Despite or maybe because of Ronnie and Eddie’s deaths in The Singularity, this season, Barry has a newfound arrogance and impulsiveness to go along with his less babyish face and swagged-out wardrobe. He has applies the same cocksure attitude to his superhero duties, making decisions impetuously, dismissing important and valid concerns.
Iris hatches a clever-on-paper, insane-in-reality plan to use Linda Park, to pose as her Earth-2 doppleganger, the possibly misunderstood, Dr. Light to coax Zoom out so they can nail him with the Wells-designed "speed dampener.”
It’s all silly, slapped-together prep and dress up and giggle-inducing training montages until Joe finally steps in. "If you're going to ask people to risk their lives, you better be sure exactly why they're doing it." No one can master supervillainism in a few days--Barry himself is still learning new movies as a superhero.
So why is Barry pushing so hard to kill Zoom? He spouts the golden, tried and true reasons about saving innocent lives and stopping the forces of evil but when pressed Barry admits that it's because "ever since...I didn't save my mom, there's been a void in me. I feel like it's always going to be there." Joe sets him straight—and his advice is refreshingly different from the typical ridiculous "You're a superhero, you can't love" cliches. "You're responsible for your own happiness Barry. Think hard about what you want, what makes you happy and go out and get it. Simple as that."
It's an oddly emotionally restrained Barry-Joe moment since I'm not heaving tears, but it's important nonetheless. Patty, who's been brushed off by Barry a few times this episode, reaps the benefits of Joe's advice in the form of a sexy secret make-out session.
Meanwhile, my anxiety is rising. The more carefree they get, the more I'm reminded that that this isn't a game. It's about Capital-Letter Life And Death other monsters from another world. I also realize that Team Flash doesn’t know anything about Zoom. Is he human? Is he mystical? Is he a Teletubby?
As a scientist, a CSI and a superhero, he should’ve collected hordes of evidence before engaging Zoom. And it's a lesson Barry learned in the most excruciating way possible. Zoom looks like a mutated, evil version of The Flash with scared over slits for a mouth, and eroded, spongy skin.
In what was possibly the worst superhero beatdown since Bane krumped all over Batman's spine in “The Dark Knight Rises,” Zoom not only outsmarts Barry, he humiliates him. Their showdown is an awesome display of Zoom’s speed and yes, Barry's inexperience as a superhero. Every trick Barry and Team Flash toss at Zoom, he twists into his own evil advantage and wallops Barry with it. The lightning Barry throws as Zoom (Barry's newest and most impressive trick) is caught like an easy lob and hurled back at him, knocking Barry across the parking lot. That terminal velocity, speedless free-fall fight? Zoom wins that too. The speed dampener darts go in Barry's chest. And then he breaks Barry's back and whizzes around with his unconscious body to the Picture News newsroom and the precinct to heap humiliation on top of Barry's agonizing defeat.
Like most things do, it ends at S.T.A.R Labs. With Barry bleeding and unconscious and Cisco saving the day. It's not surprising that Barry wakes up unable to feel his legs (I blame that pathetic excuse of a neck brace Caitlin used) or that Wells-2 just now comes clean about Zoom abducting his daughter. The only surprising thing is that Iris is inexplicably absent from Barry's bedside. And that Wells had pursued Zoom on Earth 2 didn't bother sharing what a vindictive super-meta-human he was.
The episode ends infinitely bleaker as it starts, and confirms two things: 1) Zoom is a badass in the worst possible way. 2) Barry still has a lot to learn.
Find out how Barry recovers from his ass-whoppin’ tonight on “The Flash,” airing at 8/7c on The CW. Can't wait that long? Check out a sneak peek from tonight's episode!