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Spoilers ahead for The Flash.
This week’s episode of The Flash was a highly anticipated one, as it finally gave fans the origin story behind this season’s main antagonist, Zoom. While I quite enjoyed the episode as a whole, it was not as well received by everyone, with many fans bashing the show for its convoluted use of Jay Garrick, Zoom and other aspects of comic book history. I can play apologist and shrug off some of the episode’s problems, but there is one point that I cannot wrap my mind around at all: how in the hell did no one from Earth-2, especially Harry, realize that Hunter Zolomon was the one behind everything?
Hunter Zolomon’s recognizability wasn’t really even an issue before “Versus Zoom,” even though there were some queries that came up, but it all came crashing down as soon as Harry explained that Hunter was actually a rare (and thus really famous) serial killer on Earth-2. Harry was clearly familiar with the evil S.O.B.’s story, but somehow never connected the dots that this guy was the same person as the Jay Garrick that had been traipsing around S.T.A.R. Labs all season. And yes, you can say that Hunter had long hair and a beard when he was arrested and “Jay” had a babyface, but is that really the equivalent of appearance-altering plastic surgery?
But let’s just bypass the hair altogether. Hunter was getting electroshock treatment when the particle accelerator exploded, after which he destroyed some people and then escaped. Was there no massive manhunt for him after that where pictures of Hunter would have been seen by everyone on Earth-2 via news networks and newspapers and magazines and websites? Some smart person in an authoritative position should have been able to link Harry’s accelerator accident and Hunter’s escape, and while it isn’t necessary for anyone to have immediately assumed that he turned into a super-speedy domestic terrorist with blue electricity all over him, someone should have suspected something as time went on.
Especially – ESPECIALLY – after it was revealed that Hunter was also the Earth-2 version of The Flash, which he claims he did to give his Central City’s citizens something to hope for, just so he could then take it away from them as Zoom. A powerful and frightening motivation, to be sure, but that confession just means that Hunter Zolomon, a fugitive serial killer who was already kind of famous for his father having murdered his mother, was running around Central City without a mask on, and no one recognized that it was the same person. Could have put a mask on. Should have put a mask on. But no mask. And nobody was saying, “Holy shit, the guy that’s occasionally doing heroic stuff in town is actually that dude that killed over 20 people in this same city not that long ago.”
As viewers of The Flash, we’re asked to suspend our disbelief for plenty of reasons, from Cisco having just the right gadget for any situation to the existence of time wraiths, but it’s always easy to do when the show uses these logical leaps to drive the plot forward or add wrinkles to the already troublesome tasks that Team Flash take on. However, I don’t think I can go on watching this show believing that Harrison Wells is the super-genius that everyone else champions him as, now that we know he’s not smart enough to realize he’s been hanging out with one of the most notorious (and podcast-worthy) killers his world had ever seen. And the same goes for the intelligence of anyone on Earth-2. Bunch of non-attentive bozos.
The fact that “Versus Zoom” didn’t mention the crossover with Supergirl was also a bummer, and we're also wondering why Hunter didn’t just kill everyone in S.T.A.R. Labs after he was injected with Barry’s speed, or why he didn’t initially spend more time figuring out another and much less time-intensive method of extracting Barry’s speed. And other things. But I digress, because even after all that mess with time remnants and orphanages, I’m still very damned interested to see how The Flash and Zoom’s season-long battle will come to an end, and how it will change both of the worlds we’ve seen. Plus, it’s possible some or all of the previously established problems will get reconciled in some way, which would be pretty fantastic.
That said, all this Zoom business has me no longer quite as excited to see how the Man in the Iron Mask mystery is explained. But I’ll be watching anyway. And you can, too, when The Flash airs on The CW every Tuesday night.