After taking a few weeks off (again,) The Flash is back with one whopper of an episode that sets the second season up for its endgame, “Versus Zoom”!
It all starts out with the saddest nugget of backstory ever, the rise of evil: Young Hunter Zoloman watching his mother get killed by his father, then shipped off to an orphanage where he will clearly never be loved. MAKING HIM EEEEEVIL!
In the present, the STAR Labs team is the most confident note we’ve seen them at all season. Barry’s made huge progress thanks to Eobard Thawne’s tachyon enhancement technology. Did you catch the moment when he returned from National City after warping through universes, by the way?! It was a quick reference and Barry recovers remarkably well, but it was great all the same!
Finally, Barry feels ready to take on Zoom. the only worries he has are about his tachyon enhancement gear’s design.
There’s another major problem in there way too, of course. The team previously destroyed all of the breaches between Earth-1 and Earth-2. While that keeps Earth-1 safe from Zoom, Barry can’t live with Earth-2 being terrorized. Yet that doesn’t give them a way to open a new breach.
But soon, the team pieces together another way after an off-handed comment from Joe sets Barry’s brain in motion. It doesn’t involve science. It involves Cisco.
His doppelganger, Reverb, created the breaches of Zoom by manipulating energies between worlds, so apparently Cisco can do the same thing. There’s really no case in which any set of Earth-1/Earth-2 doppelgangers display the same powers (because then Caitlin would be an awesome ice lady, for instance,) but apparently Cisco is the exception.
They head to the strongest point of connection between the two universes– which just so happens to be a creepy abandoned children’s hospital on both Earths– and Cisco begins bringin’ the power…
…and then totally flakes out.
It turns out that he’s feeling pretty afraid of his own powers because Reverb became devilishly evil after realizing the power he could have over the world. Brilliantly, he compares it to Star Wars and Darth Vader.
The delay is probably all for the best, because it gives us some time to possess some feelings with Iris and Caitlin in a lovely women supporting women scene. Iris skipped a date with Scott because peeks into both Earth-2 and the future have shown her ending up with Barry, so she’s starting to think maybe she should be with him NOW.
This is kind of paradoxical– Would Iris want to be with Barry even if all signs from the future and other worlds didn’t point to it? We’d like to think so, but no one can say for sure now.
Either way, it leads to one of the most heartbreaking exchanges in the episode?
Caitlin’s response? “Maybe for you.”
Excuse us while we crawl under the table and weep.
Clearly, Caitlin is feeling the most betrayal when it comes to Jay’s reveal as Zoom because once upon a time, she thought he truly loved her. It’s especially hard when this episode reveals he’s actually a serial killer who murdered at least 23 people. When Cisco agrees to open the breach for real, she’s still struggling with some complex emotions.
Of course, all the emotions aren’t happening at STAR Labs, either. Joe is going for a huge mea culpa with Wally by offering him a place to live when Wally can’t afford to stay on his college campus anymore. At first, it looks like another clash between the two in the works, but Wally turns out to be pretty into the idea.
And then Barry’s plan is in full effect!
Cisco vibes open the new breach, Zoom jumps right through. He and Barry start a chase through the city and Barry leads him to STAR Labs, where he uses his secret weapon against Zoom: His childhood. Barry has SOMEHOW procured cardboard cutouts of Zoom’s parents, which is kind of laughable when you think about it because 1) How? and 2) Last time this trick was used, it was purposefully hilarious, but now we’re supposed to take it seriously.
Momentarily stunned by the images, Zoom is CAUGHT.
And then, for a couple minutes, we got really frustrated. THE FLASH JUST CAUGHT ZOOM… and they were chatting! Revealing backstory feels, Jay’s illness, soonto-be-convenient plot points, etc, etc, etc.
And we couldn’t help but wonder: What was Barry’s plan AFTER he captured Zoom? He doesn’t seem to have one!
Oh, and Barry forgot that Zoom can phase through the trap his used to hold him in place and easily escape, at which point he captures Wally West and brings him back to Earth-2 to chill with the guy who is now, undoubtedly, his doppelganger.
Of all the ultimatums meant to break Barry, this is the one that works. He can’t let Joe and Iris lose someone they love yet again. He agrees to give Zoom his speed.
But.. but… there’s a back-up plan, right? Some clever plan to trick Zoom into getting captured once again? RIGHT?!
Nope. Zoom just takes Barry’s speed.
Pre-power, Zoom was already a serial killer. So it’s really not surprise that the first thing he tries to do with his new power is kill a powerless Barry.
Only Caitlin manages to talk him off the edge, pleading and diving back into the memories of them together in hopes of awakening some sympathy in him.
Hunter lets go of Barry, but it doesn’t go too well for Caitlin!
And with Caitlin captured, Barry sans powers, and Zoom having easy access to Earth-1 once again, this was officially the WORST. PLAN. EVER.
We’ll find out how the group recovers next week!