Warning: This review contains spoilers for the episode “Versus Zoom.”
The hiatus is over (we’ve had more than our fair share already) and the last stretch of episodes of The CW’s “The Flash” is finally here. Episode 18, “Versus Zoom,” gives us some background on season two’s villain, who is, if everyone is keeping score, not actually Jay Garrick, but a serial killer from Earth-2 by the name of Hunter Zolomon.
“Versus Zoom” was crammed with a lot of exposition–exposition mostly done in an entertaining fashion, but just as a lot of questions have been answered, there are still many more that have arisen. First and foremost, we have to question the source: Hunter Zolomon, who’s been deceiving Team Flash from the very beginning. There were several plans happening in this episode, not all of them good ones.
While I understand that this is only episode 18 and the final showdown with Zoom can’t happen yet, but using the characters to do less-than-intelligent things to service the plot never bodes well. The episode was enjoyable overall. It was filled to the brim with great moments between all the characters. Cisco learned to channel his Vibe powers in order to reopen the breach to Earth-2, Iris and Caitlin interacted and Iris was openly discussing her feelings for Barry, Wally officially moved into the West house, and we got the entire cast working together in S.T.A.R. Labs, which was wonderful given we haven’t seen them team up in this way for awhile.
Having seen the episode twice (it sat better with me the second time around), it still makes me question why the third plan of the hour didn’t involve a contingency plan. After reopening the breach, Zoom arrives once more. And although Barry and co. come up with a plan to trap him (using cardboard posters of Zolomon’s parents to distract him), what was going to happen next? Were they going to lock him up? Try and find a way to de-power him? In the end, it doesn’t matter because Zoom gets away and kidnaps Wally, using him as leverage to get Barry to give up his speed.
This is where things get a bit strange. Zoom hands over Wally fairly quickly and Barry still hands over his speed to give to Zoom. I expected there to be a backup plan, because negotiating with Zoom shouldn’t have been an option, especially after Zoom no longer had the leverage he needed anymore. This is perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the entire episode. Sure, it got Zoom talking (he’s not quite as creepy as he is with Tony Todd’s deep and rasping voice) and we did learn certain things. His reasoning behind why he dressed up as The Flash still bugs me, there has to be more to it than that. But all the final minutes did was service the plot and made our beloved characters seem a bit foolish. All of this and it only results in the loss of Barry’s powers and Zoom kidnapping Caitlin (maybe his feelings for her were actually real?).
Using the name Jay Garrick to operate is suspicious, and if this is the only way we’ll get to know Jay Garrick, then it’s manipulative. I’m holding out for the writers to make something more of the use of Jay besides just the use of his name. Perhaps the Man in the Iron Mask is the real Jay? There certainly has to be more to the story here. A piece of the puzzle we’re missing.
“Versus Zoom” isn’t the show’s strongest episode, but it certainly does work on a lot of levels, specifically by using its emotional beats and the core importance of family and friends. The fantastic character interactions are what holds it together. Team Flash working together so well and the show incorporating all the characters together works excellently. Zoom sharing a similar backstory to Barry is telling; their differing ideas about family is even more telling. Zolomon sees family as a weakness, while Barry sees them as a strength. This is the difference between them and what honestly makes “The Flash” a standout among its peers.
– Jay Garrick is no more. Zoom will now be referred to as Hunter Zolomon.
– Wells enlisted Joe’s help to find his daughter. Jesse should be back soon.
– Iris and Barry are being awkward around each other again. Iris is talking about her feelings. I am happy their relationship is moving forward again.
– So no one recognized Jay Garrick as Hunter Zolomon? Sure, Hunter had a beard and crazy hair, but not to recognize him? It’s Clark Kent/Superman-level disguise.
– Cisco is afraid he’ll go dark like Vader. Barry reminds him that he has support from everyone, something Reverb didn’t have. Great moment.
– Can we get more Wells and Joe moments?
– Hunter designed his Flash suit after his murderous dad’s military suit? That’s an interesting choice.
– After the showdown at the lab, I’m sure Wally is now super suspicious of everything Flash-related.
– Old Jay as Man in the Iron Mask theory still stands. I just hope the reveal is surprising and not underwhelming.
"Versus Zoom" was an entertaining hour and had strong character moments and interactions, but some of the exposition was head-scratching and the final minutes of the episode diminished the characters' intelligence in order to further the plot.