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THE FLASH Review: “Versus Zoom”

Warning: This post contains spoilers for The Flash! Proceed with caution, speedsters. If you haven’t yet watched this week’s episode, “Versus Zoom,” we highly suggest you do so before proceeding. Okay? We good? Then let’s go.

After taking a break for several weeks, The Flash is back. And with it comes this season’s Zoom storyline. Full throttle. Unable to live with the knowledge that he’s left Earth-2 to the torment of the monstrous speedster, our boy Barry convinces STAR Labs to help him re-open a breach to the parallel world. Wells, still searching for his daughter Jessie, is reluctant to do so at first. But since Joe is the most persuasive non-metahuman in Central City, Wells soon comes around, and gifts Cisco with a new pair of goggles so he can follow in the footsteps of his late doppelgänger Reverb and use his powers to punch a hole between the two Earths.

Cisco, in what must be the best bit of nerd referencing the show has thus far employed (refreshingly used not at all for laughs), tells Barry he’s worried he’ll succumb, like his evil twin, to the Dark Side and become Darth Vader should he gain more control over his metahuman abilities. Barry makes a case for nurture versus nature, and assures his friend that he has the one thing Reverb did not: a loving family. On paper, it’s a throwaway scene. But it turns out to be the episode’s best, because it not only illustrates what also distinguishes Barry from Zoom, but gives Barry a chance to play the role of Joe for a change. In giving someone else a pep talk, he comes off as much more confident and assured than usual, and moves one step closer to becoming the Flash that longtime fans know from the comic books.

It should be noted that Barry played a similar mentor role in the recent Supergirl/Flash crossover episode, advising Kara Danvers that she should view her own recent temporary turn to the Dark Side (the result of exposure to red kryptonite) as a humbling experience, and assuring her that she would eventually find a way to win back the trust of her city. I’ll take “big brother” Barry any day over sobbing, insecure Barry. And with Wally becoming a greater part of this season’s storyline—having now moved into the West household—it looks like Barry will have more opportunities than ever to inspire out of costume.

In the meantime, there’s the little matter of his missing speed, which he’s given to Zoom in exchange for Wally’s life. I’m surprised that the “mystery” of the man in the iron mask is still being played out. I mean, it’s obvious that that’s the “real” Jay, and that Zoom is Hunter Zolomon, right? Or is the show gonna pull a fast one in this season’s final five episodes? Here’s hoping. Because there’s got to be more to this season than another good father figure gone bad.

The Flash -- "Versus Zoom" -- Image: FLA218A_0172b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon, Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow and Grant Gustin as Barry Allen -- Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Accelerated Particles

— “The best plan we’ve come up with so far is to set off a nuclear warhead next to the city’s power grid.”

— Who will gain super-speed first: Wally or Jessie? Let’s place those bets!

— “Just like Reverb. All I’m missing is the guyliner and the transformation’s complete.”

— Wally calls Joe “Dad” for the first time… *Choke*

— Why didn’t Wells mention that Jay looked like Hunter sooner? Did the beard throw him off?

— “You can’t lock up the darkness.”

Next week: Barry must defend Central City without his speed.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).

Images: CW

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