“The Flash” answers a few questions about Zoom in the Tuesday, April 19 episode, 218, “Versus Zoom.” Just as Barry has figured out how to be fast enough to face the demonic speedster, Hunter Zolomon makes an unexpected move that leaves him with no choice.
They’re not so different, Hunter tells Barry at one point, and the beginning of this “Flash” episode shows that they do have something in common: they both lost their mothers when they were young. However, while Barry was then taken in by the Wests after his father was wrongfully accused, Hunter’s father did actually kill his mother – and made him watch – and Hunter ended up in an orphanage because no one wanted him.
Thanks to that tachyon enhancer, Barry is four times faster than he’s ever been, faster than Zoom, but they have one other problem: the breaches are closed. Harry’s also against Barry going up against Zoom altogether, arguing that he already got to his daughter once and he has no problem using the people they care about against them. Barry figures out a solution to the breaches: Cisco. His doppelganger, Reverb, was able to manipulate the multidimensional energy, and if his powers were linked to the energy that ties together the multiverse, he could open a breach. If he can do it, so can Cisco.
Cisco, however, isn’t on board with that the plan, not even when, upon finding the area with the highest levels of transdimensional energy in “Patch Adams nightmare” of an abandoned hospital, he does manage to open a breach with his recalibrated glasses from Harry. (There’s nothing like a talk with Joe to get him involved because, as the detective points out, Barry has a much better chance of defeating Zoom with his help.) As Cisco admits to Barry, he’s worried about succumbing to the dark side if he taps into the powers his doppelganger learned to use. And Barry gets it, gets being scared of what a new power can mean, but, as he reminds his friend, he’s been there for him every step of the way. Barry’s going to be there for Cisco too – and Cisco has something Reverb didn’t: people who care about him, a family. It’s easily the best scene of the episode.
Before Cisco can open a breach, however, Harry fills them in on Hunter Zolomon upon hearing the name from Caitlin. It turns out Hunter is a convicted serial killer on his Earth and was convicted on 23 counts of murder. After the trial, he was sent to a mental asylum for the criminally insane, and he was in one of his electroshock treatments when the particle accelerator exploded. Thanks to his backstory, Barry has an idea on how to stop him once the breach is open: using cardboard cutouts of his parents to stop him dead in his tracks when he lures him into STAR Labs. Cue time for the evil speech, as Hunter says no, he doesn’t care how many he kills because that feeling was taken from him a long time ago. Barry could’ve easily become him, Hunter thinks, given their pasts, but Barry disagrees. He’ll never become like him. To Hunter, family is a weakness – and he speeds off and snatches Wally, leaving behind a message: “Your Speed for Wally.”
While Wally spends some time in Hunter’s cell and the man in the iron mask gets some more knocking in (Who is he?!), Joe struggles with knowing Barry can’t give up his speed but wanting his son back. However, Barry tells him that Wally is part of their family, and it’s not Joe’s decision. This is the only way. Cisco delivers the message to Hunter, who brings Wally back to STAR Labs for the trade.
While Harry gets things ready, it gives them time to get some answers from Hunter. How did they see him die? He went back in time and met another version of himself and convinced him to let him kill him. The only way to make Barry faster was for him to see his old pal Jay die, and he decided to do that when they closed the breaches to Earth 2. When Barry asks about the man in the iron mask, all Hunter says about him is he wouldn’t believe him if he told him. Why did he run around dressed as the Flash? To give people hope so he could rip it away from them. He found it fun pretending to be a hero. Caitlin argues that he’s nothing but a monster, triggering a flashback to his mother’s murder.
Barry gets on the treadmill, and as the speed force leaves his body, he slows down as he becomes human again. Hunter immediately injects himself with it, getting even more demonic (as in, “Supernatural” levels of demonic) and then speeds over and pins Barry to the wall. Caitlin tries to get through to him, begging him to stop, to let him go if anything they shared was real. He does let Barry go – but then speeds off with Caitlin.
Meanwhile, Iris begins questioning her feelings for Barry when she can’t bring herself to go out with Scott. (The first sign this was coming? Barry telling her he’s glad she’s finding a way to move on without anything holding her back and Iris saying his support means a lot to her.) Caitlin picks up on it, asking if she couldn’t go on the date because of Eddie or because of Barry, and Iris admits that she feels like everything is telling her they’re supposed to be together. They’re married on Earth 2. They’re married in the future. Maybe she’s supposed to be with Barry, she wonders. (Anyone else want more Caitlin and Iris scenes?)
Also, when Wally comes by to do laundry and says he’s not living on campus anymore, Joe offers to help him pay for room and board. Wally turns him down, and later, Barry explains to Joe that he wanted him to offer him a place to live. And so Joe sets up a space for Wally in their house, sets a few ground rules and tells him he can move in whenever he wants.
“The Flash” season 2 airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on the CW. What did you think of episode 18 “Versus Zoom”?