The Flash Review: Inside the Mind of a Villain

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The Flash, Season 2, Episode 18 “Versus Zoom”

Barry and Team Flash find a way to get back to Earth 2 for what they hope will be a final confrontation with Zoom. That battle goes about as bad as you expect because Zoom is more powerful and more evil than previously realized.

Plot Snapshot

With his new tachyon thingy and a hardware upgrade from Cisco, Barry  opens a new portal to Earth 2 to try and stop Zoom with some newfound speed and psychological warfare. It works for a bit, but Zoom cannot be stopped as he returns to Earth Prime to wreak some more havoc.

The Big Deal

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The biggest chunk of this episode plumbed the depths of Zoom’s backstory, holding it up against Barry’s own superhero origins. Young Hunter Zoloman is roused from his sleep by his parents fighting. His father, a soldier (dressed remarkably like Jay Garrick’s Flash), has a mental break during what can only be assumed as a case of PTSD and kills his wife in front of his son. Instead of being taken in by a kindly singe dad police officer, Hunter is taken to a creepy orphanage and reminded on check-in that none of his relatives wanted him. It should come as no surprise that Zoloman became one of Earth 2’s most notorious serial killers (23 counts of murder). Zoloman was strapped in getting electroshock treatments when Earth 2’s version of Star Labs had its accident, giving him his speedster powers. Zoom lives to torture the populace of Earth 2, he even created the persona of the “Jay Garrick” Flash to give people hope in order to crush their spirits after. In an effort to demoralize Barry’s (and extend his own life), Zoom gets free and kidnaps Wally. Barry can’t stand the thought of a member of his family (even a moody one who has only been around a couple of weeks) getting hurt again. Barry makes the decision to give his speed to Zoom in exchange for Wally. Tensions run high in the lab as Barry relinquishes his speed. In the rush after injecting it, Zoom goes all King Kong, kidnaps Caitlin and vanishes. Leaving Barry exhausted and powerless.

On The Side

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Cisco doesn’t have the firmest of grasps on his Vibe powers, in fact using them still freaks him out most of the time. The meeting with his sinister doppelganger, Reverb, didn’t help matters much out, either. It goes without saying that Cisco didn’t exactly jump at the chance to expand his powers with the same enthusiasm Barry would inject experimental chemicals into his eyeballs to increase his speed. Cisco is correctly scared that expanding his abilities might lead him down the road to man-buns and evil, like on Earth 2. Ever the team player, Cisco agrees to use his souped up super shades to open a portal back to Earth 2. This internal struggle is interesting to watch, because resisting powers is so against Cisco’s fanboy and curious natures. It was a nice change of pace from Barry’s fascination with more speed and hopefully the show’s creative team will keep using Cisco as a counterbalance.

Observation and Speculation

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*So guys, what makes Keystone City pizza worth the effort? It looked a lot like New York style to me and you can get that pretty much anywhere these days.

*All right Barry, we know you are on a schedule and all, but don’t you think it’s worth some detail when  you vanish into another dimension for multiple days, meet a cute blonde alien in a cape and battle a couple of smoking-hot she-villains? I mean, just as a heads up or a “Cisco, have I got a story to tell you” would have worked.

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*Sure it’s canon and predicted on multiple Earths, but we were just fine when everybody forgot about the Barry-Iris pairing (or BarrIs if you are into such labels). They were still raised as brother and sister, so eww. Iris doesn’t exactly make great romantic choices. Her last lover was her dad’s partner and her second option now is her boss.

*Don’t be sad that you don’t speak Moody Millennial, Joe. Nothing Wally has said or done in any of his appearances has given off an “I’d like to share a roof with you, dad” vibe.

*How soon do you think Harry’s watch’s cool projection features show up on a generation of Apple Watches.

*The effects in this episode were aces. Even the little touches like the coffee rising out of its mug was nifty.

Words to Live By

“Just like Reverb. All I am missing is the guyliner and the transformation is complete.” – Cisco. An important lesson Mr. Ramon, stay out of Caitlin’s makeup bag and you won’t go evil.


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It was kind of a long walk to get to the old “hero loses his powers” gag, but the stops along the way were interesting at least. It was nice that we got a glimpse into what makes Zoom up. It would have been nicer if there was more behind Zoom’s pathology than a dead mother and being evil for evil’s sake. But the stakes were raised and everything looked pretty, so there’s not a ton of reason to grumble.

Craig Wack

For a weekly discussion of comic book TV shows please join Craig Wack and Tatiana Torres for the Agents of GEEK podcast updated every Friday and now on iTunes

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