The Flash S02E06 “Enter Zoom” REVIEW
Airing in the UK on: Sky 1, Tuesdays, 8pm
Writers: Gabrielle Stanton, Brooke Eikmeier
Director: JJ Makaro
Essential Plot Points:
- Doctor Light tells the Flash that if she had killed him, Zoom wanted her to take his chest emblem and throw it into a breach to prove she’s succeeded. This would summon Zoom so he could send her home.
- Doctor Light agrees to pretend to kill the Flash to draw Zoom out.
- Wells has developed a slowing-down formula which they intend to shoot Zoom with.
- Doctor Light escapes from the pipeline. She’s naked, but invisible…
- …Which means she’s left her costume behind.
- Barry has an idea: Linda – Doctor Light’s Earth Prime doppelgänger – can pretend to be Doctor Light by dressing up in her discarded costume. Cisco instantly whips up some light ray gizmos to strap to her hands.
- Unfortunately she makes a rubbish supervillain.
- So Barry gives her a pep talk in which he reveals to her that he is the Flash. It works.
- Sadly the plan to lure out Zoom with a fake fight between Barry and Linda as Doctor Light doesn’t work (we’re not surprised – Barry keeps squirming when he’s supposed to be dead and Linda keeps putting her hand up to her ear piece).
- Patty becomes suspicious that Barry and Joe are keeping something from her, but doesn’t hold too much of a grudge after Barry passionately and impulsively kisses her. He’s just had another pep talk from Joe, y’see.
- But later on, when no one’s expecting him, Zoom goes all Spanish Inquisition and executes Barry. Well, nearly executes him. Team Flash manage to hit Zoom with one “slow dart” before he finishes the task and he zooms off.
- But he has left Barry paralysed from the waist down.
- Cisco vibes on Wells and learns that Zoom has his daughter held captive back on Instagram Filter Earth.
Barry should have listened to Jay. But he didn’t, and now Zoom has utterly humiliated him and left him paralysed. The final 1o minutes of the episode are simply magnificent; a tour de force of eye-popping action, shock twists, gut-wrenching drama and beautiful FX work that would have assured a five star review even if the rest of the episode had been a pile of steaming bat guano.
In fact, the rest of the episode is an absolute delight too, featuring some of the funniest moments so far this year. The scenes with our Earth’s Linda Park trying to become Doctor Light are huge fun, as is Linda’s goofy reaction to finding out that Barry is the Flash (“Holy crap! I’ve made out with the Flash!”). Malese Jow is such an asset to this show let’s hope that she’s in this for the long haul. Though it would be good to have a regular, young, female character on the show who hasn’t snogged Barry (although Caitlin only snogged a fake Barry, to be fair, and didn’t have much choice in the matter).
Wells-the-jerk is also great once again, though his motives are a bit confusing. He seems relieved that Cisco has found out about Jesse being captured… so why be so touchy about being touched by Vibe earlier on? There seems no reason why he would hide this from Team Flash so does he have something else to hide that Cisco hasn’t discovered yet. And since Zoom has kidnapped Jesse, why is Wells working to bring about his downfall? You’d think, as Joe does, that Zoom would be blackmailing Wells into working for him. There’s something complex going on here and Wells could yet prove either the major villain or redemptive hero of the season. Whatever the case, please, Wells 2, don’t lose your snark; it’s your best feature.
Amidst all this Patty has little to do except revert to traditional girlfriend-of-a-masked-hero mode (“he’s hiding something and keeps blowing me out on dates…!) and Caitlin is reduced to being a straightwoman, providing feed lines for the men’s punchlines. But in such a packed episode there have to be some casualties. Iris doesn’t have much to do either, but scores points for her sarcastic asides when Linda goes into super-cooking mode.
For the most part, though, this is a consummately constructed episode. It joyously breaks the formula established by the season so far then rips it apart in the final moments with shocking developments that scream “gamechanger”. It moves seamlessly from frivolous fun to gripping drama in the space of a breath. It cements Zoom as one hell of a scary foe – every moment he’s on screen he totally dominates it. And the slick direction moves through the many moods with a deft touch, letting actors act when they need to and giving the big action sequences an emotional sweep.
Bane broke Batman’s back and the Dark Knight returned. Since there are at least 16 episodes of this season left we assume the Flash will be back on his feet before long too. But for the moment, we’re still reeling.
- Zoom’s grand tour, dragging the limp body of Barry Allen around Central City to show-off who’s boss, is massively effective. It’s real gut-wrenching stuff, featuring special FX shots that are loaded with emotion; a rare thing on TV where FX are often just a utilitarian means to an end.
- Linda’s training session as Doctor Light is hilarious, especially the exploding gloves and the misjudged high-five.
- This image:
- Linda’s reaction to discovering Barry’s secret – “I’ve shagged a famous person!” basically.
- The fake fight between Doctor Light and the Flash with its whispered asides and Barry regretting falling to the ground in such an awkward position.
- Hell, Linda in general. She’s just great!
- Caitlin: “Oh great, that could be this year’s Cold Gun. Maybe another criminal can get it and then we have Sergeant Slow!” Cisco: “I would never let that happen. Sergeant Slow is a terrible name.”
- Caitlin: “No offence to Linda, but there is no way she can pull this off.” Wells: “Well, maybe if she didn’t scream every time she fired.”
- Given that the real Doctor Light is still at large, it’s bizarre that Linda – who’s spent half the episode terrified – would suddenly decide to walk home at night on her own (not that if Iris had gone with her she would have been much help against Zoom).
- Why would Doctor Light need to take her clothes off to become invisible? Whatever power she’s using to make herself invisible would presumably work on her clothes too. This is one clumsy piece of plotting to negate Cisco having to get out his sewing machine later in the episode to whip Linda up a costume.
- Whereas the Barry/Joe scenes are always exquisitely acted it would be nice to get through a week without them having a heart-to-heart; they’re in danger of losing their value through overuse.
- We still don’t understand why Zoom used so many crap henchmen first before deciding to kill Barry himself when he proves so much better at it. Okay, he still fails, but he gets a lot closer.
And The Random:
- Incredibly, for such a slick, assured-looking episode that balances great performances with pacy storytelling and big effects sequence, this is the debut TV directing effort by JJ Makaro. It is not, however, his first association with the Arrowverse; he’s been stunt co-ordinator on Arrow since the beginning and has worked on 10 episodes of The Flash in the same capacity. He stunt career began in the ’80s on shows such as Airwolf and films such as Iron Eagle 2. We reckon he should get more directing gigs on the strength of his work here.
- We’ve been pretty rubbish at 52-spotting this year (it’s mostly been appearances of Channel 52, of which there was another in this episode). But we spotted this really obscure one to balance things out: when Cisco vibes there are three extremely brief shots of a clock with one hand… that’s pointing at 52 minutes.
- For the record here’s that Channel 52 appearance. This week it’s actually the version of of the channel from Instagram Filter World, where Oliver Queen died and his dad Robert Queen became ‘The Hood”. This is similar to the comic book storyline “Flashpoint’, in which Barry’s time travelling causes an alternate reality in which Bruce Wayne’s dad became Batman after Bruce is killed.
- We will get away from Channel 52 in a moment but we just had to point out: what kind of unethical reporting is this? Showing a victim’s phone so close-up you can see who her dad is?
- “But you were fine with killing Linda Park?” “It was the best bad idea I could come up with. Leave her body for Zoom to find. He’d think I was dead and I’d be free.” Last week we were wondering why there had been no explanation why the Earth 2 assassins were killing their doppelgängers. Well, Linda 2 gives an explanation here, which is all fine and dandy, but it seems very unlikely Al Rothstein/Atom Smasher would come up with exactly the same plan.
- This week Wells 2’s daughter is named: Jesse. Then Wells uses his pet nickname for her: Jesse Quick. That’s right; she’s the show’s version of yet another speedster from the comics. Jesse Quick. She was first introduced in Justice Society Of America Vol 2 #1 (1992) and was the daughter of daughter of Golden Age heroes Johnny Quick and Liberty Belle. She went on to become the partner of the Wally West version of the Flash.
- Patty mentions hard light, which could be a reference to the Green Lantern but we couldn’t get Rimmer out of our heads.
- If Doctor Light can hack into STAR Labs’ fibre optics systems, how come she can’t spring herself from her cell? Maybe those doors are on a separate system for security?
- Scarily, there are a whole bunch of “babies going through tunnels” videos on YouTube like the ones Patty and her mates are giggling at.
- The music during Linda’s training session as Doctor Light is “Rock And Roll Rave” by The Preatures.
Review by Dave Golder