The Flash, S2 Ep18 – Versus Zoom

With a title like “Versus Zoom” you can expect to see something pretty epic from this week’s episode of The Flash, a game changer for the entire series. Unfortunately, “Versus Zoom” is nowhere near epic and while it is a game changer, it’s only changing things for the worse not the better. In addition to another highly anticipated battle with this season’s main antagonist, “Versus Zoom” also aims to feed us some background on Jay Garrick, who we now know is Hunter Zolomon.

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Zoom returns to Earth-1

The backstory of Hunter Zolomon is probably the most compelling portion of “Versus Zoom,” as we see how his past reflects that of Barry’s. While Barry’s father was framed for the murder of his mother, Hunter’s father actually did murder his mother. From then on Hunter grows up to become a serial killer and once caught and in the electric chair, Earth-2 Wells’ particle accelerator explodes, giving Hunter the power of speed.

What bothered me about finding out Hunter’s origin wasn’t the origin itself, but the fact that Wells knew all about it. He knew that Hunter Zolomon was a serial killer on his Earth and he knew Hunter Zolomon was Zoom, but never told anyone on Team Flash. This could have spared a lot of headaches as Caitlyn would have been able to confirm early on that Jay Garrick and Hunter Zolomon were one in the same, since she already knew Earth-1 Hunter Zolomon was Jay’s doppleganger. Why did Harrison Wells avoid mentioning Zoom’s secret identity to the rest of his team? I don’t know. Why is Team Flash not punching Wells in the face for not saying anything? I don’t know. This frustrates me.

Zoom is sort of ruined in this episode as well. While I liked his origin, he came off as much more menacing when we knew nothing about him. Also, his motives are somewhat confusing. We know he’s still sick and dying and needs Barry’s speed, but it turns out he has pretended to be The Flash of Earth-2 just for fun. Had Barry never opened the breach to Earth-2 in the first place, would he have continued playing both hero and villain until he eventually died? I don’t get it.

In addition to just being kind of a boring episode, the ending of “Versus Zoom” frustrated me the most. Zoom kidnaps Wally and holds him for ransom in exchange for The Flash’s speed, and Barry just complies and gives it to him. I’m sure if they thought about their plan for a few more minutes Team Flash could have figured out a way to save Wally and not give Zoom more speed. Maybe they could have tricked him and injected him with something other than Barry’s speed. The team has definitely made better moves than this. And then they’re surprised when Zoom uses his Speed to almost kill Barry and then kidnap Caitlyn. What did they think was going to happen? Did they think Zoom was just going to return to Earth 2 and leave them alone forever? Think, Barry. Think.

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Cisco opening breaches on his own

While I definitely have a lot of bad things to say about “Versus Zoom”, I have to talk about some of the good things. Even though I still find Wally West to be annoying and uninteresting for the most part, I did enjoy the father-son moments between him and Joe. Cisco hesitating to embrace his full potential out of fear of becoming like his evil Earth-2 doppelganger was definitely interesting. I also liked how he used Star Wars references to explain his feelings on the subject.

Lastly, I liked the introduction of the tachyon device which not only aided in Barry briefly taking down Zoom, but showed us how Barry reached an alternate earth and arrived in National City. If you don’t know what I’m talking about please watch Supergirl on CBS.

Despite the positive things I just mentioned, “Versus Zoom” was just a bad episode and I really hate saying that because I absolutely adore this series. Even Iris West’s side story about falling for Barry seems unnecessary and forced. All that being said, this is just one episode in a season that’s been pretty great overall. I’m hoping the next few episodes are an improvement on this one and I hope seeing Barry without his powers leads to something compelling. Also, I’m still holding out hope that the reveal of the man in the iron mask will blow us all away.

Next week, Barry is forced to live a life without his speed, but Central City continues to remain in peril. Check out The CW’s official trailer for “Back To Normal” below and feel free to let us know what you thought of “Versus Zoom” in the comments.