Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Flash Season 2, Episode 6: Enter Zoom

This week's episode of The Flash was both lighthearted and incredibly dark. In fact it was the darkest the series has ever been, as Zoom literally broke Barry and displayed his near-lifeless body to the citizens of Central City like a gruesome trophy.

When I saw that Zoom was going to be this season's Big Bad, I was worried that he'd turn out to be just another Reverse Flash clone. Nothing could be further from the truth! Zoom is absolutely terrifying in ways the Reverse Flash never was. Plus he's stronger and faster! Not to mention just plain evil!

The tease of Jesse Quick in this episode signals we'll likely be getting yet another super speedster on the series soon. At this rate The Flash is gonna need a spinoff just for its secondary characters!

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
Barry questions Doctor Light, who's being held in STAR Lab's Illegal Secret Super Jail. She says Zoom forced her to come to Earth 1 and kill Barry. She was then supposed to throw his emblem through the breach to let Zoom know she'd done the job, and then he'd come through the collect the body. This gives Barry an idea. Light isn't a truly evil person, so he talks her into fake killing him in order to lure Zoom to Earth 1, where he'll stop him. Light agrees.

Harry says he can whip up a serum that'll slow down Zoom and make him easier to capture. Shortly after, Doctor Light turns invisible and escapes. I guess she wasn't on board with Barry's plan after all. Cisco tries using his vibe power on Harry to find out if he's evil or not. Harry realizes what he's doing and tells him to knock it off. Harry flashes back to his life on Earth 2 with his daughter Jesse. He calls her "Jesse Quick," a name which will delight comic fans but sail right over the heads of the general audience. Unfortunately Jesse was kidnapped when a metahuman attacked her college.

The Flash asks Linda Park if she'd be willing to impersonate Doctor Light in order to draw out Zoom. She agrees, and dons the Light costume. Cisco even whips up some light blasters of comparable power for her. She practices using the blasters, which goes badly, and tells the Flash she can't go through with it. Barry reveals his secret identity to Linda and tells her he believes in her, or some kind of motivational poster claptrap. She agrees to give it another try.

Cisco tries to "vibe" Harry again, and this time it works. He sees an image of Zoom interrogating Jesse, who he's holding in a cell.

Barry and Linda, as the Flash and Doctor Light, pretend to fight at a deserted pier. Light "defeats" the Flash, and throws his emblem through a breach that appears. Unfortunately Zoom doesn't step through, and the plan fails. Linda goes back to the newspaper to talk to Iris. Zoom appears and grabs Linda before, er, zooming away.

Zoom appears on the roof of STAR Labs, holding Linda over the edge to draw out the Flash. When he appears, Zoom drops Linda from the roof. Barry zips down to the street and creates a vortex to break her fall. Zoom and Barry then confront one another. Barry uses his "speed lightning" power to toss a blast at Zoom. He easily catches it (!) and hurls it back at Barry, injuring him. Harry shoots his "slow serum" at Zoom, who catches it in midair and jabs it into Barry's stomach. Zoom then appears to break Barry's back. Yowch!

Zoom carries Barry's broken body and displays it at the Picture News and the Police Department, taunting everyone inside with the image of their defeated hero. He returns to STAR Labs and is about to kill Barry in front of everyone, when Cisco shoots him in the back with a slow serum dart. Zoom hisses and speeds away.

Cisco tells Harry he saw an image of his daughter, who's still alive. Linda leaves town until things blow over. Barry awakens later in the STAR Labs infirmary, and can't feel his legs.

Thoughts:
• Doctor Light says she was supposed to toss Barry's Flash emblem through the breach, to let Zoom know she'd killed him. Cisco throws a fit over this, saying, "You know it took a lot of work to make that emblem, right?"

I was going to point out how silly it was for Cisco to get pissed about this, especially considering that last season it took him all of twenty minutes to whip up a gun that could literally shoot liquid gold. 

But then I remembered that this season Cisco built a heating unit into the emblem, which the Flash used to escape from a block of Captain Cold's ice. So who knows, there could be even more tech crammed into the thing. I guess it's not so crazy for Cisco to be reluctant to throw away the emblem after all.

• Harry's daughter is named Jesse. He likes to call her Jesse Quick, because she's so smart.

In DC Comics, Jesse Quick was yet another speedster (there were a lot of them over at DC), who was the daughter of the Golden Age heroes Johnny Quick (who had super speed) and Liberty Belle (who had sonic powers).

It's pretty much a given that this Jesse will eventually become a speedster, most likely over on Earth 2. I seriously doubt that the Earth 2 Harrison Wells will turn out to be Johnny Quick though! Jesse will definitely have a different origin, maybe even getting her powers from Zoom. 

• It was really lucky for Harry that the Earth 2 news crew just happened to film a nice clear shot of Jesse's phone (complete with "Daddy" visible on the screen) so he'd know his daughter had been captured by Zoom. I know, it's artistic license, but still...

• So we're calling Cisco's power "vibing" now. Eh.

• Why was Cisco trying to "vibe" on Harry by creepily draping his body over him in order to touch him? That's not how it works!

Look, they've already established that Cisco can "vibe" by touching inanimate objects belonging to a subject. In fact just last week Cisco vibed after touching Doctor Light's helmet. So why not just have him borrow a pen from Harry? Or touch his chair after he gets up? The whole "no touch" thing was just the writer's stupid attempt at yuks.

• In this episode we find out that Doctor Light can make "hard light," whatever that is. And she can also become invisible. But she can only make her body invisible, not her costume, so somewhere out there in Central City there's a naked Linda Park from Earth 2 wandering around.

• In this episode we find out that the Earth 2 Robert Queen became The Hood, and his son Oliver died in the shipwreck. Interesting. So I guess that rules out any Earth 2 Arrow appearances. Hopefully the E2 Robert Queen was younger than the Earth 1 version, otherwise he'd probably be a bit too old to be a superhero.

• Barry used his echo voice to disguise his identity from Linda Park. Well, for a minute or two at least.

• Sigh... Barry reveals his secret identity to yet another person on the show. Based on what he was asking Linda to do, his actions make sense, but still... I think once again we're down to one character who doesn't know who he really is.

• So the real Doctor Light turned invisible and buggered off, and Linda dons her costume and assumes her identity. Cisco even whips up a pair of gloves with similar power!s The real Light's gonna want her costume back eventually. I foresee a Light vs. Light showdown sometime soon!

• I may have mentioned this before, but I've noticed that whenever Barry removes his mask/helmet, he'll reach up with both hands like he's about to pull it off, then they always cut away to someone watching. When they cut back, he's got his mask off and pulled back like a hood.

I'm betting they do this because the mask/helmet is so tight that it takes a squad of wranglers to remove it from Grant Gustin's head. Plus his hair's probably all sweaty and matted down after being under the helmet for hours, so once it's off they probably have to do some maintenance on his hair to get it to defy gravity again, hence the cutaway shots.

• While watching this episode, I suddenly wondered why Barry didn't ask Gideon for help. You remember Gideon? Dr. Wells' secret futuristic computer that lived behind the walls of STAR Labs? Then I remembered that Dr. Wells was really Eobard Thawne, who was erased from existence when his distant ancestor Eddie Thawne killed himself. So since Eobard was wiped out, I don't think Gideon exists anymore. Even though everyone remembers who Eobard was.

Sometimes this show makes my head hurt.

• Harry seemed really intent on cooking up his "slow serum" to use against Zoom. I half expected Harry to shoot Barry with the serum as he uttered an evil laugh, but instead he seemed to be genuinely trying to help defeat Zoom. Maybe he's just a jerk, and not evil.

• Barry fears Zoom will try to harm Linda, so he has her hide out at Iris' place (as if Iris would be a match for Zoom). After the failed attempt to draw out Zoom, Linda visits Iris at the newspaper, then leaves by herself. Of course she's immediately captured by Zoom. So why the hell did Iris let Linda go out alone?

• When Barry confronts Zoom, he tosses a powerful speed lightning bolt at him. Zoom easily catches it and hurls it back at Barry. OK, I have to admit it looked cool, but... need I point out how ridiculous an idea that is? Almost as silly as Captain Cold freezing laser beams and shattering them!

• I was really expecting Jay Garrick to somehow regain his powers and show up in the nick of time to save Barry. Maybe they're saving that for the mid-season break.

• Zoom runs around various Central City locations holding up the broken body of the Flash. I was sure he was going to unmask him here and reveal Barry's identity to the few citizens who were still unaware he's the Flash. But for some reason he didn't.

Also, the way Zoom held Barry's near-lifeless body up by one hand looked very much like an image from a Silver Age comic book cover.

• So Zoom apparently broke Barry's back, and his legs are paralyzed. If it turns out that his "heightened metabolism" is able to heal his paralysis, I'm gonna have to call bullsh*t.

I can buy the fact that Barry's speed can make cuts and bruises heal faster, but it can't repair a broken spine. It's fixing things that can normally be fixed, just faster. It shouldn't be able to magically heal a spine.

I suppose it's possible that Barry's spine is just injured and not broken. If that's the case, then I'll give them this one. I wonder if next week Barry will be tooling around in Dr. Wells' old wheelchair?

• I'm still not quite positive who Zoom really is, but I'm leaning toward the Earth 2 Henry Allen. I haven't quite figured out his motivations yet though.

The reason I think that? Normally when we see Zoom, he's covered in special effects lightning and his eyes are obscured, appearing as little pinpoints of light. But take a look at this on-set photo, without all the effects added. Look at those eyes. Call me crazy, but they look a lot like the eyes of actor John Wesley Shipp, who played Henry Allen before he literally bolted off the show a few episodes back.

Tony Todd is the voice of Zoom of course, but could Shipp be the one inside the suit?

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