The Flash: Enter Zoom

“Don’t worry. I got my education today.”

The evil known as Dr. Wells turns out to have a complex motivation and purpose as Cisco learns to use his powers for good and Team Barry rushes to take on Zoom.

Did anyone else think “time travel again!” when this episode opened? It looked just like last episode’s fight, except now Barry seems to lose and get beaten. It was a clever and unexpected plot device that confused and enthralled me till the end, when we figure out what's actually happening. Nice. But Barry losing and how Barry deals with loss is unfortunately going to be a theme of this episode, and it highlights both a lot of things that excite me and several questions I still have.

It was smart to try to make an alliance with Dr. Light. The plan is to bait Zoom into thinking Light succeeded, then use the speed serum Wells developed to trap Zoom. But it’s really, really stupid to not get Patty involved, especially since she was totally right to investigate Light’s powers. I’m grudgingly liking the development of her relationship with Barry so far, but hoping when they break the secret it doesn’t wind up driving Patty away from the entire team. I mean, even Iris is keeping things secret now, and unfortunately, the team hasn’t got everything under control. Joe's also holding off his partner, and not with the best of excuses.

The powers Patty is smart enough to investigate are immense. I was SCREAMING at Cisco not to open her cell when Dr. Light pulled an invisible–how can he be so smart and so stupid?–but noooo… Bye, Dr. Light. Still, the team loves to recycle, so with the abandoned funky suit, Barry gets a terrible idea. I thought it was a mark of Barry’s progress to involve Linda, and a mark of Iris and Joe’s similarity as family members that they both wanted to keep her out. But I loved every minute of Linda's training with Cisco’s magic gloves of power and Linda’s internal commitment and motivation, and I thought Iris had a humbling moment. Yes, we have the writers writing controlling, secretive characters, often oppressive of women, but at least these moments have their comeuppance.

With Light gone, the entire plan to bait Zoom and attack him hinges on Linda, despite her relative newbie status. Why is Barry so bent on attacking Zoom? Why is Wells? Everyone on the team is starting to question the nature of their aggression and the fallout happening as a result. But let’s remember Barry so far this season. He’s been feeling like a failure and this is reiterated throughout the episode. Eddie died, and Wells disappeared, and Ronnie died, and he failed to save his mother, and his father left, and for Barry this is unacceptable–and he has something to prove, like he says to Joe. Still, Cisco has a point: on metahumans, they’re still doing pretty good. They’ve faced impossible situation after impossible situation and made it through. Am I alone in wanting him to lighten up and have some self-respect? But then, the last time he got up on stage to take an award, he got attacked, so possibly there are deep psychological reasons. What bugs me is Patty’s done as much to help and has as much invested as Linda. She’s even fought King Shark by the side of Flash. But only Linda gets the reveal. Patty just gets the brush-off from Joe. Unfortunately, the first effort to trap Zoom fails.

It turns out Wells is actually a father in Earth-2, that his daughter is named Jesse, that he has a nickname for her, Jesse Quick, and I’m wondering if that name is going to be definitive or prophetic (i.e. she either has or will prove to have a metahuman speed power, like Jay and Barry and Zoom and Wells and Thawne… I mean, at least one woman statistically has to turn up wielding the Speed Force, right?) I thought all the scenes with Cisco trying to find any excuse touch Wells and Wells getting all cranky and weird right back were hilarious. I feel a lot of the drama was a bit forced, though; why doesn’t Wells tell the team “He has my daughter, we have to save her” in the first place?

The last fifteen minutes of the episode were just insane. Zoom figures out how to turn the tables on the team and, threatening Linda in a kidnapping outside the Picture News, lures Barry into a fight–and completely kicks our hero’s butt. Even Barry’s lightning is too slow for Zoom, and the special effects guys deserve some shots for the look of the fight. The mid-air fight was genius, but nothing works. Zoom appears to break Barry's back. I was on the edge of my seat throughout. Zoom brings Barry's unconscious body to the Picture and the police station, making sure the city knows Barry is out, and does the same for the team; it's almost as if he has plans beyond just taking all the speedsters in the universes. Cisco takes a shot and manages to get Wells’ serum into Zoom, but he escapes to the next episode. And now it feels like nowhere in Central City is safe.

Zoom is easily the most terrifying villain Barry’s faced yet. Are his powers really the same as Barry’s? Can Barry heal his damage? Is he truly paralyzed? And what will our team do if he doesn’t heal? What will Central City do?

Bits and Pieces

There were so many great moments tonight.

New introduction sequence to the Flash tonight, at least I didn’t notice a change last week.

Jay’s apparently gone and given up being a hero.

On Earth-2, it’s Robert Queen who survived and became the Hood, and Oliver who died.

I like that there wasn’t a villain of the week, but rather a maturing of two existing antagonists. I was sooo worried the breachers would turn into some cheap plotting stunt. I should have known better. Kudos, writers.

Light can not only turn invisible but hack computers using her light powers. She needs to work with fiber optic systems. I’m loving Linda-2’s powers as much as Linda-1’s cooking.

The cutout popup training sessions, and Barry putting out Linda’s hand with a fire extinguisher, then accidentally attacking Cisco.

Promos for next week include scenes of Gorilla Grodd!

Quotables

Caitlin: What’s to say Zoom can’t catch whatever you shoot at him? (prophetic, wasn’t it?)

Wells: He’s not Wells. I’m Wells.
Cisco: Whatever, Harry.

Caitlin: Okay, no offense to Linda, but there is no way she can pull this off.
Wells: Well, maybe if she didn’t scream every time she fired.

Barry: Linda, you are trusting me, so I need to trust you fully. I know that you can do this, because I know you.
Linda: Barry. Holy crap. I’ve made out with the Flash.

Overall 

I HAVE TO WAIT TILL NEXT WEEK? Four out of four scary blue-lightning men in black rubber suits.

5 comments:

Patrick said...

For the non comic nerds out there, Jesse Quick is indeed the name of a speedster from DC Comics, though her origin is obviously different. :)

JRS, I would have thought the twist of the opening scene actually being Linda-1 instead of Linda-2 was neat, except they basically telegraphed it with the previews for the episode. *sigh*

So far I'm of slightly mixed opinion on Zoom. On the one hand, he looks really cool, and the way he just completely had his way with Barry at the end of this episode was intense. But supposedly Wells-2 was involved in Zoom's creation so OUT WITH IT ALREADY! It's clear he knows more than he's told them so far, and yet they're letting him hang around without spilling everything he knows. You'd think they'd have learned by now.

I'm still liking Patti, it's clear they'll have to let her in on Barry's big secret eventually the way she's going. Hopefully that doesn't spell doom for her.

GRODD!!! Sorry, I think I'm physically incapable of using lower-case letters in his name. :) I've been hoping for a story focusing on his relationship with Dr. Snow, and it looks like we're getting one. I'm also guessing the whole wheelchair-Barry thing won't last very long, but I think it's cool that they went there. Seeing Zoom crack Barry over his knee was a pretty powerful moment. I almost wish he'd waited to do it in front of an audience, maybe at the police station.

A quick note about this show and Arrow so far this season, while being as spoiler-free as possible. I absolutely love how they're gradually putting the pieces on the board for the upcoming Legends Of Tomorrow spinoff.

JRS said...

Patrick,

Thanks for the great comment! Now I'm curious because I thought Wells-2 created Zoom along with the other metahumans in the accident? We'll see...

Anonymous said...

Patrick,

It's ironic that you mentioned last week's preview of this episode kind of spoiled a surprise in "Enter Zoom," because in your second-to-last paragraph, you dropped information that I'm assuming came from a preview of next week's show.

I go to some trouble to avoid the preview, and I'm disappointed that elements of it appeared in your comment and nullified some of the surprise I'd've had otherwise.

Doc

Patrick said...

Anonymous, the preview in question is the one that aired at the end of THIS episode. The same preview that was mentioned in the actual review which I assume you read if you also read my comment.

Josie Kafka said...

I really loved this episode. The wacky fight scene between Linda and Barry was wonderful. "I landed in a ridiculous position" made me laugh out loud, and the quick switch to total Zoom-destruction was a fun emotional roller coaster.