Wow, it’s been over a month since I’ve posted…the longest gap I’ve ever had since Blue Towel Productions (the blog, not the film making effort) began. What should I do? Should I apologize? Have I broken a sacred trust between me and my readers that I need to get right?
Um…probably not. I don’t know, do any of you feel like we have a sacred trust between us? But at the same time, it’s fair enough if people don’t feel like visiting a blog where there is never anything new. And I do want to keep in the habit of writing, so even in the very busy season that I’m in I’m going to keep at it. After all, I only have two more episodes of Next Generation to comment on before that project is finally complete!
But tonight I’m going to share a quick little story about one of my current favorite TV series: The Flash.
Have you been watching The Flash? I admit, I’m predisposed by the cumulative impact of my life to like it. I’ve read a lot of Flash comics, and the show is doing a reasonably good job of capturing what I enjoy about the character. We’re in the thick of Season 2 right now and just like Season 1, there’s a mystery going on. Barry Allen (the titular hero) and his largish group of confidantes have been menaced by a villain known only as Zoom. Zoom is a speedster from an alternate reality known as Earth 2. Zoom easily outpaces Barry himself but has spent most of his villainous time sending various super-powered criminals from his universe into Barry’s in order to provoke him into getting faster.
Now, if this sounds familiar it’s because the “surprise” villain of Season 1 was also trying to provoke Barry into getting faster. The difference is that the earlier villain (Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash) was doing it so Barry would be powerful enough to send him back to his own time, while Zoom seems to be doing it because he “eats” the Speed Force, after some sort of fashion, and just wants Barry to be tastier when he gets to him. In other words, he is fattening him up.
Now, this is all intriguing and we’re all wondering who Zoom could be. In the comics, Zoom was Hunter Zolomon, a profiler with the police who was friends with the Flash until he was crippled in a battle with Grodd. Zolomon tried to get the super-hero to travel through time and change his history. When the Flash refused, Zolomon attempted to use technology to travel through time on his own but it went wrong. Zolomon gained super-speed himself and became Zoom, who was determined to put some tragedy into the Flash’s life in order to make him a better hero.
(Now, the fact that the Flash who fought the comic book Zoom was not Barry Allen is not really important here, but for completists or trivaphiles, it was Wally West. That’s okay, because TV Barry Allen is a pretty similar character to comic book Wally West, except that he’s still a police scientist).
Hunter Zolomon has made an appearance on The Flash – he was the name of the Earth 1 (the show’s main earth) version of Jay Garrick. Jay Garrick is the Flash of Earth 2, who lost his speed in a battle with Zoom. He was trapped on Earth 1 and has spent most of his time since trying to help Barry and his friends understand and do battle with Zoom.
Now…why, oh why, are we going on about all of this?
It’s because recently, my good friend Rod was surprised when he woke up from a dream about the show, a dream in which he was watching the episode of The Flash which revealed the secret of who Zoom really was. It came as a surprise to him because he didn’t know that he cared enough about it to dream up a solution. But his dream theory, while not necessarily functioning as a prediction, amounts to a pretty decent fan theory:
In his dream, Zoom turned out to be Jay Garrick from Earth 2, who was really Hunter Zolomon. The name Jay Garrick was simply a ruse. Any instance of Zoom and Jay being in the same place (we couldn’t remember if we’d actually watched in a proper “scene” or only in a Jay-narrated flashback) was just the result of Zoom using the recently discussed speed-mirage power. The motivation and explanation for why Zoom has been going to such lengths to be sneaky about his identity was in order to keep an eye on Barry, learn about him, and to accurately send him on challenges to get him to go faster…all to be able to eventually steal his speed force.
I asked Rod whether the idea was that Zoom was always Jay, even back on Earth 2, or whether he had somehow stolen and co-opted his identity. Rod said that Jay was always a villain, who took on the guise of a hero at the start, and didn’t wear a mask so that people would trust him. I thought that this made the theory overall stronger, if only because Season 1 already had a villain had who had stolen the identity of somebody nice in order to gain Barry’s trust, and I didn’t think the show would go there so precisely again.
An interesting detail to Rod’s dream theory is that the reason Zoom sent Harrison Wells from Earth 2 (the doppelganger of Season 1’s main villain) over to Barry’s team was simply to give Barry someone worse to mistrust than Jay (recalling how it took a while for Barry to warm up to Jay when he first joined the show). Since Wells and Jay didn’t get along, Barry’s mistrust of the new Wells would pull Jay in closer with Barry’s crew. As Rod said, “Common mistrust creates trust.”
Now, I can’t remember for sure how all those events took place in the early episodes of this season, but it’s a very clever theory, I’d say. It’s only down-point would be that it’s perhaps getting a bit smarter in its details than I believe the writers are likely to be. But who knows? It could be.
(Of course, we know the real reason Wells came from Earth 2 was so that Tom Cavanaugh could continue to be in the show. That guy regularly knocks it out of the park. As Rod has commented, he may be the MVP. Though he’s got some good people around him, like Grant Gustin, Jesse L. Martin, Carlos Valdes, and even John Wesley Shipp).
Rod made a point to tell me all this (via text) right after the dream because he didn’t want to forget, but also he wanted to put it out there if it ultimately turned out that he was right! He’s not aware of any spoilers, so if he turns out to be accurate than I think his subconscious has earned some pretty impressive bragging rights.
Incidentally, another element of Rod’s theory is that Evil-Jay is eventually going to kill Caitlin Snow (whom he’s recently become romantically attached to) which will allow the show to “thin out” the cast a bit after they add Harrison Wells’ daughter Jesse to the show as Jesse Quick. This is possible, Rod reckons, because actress Danielle Panabaker will be able to continue to be involved as Caitlin’s evil Earth 2 counterpart, Killer Frost (who is in fact due to make an appearance soon). However, Rod also admits that he isn’t sure if this was in his dream as well, or if he just wishes it would happen, since he’s not a fan of Caitlin. I don’t dislike her as much, but I do think she’s an odd character–a brilliant scientist who dresses like a cocktail waitress at work and always seems a little bit awkward with her delivery. Panabaker was better, I’d suggest, in the few episodes of Shark that I’ve seen so far.
Anyway, all that to say, I’m enjoying The Flash, even if I haven’t dreamed about it. I’ve been wondering who Zoom is, and I think Rod’s dream-theory is as good as any other I can come up with. After all, if not Earth 2 Jay aka Hunter Zolomon, than who? Henry Allen? Wally West? The Earth 2 version of any of those guys? Actually, it could be the Earth 2 version of almost anyone, right? Earth 2 Barry Allen! Earth 2 Detective Joe West. Earth 2 Oliver Queen. Earth 2 Laurel Lance. That’d be sort of spectacularly awesomely terrible. Like watching Sharknado.
Actually, Rod just mentioned to me another theory, which is that Zoom is actually Earth-1 Eddie Thawne, a supporting character who was killed off at the end of the first season. His body was pulled up into a singularity caused by a time paradox, so it’d be a simple matter to explain him still being alive and somehow linked into the Speed Force and Earth 2. Easy-peasy lemon-squeezy.
Actually I think this is a more likely answer than Rod’s dream, but either way, I’m along for the ride. I’m liking this show, and enjoying the fact that I live in the world where I am regularly watching earnest versions of the Flash, Supergirl, J’Onn J’Onzz, Captain Cold, Rip Hunter, Firestorm and more running around my TV screen in glorious live action. Man, when I was a kid it was unheard of to even have most of these guys in animation! Fun days.
Anyone else watching The Flash? Any other ideas of Zoom’s identity? Can you trump my friend Rod’s dream? Let me know, and let’s continue developing that sacred trust.