“Enter Zoom” certainly showcased the frightening power of its titular villain after a few weeks of the foe’s silly plan to send underlings after Barry. For such a fearsome figure, his moves so far have felt more like the necessity of a TV series, not the plan of an actual intelligent villain, but Zoom’s inability to fall for Team Flash’s tricks and his powerful lengthy appearance on Earth-1 indicate he has little interest in messing around.
Zoom appears in Barry’s world because he and Harrison, despite the understandably cautious advice of Barry’s friends, focus on the only solution they find viable. Zoom has to be stopped, and it’s better to do it now than wait around any longer, Barry reasons.
And for that bullheaded thinking, Barry receives a crippling injury.
Zoom doesn’t show up simply for kicks, though. Barry wants to lure Zoom to their world, and he believes Dr. Light will be the perfect bait. And though she escapes (her abilities also apparently include turning invisible, a convenient method of breaking free), she leaves behind her outfit. Luckily, there’s someone else who can wear it, since Dr. Light has an Earth-1 twin.
So the disparate parts of the plan coalesce. Dr. Light tells Barry, before her Invisible Woman stunt, that she was instructed to throw the Flash’s suit emblem through to Earth-2 as proof of his death. Barry still wants to send his emblem through to the other side, forcing Zoom’s hand. Earth-2’s Harrison can develop a speed-dampening serum. And with surprise on their side, the two of them believe the plan will work.
WANT MORE? Keep up with all the latest from last night’s television by subscribing to our newsletter. Head here for more details.
Everyone else isn’t so sure. Cisco, Caitlin, and Joe all share their suspicions of Wells’ true motives for helping Barry fight Zoom, and Joe even suggests Dr. Light’s escape is a sign that their current plan may be a foolish one. Barry and Harrison refuse to give up, though, and so the only logical choice they see is to bring Linda Park into the fold.
With Light on the loose, Iris has been keeping a watchful eye on her fellow journalist, who is nervously cooking her way through several dozen cookbooks. But Iris happens to agree that letting Linda help is a good idea, and the only way for them to find out if she’s in for the gambit is to ask. Iris brings her to S.T.A.R. Labs, where Barry, in his Flash suit, asks for her help.
She agrees, but her training montage indicates she has miles to go (and requires a few tweaks to her pulse gloves from Cisco). Linda eventually catches on to aiming and hitting only her targets. Those targets just so happen to be cardboard cutouts of the Flash (guess a few promotional items were hanging around the set) while avoiding other cutouts of a selfie-taking Cisco, Joe, and the others.
Linda improves, but just barely, accidentally frying Cisco’s command center at practice in all the excitement of hitting a target. No one thinks she’s ready, but Barry plans to convince Linda to remain involved. Joe stops him on his way out, asking him to seriously consider the consequences of asking someone to risk her life. He also intimates Barry’s fervent desire to take down Zoom stems from a lingering disappointment that Eddie, not Barry, was the one who ultimately took down Reverse-Flash.
Barry brushes the latter idea off for now but takes to heart that he has to consider Linda’s part. He appears to her in his Flash costume, as she sits distraught and dejected, knowing that she failed the team. Barry tells her he believes in her, though. He knows she can do it, and to prove that to her, he’s going to trust her as much as she trusts him. So he removes his mask and reveals his true identity to his former flame. (“I made out with the Flash,” she exclaims in an episode-best line.)
With that show of faith, she agrees to don Dr. Light’s outfit and hold a fake duel with Barry out by the docks. The fight is hilariously overstaged, Cisco having come up with a cheesy script for them (he promises to do better next time, not that there should ever be a next time). Grant Gustin channels Wentworth Miller’s scenery-chewing Captain Cold performance in his inflection before the “fight” finally commences. A few hits and Barry takes a fake fall.
And so they wait, over an hour passing without a sign from Zoom. They pack it in, Wells particularly displeased, while Barry comes to terms with his perhaps reckless behavior. He opens up to Joe about Earth-1 Wells’ taped message to him, telling him that he knew Barry, and he knew Barry Allen would never be happy.
NEXT: Zoom comes to town
Ever since the night he didn’t stop the death of his mother, there’s been a void in him, and he worries that he truly will never find happiness. It’s an easy thing to miss when there’s time travel, alternate realities, and land sharks all bouncing around the place, but beneath it all lies a surprisingly smart and honest portrayal of loss.
A death like the one Barry faced does leave a void, and it’s only magnified in his case. That void is inescapable, and it’s almost impossible to fill that void in his life or for anyone who’s suffered a loss like his. It’s easy to give into that void, let it consume your life, but to do so would be to rob Barry of a happy life. Even if some part of that hole exists within him, there are still other things and people that can give his life an entirely different and equally fulfilling joy. Joe believes Barry can restore that happiness to his life, but it’s a matter of going out and finding that happiness himself.
So he does. He finds Patty, who’s feeling particularly left on the sidelines at this point. She believes Joe is keeping things from her, and even after she reveals to him that she and Barry kissed in a move of honesty, she feels deceit still hangs around their relationship.
Joe asks her for a few days to clear everything up, and though she accepts, she does so begrudgingly, facing another disappointment when Barry can’t do dinner because he has secret plans with Joe. Of course, those plans having taught Barry not to waste his life wallowing but finding meaning, he returns to the police station and kisses her. What makes Barry happy right now is getting to know Patty, and though they’re not doing much talking at the moment, he certainly seems happy.
That happiness is short-lived, however, when Zoom actually comes into town. He kidnaps Linda from outside the newspaper office, bringing her to the roof of S.T.A.R. Labs. Barry rushes to her rescue, finally coming face to face with Zoom, who drops Linda off the side of the building.
Barry catches her, but Zoom remains as they face off on the ground before Barry launches a thunderbolt at his opponent. Cisco sits inside expecting the new move to be the lightning-shaped nail in Zoom’s coffin, but Barry’s strike not only fails. Zoom grabs Barry’s bolt out of the air and hurls it back at Barry. The two chase each other around the area as Barry preps to use Wells’ dampening serum, and rather than try to match Zoom’s speed, he decides to take speed out of the equation.
Barry leads his foe into the air, forcing the two to fight in freefall with an equal velocity. Unfortunately, once they slam to the ground, Zoom pummels Barry (some bones definitely crack), and stabs him with Wells’ serum just as Harrison rushes out to shoot the baddie.
Beaten to a bloody pulp, Barry is seemingly on the verge of death, a rag doll that Zoom drags around town to show off as a trophy. First Zoom brings him to the newspaper office to show that their hero is no immortal god, then he carries Barry to the police station, and finally back to S.T.A.R. Labs.
There, Zoom taunts Harrison, pleased with himself as any villain would be, but Cisco uses what Harrison wanted to all along, surprise, to shoot a serum dart into Zoom. He collapses, shocked by the hit, but still speeds away, leaving a bruised Barry behind.
While Barry recuperates in a coma, his vitals having stabilized, the tension at S.T.A.R. remains at an all-time high. Joe is furious with Harrison, who reveals his motives when Cisco admits to having vibed on him earlier in the episode. (Despite the hour’s heavy themes, Cisco attempting multiple times to touch Harrison to trigger a vibe is a comedic highlight of the hour.) He saw Harrison’s daughter Jesse in a cage being held by Zoom.
Harrison believes the only way to save his daughter is to capture Zoom, and so he came to this Earth believing Barry could help him with that. For now, he believes he may have been wrong. (ASIDE: The Earth-2 flashback, aside from showing off Wells’ parenting skills, reveals something big about another major player. Earth-2’s Oliver Queen is dead, while his father Robert is the hooded vigilante. END ASIDE)
And it remains to be seen how much help Barry will end up being. He wakes up from his coma unable to feel his legs, a definite issue for someone whose superpower involves running. Earth-1 Harrison Wells’ wheelchair is still around, right?