Warning: spoilers ahead for the Season 2 finale of The Flash.
Season 2 of The Flash has finally come to an end on The CW, and the final episode answered a whole bunch of big questions. One of the major mysteries of Season 2 had been of the identity of the man in the iron mask held captive in Zoom’s Earth 2 lair. Now, we know who it is: speedster Jay Garrick of Earth 3, who just so happens to be another version of Barry’s dad Henry. It was an unexpected twist for actor John Wesley Shipp, and he got the news in a very unexpected way.
I went up on March 1 to film the last four episodes and I began hearing things. I was fitted in this costume that was all brown and shredded and like a prison costume. But it obviously wasn’t a Henry Allen costume. And then I started hearing about fittings for an iron mask. I wrote [executive producer] Greg [Berlanti] an email saying, ‘I’m starting to hear things about characters that I may or may not be playing going forward. What’s going on here?’
John Wesley Shipp’s story to THR is actually pretty surprising. The mystery of the man in the iron mask is one that had fans wondering and theorizing for months, and the show certainly didn’t downplay the intrigue. But, letting the actor hear through the grapevine that he’d be playing a new role seems like a significant oversight.
Well, a significant and funny oversight. A mystery fitting for a new costume on The Flash unlike anything post-prison Henry would wear coupled with whispers about an iron mask had to drive John Wesley Shipp at least a little bit crazy. Luckily, Greg Berlanti didn’t keep him in the dark too long. He responded to Shipp’s email within a few minutes to explain that he assumed that somebody had already told him. Shipp reports that his mind was blown by the revelation.
Henry Allen has always felt like one of the most likely candidates for the man in Zoom’s lair, so not all Flash fans would have been entirely shocked to see John Wesley Shipp’s face emerge from behind the mask. The twist came from the fact that John Wesley Shipp was not playing Earth 2 Henry Allen. Instead, he was playing Earth 3 Jay Garrick, who never seems to have had a son.
The twist is the best kind of “Gotcha!” on a superhero series. The real Jay Garrick – also known as the Earth 3 Flash – was a surprise during the episode, but it also explained a lot about Season 2 once the surprise wore off. We already knew that Henry Allen was related to a Garrick via his grandmother; we just might not have guessed that the answer would come via Earth 3.
Luckily for fans of John Wesley Shipp on The Flash, Season 2 ended in a way that keeps him wide open for returns in future seasons. Jay Garrick is still alive and as speedy as ever on a parallel Earth, and Barry going back to save his mom will likely mean that his dad will be back in the flesh early on. Unfortunately, The Flash is now on hiatus until fall. To tide you over, check out our breakdown of what we know so far about Season 3 of The Flash and take a look at our summer TV premiere schedule.