Thursday, 12 November 2015

Review - 'The Flash', S02E06 ' 'Enter Zoom'

Zoom has been the mysterious figure behind many of threats that Barry has been forced to face, recently. He has, after all, been sending a selection of Earth-2's most prominent meta-human villains after him since the show's second season began - all for reasons that are, still, not entirely clear. We have been told, of course, that Zoom is simply obsessed with speed - and, that he is determined to be the fastest person in the entire multi-verse. But, that feels too simple - and, it's also important to remember that this is just what Jay Garrick, the Earth-2 version of the Flash, thinks Zoom's goal is. We haven't, yet, received anything close to an actual revelation about either the character, or his motivations.

But, all of that is certain to be coming in the future. For now, though, we have an episode intended to give us our first proper look at this mysterious, and very sinister, figure. In the previous episode, we had Barry and Earth-2's Harrison Wells outlining a plan to draw Zoom out into the open, by using Doctor Light as bait. It wasn't a very popular plan, though - Jay Garrick had even decided that he would rather leave than see Bary effectively kill himself by confronted Zoom when he wasn't ready.

With Doctor Light captured, though, it seems that Barry is free to go ahead with his plan, regardless of any lingering disapproval from his friends and allies. As desperate as she is to get away from Zoom, Doctor Light even seems willing to go along with Barry's plan - at least until she manages to escape from her cell and vanish.

Fortunately, though, Barry has an alternative in the form of Linda Park - Doctor Light's Earth-1 double. Linda is still, naturally, disturbed by the events of the previous episode - but, she is also very eager to do what she can to help.

So, that's where we find ourselves for much of this episode - with Linda in training in order to be able to convincingly take on the role of her villainous double, while Barry attempts to brush aside any concerns regarding exactly how terrible a plan this actually is. It was a set-up that provided plenty of genuinely entertaining moments, too. The entire 'training montage' sequences, in which Linda attempts to master some new gadgets made by Cisco that allow her to mimic Doctor Light's powers, was fantastic - so filled with amusing little moments that it was, almost, possible to forget that the end goal of all of this was to draw out a dangerous super-villain. Though, the true high-light, here, would have to be the actual mock confrontation, itself - one filled with improvised dialogue so awful that Cisco was left cringing. Honestly, these past couple of episodes have been great for Malese Jow - providing her with the opportunity to give great performances in her dual roles. Hopefully, now that she seems to have been made a part of the team, she will be able to continue to play a part. It would certainly be a shame to have her pushed back into the background now that her role, here, is done.

But, of course, as entertaining as all of this was, it was never intended to be the episode's true focus. That was always intended to be Zoom, himself. This is, of course, not the first time that the audience has seen him - but, it is the first time that he and Barry have crossed paths. And, it is also the longest he has been on screen in a single episode, so far. So, obviously, there is some pressure to ensure that he makes an impressive entrance - which he definitely does. With his grim and intimidating appearance, and a voice provided by Tony Todd, Zoom gives the impression of something not entirely human - and, his sudden appearance causes a significant shift in tone to what had, previously, been a fairly light-hearted episode. 'Zoom' may seem like a silly name for such a dangerous character - but, from what we see here, that fact wont lessen the impact that he is able to make on both the audience, and Barry.

Overall, this is a great episode of The Flash - though, in saying that, there were still a couple of issues that bothered me. For one thing, the groups intense distrust of Earth-2's Harrison Wells still seems a bit strange, to me. Honestly, even if the source of all of their troubles had actually been Earth-1's Harrison Wells, their distrust of someone who is, essentially, an entirely different person would still seem a bit odd - but, that they can't quite seem to wrap their heads around the fact that Earth-1's Harrison Wells was also murdered by Eobard Thawne is quickly growing frustrating. Personally, I would love it if at least one character would actually raise that point.

Also, I have to admit that I'm a little bothered by Patty Spivot's role on the show, so far. It's not the character, herself, that bothers me, of course - she is a very entertaining character, and Shantel VanSanten is great in the role. What is starting to bother is is the way in which she seems to have become this season's designated 'out of the loop' character. With Linda Park learning that Barry Allen was actually the Flash in this episode the fact that Patty Spivot, a trained police-officer with whom Barry has just begun a romantic relationship, is being kept in the dark by both Joe and Barry comes across as a bit strange. It probably wouldn't be so conspicuous if there weren't already so many people who new Barry's secret - but, that's where we seem to have found ourselves.

Honestly, though, that feels like nit-picking. This was a fantastic episode of The Flash. It is one that gave us some great humour, some much appreciated development for Linda Park (a character who has been neglected recently) - and, it also significantly raised the stakes by giving us our first glimpse of what Zoom is truly capable of. It definitely has me impatiently waiting for next week's episode.

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