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REVIEW: The Flash 2×18 “Versus Zoom”

Written by Scott Swartz

Not only is Hunter a monster, but he is probably more sick and twisted than Eobard was towards Barry. Oh, also Barry is only one bad day away from being Hunter so you know, The Killing Joke in all or some sort of jazz. “Versus Zoom” despite all of it’s attempts at spectacle and giving us a big turning point in the Zoom storyline was much more intimate than we were lead to believe. I mean, seeing Hunter’s backstory and realizing what transpired to turn him into the monster we see before us is some really good material. We are however left wondering where we are going to go from here, I mean as of right now Zoom has won and there is seemingly no way to fight back against the monster. It certainly is a more interesting development that when Eobard was finally flushed out by the team last year, and it makes me wonder who is left to save the world.

So, let’s start with Hunter. Now revealed to be a crazy serial killer with no remorse and who is getting a sick joy out of torturing Barry and his friends. I did enjoy the whole one bad day aspect of Hunter’s story as it manages to make him much more relatable to Barry as a whole. I mean Eobard had history and motivator wanting Barry dead, but Hunter he just wants to prove he is the best. Hunter’s speech about heroes dying and what he loved so much about masquerading as Jay makes so much more sense in the wake of what his father did and who he became. However, now that he has basically beaten Barry in a way that nobody ever has I am left wondering what exactly his purpose is in the story. I mean simply being the fastest man alive can’t be the only thing Hunter wants out of life? There has to be some sort of real endgame or else he is just terror for terror’s sake.

I did really enjoy the Cisco using his powers drama that we experienced as Carlos Valdes easily turned in his best performance of the season. it was strange the Barry didn’t account for the way his friend may be feeling or even the idea that Cisco could fear ending up like Reverb if he does actually learn to control his powers in some way, shape, form. I mean we saw how dangerous and demented Reverb was, so if there was even a minuscule chance our favorite techie could have ended up like that we should at least consider the backlash. This all came to a head when Barry and Cisco had their heart to heart and it was truly one of the better scenes of the season. Watching Barry reassure Cisco that he will never all Cisco to end up like that helped to further solidify just how much of brothers they are. More than Dante and Cisco, Barry and Cisco manage to understand each other even in their most difficult moments and that is what helps to make this team strong.

The last character who really managed to excel this week was Jesse L. Martin’s Joe, who had quite a lot going for him this week. Firstly all of the Wally/Joe material was top notch and really helped to make Wally truly feel like he is a member of the family. We have been getting these tiny glimpses of Wally as a character and just how much Joe wants to mean to Wally, but this was a major step. To have this coupled with Joe having to attempt to choose Wally’s life or Barry’s ability to save the world was a nice schmaltzy touch. It easily could have come off as inauthentic, but Martin sold the hell out of that entire scene as well as the one where he asked Wells to actually help Barry. With how great Tom Cavanaugh is as Wells it is easy to forget just how great Martin is as Joe and how much he means to this show.

The only slightly weak aspect of the episode was how anti-climactic the ending became. I mean Teddy Sears did a great job chewing the scenery as Zolomon and monologging the shit out of how he wants to destroy everyones hope. However, there is no real tension in Barry losing his speed since we know he will get it back before the funeral on Arrow. Similarly the fact that the team has seemingly not planned for this at all kind of comes off as idiotic. I mean how many times has the team been screwed over by hubris in one way or another. The fact they didn’t tranq Zoom the moment he had the boot put on him was purely plot force protecting his ass. Hopefully, Barry won’t make this foolish mistake again, especially now that Caitlin has been captured.

Overall it was a very strong episode with a slightly confusing ending.

Final Grade A-

+Hunter Zolomon revealed

+Zoom vs Flash races

+Excellent work by the entire cast

+Solid build for what is to come

-Ending was built on the team’s hubris

Extra Thoughts

-So Jay was a time remnant of Hunter who agreed to be murdered. That is pretty loopy even for this show.

-Where the hell did the team get giant cardboard cutouts of Hunter’s parents? Does Central City Kinkos not ask questions?

-One possible option for opening a breach, setting off a nuke by a power plant. Genius.

-So, apparently we won’t believe who the man in the iron mask is. Unless it is older Barry or Grodd as a human, I am pretty sure it is within the realm of expectations.

About the author

Scott Swartz