With great power comes great responsibility, and without a great support system, that great power can become an instrument for chaos and destruction. The opening minutes of “Versus Zoom” offer a glimpse into a life experience not unlike one integral to Barry Allen that happened to Hunter Zolomon.
Barry’s mother was killed in front of him, but he found a new family in Joe and Iris West who helped him through the worst time in his life.
Hunter Zolomon also saw his mother killed, shot to death by his own father (who placed a familiar helmet on his head), before he was carted off to Earth Two’s Central City orphanage. None of his relatives wanted him, and he entered a seemingly bleak new home. He was alone, and so Zoom was born.
And “Versus Zoom” pits the two similar yet wholly unique speedsters against one another again as Barry and the team find a way to open a portal to Earth Two. It all starts with Barry using the new tachyon converter to increase his speed by four times his usual pace, which is faster than even Zoom, according to Harry. (The tachyon brace on his chest also leads Barry to temporarily jump dimensions, though Supergirl viewers will have a good idea of where he went.)
Now the only hurdle they face is reopening a portal between their Earth and Earth Two, a conundrum for which Barry thinks he has a solution. Cisco’s Earth Two counterpart Reverb had control of multidimensional energy, so feasibly Cisco should be able to control that energy as well. And if Reverb could tap into the energy connecting the multiverse, so too can Cisco, and thus, if he gains control of his powers, he could feasibly create a new portal.
It’s a plan Harry wants no part in. Zoom has nothing of his own to care for, but he will go after anything and anyone they love. Harry wants to focus on finding his daughter; he doesn’t want to reintroduce the man who kidnapped her to their current home. He even goes to ask Joe for help in forcing Barry to abandon this notion. (He’s also asked Joe to be on the lookout for his daughter.)
Joe says he can’t. Not that he doesn’t want to, because he sees the whole idea as folly as well, but once Barry is stuck on something, he won’t shift his focus. So, if anything, Joe wants Harry to help Barry — Joe believes he’ll be much safer with Harry’s help.
His conversation with Joe convinces Harry to pitch in, and he finds both Barry and Cisco at, as Cisco describes it, a “Patch Adams nightmare” of an abandoned hospital where they’re hoping to tap into some of that interdimensional energy. Harry has rejiggered the frequency of Cisco’s Vibe glasses, and though Cisco is hesitant at the prospect of what’s to come, he puts them on and goes to work.
Cisco harnesses the energy, beginning to open a tear between the worlds, one that Zoom finds on his own Earth. Whether Cisco senses the danger waiting for them on the other side or not, he stops the portal from fully opening, rips off the glasses and runs away, demanding they never ask him to do this again.
Cisco’s initial hesitance clearly got to him, and Barry tries to figure out the root of the problem back at base. He suspects it’s Zoom getting in Cisco’s head, but it’s not Zoom at all. It’s Reverb. He worries about the parallelism of their lives. He’s strong with the force, as is Reverb, and he’s concerned that should he tap into his full potential just as his doppelganger did, he’ll turn to the dark side.
Barry promises him that won’t happen because he has friends, a full family, that he can rely on, which is something Reverb didn’t have. Barry could easily have let all his new powers go to his head, but the support of those around him who helped him grow into a caring person prevented him from taking the path that Zoom or Reverb did.
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So Cisco agrees to do it again, but before they do, a bit of previously siloed information leaks to the whole group. As Barry comforts Caitlin over seeing Jay/Hunter again, she says there was no Jay on their Earth, and instead there was Hunter. That name piques Harry’s interest, who fills the group in on Hunter.
On Earth Two, Zolomon was a serial killer (rare for that Earth), an infamous murderer convicted on 23 counts. He was locked up in an asylum (The Earth Two version of that abandoned hospital) where the attendants locked him up in some serious Hannibal Lecter-like gear and forced Hunter to undergo electroshock therapy. He naturally was in the midst of some shocks when the particle accelerator went off on that Earth, giving him the speed powers he used to the horrifying extents the group knows well.
NEXT: Zoom demands a trade.