Monday, December 7, 2015

Fan Theory Turns THE FLASH Season 2 into 'The Empire Strikes Back'

Fan theories speculating about the identity of Season 2 Big Bad "Zoom" have been brewing for a while now, and the approaching mid-season finale might bring some of the speculation into canon.

Possible spoilers ahead, if I'm as smart as I think I am….

In the comics, "Zoom" is actually two versions of the Reverse Flash. The primary version of the villain was Season 1 baddie Prof. Eobard Thawne. ("Zoom" being a derisive nickname he acquired do to his 25th century obsession with 20th century hero Barry "The Flash" Allen.)

Well, technically he's like five different guys.

The second incarnation was Hunter Zolomon (yes, really), a former friend of second (third?) Flash, Wally West. Zolomon basically was the son of a serial killer who became a decent FBI criminalist, but botched a case resulting in the murder of his father-in-law, the loss of his wife and also his kneecap. Then he was paralyzed, then he got made at Flash for refusing to go back in time and prevent the accident that paralyzed him. Eventually he tried to use the Flash's time traveling "cosmic treadmill" despite being paralyzed and having no superspeed, which somehow fixed his legs and allowed him to alter how quickly he existed relative to others, thus granting him a sort-of form of super speed. (He could also be super-slow, which would be cool if he were dying, I guess.)

In The Flash Season 1, it was revealed that Harrison Wells was the Reverse Flash, but not really. Eobard Thawne was from the future, fought Barry for years, then got so pissed at him he went back in time to murder Barry's family just to hurt him. He couldn't actually kill a pre-Flash Barry or he'd never become Reverse Flash, but he could hurt Barry emotionally. Unfortunately, either because the fight took too much out of him or because he forked the timelime far enough to prevent Barry becoming The Flash, Eobard lost his speed and was stuck in his distant past. He then killed the real Harrison Wells, assumed his identity, and accelerated Wells' plans to build the particle accelerator which would eventually 'malfunction' and grant Barry his powers.

So reminder: all of The Flash Season 1 is basically a 'do over,' a second iteration of events, slightly altered from the first version we never actually got to see. (But we do have Gideon, Barry's future A.I., and some other future tech, as well as the knowledge that in that timeline Barry became The Flash about seven years later in life, was ostensibly raised by both his parents, and disappeared after time-fighting with Thawne.)

So who is Zoom?

We know that Zoom appeared on Earth 2, apparently some time after Jay Garrick and the other Earth 2 metahumans. We know that he is physically much larger than Barry, so he's either been changed more by his metacrisis or started out significantly larger. And most importantly we know that Zoom is wildly faster than Barry, and Barry is faster than Jay by a long-shot. Jay has also commented that Zoom wants to be the only speedster, implying he would or has already killed others. Additionally, we know that after fighting Zoom, Jay's connection to the Speed Force was broken, and that Zoom has kidnapped Wells' E2 daughter but is holding her to interrogate rather than murder. He was willing to break our Flash's back, but was driven back before he could do whatever he had intended to do with a beaten and paralyzed Barry.

Supposition: Zoom is Barry's father.

Look at the eyes….

Okay, breathe. Some of you might have heard that idea floating through the Internet this season, but if you haven't, it's okay. You're allowed to freak out and hate me and maybe but please don't email me terrible things. If you disagree, that's totally cool because here's the sum total evidence for such a claim:

  • Zoom is a big dude, and Barry's dad is kinda big too. Plus his head's kind of the right shape.
  • Zoom says, "Do you like to fish with bait? I do too." When Barry's father comes back to help him emotionally after being defeated by Zoom, he tells Barry he was camping this whole time and is sick of eating the fish he caught. Zoom's line also implies he knows that Barry likes to fish with bait. This is weird to know, but it's also just a thing to say when you're taunting your nemesis by dangling his ex off a rooftop.

That's it. That's all of it. This is complete guesswork, and most likely will remain nothing but a really cool idea after Zoom is revealed to by Barry's childhood friend we've never heard about until now or whatever. But, let's indulge a fiction:
On Earth 2 (or not, we'll get to this), not Barry but Henry Allen becomes the hero known as The Flash. It's one of those weird difference like retro-futurism. It just happens.

Eobard Thawne in 2024 travels back in time to 'hurt' The Flash, killing his wife and son. Barry is now dead and Henry, a doctor, a hero, sworn to protect and help people, loses his complete and utter shit. He kills Thawne outright and, in the process, learns that he can steal another speedster's speed Highlander-style.

Depressed, grief-stricken, supercharged, and almost certainly insane, Henry Allen renounces his identity as The Flash. His wife and child murdered, it is generally assumed the missing Henry is the culprit.

Then nothing happens. For close to twenty years nothing happens and Henry Allen likely spends most of his time at the bottom of about 4,000 bottles trying to drink away the memory of his family and his darkest moments. Then Harrison Wells (the real Harrison Wells) turns on his accelerator at S.T.A.R. Labs and creates a whole world of metahumans all over again. This time, with Barry dead and Henry nearly comatose, it is Jay Garrick who occupies what we know as Barry's lab. Jay is struck by speed lightning and Jay becomes a new Flash.

Henry Allen fully breaks from the realization that new speedsters mean new villains and, worse, the possibility of a new Eobard Thawne, adopts the name "Zoom" and a more somber costume to do his grisly work: prevent anyone else from ever dying as the result of speedsters mucking about the time stream.
It's a fun notion. Pitting E2 metahumans against each other and against The Flash ensures both his primary goal and likely erradicates some of the more deadly metas in the process. By openly showing the city its broken 'heroes,' Zoom discourages hero-worship surrounding the people he feels pose the greatest threat to time and reality: speedsters.

It's pretty likely that either way Zoom is going to be revealed as being able to "steal" the Speed Force from other speedsters, having already done so from Jay, and likely having done so before. In fact, Zoom also seems rather adept and moving between realities. Is it possible that this Henry Allen comes from not Earth 2, but another world in the multiverse? Jay said he wanted to be the only speedster on "any" world. Just how many worlds has Henry cleansed of Flashes? Has he murdered himself? Barry? Wally? And if this Henry really is native to Earth 2, does that mean he doesn't know or even recognize Barry?

Is that why he didn't kill Barry outright, or was Barry just lucky that after popping through the portal at S.T.A.R. Labs, Zoom was pushed back before murdering just another masked Flash? If uncovered, could Barry use his secret (to Patty and no one else) identity against Zoom? A "No, Vader, you are my father" moment?

In any case, it'd also be a great way to bring back a powered-up John Wesley Shipp.

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