Spoilers below if you haven’t watched tonight’s episode of The Flash.
As it goes with all comic book TV shows, certain names and images will pop up that fans instantly latch onto, though it’s almost never immediately clear if the reference is just a nice Easter egg or if it’s a major addition to the plot. That definitely happened during tonight’s episode of The Flash, “The Reverse-Flash Returns,” when Jay Garrick may have inadvertently led Caitlin to the secret identity of Zoom! Unless he didn’t! Let’s discuss things.
Without his powers, Jay Garrick hasn’t exactly been an attention-grabbing presence here in Season 2, and his main revenge story boils down to a subtle kinship with Caitlin, who is now invested in saving Jay’s life. She takes it upon herself to try and track down Jay’s Earth 1 doppelgänger in the hopes of a DNA transfusion of some kind, but it turns out that wouldn’t help Jay much, since his DNA was mutated when he got his powers and wouldn’t be a match for a regular human’s DNA. But what if we’re not dealing with a regular human?
As revealed in the episode, Jay’s Earth 1 double is a man named Hunter Zolomon, a name that comic fans know very well, since he’s Zoom in that medium. On the page, he was the son of a serial killer and a good friend to Kid Flash Wally West, though that relationship was destroyed after Zolomon was paralyzed in an attack and Wally refused to go back in time to avert the accident. Zolomon tried to do this himself using the Cosmic Treadmill, which resulted in him gaining his powers and turning evil. He was also the third incarnation of the Reverse-Flash, which makes his appearance in this episode all the more interesting, considering it also featured the show’s first incarnation, Eobard Thawne, arriving in Earth 1’s present for the first time.
As cool as this is, though, it’s hard to think that The Flash’s creative team is actually trying to tell us this plainly that Zolomon is Earth 2’s Zoom. For one, the surprises and twists in this show are usually the punctuation to a scene, rather than just part of the conversation, although it wouldn’t be much of a “twist” to anyone who’d never heard Zolomon’s name before. Still, the writers would then have to explain how Zolomon has been terrorizing people on Earth 2 for years when accelerator explosions and time breaches were only happening on Earth 1 for the past year or so, as well as why he would continue using this other worldly persona to get to Barry when he could just do it from Earth 1.
So does the presence of Hunter Zolomon point to some other big reveal down the line? Could it be that he is the put-upon innocent citizen while Jay Garrick is actually the evil Zoom? Considering what happened with Thawne/Wells last season, it’s not out of the question for Garrick to have had his body taken over by a villain, or for him to actually be the villain posing as a hero to confuse everyone. Almost everyone we’ve met so far from Earth 2 has an opposite personality of their Earth 1 selves, so is that what’s happening here?
Since The Flash's writers have been lauding the Zoom mystery since before Season 2 began, and we're still a ways from the season finale, a big part of me thinks that the end result will be even crazier and more unpredictable than Zoom being either Garrick or Zolomon. What do you guys think?
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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