"Remember Zoom?" asked a sarcastic Dr. Wells (Tom Cavanagh) during episode 9 of "The Flash" Season 2. Well, if fans did not have the speedster supervillain on their minds during Tuesday's episode 11, "Reverse Flash Returns," they likely missed a major clue to the identity of the man behind the terrifying mask.
Buried in all the fuss about Reverse Flash's (Matt Letscher) return to Central City, Patty (Shantel VanSanten) and Barry's (Grant Gustin) breakup, and the drama in the West family Tuesday, Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears) and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) further discussed how they might cure Jay of his terminal illness.
Caitlin theorized that they just needed someone with matching DNA to act as a surrogate to replace his bad cells — i.e. Jay's Earth 1 counterpart. However, when she struggled to find anybody named Jay Garrick in Earth 1 records, Jay reveals that on Earth 1, Jay's Doppelganger is a man named Hunter Zolomon, an adopted orphan who never became a speedster. Since the speed force alters one's DNA, Zolomon is not a match. Therefore, Jay was back to the drawing board with capturing Zoom being the only way for him to get his speed back and save his life.
However, comic book fans will recognize the name Hunter Zolomon as the real name of ... Zoom! That can not be a coincidence, right? Here are four theories on Zoom's identity in light of the huge tease.
1. Hunter Zolomon Is Zoom
The obvious implication of the big name drop is that Zolomon, whom Jay and Caitlin observe sitting in a park, actually is Zoom after all!
That does raise some questions, though. If Zolomon was Zoom, that would mean Zoom is actually from Earth 1 and from Barry's own time, which would make it odd that he would have ended up in Earth 2 fighting Jay, instead of first targeting Barry. Secondly, would Zoom really just be sitting in a park taking in the fresh air, able to be easily followed by Jay and Caitlin? That seems unlikely.
However, the implications of the name drop can not be ignored.
2. Jay Garrick Is Zoom
If Zolomon were not Zoom, another way the name could have significance is if Jay Garrick was Zoom. It is possible that Jay Garrick, not Hunter Zolomon, is the adopted (fake) name and that the speedster fans know as Jay Garrick is really Earth 2's Hunter Zolomon, aka Zoom.
That would explain why Garrick claims to have lost his speed — he is faking, just like Thawne in Season 1 — and why he tried to keep his DNA from Caitlin. It also worth noting that the whole mess with Zoom only began when Jay walked into STAR Labs and told everyone about it. Plus, that would also explain his adversarial relationship with Earth 2 Dr. Wells, who hates Zoom more than anyone, and why Garrick is so interested in sticking around STAR Labs — to monitor Barry's progress in increasing his speed, which Zoom plans to steal.
Watch Barry meet Jay Garrick below:
Then again, Caitlin has run tests on the sample of Garrick's DNA she collected from his champagne glass. If Garrick was Zoom, he should still have the speed force in him, which Caitlin would be able to observe. However, it was Garrick who pulled Caitlin into the closet to drink the champagne in the first place. Maybe he knew what would happen and staged the sample? It certainly seems more plausible than Earth 1's Hunter Zolomon, a character only seen peacefully sitting in a sunny park, being the season's arch villain.
3. There Is Another Hunter Zolomon
Another theory could be that there is another Hunter Zolomon on Earth 2, if it is not in fact Jay Garrick. Perhaps there is a body hijacking situation going on a la Eobard Thawne with Earth 1 Dr. Wells? Maybe Jay Garrick and Earth 1 Hunter Zolomon are each half of a pair of identical twins. Siblings separated as young kids would not be a first for the show — look at Iris (Candice Patton) and Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale)! Plus, the fact that Wally and Iris are brother and sister instead of aunt and nephew, as is the case in the comics, proves that the show is willing to play with the comic origin stories to suit the show's story.
4. The Name Is A Misdirect
Of course, the possibility exists that the Hunter Zolomon name is nothing more than a misdirect, a clever twist by the writers to keep fans distracted and Zoom's real identity secret. If that is the case, then round up the usual, pre-Hunter Zolomon reveal Zoom suspects — we are looking at you, Earth 2 Barry, Henry Allen (John Wesley Shipp), Earth 2 Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett) and Eobard Thawne.
"The Flash" airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST on the CW.