Episode Title: “Versus Zoom”
Starring: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Jesse L. Martin, Tom Cavanagh
Directed By: Stephan Pleszcynski
The Flash returns from a three week hiatus but to continue his battle with Zoom! Barry has discovered that Jay Garrick is Zoom and tests out the tachyon accelerator to increase his speed. While it is an overwhelming success as Barry is now able to run four times as fast, it leads to some continuity issues later on.
In an Earth-2 flashback we see Jay Garrick, dressed as the Golden Age Flash, return home from an unnamed war and first abuse and then murder his wife in front of his young son…Hunter Zoloman. Hunter is sent to an orphanage where he grows into a sadistic serial killer guilty of two dozen murders. While receiving shock treatment at a mental facility, the now adult Hunter is caught in the blast of Earth-2’s particle accelerator which turns him into Zoom. In an ironic twist, this actually casts Zolomon as Barry’s Earth-2 doppelganger as they both watched their mother murdered as kids and got their powers in the particle accelerator accident. The difference is that Barry had a loving, adoptive family to take him in and make them one of their own while Zolomon did not.
Barry concludes that Cisco should be able to use his vibrational powers to open a breach to Earth-2. After initially being reluctant to do so, Cisco successfully opens the portal and Zoom comes through, engaging Barry in a chase through the streets. Barry’s increased speed allows him to stay ahead of Zoom and set a trap for the villain. But as always, Zoom despite being slower than The Flash, still manages to be a couple of steps ahead of him. The result is a disaster for Barry and the entire team.
So I didn’t want to reveal more this week as there are some shocks to come. Teddy Sears has played Jay Garrick as white bread, goody two shoes but finally gets to spread his wings as Zolomon once he is unmasked. He is positively dripping with malice. When asked why he pretended to be a hero he coldly remarks to give people hope and then “take it away.” Icy!
The whole theme of family plays a key role this week, not only with Barry and Zolomon but also with Cisco and Wally. Cisco’s reluctance to use his powers stems from his Earth-2’s version becoming evil. Barry convinces Cisco that his family (Barry, Caitlin, Joe, Iris, Wells) would never allow that to happen. Wally and Joe begin to strengthen their bond as Wally moves in with his father.
As much as I loved most of “Versus Zoom” there were some trouble spots. Barry is said to be able to run up to four times faster with the tachyon accelerator and yet he is only shown to be slightly faster than Zoom when they run through the streets. This would suggest then that Zoom was about four times faster than Barry previously which didn’t seem to be the case unless we surmise that Zoom had just been toying with Barry. But if Barry’s increased speed is due to the tachyon device how is Zoom going to steal it? Did I miss where the device actually transfers an increase in the Speed Force to Barry?
There is also a bit of mind-blowing wackiness about how Zolomon used a time remnant duplicate of himself to apparently stage Jay Garrick’s death a few episodes back but my brain is starting to hurt trying to figure this all out. And are we to assume that Hunter’s murderous father was The Golden Age Flash? After all he returns home wearing the costume and mentions having fought in the war. Was that Earth-2’s World War 2 and why was the pristine Jay Garrick made to be a spouse abusing murderer?
And then there is the continuing mystery of the man in the Iron Mask. Barry asks Zolomon point blank who he is and Zolomon blithely tells Barry he wouldn’t believe it. I know it’s easy to think the man could turn out to be a key player in the series but part of me thinks it’s all a red herring. Zolomon appears to get what he wants in the end a little too easy leaving me to believe that Wells and Barry have something up their sleeves.