The Flash: Who is Zoom?

the flash series 2 enter zoom hunter zolomon jay garrick teddy sears eddie thawne fight hd image

Across the course of The Flash season 2 so far, a new villain has been established – Zoom. The overarching villain of this season, Zoom has already demonstrated he’s a significant threat; he stole Jay Garrick’s speed, kidnapped E2 Harrison Wells’ daughter, and completely decimated Barry in their only confrontation of the series. 

We know that Zoom is a force to be reckoned with. But we don’t know who he is.

The question of Zoom’s identity has been hotly debated, with various possibilities emerging; you’ve got E2 Harrison Wells, Jay Garrick, E2 Barry Allen, Henry Allen of either Earth, Barry Allen from the future, and Patty Spivot. (That last one is, obviously, most likely. They do both wear blue, after all.) Any possibility could be quite compelling, of course, but when it comes down to it, to me there’s only one identity for Zoom that could really, truly work.

And that’s Eddie Thawne.

Now, allow me to explain. In case you’ve forgotten, Eddie Thawne was one of the central characters throughout much of last year’s run; he was a police detective, partnered with Joe West, and in a relationship with Iris West. (That, obviously, lead to something of a love triangle between Barry, Iris and Eddie; your mileage will vary on quite how successful you considered it to have been.) Crucially, Eddie was also revealed to be an ancestor of the time travelling Reverse Flash, who was the overarching villain of that season; in the final episode, Eddie sacrificed himself, committing suicide to stop the Reverse Flash from ever having existed.

He died, saving everyone. So, how can he be the villain this season?

the flash eddie thawne zoom reverse flash eobard thawne jay garrick hunter zolomon season 2 rick cosnett

Well, in comic book television programs, death is only as permanent as the writers want it to be. You can see that on The Flash last year, with the many deaths and returns of Ronnie Raymond; the same has been true over on Arrow, with various characters returning after their presumed demise. Previously you could at least say that a character wasn’t dead unless you’d seen the body – but even that’s not true anymore, with Arrow showing us the emaciated corpse of Sara Lance before promptly returning her to life.

It follows, then, that the same could be true of Eddie. His death is in fact particularly suspicious when you realise that his corpse was pulled into a wormhole, and his body not seen since then; that’s exactly the sort of event that could give someone speed related powers, isn’t it? Notably, Zoom’s lightning has been shown in shades of blue, implicitly linking him to that same wormhole; perhaps this indicates that his powers come from the wormhole?

Interestingly, Jay Garrick described Zoom as being “a speed demon”; that, I think, is the sort of description that could be applied to someone who died, and exists in a state of temporal limbo as a result of being pulled into a wormhole. (An obvious counter response to this would be asking how Zoom found himself on Earth 2 before the wormhole opened; it’s just another case of the peculiarities of time travel, really.)

Two upcoming villains in the latter half of season 2 indicate, perhaps, that Zoom is Eddie Thawne; now, I’m only going off officially released information, but this could still constitute spoilers, so you might want to skip this paragraph. We’ve got two villains confirmed to be appearing soon: the Turtle, and the Reverse Flash. Both are important, albeit for different reasons. The Turtle’s powers are the ability to speed down time; this is something typically linked to the character Zoom in the comics. (He, notably, is not Eddie, but there are several distinct similarities that indicate Eddie could have been inspired by him.) It’s also the sort of power one might expect someone to get from a time-y wimey wormhole; the Turtle could be foreshadowing and establishing this power set for Zoom.  The relevance of the Reverse Flash is obvious; if he still exists, it indicates that perhaps his ancestor Eddie wasn’t quite so dead after all.

That covers the circumstances that could lead to how Eddie became Zoom; another, more interesting question, is why.

the flash reverse flash zoom eddie thawne jesse quick violet beane rick cosnett tom cavanagh teddy sears jay garrick hunter zolomon kidnap captive

I don’t mean why in terms of motivations, though; I’ve honestly no idea what they might be. Could be as simple as wanting revenge, or Eddie going crazy; if I were to guess, I’d figure it’s a bit of both, but perhaps with the addition of elements of Zoom’s motivations from the source material. (Essentially fighting the Flash to try and make him a better hero; arguably this was signposted with the revelation that Zoom is trying to make Barry faster.)

No, I mean why in terms of why, thematically speaking, Eddie being Zoom gives us the richest and most compelling storylines.

Recall, if you will, how the season began: Barry felt like he wasn’t the hero of Central City, not really, because Eddie was the one who had stopped the Reverse Flash, not him. Eddie’s death was a really significant, emotional event for Barry; consider how seismic a revelation it would be for Barry to find out that his friend, whose sacrifice pushed him to be a better hero, is now the man trying to kill him. The same would be true of Iris as well, in fact; the man she loved is now a murderer to be feared.

(This, incidentally, is why Zoom shouldn’t be someone’s Earth 2 counterpart; it’d strip the revelation of any emotional significance. If Zoom was Eddie from Earth 2, none of the above is true; Zoom is simply someone who looks like a person they cared about. It really wouldn’t work in the same way. Furthermore, though, they indicated in The Darkness and the Light that Zoom knows about Barry’s personal life, which does suggest he’s from Earth 1.)

They’ve also built a few parallels with Eddie into Zoom’s story now; as you can see in the above picture, Zoom has been holding E2 Wells’ daughter captive, in much the same way that Wells last year held Eddie captive. It’s an interesting reversal, and to me it does indicate that there’s some weight to the idea that Zoom is Eddie; the writers are intelligent people, and the parallels here would be obvious to them too. It’s entirely possible I’m reading too far into this, yes, but I do think it’s worth consideration.

More telling, though, is one of Zoom’s first lines spoken to Barry: “Heroes die”. It’s a firm rejection of Eddie’s dying words – All I ever wanted was to be your hero.” Well, Eddie was a hero, and he died because of it. Whilst the connection I made between Wells imprisoning Eddie and Zoom imprisoning Jesse could, arguably, be a bit of a stretch, I doubt that the writers would include such an overt parallel without it being intended to mean something. To me, that’s one of the most significant pieces of evidence that foreshadows the revelation that Eddie is Zoom.

In any case, though, that concludes this little theory. I’d be interested to see if I’ve convinced you, or if you still disagree; let me know what you think in the comments.

Regardless of what happens, I do know one thing – it’s going to be really, really impressive.

This article was previously posted on the Yahoo TV website.

Related:

The Flash season 2 reviews

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