Series 2, Episode 14
Escape from Earth-2.
Well, thanks, episode. I had theories, you know, but not only did you single-handedly prove those theories wrong (and pretty thoroughly, as well), you also hinted at an entirely different theory while simultaneously showing that it couldn't possibly be true, and I'm now more confused than ever. I'm just very, very confused, and I blame you, writers.
Here's the editorial I did a while ago on possibilities for Zoom's identity, incidentally, and I post it because we now know two of those are wrong.
In this week's episode, Wells, Cisco, and Earth-2's Iris and Barry scramble to find out where Zoom keeps his prisoners so that they can rescue Jesse and Barry, while Zoom launches a city-wide manhunt for Wells. Allying with Killer Frost, they find Zoom's prison, located on Ascension Cliffs outside of Central City. Meanwhile, in the prison, Barry attempts to decipher what the man in the iron mask is trying to tell him, but only gets one word out of him: 'Jay.' In Earth-1, Caitlin works on Velocity-9, hoping that it'll restore Jay's speed long enough for him to face Geomancer, who has decided that if he can't kill the Flash he knows, killing another speedster will do.
|Ah, the mysterious man in the iron mask.|
Okay, so I was so sure that Earth-2 Barry was Zoom, but it seems like he can't be. For starters, we see Zoom and Barry in the same room multiple times, not to mention seeing Zoom threatening people in the STAR Labs lobby while Wells, Cisco and Barry try to find a time vault. Unless Zoom has the ability to functionally split himself in two in a way that's much more complicated than Thawne's speed mirages, he literally can't be Barry.
Nor can he be Jay, although I admit when we found out that the man in the iron mask was tapping out Jay's name, I thought he might be - and even moreso when we got a brief shot of the back of his head and saw that he has the same hair colour and hair style as Jay, suggesting almost that Zoom has replaced Jay, somehow. People have made much of the fact that Jay's 'asleep', apparently so asleep that he can't hear an earthquake, when Zoom is doing much of his shenanigans in Earth-2, but during the final escape sequence, where Zoom is holding Wells hostage, Jay's standing with Caitlin and the others. Moreover, Zoom seems to consistently have his speed, whereas Jay - who speeds about with yellow lightning, not blue, anyway - doesn't.
So, while there's certainly something shady in the extreme about Jay, he can't be Zoom, unless Zoom has mastered cloning - in which case he could just as easily be Barry. Of course, there is one other option, one that a main villain in The Flash has prevailed themselves of before: The Jay we know could be Everyman, the metahuman who briefly impersonated Wells, whose Earth-2 counterpart we haven't yet seen. Notably, Earth-1 Everyman was romantically interested in Caitlin (or assumed Barry would be, at least), and Jay has been pretty unsubtle in pursuing Caitlin.
|Iris looks like she has no idea how she even ended up in this situation, and|
I don't blame her.
So, since we're at risk of this review turning into an editorial on Zoom theories (he's just so interesting, you guys), this episode was actually really good. We got a great character arc in the form of Earth-2 Barry, clearly worried that Iris prefers Earth-1 Barry over him, trying to prove his heroism and being very earnest if also hilariously inept at it, and every moment of that is sweet and adorable. I'm kind of glad he's not Zoom, even if I'm also a bit vexed over it. It was just incredibly sweet, and to be honest, I am now just hoping, even though it'll never happen, that Earth-2 Barry becomes his Earth's Superman.
He has the glasses for it.
There was also a pervasive sense of dread to the whole episode that hammers in just how menacing a villain Zoom is. I was constantly expecting him to show up, the tension was, at times, unbearable - every time the characters wasted time, I was about two seconds from screaming at the screen, wanting them to just get on with it and get out before Zoom turned up. That speaks wonders for how they've set Zoom up as a threat, one that both comes across as unstoppable and as nearly ever-present. This entire episode was like a slasher flick, except instead of it being one haunted house where the killer might jump out at you at any time, it's everywhere.
My only problem with this episode, really, is that it left things feeling oddly inconclusive. Jesse's been rescued, sure, but we're no closer - in fact, we're further away - from finding out who Zoom is, more questions have been raised than answered, and with the last breach shut, any other visits to Earth-2 are off the table, at least - and indeed at most, because we still have ten episodes left this series - for the moment.
Still, I loved this episode, and I'm looking forward to more. Next week, it looks like we have a bit of a fluff episode, as the writers throw as many Jaws references as possible into one King Shark episode with Diggle and Lyla.