Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of The Flash. To catch up on previous coverage, click here.
Well then friends, let’s talk about Zoom.
Holy shit, right?
The first, truly, jaw dropping moment of the first season for me was the first real showdown between The Flash and the Reverse Flash in The Man in the Yellow Suit. From when Barry first sees him from his lab on top of a building, to their brawl in the football stadium, the character and their rivalry gave the episode a cinematic tone, and the Reverse Flash and how he was manifested was eerie and menacing. He was faster and he was stronger and he had the upper hand on Barry, so while we knew our hero would live, we didn’t know what state he’d be in afterwards.
Zoom has the same effect, but this time, he takes it a step further by publicly trying to shame Barry, dragging him across his city in a state of helplessness we’ve very rarely seen our character endure.
But let’s not rush to that ending.
But that ending right?
It’s time like these where it’s difficult for me to separate being a fan and being a critic. My fan side would just like button smash right now due to how exciting that ending made me, and how giddy it was as a fan to see such a crucial and debilitating moment for our hero so early on in the season. Writing this however dictates some sort of eloquence so I’ll try to sum it up with a tad more clarity.
It’s a great episode, however, that much can be said. The show takes bit of a breather on all the set up it’s been trying to do for the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow and instead focuses on the crisis in Central City. Which, by the end of the episode we learn, is likely monumental.
The Reverse Flash was an adversary. Zoom is a human natural disaster.
The episode does a lot of things right in bringing the main focus back into the core group, while allowing a character like Linda Park a moment to shine, and much brighter than she did in her initial few episodes. She’s furious about Light killing her boss, and she’s restless with nothing to do other than stay safe. She’s itching to do something substantial and once Light escapes Star Labs, she’s given her moment of taking control of her own fate. The Flash crew bring her in to dress as Light and lure Zoom to their earth by pretending she’s killed the Flash, stealing his emblem and sending it through the portal as proof. The training period is a lot of fun, allowing all of the characters to work together for a common goal in one of the lighter sequences of the episode. Linda is instantly more charismatic here, especially when Barry, to prove his trust in her, reveals his identity. It’s fitting for him to show his full support when Caitlin, Cisco and co. are less than impressed, and her “I’ve made out with the Flash” comment is perfectly fitting.
I would love to see more of her. Her friendship with Iris is a promising new development that would be excellent to see expand.
The set up for Zoom is also played with humor, as Linda and Barry fumble through their charade as they try to lure the villain in. Barry even lays in a ridiculously awkward angle for an hour, but time passes, as they realize that Zoom probably isn’t coming.
The group deals with this in different ways. Linda confides in Iris about how the secret of the Flash is a heavy burden and Barry goes to make out with Patty, a sliver of happiness in his life as of late. Wells on the other hand, is livid, because as we learn this week, his daughter Jesse (Jesse Quick I presume…) is being held captive by Zoom, and to get her back, he needs to capture Zoom first.
Things are hardly what they seem to be and instead these moments of introspection are little more than the calm before the storm, and Zoom’s subsequent arrival makes sense with the overall tone of foreboding that the episode cast, as we waited on the edge of our seats for something bad to happen. And it does in a big way.
Zoom first captures Linda as bait, as a mere way to taunt the Flash about how he used her earlier, dropping her from the Star Labs roof. Barry saves her and get’s her to run but she’s right when she says that we’re dealing with a monster. We were always sure that there was a man under the yellow suit, we can’t be too sure what’s living under Zoom’s (although I have my theories). This much is clear when Zoom takes the bolt of lighting that Barry tosses at him from out of the sky and throws it back. Zoom is seemingly unstoppable as he continues to beat Barry within an inch of his life, breaking his legs in the process.
But that’s not all Zoom has in store. He parades him throughout Central City, making sure the Flash’s supporters and admirers get to seem him at his weakest, most broken state, showing a hero who is no longer someone who can be seen as invincible, putting the citizens into a state of unrest. It’s the best scene the show has done all season and arguably one of the best they’ve done period. We know that Barry isn’t going to die. It wouldn’t make sense. But it’s as gripping as anything I’ve seen in a superhero movie this year, and just like the people of Central City, it’s hard to stomach seeing the hero of the story so impossibly broken down.
Cisco get’s the shot in before Zoom can take his final blow, and he races out, presumably back to his earth, but the marks are lasting, and the ending shows us that Barry can’t heal from anything at the speed of light when he realizes he can’t feel his legs.
Zoom has made himself a clear and very real, violent threat, and I can’t wait to see how the Star Labs crew work to overcome it. I hope the show goes on to portray the wounds Barry has been dealt as ones not easily to overcome.
Was everyone else as enthused as I was?
Rating that’s affected by the last ten minutes: 9/10