Episode 2.16 of THE FLASH gives us a theme of losing faith in heroes. In some cases, that faith can be won back. In others, it may take time…but what if your hero turns out to be the biggest bad guy of all? Oh, yes, you think I’m talking about…him…and to a certain extent I am, but it applies across the board in a very well-executed episode of THE FLASH!
Want to know more? SPOILERS are lurking after the jump!
There is a new speedster in town, a new “red blur” that steals from everyone in a six block radius while the Flash team is out clubbing (and dancing very badly, in Cisco’s case). The town only knows one “red blur”, so it is very easy to wonder if The Flash has gone rogue (pun intended). In fact, the editor of the Picture News, Scott Evans, is all too ready to accept this villainous picture of the Scarlet Speedster. One hero (almost) down, as Scott is pressuring Iris to help him with an expose issue, revealing the Flash to be a “fraud”. Iris does her best to slow this process down, and it leads to a very awkward scene at Jitters (we’ll come back to that one).
Of course, Barry has nothing to do with this crime spree. He chases down the woman who will soon be known as Trajectory, only to find that she is faster than him!
Eventually, they find that this speedster is Eliza Harmon, a scientist at Mercury Labs, who is frustrated at being passed over for grants and promotions…and who was trusted by Caitlin Snow with parts of her research into Velocity-9. (NOTE: another version of Eliza Harmon was a speedster with a different origin…and demise, in the comics as part of Lex Luthor’s “Everyman Project”). Harmon reverse engineers the drug and has become hooked on the speed drug. Like the original Velocity, Harmon’s version of V-9 is causing her serious harm. But, she can’t stop going for more…and she is getting more unstable by the moment, both mentally and physically. It eventually causes her to completely dissipate, the ultimate side-effect of the Velocity drug.
Meanwhile, Jesse is learning just how far Harry has been willing to go to ensure her safety. She didn’t know about Harry’s willingness to help Zoom earlier – but she saw his willingness to make more V-9 for Trajectory in order to protect Jesse, and it shatters her hero worship of her father. Eventually, this will lead her to look for a life on her own in Opal City (hopefully this isn’t the last we will see of this character).
Finally, we find more and more clues being dropped throughout the episode regarding something we as fans already know…that Zoom has Jay Garrick’s face! Every time Cisco gets near that display case with the iconic winged helmet, he vibes a picture of Zoom. Add to that Trajectory’s last burst of speed before she dissolves (literally) and we find her lightning turning blue…just like Zoom’s.
Let’s put this together. Eliza was hooked on V-9, just as Jay was hooked on a version of Velocity. Eliza’s lightning turned blue, the same color as Zoom’s. Could the color change be related to the deterioration noted with Velocity? Could be…so, could Zoom be hooked on Velocity? Could his search for Barry’s speed be an attempt for a cure? And if so, who else was hooked on Velocity? Oh yeah…Jay!
A bit convoluted but it works for the team…and it’s confirmed when Cisco finally grabs the helmet directly. Jay is Zoom! (NOTE: Of course this could all still be a swerve for a Hunter Zolomon reveal, but it’s more than interesting).
SO, here’s where we are with believing in heroes: Flash was suspected of being a bad guy, but has been cleared. Jesse’s faith in Harry was shattered, and even though she seems to forgive she is heading out for a life on her own in this new world (new to her, at least). But, the entire Flash team must now deal with the loss of their faith in Jay.
Now, for that awkward scene at Jitters…Scott misunderstood Iris’ invitation to be a date. It wasn’t, not then. It was really an attempt to delay the “Flash is a bad guy” story. But, it did allow Scott to explain why he has such trouble believing in heroes. And, it leads to what may become a relationship in future episodes.
SUMMARY: Hero worship is difficult to maintain when we see all the flaws a person can have, and in this episode we see a lot of flaws…some real, some mistakenly attributed. But, the pain with any loss of faith is significant. That’s what we see in multiple threads of this show, and it is carried off exceptionally well. Cisco’s (Carlos Valdes) reaction to finding Zoom’s identity was heartbreaking, and acted perfectly. Barry has managed to gain a bit more speed, going to Mach 3.3 in this episode…and isn’t far from being able to make that ultimate run into the Multiverse (apparently beginning Monday night on SUPERGIRL). Another great episode of THE FLASH!
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