Spoilers for The Flash are below.
Last week’s jaunt to Earth 2 made for one of the most enjoyable episodes of The Flash yet, and so it was no surprise that “Escape from Earth 2” was more of a downer. Not only did it feature Zoom once again beating the dogshit out of Barry, but it also knocked the Zoom suspect list down by one character (maybe). Ladies and gentlemen, join me in cursing Zoom and possibly saying goodbye to Jay Garrick. Though probably not for good, and possibly not even forever even if he was actually dead. This is The Flash, folks.
Yes, Jay is in more potentially fatal trouble than we’ve seen him in so far, but not because of his weird illness that has taken up 85% of Caitlin’s professional life. He is instead shuffled off this particular mortal coil by Zoom, who dragged his nemesis to the alternate mortal coil using the whole “put my fist through your chest and clutch them innards” maneuver. As soon as Jay stood in front of the collapsing wormhole with a smile beaming from ear to ear – which was followed by a shot of everyone else in the room smiling in relief – it was overtly obvious that something terrible was about to happen. So the shock of Zoom snatching him had already worn off by the time it actually happened. Still a good moment, though.
While ultimately not the most interesting character in the live-action DC Universe, Jay is one of the most tragic. After a two-year stalemate with Zoom over the fate of Earth 2’s Central City, Jay got unexpectedly dropped in a different universe, where he found he didn’t have powers anymore, and after tracking down what may be the only other person who can stop Zoom, it was revealed that he had a terminal and all-but-incurable illness, and that it only gets worse for him when he takes the Velocity speed formula that helps him temporarily regain his super swiftness. And then, after he gets a chance to become a hero again, he’s unable to complete the act, and then he gets kidnapped by his worst enemy. Not even extremely good flirting from Caitlin can balance the daily awfulness that this guy goes through.
Here’s where The Flash works best, in presenting a scenario that looks like one thing, but could potentially be several others, and each version has its own degree of fascinating consequences. It seems here that Jay can’t possibly be behind the Zoom mask, disputing a popular fan theory that was partly based on a lack of scenes where Jay and Zoom were in the same scene together. (Outside of Jay’s own accounts, that is.) So was this proof that Jay and Zoom are two separate entities, or is there some speed-related power that can make him look like he’s in two different places at once, and with two different costumes?
And then we back up a little further to ask, “Is this even the real Jay Garrick, and what does the real Jay Garrick even mean at this point?” That goes back to the scene inside of Zoom’s prison, where Barry and Jesse hit it off by figuring out the masked man’s wall-banging code. He’s been spelling “J-A-Y” this entire time, but he annoyingly fails to communicate anything else after this has been established. Is this masked dude the actual Jay, while the guy we know is a pawn meant to fool the S.T.A.R. Labs team into figuring out a way to sap Barry’s speed? That connection alone is enough to prove we’ll be seeing Jay again at some point, but in what context?
And who the hell is Zoom? That’s probably the biggest question here. Sorry, Jay’s fate.
While Barry and Iris might get an eventual relationship boost from the group’s Earth 2 excursions, it doesn’t look like there’s a good future for Jay and Caitlin. We’ll find out one of these days as The Flash airs Tuesday nights on The CW.