Velocity-9-infused spoilers for The Flash are below.
With very little fluff involved, “Versus Zoom” was easily one of the best episodes of the series thus far, and is to me the most effective effort from Season 2, wisely using so much of what’s been previously set up to inform everything that happened during the briskly paced hour. Viewers got everything that they were promised when it comes to the big bad Zoom and his backstory, which got nearly as dark as his costume, and slightly more uncomfortable (presuming it’s not the snuggest fit). While there are definitely questions that are left to be answered about Zoom in the The Flash’s future, here are five big things that we learned about the darkness-filled man both in and out of the mask.
Hunter Zolomon’s Dad Was a Real P.O.S.“Versus Zoom” kicked off with an incredibly dark scene that brought out an obvious comparison point between Hunter Zolomon and Barry Allen: both characters had mothers that were murdered. Only instead of being the victim of a time-traveling, vengeance-seeking baddie, Hunter’s mom Ashley was the victim of her war veteran husband James, who clearly did not like what she was up to in his absence. But did he really have to shoot her in cold blood right in front of young Hunter? That brutal scene makes me wonder about how Hunter would handle things if he zipped back to the past to the time of that killing; would he stop it or, at the very least, take young Hunter out of the room as Barry did to his younger self, throwing that timeline into chaos? In any case, rarely has a character been so irrefutably heinous in such a limited period of time as Papa Zolomon, and it clearly had an effect on Hunter’s orphanage-filled future.
How Zoom Got His PowersSomeone getting powers means Harry was involved, but this was seriously the last person who should have gotten them. Even without talents that allowed him vibrate his hand into another person’s body, Hunter Zolomon clearly wasn’t destined for any Nobel Peace Prizes, as Harry revealed he’d grown up to be a notorious podcast-inspiring Earth-2 serial killer convicted of 23 murders. (And a killer whose hair game was most excellently not on point.) The particle accelerator explosion happened during the unreformed criminal’s post-conviction electroshock session, which one could argue was more effective in that case than it would have been otherwise. With all of these new speedy powers, Hunter could have just reverted to his old habits and killed whoever he wanted, but he chose to become a superhero as a way of giving his world hope, just so he could strip it away as the supervillain. So it looks like the explosion added patience and a more rational deviousness to his sociopathic tendencies.
How Zoom Killed Jay That TimeEven though Barry Allen will never be as smooth as James Bond, he and Zoom definitely have their Bond movie moment when dishing out exposition following Zoom’s temporary capture. (Which included cutouts of the Zolomon parents for what is quite possibly the creepiest thing The Flash has ever shown viewers.) That continued in the finale sequence during the conversation that happened when Harry is transferring Barry’s speed to Zoom, and Iris asks how “Jay” was killed by Zoom in front of them. Continuing the creep factor, Zoom reveals that he talked a time remnant of his into getting killed for the cause. What an incredibly uncomfortable situation it would have been to be someone else eavesdropping on that part of the conversation. We can probably expect more remnant-related shenanigans to come in the future, based on how well this one worked, though they might not be as psychologically warped as Hunter’s.
Cisco Will Be a Big Part of Zoom’s DemiseCisco spent the majority of this episode dealing with his Vibe side, helped along by a convenient new pair of comic-familiar goggles cooked up precisely to help him tap into Earth-2 easier. He was initially hesitant to use his cross-dimensional spyware, even with the virtuous goal of taking Zoom down, but Barry’s advice did wonders for Cisco’s heroic side, and he not only communicated with Zoom via-Vibe, but he also perfected the art of opening a breach between the worlds. Cisco is basically the key and the doorway to defeating this season’s antagonist, even if he probably won’t be making any actual physical contact with Zoom’s face. So everyone on Earth-1 had better hope that the gadget-genius stays as far away from mortal danger as possible.
Jay Garrick Really Did Like CaitlinAs it happens with all of its romantic angles, The Flash really pushed hard when it came to a connection between then-Jay and Caitlin, and it’s a pairing that made sense. Caitlin was still mourning Ronnie, but felt chemistry with Jay and got emotionally invested in his largely untrue story. And Jay was a dude on an entirely different planet, so his immediate attachment to a woman was no surprise, especially after learning the truth about him. But despite any assumptions otherwise, Hunter’s attraction and feelings for her were obviously real, which made Caitlin the perfect target for a post-injection abduction, with him assuming that he’s got the upper hand and that The Flash will be powerless for a while. I don’t see him falling back to Jay’s sensitive side in trying to win her over after she complains about him being an evil murderer, so Team Flash needs to hurry up and get her back to S.T.A.R. Labs ASAP.
It’s hard to believe there was more stuff in “Versus Zoom” than what we covered here, from Wally’s kidnapping to Iris’ fateful realization to Barry’s jump to Supergirl. We can only hope that everything left in Season 2 is even half as exciting, with 100% fewer references to domestic violence encouraging a character’s serial murdering evolution.
The Flash airs Tuesday nights on The CW.