After taking a long break following the dramatic revelation of Zoom’s identity on “The Flash” Season 2, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and the team from S.T.A.R. Labs returned to finally take the villain down while the hero is fast enough. However, they quickly found that it takes more than speed to bring down such a well-crafted evildoer. 

The episode opens with a bit of insight into Hunter Zolomon, the doppelganger of Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears), who was revealed in the previous episode to have been the demonic blue-lightning speedster all along. When he was a young child on Earth-2, his abusive father made him watch as he shot his mother to death. From there, he moved to an orphanage clutching nothing but his father’s World War I-style helmet. 

From there, the episode cuts to the present day, where Barry, now equipped with the tachyon enhancer to make him faster, goes for a test run. He achieves speeds four times his average, and even opens a breach quickly, where it’s implied that he has his adventure on “Supergirl” before returning home without telling anyone. Realizing that he’s fast enough to compete with Zoom, the team gets to work on finding a way to reopen the breaches to Earth-2 so that he can stop the villain from terrorizing that world. 

The obvious person to put on the case is Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), but he wants nothing to do with this plan. He risked everything to rescue his daughter from Zoom, and now they’re safe on Earth-1, where he can’t get to them. The last thing he wants to do is go back, giving the demonic figure a way to get back to them. Without his help, the team turns to Cisco (Carlos Valdes). In their previous jaunt to Earth-2, the team met the character’s doppelganger, who ended up having the same vibing powers, but in a much more fully realized way. However, they know he can manipulate the multiverse, so they ask him to try to tap into those powers to get them back to Earth-2. Sadly, every attempt he makes is completely unsuccessful. 

That night, Wells goes to Joe (Jesse L. Martin) for help stopping Barry from opening the breaches. Although he makes a good effort, Joe knows that nothing can stop the Flash from doing the right thing. Instead he pleads with Wells to help make sure the hero doesn’t get killed. Reluctantly, Wells joins the team in finding a solution. He makes a tweak to Cisco’s vibe-enhancing technology and it allows him to begin opening a breach. But before he can finish, he quits and begs Wells and Barry to not force him to continue. 

Barry makes his way back to the lab and asks his friend what’s going on. He reminds him that once his doppelganger, the villain Reverb, got more powerful, he became a criminal who hurt innocent people. With some “Star Wars” analogies, Barry convinces him that the version of Cisco Ramon he knows could never let power corrupt him. With the entire team on board, Wells gives them a breakdown on Hunter Zolomon. 

The Flash “The Flash” Season 2, episode 18, saw Zoom (Teddy Sears, center) hold Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale, right) hostage in order to steal Barry’s (Grant Gustin, left) speed. Photo: The CW

Previously, they thought that Jay Garrick was simply betraying them. However, Caitlin reveals that finding Garrick’s Earth-1 counterpart was proving fruitless. But when she uttered the Zolomon name, Wells recognized him as a serial killer from Earth-2. It turns out that after he was sent to the orphanage, Zolomon bounced around the foster system before being charged on 23 counts of murder. Once he was captured and sentenced to electroshock therapy for the criminally insane, things took a bad turn. While receiving some experimental treatment, Zolomon gained speedster powers of his own. From there, he found his way to the Velocity-9 formula, which is slowly killing him, and the rest is history.

Armed with that knowledge, Cisco opens the breach and the villain is waiting to jump through as soon as it formed. He doesn’t count on the Flash’s device enabling him to be as fast as him as he runs to S.T.A.R. Labs, where the hero distracts him with cardboard cutouts of his parents. It's effective, but kind of a mean way to win the fight. Barry manages to beat the snot out of Zoom and boot his leg with a device that's supposed to stop his speed. 

Zoom confesses that he was posing as Garrick the whole time and mentions that both he and Barry had to watch their mothers die. Barry says he would never be able to do that because his family protects him. Zoom with demon-black eyes and his normal monster voice, says that family is just a weakness. He runs off and Barry loses him. Later, they go home and realize that Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) has gone missing. Etched with lightning in the wall of his bedroom are the words “Your speed for Wally.” 

Joe is the first to tell Barry that the deal isn’t happening, but the hero says Wally is part of the family and agrees to give up his, making Zoom officially unstoppable. Using Cisco’s powers, they stage an elaborate meetup where the villain delivers his hostage and Barry agrees to let all of his speed powers be drained. Imbibed with the Flash’s powers and containing more speed force than ever, Zoom lets loose on Earth-1, taking Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) with him as he flees. The episode ends with a powerless Barry and the rest of his team realizing that there’s nothing they can do to rescue their friend or save their city. 

Odds and Ends: 

  • Iris (Candice Patton) revealed that she skipped her totally unethical date with her newspaper editor because she’s got feelings for Barry.
  • Wally revealed that he’s having trouble paying for classes. At first Joe offered to help him find a place, but quickly realized that his son was fishing for an invitation to live with him. Despite being captured in this episode, Wally now lives with him and Barry. 
  • It felt a little artless to discover that the reason Jay Garrick and Zoom were in the same place at once so many times was because he traveled back in time off-camera and somehow convinced his future-self to die for the cause. 
  • Seriously, using Zolomon’s parents against him was kind of messed up. 
  • Will next week’s episode feature an entirely powerless Barry? 
  • Why didn’t Wells just shoot Zoom in the face when he was distracted?