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Recap / The Flash (2014) S2E18 "Versus Zoom"

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With the tachyon device and further training, Barry now believes that he has a shot at taking Zoom down and attempts to find a way to open the breaches to face him head-on, despite Harry suggesting otherwise. But as Zoom's mysterious origin story comes to light, does the Flash actually have what it takes to win the fight this time?


  • Adaptational Villainy: In the comics, Hunter Zolomon was a tragic figure and a former friend of Wally West who finally snapped when he was attacked and paralyzed by Grodd and Wally refused to use time travel to undo it; Hunter became Zoom in an accident with the Cosmic Treadmill when he tried to do it himself, and even as a supervillain, his main motivation was turning the Flash into a better hero by making him experience tragedy. Here, he's just a straight-up psychotic bastard who revels in the chaos he creates. (To be fair, this is the Earth-2 version of Hunter Zolomon; we have no idea what his Earth-1 counterpart is like yet.)
  • Antagonist Title: The title of the episode refers to Zoom, the main villain of Season Two.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Zoom finally gets what he wants — all of Barry's speed.
  • Beardness Protection Program: Inverted Trope. Zoom apparently managed to hide the fact that he was notorious serial killer Hunter Zolomon by fixing up his hair and not regrowing his beard.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Zoom shows this before breaking himself out of his cuffs.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Heroic example. Barry has Zoom defeated, helpless, but instead of not taking any chances and taking him to the pipeline immediately, they have a nice chat that lets Zoom take off his restraining device.
  • Book Ends: The episode begins with Barry at his fastest, and ends with him powerless.
  • Brick Joke: Barry briefly enters a wormhole, then exits — it's the moment he entered and exited Supergirl's world.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Barry is forced to surrender all his powers to Zoom in order to save Wally's life.
  • Clark Kenting: Hunter Zolomon was a notorious serial killer and his face was plastered all over media outlets, so how come nobody makes a connection between him and Jay Garrick? Simple, Hunter had long messy hair and a beard, while Jay is clean-shaven. In fairness, Harry does say that Hunter vanished from the public eye after his trial.
  • Composite Character: Hunter Zolomon and Jay Garrick, by making Jay an alias of Zoom just to mess with people.
  • Continuity Nod: While no attention is paid to it, Barry briefly going through a portal, then saying "I'm back!" upon returning to the lab, indicates that this is where his trip to Supergirl's Earth comes in.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Barry tells Hunter that they would have willingly helped him save himself if he'd just asked.
  • Damsel in Distress: At the end of the episode, Zoom kidnaps Caitlin even though he already got what he wanted.
  • Darkest Hour: Zoom has successfully gained all of Barry's speed, seemingly restoring himself to full health and making him stronger than ever, Barry has been Brought Down to Normal (for now at least), and Zoom kidnaps Caitlin at the end of the episode.
  • Downer Beginning: The episode opens with the very literal Family-Unfriendly Violence involving the Earth-2 Zolomon family.
  • Downer Ending: The episode ends with The Bad Guy Winning, with Barry literally powerless and Caitlin captured.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Once Zoom absorbs the Speed Force, he gets very drunk on its power.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Despite his utterly sociopathic nature, Hunter seems to care about his mother, Ashley. Her death seems to still haunt him in the present and he actually drops his Smug Super act when Caitlin calls him a monster just as his mother did to his father years ago.
  • Evil Counterpart: Hunter is reimagined to be one for Barry. Both of them saw their mothers murdered and their fathers sent to prison for it. The main difference is that Barry was taken in by the loving West family and knew Henry was innocent, while Hunter was sent into an uncaring foster home and knew James was guilty.
  • Evil Gloating: Hunter can't resist indulging in this while explaining his "genius" plan to use a time remnant of himself to stage the death of Jay Garrick in front of the team. Harry even remarks earlier that he'll knock the smug look off Hunter's face one day.
    • Inverted earlier in the episode. When Barry manages to catch Zoom he just can't resist gloating to him about it, and ends up giving him time to escape.
  • Evil Grin: When Hunter first got his powers, he gave off a look of pure dark delight when he saw his hand vibrating for the first time.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: Literally. The Downer Beginning begins with Hunter woken up by his father beating up his mother, and ends with his father forcing him to watch as he murders his mother.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Zoom speaks in a casual and outright jovial manner when he tells Barry and his friends about him having fun committing evil deeds and pretending to be a hero.
  • Forced to Watch: Hunter's father proudly kills his mother in front of him.
  • For the Evulz: Zoom's reason for masquerading as Jay.
    Joe: Why the charade?
    Zoom: To give people hope, Detective.
    Joe: Hope?
    Zoom: So I can rip it away from them.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Barry missed the funeral in the Arrow flashforward because of problems with Zoom. After the funeral, though, he still has his speed, making it clear that he'll recover it.
  • Freudian Excuse: Hunter saw his dad kill his mom and was shunted into foster care.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: For some reason, Barry decides not to tell his friends about his adventure with Supergirl.
  • Honor Before Reason: After Wally is safe, Barry still fulfills his part of the deal and gives Zoom speed, knowing perfectly well what kind of monster Zoom is and that he'll have trouble stopping him afterwards. In fairness, he had trouble anyway despite the tachyon device to help him. Zoom could have left and re-kidnapped Wally, or harmed one of Barry’s other friends, before Barry could stop him, so cooperation was to some extent the only viable option.
  • Hope Crusher: Why Hunter created the heroic identity of Jay Garrick while using the demonic identity of Zoom to continue his murder spree.
  • Hope Spot: Just when it looks like Barry finally has Zoom beat, he escapes and gets his hands on Wally.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: Zoom abducts Wally in order to force Barry to surrender his speed.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Barry used the images of Hunter Zolomon's parents to throw Zoom off his game and capture him. It really was a smart move until Barry starts bragging about how Zoom will never take anything from anybody ever again, giving him enough time to break the cuffs and kidnap Wally.
    • And when Zoom returns Wally and he's taken to safety, Team Flash has an easygoing conversation while getting ready to give Zoom Barry's speed. This is right after everyone (sans Caitlin and Barry) had guns trained on him and Barry presumably still had the tachyon device to make him fast enough to subdue Zoom and put him in the pipeline.
    • Also the whole idea of opening the portal in the first place, especially considering that Team Flash is well aware that Zoom is dying. There was no real reason not to just leave the portal closed and leave him to eventually die of his speed disease.
  • I Gave My Word: Zoom keeps his word and releases Wally once Barry agrees to give him his speed. That doesn't stop him from kidnapping Caitlin, though.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: When Zoom grabs Barry, Caitlin tries to appeal to him and the moments they shared together when he was under the disguise of Jay Garick. The result is him running off with her.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: After Barry willingly gave up his speed to give to Zoom, the latter proceeds to attack him. Barry would have been killed then and there if it weren't for Caitlin.
  • Love Is a Weakness: After his affection to his family causes him to let his guard down, Zoom says this to Barry afterwards.
  • Morality Pet: While most (if not all) of what Hunter said as Jay was a lie, he does seem to have a soft spot of sorts for Caitlin. Notably, he stops himself from killing a defenseless Barry after absorbing his speed when Caitlin begs him to, though he then promptly kidnaps her. Considering his Mommy Issues, it's possible Caitlin reminds him of his own mother.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • When Barry races through the rupture to Kara's Earth, the soundtrack briefly switches to the Supergirl (2015) theme.
    • The shot of Zoom being hit by the particle accelerator wave while strapped to a chair with electricity coursing through him brings to mind the method that Barry used to restore his powers in Flashpoint.
    • Ashley Zolomon here is Hunter's mother, instead of his wife.
    • Zoom kidnaps Wally West, his Arch-Enemy in the comics.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Zolomon is already a Steven Ulysses Perhero, and then the writers decided to up the ante by turning Hunter into a Meaningful Name.
  • Nature Versus Nurture: Hunter and Barry. Barry was raised by the West family and grew up to become a hero. Hunter was abandoned by his remaining family, sent into an unloving foster system, and grew up to become a monster.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: An extremely minor example. Hunter's response to Barry saying "You just don't care, how many people you kill!" is "No, I don't." in both the trailer and the episode itself, but his delivery of the line is much quieter and more subdued in the former.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Barry's determination to return to Earth-2 to stop Zoom just gives Zoom the opportunity he's been awaiting to steal Barry's speed, even if it's gotten stronger. Notably, both Wells and Joe warned him that it was a bad idea. Hell, Zoom said how unwise it was to let him back in Earth-1.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • Zoom says that he and Barry are a lot alike. Barry denies it.
    • Done by Cisco. He fears that unlocking his powers will ultimately make him Drunk on the Dark Side like his Earth-2 counterpart. Barry assures him that his True Companions will be with him along the way.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Caltin brought up the name Hunter Zolomon, Wells was understandably stunned, and with confirmation, he quickly put together who Zoom/"Jay" is.
  • Out of Order: The show finally catches up with the Supergirl crossover, three weeks after that episode aired and a day after the whole season ended.
  • Parental Abandonment: Hunter Zolomon's remaining relatives wanted nothing to with him, so he was shunted off to foster care.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When Zoom absorbs the entirety of Barry's speed, his eyes briefly glow red (then blue) as the energy rushes through him.
  • The Reveal:
    • There appears to be no Jay Garrick; Hunter says it's just an alias he created to mess with people so he could take away their hope.
    • The Jay that Zoom killed? It wasn't a speed mirage, it was a time remnant of himself, knowing his "death" would motivate Barry to get faster.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Why did "Jay" stand near the portal in "Escape from Earth-2"? Because the "Jay" seen in that episode was a time remnant created by Zoom so he could be in Earth-1 and Earth-2 at the same time, avoid suspicion and kill "Jay" to inspire Barry to become better and then steal the latter's speed.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Hunter's father, James, came back from the War of the Americas incredibly broken, to the point he killed his wife, Ashley, in cold blood in front of their son.
  • Shipper on Deck: Caitlin becomes this for Barry and Iris, believing they are destined to be together.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The mask that Hunter is forced to wear while getting electroconvulsive therapy is highly reminiscent of Hannibal Lecter.
    • Along with that, Cisco commented that Hunter's murder spree (23) was in a 'Hannibal Lecter'-league.
  • Smug Smiler: Harry promises Zoom that he will wipe the smug expression off his face.
  • Spoiled by the Format: There are still five episodes left, so we know that Zoom won't be defeated here and now, and that Barry will get his powers back.
  • Start of Darkness: The episode reveals Zoom's.
  • The Un-Reveal: We still don't know the identity of the Man in the Iron Mask. When questioned about it, Zoom replies that Team Flash wouldn't believe him.
  • Versus Title: Overlaps with Antagonist Title above.
  • Voodoo Shark: Hunter explains how he could kill "Jay" despite them being the same person by claiming he traveled back in time and killed his time remnant. Except that by all rules of time travel the show mentioned, this should've erased him from existence just like Eobard was, and Vibe started fading away when Eobard's time remnant was not allowed to go back to the future.
  • Wham Episode: Cisco awakens the ability to reopen the breaches to Earth-2; Iris confides her feelings for Barry with Caitlin; Zoom's backstory and true identity, Serial Killer Hunter Zolomon; is revealed; Wally learns about Earth-2; Hunter reveals how both he and "Jay" were able to exist at the same time; Barry sacrifices his speed to Zoom; and, to wrap up the suck factor for Team Flash, Caitlin is abducted by Zoom/Jay/Zolomon within the last 30 seconds.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: The day Barry spent hanging out with Supergirl was barely a second in Earth-1 time.
  • You Monster!: Caitlin calls a gloating Hunter this to his face, which causes him to have a flashback to his mother calling his father the same.
  • You Wouldn't Believe Me If I Told You: Hunter's response when questioned about the identity of the man in the iron mask.