Flash Review: “Versus Zoom”

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Jim’s Thoughts

With all these breaks Flash and Arrow are taking, then coming back from, it’s hard for me to tell how much of the loss in momentum is on the writing, and how much of it is on the scheduling. This week offered some interesting character moments. I like seeing Cisco continue his journey toward becoming Vibe. Barry getting a new gadget to boost his speed feels a little like a cheat, but I’m glad it moved things forward with Zoom.

There were a couple big problems with this episode. First, and probably most noticeable, the explanation of how Zoom has managed to be so many places, how he duped them with the “Jay” persona, all that highlighted the grievance Kyle has brought up a few times. Dopplegangers not only cast shadows on the prospect of death, but they muddy the waters, and make the story feel convoluted.

I continue to not care about the story with Wally. There’s nothing really wrong with the character, but we’re always hearing about what he’s doing off-screen, then getting nothing but forced family moments in the show. This week’s episode brought Wally into the main story, but it’d be more meaningful if I were more invested at this point.

The conclusion to the episode irked me. I’ve never bought into Jay and Caitlin. Caitlin’s mourning for her half of Firestorm and her love for Jay had no breathing room between them, but I could go on indefinitely about how poorly The CW handles romance. The real problem is that the obvious happened. Barry surrenders his speed, and now he can’t do anything to stop Zoom. What did he think would happen? How could he hope to hold Zoom to his end of the bargain? All of this is to say nothing of the fact that de-powered Barry has already been done. I wouldn’t swear to it, but I’m not even sure it’s the first time they’ve done it this season.

Kyle’s Take

Flash weakened Barry’s powers earlier this season with the same device Wells used to boost his speed during “Versus Zoom.”  So, yeah. It’s been done.

It’s all been done before. Reverse-Flash needed Barry’s speed to return home last season; Zoom needs Barry’s speed to live. You could say that Flash raised the stakes by making Hunter Zolomon’s need life-and-death, but that’s if the show had developed Zolomon, and that didn’t happen. Seriously, this is a moment when the TV show shouldn’t have followed the comic book. There were a couple of other characters set up—somewhat—by the TV show who would’ve worked better as Zoom and what we got was a yawn.

Wally’s a yawn. The fact that all his development happens off-screen makes him an ineffective character. Flash may as well cast a different actor as Wally for each episode because Wally doesn’t behave the same from one episode to the next. We’re sounding like a broken record but so is Flash.

The Caitlin-Jay love story—we should call that relationship Cait-lie from now on—didn’t do anything for me either. Barry giving Zoom his speed was nonsensical (you can’t stop him without your powers, Barry, and nothing the gang knew about Zoom should lead Barry to believe he’d keep his word). Depowering Barry was predictable too. And this is before we get to doppelgangers and time remnants. Who does Earth-2 work for? Absolutely no one. Those last two sentences–a nod to 1997’s Austin Powers–were fresher than most of the Flash’s story arcs this season.

I guess Earth-2 works for Cisco. I like his development, too, but I could’ve done without the Star Wars midi-chlorians reference. And I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but the presence of Cait-lie has made Iris palatable. The CW still doesn’t know how to handle romances, but I welcome Iris’s reluctance to date after Eddie, even if I don’t buy her falling for Barry. All Flash is doing with Iris’s deep like of Barry is flipping Barry and Iris’s roles from last season.

It’s all been done and it’s only the second season. Flash needs a Speed Force injection.

Thanks for reading.

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