in, continuing his path back to the lab. He gets there, and asks, “How long was I gone?” His whole adventure on what I’m now calling Earth-3 took place in only a fraction of a second in Earth-1 time, even though he was stranded for days. But then he literally tells nobody what happened. Why on Earth-1 not? He’s discovered that, if he runs fast enough with the tachyon booster, he can break the dimensional barrier on his own. Instead, he immediately latches onto a plan to use Cisco’s powers to re-open a breach, which occupies half the episode.
#4: Cisco Has Performance Anxiety
So far on this show, Cisco’s the only character that has met his Earth-2 doppelganger and found that his double also has (well, had) his same powers. He fears the lure of his abilities will make him a villain, too, and it’s interesting to see the show meditate on that temptation. Up until now, there has been a very clear line between heroic and villainous characters, at least among those with metahuman powers.
In that vein, any bets as to how long before we have a “red krytonite” episode on The Flash? So far, Barry hasn’t broken bad, but it seems like it’s an inevitable trope.
#3: Hunter Zolomon is a Bad, Bad Dude
I really liked the flashback to Zolomon’s childhood, seeing that his origin is very much like Barry’s. It was a nice misdirect, in fact, since we were led to believe that we were seeing Jay Garrick’s childhood, since his father’s uniform looks exactly like Jay’s Flash costume. Seeing what that trauma drives Zolomon to is chilling – 23 confirmed murders before he develops Speed Force powers and becomes Zoom.
But here’s my question – Wells says that serial killers are rare on Earth-2, and everyone knows about Hunter Zolomon. So why doesn’t anyone (especially particularly observant people like Wells himself) notice, “Hey, The Flash looks a lot like that serial killer, Hunter Zolomon, with a haircut?”
#2: Zoom Really Was Jay the Whole Time, After All? Boo!
Personally, I’m a big fan of the Golden Age Flash, so I’m really disappointed, nay, upset, that it turns out there never was a Jay Garrick at all. I kept reasoning against all the evidence that Zoom was one of his doppelgangers from another parallel universe that we haven’t seen. The reveal that The Flash of Earth-2 was an earlier version of Zoom, a “timeline remnant,” is crushing. I’m particularly disappointed for Caitlyn, who has now suffered two devastating losses in less than a season.
#1: Barry Puts His Family First
Barry’s weak spot will always be his family, as Zoom taunts him with a combination of delight and envy. The addition of Wally to said family provides the leverage Zoom needs to finally force Barry to give him the Speed Force. As villainous plots go, Zoom’s is less preposterous than most. He had to earn and then break Barry’s trust, to drive him to extraordinary lengths to go faster. He had to keep Jessie away from Wells long enough to make him desperate enough to find a way to steal the Speed Force. And then he had to find the right time to kidnap someone Barry cared about enough to sacrifice his power. The fact that Wally is now close enough to Barry, despite their initial friction, is interesting. The episode built that up well early on, by having Barry be the one to suggest to Joe that he invite Wally to live in the house with them.
Bonus 1: The Keystone City Easter Egg
I liked that they finally gave a nod to Keystone City, which is Jay Garrick’s home on his Earth in the comics, the alternate reality of Barry’s Central City. It seems that Earth-1’s Keystone is far enough away that getting carry-out there is impractical, but they must have some terrific pizza!
So, that raises the question: if Arrow‘s Star City is Detroit, and Keystone City is Chicago, what does that make Central City?
Bonus 2: Who is the Man in the Iron Mask?
Barry asks Hunter/Jay who the man in the iron mask is, and in reply, Zoom says, “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” Here’s a theory from Twitter user @MikeyFlash, that I absolutely endorse:
— Mikey Flash (@MikeSchmidt09) April 20, 2016
It makes a lot of sense. It explains how Zolomon knows so many intimate details of Barry’s life when he shows up as Jay. It explains why, as a prisoner, the man is masked and muted, unable to tell Barry anything out loud. I don’t recall if Eddie had a military background, such that he would know five-by-five knock code, but everything else about it is perfectly plausible.
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