In Review: The Flash, Episode 41 “Versus Zoom”

Enjoyable, but no conclusion.

The Flash, Episode 41 “Versus Zoom” Broadcast on April 19, 2016

Written by Joe Peracchio & David Kob

Directed by Stefan Plesczynski

“Previously on The Flash“, Barry travels to the past to learn from Eobard Thawne (disguised in the body of Harrison Wells) how to increase his speed, Wells gives him a thumbdrive with all the information, Jay Garrick makes moves on Caitlin, Cisco meets his evil doppelganger from Earth 2 who tells him, “You don’t even know how powerful you are,” Cisco gets vibes every time he’s near Jay’s helmet, and he learns that Jay is Zoom.

15 years in the past, Barry sees his mother die and his father taken away for the crime. Joe West takes the boy in and that night Barry meets Iris West. However, “Earth Two Many Years Ago,” young Hunter Zolomon hears a noise downstairs and sees his father hitting his mother. His father is wearing a black version of the outfit that Jay Garrick wears. Seeing his son, the man pulls his boy forward telling him he doesn’t want to miss what’s going to happen: his father kills his mother. Zolomon is sent to Central City Orphanage, still clutching his father’s helmet. The child follows the caretaker upstairs, his eyes full of fear. Cue opening title sequence.

In Keystone City, the Flash places the tachyon enhancer on his chest to “take it out for a test drive.” He accidentally opens a portal (Supergirl crossover) and quickly exits another as he arrives at S.T.A.R. Labs. He’s told that he went four times his normal speed. “That’s as fast as Zoom,” says Harrison. He then adds, “Faster, actually.” Barry wants to know how to get back to Zoom, which sets off Wells who says he was only helping to get Barry faster, not reopen a portal to Earth 2. “Right now, there is no way to another Earth, Allen. Let’s keep it that way.” Barry can’t let that world fall to Zoom, and neither will Cisco and Caitlin, who go off to solve the portal problem, while Iris leaves to go on a date with Scott. At Joe’s, he and Barry share a pizza and the older man tells Barry that Wells might be right in keeping the portals closed. They’re interrupted by Wally who arrives to do his laundry since he doesn’t live on campus anymore. Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry comes up with an idea based on Cisco’s doppelganger: if Cisco can tap in to the transdimensional energy as Reverb did he might be able to open a portal. “Cisco,” Barry says, “I thing that the way back to Earth 2 is through you.” Cue first commercial break.

This episode has a lot of build up, but no conclusion — things are left hanging for another episode to wrap up. This is essentially the origin of Zoom, which is fine. The opening is an extremely clever way to show how Zoom’s origin is almost the same as the Flash’s.  The highlight of the episode is the scene between Barry and Zoom, both unmasked. Teddy Sears really got to show the true side of his character and he showed a lot of relish in it; especially in his final scenes. Grant Gustin also was great in that scene, having Barry confront an truly evil mirror version of himself. Big kudos to Joe Peracchio and David Kob for this, with the ending of their dialogue enough to make one’s eyes spin (You’ll get it after you watch the episode). Gustin also had good scenes with Carlos Valdes, who got to give Cisco some good fear, and with Jesse L. Martin, who gets to have Joe suffer like never before. Tom Cavanagh has a few big scenes, such as Harrison’s refusal to help the gang and going over to Joe’s — having Cavanagh and Martin paired together is always gold. And, finally, Danielle Panabaker gets a big scene at the end of the episode, with some stronger scenes coming up in later episodes. Candice Patton gets a quick moment with Gustin, but she gets a more emotional scene with Panabaker. Everyone gets some good scenes, but the story is unfinished. This is like the end of The Empire Strikes Back — I have to wait how long?  And that’s the major bummer of this installment, there’s no ending.

The good: Every actor got one or more good scene, the “real” Jay Garrick finally appears, the effects, the Star Wars talk, and that final effect on Zoom.

Fun lines: “No relatives wanted him. He is all alone,” “I got nothing,” “I’m not him,” “Take ’em out for a spin,” “Keep coming, Cisco!”, “Do you believe in destiny?”, “Thanks, Dad,” “What if this is how I become Vader?”, “Hate is a strong motivator,” “You can’t lock up the darkness,” “That’s not your decision,” “Who’s the man in the iron mask?”, and “You’re a monster!”

The bad: No conclusion, no conclusion, and no conclusion. The preview for next week looks as though it’s Zoom-less. Really?

The final line: Enjoyable, but no conclusion. Oh, Flash writers, how you’re milking this arc! Overall grade: B+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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