TV Review: The Flash - Season 2 Episode 18 "Versus Zoom"
EPISODE 18: "Versus Zoom"
SYNOPSIS: Equipped with the tachyon device, Barry believes he is fast enough to stop Zoom and wants to open the breaches to catch him. Harry strongly advises against that plan but after Barry convinces him, Harry reveals that Cisco has the power to re-open the breach. Meanwhile, Hunter Zolomon's painful story on Earth-2 is revealed.
REVIEW: Once the big reveal about Zoom's identity as Jay Garrick was made, many people began to theorize and wonder just how the Earth-2 Flash could also be the big bad black clad villain as well. Tonight's episode begins to answer those questions while delivering a nice setup for the final few episodes of The Flash's sophomore season. It turns out that Jay Garrick never existed and Zoom is actually Hunter Zolomon, the alter ego of the villain in the pages of DC Comics. Something about this big explanation feels a bit underwhelming, especially since Zolomon was teased earlier this season when Jay revealed the Earth-1 Zolomon to Caitlyn. Still, seeing the true nature of Jay/Hunter/Zoom is a chilling reminder of just how much better the small screen villains are compared to the big screen ones from DC and Marvel.
This episode gives us quite a bit of backstory on Hunter Zolomon. The hour opens with a flashback to Hunter as an 11-year-old as he witnesses his mother murdered by his father. The elder Zolomon wore the helmet that would become The Flash's headgear. Hunter was then sent to a foster home where he would remain for the rest of his formative years. The death scene of Hunter's mother is very reminiscent of Barry's witnessing of his own mother's demise which seems intentional. But, where Barry would become a hero, Hunter Zolomon became a serial killer. The Earth-2 maniac would murder two dozen before being sentenced to an insane asylum where he would undergo electroshock therapy during the particle accelerator explosion, giving him his speed. This reveal comes courtesy of Harrison Wells who seems to know the story of Zolomon and claims everyone on Earth-2 knows his face. Despite Zolomon having a beard, it seems odd no one saw the physical similarity between him and Jay Garrick
With the tachyon chestplate in use, Barry manages to get his speed to four times his prior limit. He briefly disappears and reappears during his trial run which also served as his guest appearance on Supergirl a few weeks ago. It seems odd he didn't mention his Earth-3 visit, but maybe he is saving that for later. Barry, more determined than ever to confront Zoom, asks Cisco to help him open a new breach using his vibe powers. Cisco is reluctant as he fears he may follow his doppelganger's evil decline. Barry eventually convinces him he will never turn evil because he has a family that loves him. At the same time, Wells and Joe ask Barry not to confront Zoom, but Barry is adamant. Both surrogate fathers decide to help Barry rather than stand in his way. Knowing the true identity of who Zoom/Jay/Hunter is seems to be an ace in their pocket.
We also get some new developments with Iris and Wally. Iris reveals to Caitlyn that she has begun having feelings for Barry but hasn't found the right time to tell him. Caitlyn insists she should. Wally drops some very passive hints about not having anywhere to live to which Joe offers to help pay for his dorm. It is only when Barry tells Joe that he realizes that Wally wants to live at home with his father. By episode's end, everyone seems to be on pace to be one big happy family. Hell, even Wells seems content to learn that Joe is not going to give up trying to find Jesse in Keystone City. Together, they prepare for Barry to face off against Zoom. When he comes through the breach, Barry leads his foe to STAR Labs where they have life-size cutouts of Zolomon's parents to taunt him. Barry shackles Zoom with a speed dampener and the two chat about Zoom losing. Only, Zoom is just playing and kidnaps Wally. Zoom offers a deal: Wally West in exchange for Barry's speed.
Barry obliges and as Wells prepares to drain his speed, Zoom explains that he sought his time remnant to pose as Jay so the team could see him "die" and keep his secret. Barry asks who the man in the iron mask is in Zoom's lair, but he says they would never believe him. Could it be Wally West as his incarnation of The Flash? Jay/Zoom/Hunter is pretty terrifying in his true form. It oddly feels very early for this confrontation to take place, but Barry allows his power to be drained to save Wally. Once Wally is clear and Zoom has taken his power, he chokes Barry. Caitlyn pleads by saying if any of the emotions Jay shared with Caitlyn were real to spare Barry. He does but then takes Caitlyn and speeds away.
While the reveal of who Zoom is seems to have been dragged on an episode or two too long, this was a solid episode with some dramatic moments. My biggest problem with where this season is heading is that it feels a bit too predictable. This hour is setting up the bond between Caitlyn and Jay as what will be Zoom's ultimate downfall. I really hope it ends up being a bit stronger than that. The "time remnant" explanation was a bit too easy but I am glad they are saving the masked man reveal for later in the season. Something tells me whoever is under that iron headgear is going to be a much more significant reveal that Zoom. It also seems a bit disappointing that the alternate Flash ends up being nothing more than a fiction for a villain, but that opens the door for another true Flash to reveal themselves. Here's hoping the final few episodes are a bit stronger than this one and end the season with a bang.
NEXT ON THE FLASH: "Back To Normal" airs April 26th -A meta-human with super strength named Griffin Grey mistakes Harry for Earth-1 Harrison Wells and kidnaps him, demanding that Wells cure him from his current condition. Realizing another brilliant Wells could help track Griffin's location, Barry asks Jesse to help. Meanwhile, Wally corners Joe about The Flash.