This episode of The Flash dealt with the idea of support. It displayed how two different individuals with very similar tragedies in their lives were affected by aftermath of it. Barry was given a chance at a normal life with a caring family. The Wests helped him deal with the murder of his mother, and supplied the support he needed to move forward in a positive direction in his life. Zoom, on the other hand, was left with no one to support him. And due to that, took a darker path to gain as much power as possible. If broken down and analyzed, Barry was left feeling weak after not being able to save his mother as a child. But his support system allowed him to bounce back and live a noble life, which eventually contributed to him beocoming the hero he is today. Hunter Zolomon, on the other hand, was left feeling weak after his mom’s death as well, but decided to become stronger on his own because of it. His quest for power ultimately became the instrument of his own destruction as the velocity drug he became addicted to caused his ill condition. Two paths with similar beginnings both affected by the people, or lack of people, involved in their lives.
Determined to defeat Zoom once and for all, Barry convinces a reluctant Cisco to use his powers to open a bridge to Earth-2. Zoom travels through, and Barry uses the knowledge he recently learned about Zoom’s past against him in a trap. But unfortunately, the trap doesn’t go as planned. Zoom kidnaps Wally and holds him hostage in exchange for Barry’s speed. The two exchange, Barry gives his speed to Zoom, and the episode ends with Barry powerless as Zoom becomes stronger than ever.
What I liked
The episode really played up the parallels between Barry and Hunter. The beginning of the episode took us back to the murder of Barry’s mother, and then revealed how similar Hunter’s mother death was. There were slight differences that fit together with each other perfectly. Like for example, Barry’s father was accused of killing his mother, while Hunter’s father actually murdered his. There were other comparisons such as how Cisco was afraid to become Reverb if he continued to travel down the path of exploring his powers, but was reminded by Barry that he has people supporting him unlike his Earth-2 counterpart. There were little touches throughout the episode that drove this message home in a perfect way.
I also like the bond Joe and Wally are finally forming. I usually find Wally a little annoyingly written, but the episode did an incredible job of showing how he’s too prideful to ask to stay with Joe despite really wanting to. His character was originally handled as rebellious and young on a television show that had no room for such trope characters. But his disappointment in Joe not offering him a place to live felt real for the character. It made a lot of sense on both parts. Joe not reading between the lines and Wally being too prideful to flat out ask makes sense. And hopefully, the revelation that Joe and Iris are working with The Flash will allow Wally’s character to become more understanding of their situation and become more of a fleshed out character.
What I disliked
Although I loved the story, there were a few things that I disliked about the episode. The first was how the Supergirl crossover played out on The Flash’s end. I previously felt how The Flash randomly appeared out of nowhere on Supergirl was disappointing. I figured there would be more put in to how he crossed over in to her world on his episode. But instead, it was treated like an afterthought. The crossover now seems like it only existed as a way to get Flash fans to check out Supergirl, and nothing more. I can’t imagine Barry traveling to a brand new world they’ve never discussed before, meeting an indestructible alien woman, and not bothering to even mention it to the rest of the team. It seems ludicrous to think that he would simply brush that experience off.
Also, the explanation of how there were two Hunter Zolomons at the same time was very underwhelming. It didn’t make a lot of sense, and messes with the rules of time travel even more. Also, despite knowing that things will eventually work out later, I was not pleased with how easily willing Barry was to give Zoom his speed. I’m pretty sure there’s an alternative plan that we haven’t witnessed yet, but it seems out of character as it stands at the moment. I’m pretty sure there is a plan at play, and the episode ended with it being vague intentionally.
Despite a few head scratching moments, Versus Zoom delivered a few outstanding performances. It delivered an interesting look in to the background of Zoom as well. The tricky part about Zoom was how revealing his identity would affect how scary he is as a villain. But the backstory provided for him allowed him to be viewed as a monster with, or without the secret of who is behind the horrifying mask out in the open. The season isn’t over yet, and there are a lot of questions still left unanswered. So this was a great step forward to revealing who Zoom is before the final battle while not placing all of the cards on the table just yet. So despite my complaints about certain aspects of the episode, it was a great episode to set up big things to come.