The Flash’s second season certainly lived up to the expectation of both hype and mystery set by it’s first season last year. While both seasons presented Barry with a villain whom he had to overcome using his speed – as they were speedsters as well – both the Reverse Flash and Zoom presented very different threats to Barry and his friends. Amidst all of the of mystery and hype fans, who still enjoyed The Flash’s second season also may have lost the through line of Zoom, his story, or his motivations by season’s end, and so all will be explained below. Given the fact that it’s now a well known fact that *SPOILER* The man the team meets in the first episode of Season 2, who goes by “Jay Garrick” is actually Hunter Zolomon of Earth-2 aka Zoom *END SPOILER* the following analysis will take a look at the evidence presented starting from the first episode of Season 2, with full knowledge of who Zoom truly is.
Not only will Zoom’s story over [most of] the 23 episodes of The Flash’s second season be delved in to, but the character’s motivations, ability to be “two people at once”, general timeline, other Zoom-suspects, and much more will be discussed as well.
The Other Suspects
Unlike the villain of The Flash’s first season, who only [truly] had a few potential suspects as to whom he could really be, the initial footage of Zoom presented by the CW also showed comic book fans who had keenly deduced the identity of the Reverse Flash in the show’s first season based on their prior knowledge that The Flash’s take on Zoom would – seemingly – be very different than the one presented in the comics. The initial test footage, which you can see here, was released in early July of 2015 and sparked a ton of potential theories as to who “Zoom” could be. The character clearly sported a different costume motif then the one he did in the comics, wearing black (or a dark blue) rather than the traditional yellow, and rather than having an exposed lower-face in his cowl he instead seemed to have a demonic look to him. While there are simply too many “other suspects” to cover, below you’ll find the most popular pre-identity-reveal theories.
Eddie Thawne (of Earth-1) as Cobalt Blue:
Given the fact that the character of Eddie Thawne had met such an interesting demise at the end of The Flash’s first season, and given the fact that the character had seemingly already been groomed to take over the Cobalt Blue moniker from the comics, many fans assumed that – especially given Zoom’s new blue motif – that Eddie could be Zoom. Despite the fact that it likely could have made for an interesting storyline, especially given the return of the Reverse Flash in 2×11, Grant Gustin had commented at one point that Rick Cosnett (Eddie) had left The Flash due to “personal problems”, marking his return as unlikely. That aside, this theory remained of interest for quite awhile given the fact that people noted that in Eddie’s final words he relays to Iris that, “That’s all I ever wanted to be, your hero…” and in 2×06, Enter Zoom, Barry asks Zoom, “You wanna be me? Is that is? You wanna be a hero?” to which Zoom replies, “Heroes die.”.
Edward Clariss aka The Rival:
Upon learning that The Flash’s second season would feature a “darker” speedster, and that Jay Garrick – Golden Age Flash -was set to be introduced, many fans leapt on the theory that the new evil speedster would be none other than Jay Garrick’s Reverse Flash, Edward Clariss akaThe Rival. The blue lightning and general darkness surrounding the speedster in the first teaser trailer for The Flash’s second season served as two more than reminiscent traits of The Rival’s from comic books. This theory remained relevant – although it soon became clear that the villain would be an amalgam of Zoom and The Rival – until Hunter Zolomon finally revealed himself in the 15th episode of The Flash’s second season.
Black Flash [or technically, Black Racer]*:
After the first trailer for Season 2 dropped many fans jumped at the fact that the end of the trailer featured “Zoom” screeching a hollow shriek, assuming this meant that the Black Flash and Zoom could be one and the same – a twist that actually became a reality at the end of Season 2. While, based on the test footage, this theory seemed almost flawless the fatal blow (to the theory itself) came when comic book fans noted that Black Flash was an extremely one dimensional character, as he should be regardless of adaption, and said one-dimensional character likely couldn’t stand the trials and tribulations of being a season-long big bad on The Flash. Regardless a small group of viewers held true to their original beliefs, claim that while the end of the trailer featured the words “Zoom is Coming”, the visual shown was actually of Black Flash and that both characters would be introduced in the show’s sophomore season.
*Black Flash and Black Racer are grouped together due to the fact that – as of recent comic lore – they’ve essentially become one and the same character. While the two do have distinct backstories, Black Flash being the “death of Speedsters” and Black Racer representing the “death of Gods”, they’re both essentially specialized harbingers of Death himself. Furthermore, in recent issues of Justice League Barry Allen has effectively become both the Black Flash and Black Racer at the same time after having taken up the mantle – unwillingly – of the Black Racer.
Henry Allen [of from another Earth]:
One of the most compelling theories as to Zoom’s true identity was that Zoom was actually a version of Henry Allen from another Earth. While episode 13 of The Flash seemingly confirmed that Henry Allen of Earth-2 was still alive, happy, and well with Earth-2 Nora Allen the theory still held strong as fans claimed that Zoom could merely be Henry from yet another Earth. The theory grounded itself in the fact that if Zoom and Henry were one and the same, a potentially extremely compelling storyline could potentially unfold, Barry’s greatest foe yet turns out to be a twisted version of his own father. The theory itself had a lot of supporting evidence to back it, but was ultimately confirmed as nothing more than fan speculation when Zoom umasked in The Flash’s 15th episode of Season 2.
Barry Allen [of Earth-2]:
After doppelgängers had been confirmed to appear in The Flash’s second season and after said doppelgängers began to emerge as “evil counterparts” to their Earth-1 selves people began to believe that on Earth-2 Barry was potentially struck by lightning and, rather than becoming a hero, he became a villain. While the story itself would have been fascinating to see unfold on screen, the theory ultimately began to lose traction after Earth-2 Harrison “Harry” Wells appeared and made no mention of having had a parallel encounter with Barry as his Earth-1 counterpart – Harrison/Eobard – had in Season 1. Eventually, Zoom’s overall larger stature, and the official introduction of Earth-2 Barry Allen laid this theory to rest.
Wally West [of Earth-1 or Earth-2]:
One of the more interesting theories – and it wasn’t only a theory based in identity – was the theory that Zoom was somehow “infected” and that, by season’s end Zoom would not only be revealed as a version of Wally West, but he’d also be cured and would no longer be corrupt – freeing the character up to appears as Kid Flash in Season 3. While the theory was alluring to many who came across it, Zoom’s overall brutality and willingness to kill left people hoping that is wasn’t Wally West, as they (the fans) didn’t see a redemption storyline as feasible based on the aforementioned brutality of the character.
Barry Allen [from the future]:
The first trailer for The Flash’s second season came out not long after a story wrapped in the comics – Future’s End – which featured a corrupt, blue suited/lightning version of Barry Allen, and this led to speculation that Zoom could be an adaption of this aforementioned character. The theory garnered even more attention when an Australian promo for Season 2 seemed to feature Barry with blue lightning coursing through his eyes; while some interpreted that as Barry being Zoom, other’s – rightfully – interpreted it as Zoom running through Barry’s field of vision, causing a reflection of the blue lightning in Barry’s eye. Regardless the “future Barry” theory remained pertinent – just as it did in Season 1 – as fans claimed that The Flash would adapt the now classic quotation of, “you either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain”.