The CW’s The Flash Versus Zoom TV Show Review. The Flash: Season 2, Episode 18: Versus Zoom was the episode that was full of revelations as we go deep into Hunter Zolomon/Zoom’s (Teddy Sears) backstory. After learning more about Zoom, it made us realize that he is the polar opposite of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin). Since we saw Zoom for the first time, we notice that he has a darker suit from Barry’s, all in good reason. Even though their origin stories have some similarities, both Hunter and Barry went through different paths to become who they are, which the episode managed to put together so well.
If you think about it, Hunter is kind of like an Earth-2 doppelganger of Barry. Both these men had their childhoods taken away from them by some tragic event. They were also transformed the same way by the particle accelerator incident and gained superhuman speed in the process. The biggest difference with these two was the path they took to become who they are. Barry became a hero while Hunter became a sociopathic killer. Hunter was raised in foster homes, so he had no support from his relatives, but Barry got one after being taken in by the Wests after his mother’s death and his father’s arrest. The episode really focused on the importance of family and how that can shape a person in their lives and make them stronger. That same idea also worked into Cisco’s (Carlos Valdes) struggle as he became afraid of becoming more corrupt like his Earth-2 counterpart Reverb. However, Barry reminded him that he and the team would have his back to keep him from going off the rails.
The idea of family became the main theme throughout the episode, which worked really well with the characters. Things got really dark when we dug deep into Hunter’s backstory, which put Barry in a constant fixation into opening the breach to stop Hunter once and for all. Even though the episode had some dark overtones, it managed to put some heart into it to make it well balanced.
Team Flash had a good thing going in the episode despite all the tension they were facing. With the team perfecting the tachyon device, Barry managed to finally top and even pass Zoom’s speed levels. Having that and Cisco mastering his ability to open breaches between worlds, things were looking bright for once. Even Barry managed to outwit Zoom by beating him in a race, putting Zoom at a slight disadvantage for a while.
It was during the climax of the episode where there were some strong and weak points. It was exciting to watch Hunter get exposed and revealing the truth about him to the entire team who knew him as an ally. Seeing Hunter like this made him into a completely different character than the one we saw earlier this season. The only complaint in this episode was the decision that Barry made when Hunter blackmailed our hero into giving him the speed force for Wally’s (Keiynon Lonsdale). How could the team not come up with some kind of back-up plan? Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanaugh) could’ve easily disrupted the speed force extractor. Barry didn’t really have to go through with the bargain after Wally got released. It’s one of those things when there is a reason behind having the team go through with such an exchange in order to move the plot forward.
There was also a point where Hunter could’ve just taken the speed force before releasing Wally. Plus, Hunter could’ve taken anyone else as hostage rather than Wally because he hasn’t been fully developed as a character for us to truly care for his well-being. Someone like Cisco, Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), or Iris (Candice Patton) could’ve had a bigger impact on the team. We also didn’t learn anything about the man in the iron mask, but maybe it’s possible the show is saving that reveal for the last batch of episodes.
The final minutes of the episode ended on a bitter note, but ‘Versus Zoom’ was still a great addition to the Zoom arc. With Zoom even more powerful than Barry, this will leave Barry with a big challenge as he has already lost his speed to the evil speed demon. The episode boasted some great performances from Grant Gustin, Jesse L. Martin, and Teddy Sears. We got the answers we needed about Zoom and what his motives are. Things were looking up for Barry for a while, until Zoom got the better of him. The episode was strong until the weak ending, but hopefully the writers can rectify that in the last few episodes we have left for the season.
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