This article contains major spoilers for the most recent episodes of The Flash.
It’s safe to say that the internet wasn’t happy with the most recent installment of The Flash. “Versus Zoom” was intended to be the episode that The Flash Season 2 hinged on, where the identity, origin, and motivation of monstrous speedster Zoom would be explained once and for all. Instead, “Versus Zoom” was almost incomprehensible thanks to considerable abuse of its alternate universe privileges and some leaps of logic that not even a superhero show should be able to make.
In other words, “Versus Zoom” was a bad episode of an otherwise good television show. It happens, and good TV shows can usually move on from those in short order. The problem is when a bad episode is also a key episode, one where the rules and mythology of the series are expanded or cemented, or when the fate of an important character hinges. And that’s where we are with “Versus Zoom.”
A significant part of the fan ire directed at this is the revelation that not only is Jay Garrick, the heroic speedster of Earth-2, actually the evil Zoom, but it’s that Jay Garrick apparently never existed at all. Zoom is Hunter Zolomon, a serial killer from Earth-2 who found himself with speed powers, and used them as you might expect a serial killer to do. Jay Garrick, to hear Zoom tell it, was never anything more than a fiction he created, to give people hope that he could crush himself. Aside from the fact that this is so on-the-nose that it makes The Penguin running for Mayor seem completely reasonable by comparison, the issue here is that the show took Jay Garrick, DC Comics’ first speedster and a character who has been around since 1939, and used him as a smokescreen for a cheap villain reveal.
Except…maybe they didn’t.
The Flash (and Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow, and…you name it) mastermind Greg Berlanti took to Twitter to address some of the vocal fan concerns about this.— Greg Berlanti (@GBerlanti) April 20, 2016
Now, for a showrunner for an otherwise beloved show to offer a defense of a show’s recent actions and offer potential spoilers on social media should give you a pretty good idea about how much of a storm this episode kicked up. This leads to a few logical points of speculation…
1) Zoom/Hunter Zolomon is lying about the whole Jay Garrick thing, meaning that we either did indeed meet the real Jay earlier in the season, or the real Jay has yet to be revealed.
2) The mysterious “man in the iron mask” that Zoom is holding prisoner is, in fact, the real Jay Garrick. Zoom told Team Flash “you wouldn’t believe me if I told you” when they asked about the mystery man’s identity.
3) There is probably more multiple Earths weirdness that will be deployed for the resolution. It may not be coincidence that Barry accidentally discovered Supergirl’s Earth during that few seconds of gap on his way back to STAR Labs at the start of the episode. The show so far has only dealt with Earth-2, not a wider multiverse (other than the occasional hint here and there).
Now, it’s too late for the show to do any last minute amendments, as filming on the season finale has already completed. But it’s clear that Mr. Berlanti and friends have at least one more major surprise in store for fans. To be honest, the events of “Versus Zoom” felt entirely too cynical for this show, so perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that this was misdirection. On the other hand, it was still a poor installment, but it might not be the catastrophic misstep that I feared. You can read my full review of “Versus Zoom” (and the spirited discussion that followed it) here.