The second season of The Flash is turning out to be even stronger than the first season, with this week’s episode ‘Enter Zoom’ escalating the stakes and giving fans their first real glimpse at Zoom. The breakneck speed of plot developments leaves our characters pushed to their limits and desperately entertaining as they attempt to keep up. I’m not sure if every episode of the season is better than the last, or if they are so very good that any difference is negligible.
The episode starts with a fight between Dr. Light and Barry at a dock. Dr. Light gets the drop on Barry and he is down. Cut to 72 hours in the past where Barry is interrogating Dr. Light in the holding cell beneath S.T.A.R. Labs. Barry wants to know how Light was meant to contact Zoom after defeating The Flash, because he wants to set a trap to take Zoom out. Light is frightened, but Barry is quick to point out that they have to stop him because he will never stop hunting any of them.
Team Flash discusses the merits and dangers inherent to HW2’s plan to go after Zoom. Caitlin doesn’t trust the mercurial Light. HW2 says he has developed a serum that can slow down Zoom and he needs Cisco’s aid to weaponize it, but Caitlin is worried that the weapon will get loose like the cold gun, and we will have Commander Slow on the scene. Cisco denies that possibility because it is a lame name. I am glad to see the characters acknowledging the risks of putting their weird science out into the world. Joe approves the plan, and before he leaves he asks Cisco to get a vibe off of HW2.
HW2 has a number of flashbacks this episode to Earth-2 establishing his love for his daughter and showing us how Jesse was captured by Zoom. It helps to humanize the dickish scientist, and we are treated to a touch of fan service when he says “Jesse Quick.” She confronts him on Jay Garrick’s accusation and HW2 tries to dance around it, but she has him dead to rights. Later in the episode we see the news report and get the details of how Jesse was kidnapped from her college by Zoom. There was an interesting touch when it was revealed that the Arrow of Earth-2 is Ollie’s Dad. Please give us the older goateed Arrow of Earth-2 at some point to freak out Ollie.
At the Police Station, Patty approaches Joe and tells him about all the research she’s done into Light’s powers including the ability to turn invisible. Joe tells her the case is closed and that there is nothing more to discuss. When Barry arrives she asks him if Joe is mad at her because she kissed Barry. Barry scoffs at the notion since he never told Joe about the kiss. Meanwhile, back at the lab Cisco falls for the invisibility trick and a naked Dr. Light escapes from their facility.
Barry is concerned about Linda, but Caitlin let’s him know that she is safe with Iris. Joe is concerned that maybe the universe is trying to tell us not to go forward with this crazy plan. Barry demands that they stay the course, because innocent people will die as collateral damage if they are not able to stop Zoom.
Cisco is trying to creep on HW2, back at the lab, and it is delightfully tense and awkward. When he pats HW2 on the shoulder and is met with apprehension and disdain, he tries to pass it off as a congratulatory touch, in one of the funnier bits of the episode. Caitlin and Cisco are left trying to figure out when they will have another shot at vibing on HW2.
At the Police Precinct, Patty comes clean about kissing Barry and asks Joe if there is anything else that he would like to reveal to her. Joe continues to keep her in the dark on Team Flash.
Barry joins Iris and Linda at the family home, and it turns out that Linda is a stress cooker and the house is filled with baked goods. Iris and Barry concoct a plan to have Linda impersonate Dr. Light so that they can set an elaborate trap for Zoom. The whole team gathers at the Lab and they begin to train Linda to use specialized gloves designed by Cisco to fire light beams. It’s a fun little montage with some great physical comedy and a lot of jokes at the expense of Cisco’s concept of dangerous. It felt like Jackass with superpowers.
The Team prepares to go to the breach at the dock and put their plan into action. Joe takes Barry aside and asks him to do some reflecting and make sure what he is fighting and why. Having never defeated the Reverse-Flash, Joe is rightfully concerned that Barry is transferring his rage. Barry visits Linda and reveals his identity as a sign of trust, because he needs her to know why he believes in her, if they are gonna pull this off tonight. Linda is shocked, especially because she made out with The Flash!
Cisco is able to finally Vibe on HW2 and he can see that his daughter is being held in a cage by Zoom. It is a dark scene and for the first time Cisco is visibly showing signs of empathy for HW2.
Joe is confronted by Patty again, and he let’s her know that he can not tell her what is going on with the case for a few more days. Barry enters as Joe leaves and she asks him to dinner. Unfortunately, Barry has plans that evening and can not do dinner that night.
Later at the dock Linda and Barry start there kayfabe fight and it is painfully stilted and funny. The dialogue written by Cisco is atrocious. Linda defeats Barry and throws his emblem through the breach. An hour passes but Zoom never arrives. After the team leaves Barry confides to Joe that Wells’ final words are haunting him. Perhaps, he can never be happy. Papa Joe tells Barry to go get what makes him happy. So Barry runs to the station and kisses Patty, because getting to know her is what makes him happy.
Linda and Iris are commiserating after the night’s adventure and discussing how they greatest story they have can never be shared. Linda is grabbed by Zoom, who is truly frightening and monstrous. Barry is alerted and returns to the Lab. Cisco alerts Barry to the fact that Zoom is on the roof. Zoom dangles Linda off the roof and with the perfect menacing voice of Tony Todd says, “ You like to fish with bait? I do too.” And then he drops her.
Barry races to the street and slows Linda’s fall with some arm tornados. She warns Barry that Zoom isn’t human and then retreats to safety.
Barry races around the Lab and builds up a Thunder Punch, but Zoom is so fast that he is able to leap through the air, catch the bolt and throw it back at Barry. Wells grabs the slow gun and races outside. Barry and Zoom race up the building, where Barry is smart enough to remove Zoom’s superior speed from the equation by taking the fight into a terminal velocity free for all.
Zoom beats Barry and there is a frightening crack as Zoom punches his back. HW2 arrives and attempts to use the Slow Gun on Zoom, who catches the dart and stabs Barry with it. Zoom proceeds to drag the beaten Barry to the Paper and say, “Look at your hero, he is nothing.” Then to the police precinct where he shows the police they are powerless to stop him, and finally back to the lab.
It’s a standard story beat to see your hero defeated by the enemy, but this beating was vicious and Barry was so blood soaked and defeated, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Zoom’s clawed hand held Barry aloft and choked the life out of him. Luckily, Cisco was able to get the drop on him with the Slow Gun, and Zoom escaped.
Joe confronts HW2 at the medical lab and lets him know that if Barry dies, he’s next. Cisco asks HW2 who Jesse is and poor HW2 is just so relieved to know his daughter is still alive. Then Barry wakes and everyone is stunned when he says, “I can’t feel my legs.”
Next week, Grodd is back in ‘Gorilla Warfare.’ Maybe Grodd will think that HW2 is his Father and we will get a vicious Grodd vs. King Shark throwdown. One can dream, and honestly, I don’t put anything past this show. What do you think is in store for Team Flash? Let us know in the comments.