As “Versus Zoom” approaches, following a brief hiatus, episode 16 of the Flash “Trajectory” was all about misnomers as Jay Garrick is morally discarded, and Barry Allen faces off against another speedster. Marking the beginning of a poignant two episodes in the game of manipulation, just what exactly, makes Barry Allen special?
Determined to propel forward, and live up to his season one declaration of being ‘the fastest man alive’, Trajectory opens as Barry and Cisco work on improving his speed beside – and over- a canyon. In order to become fast enough to enter the breaches, their optimism in the fight against the impossible.
As an audience, knowing that Zoom is Hunter Zoloman, aka Jay-2..or 1 rather, Barry’s speed may be lost without the V9 enhancements of his opposition.
With some comical quips about the literary figure that is Kanye West; and the Political legacy that is Beyonce in Earth 2, the Star Labs team are yet to completely give up.
Though, insistent on a much-needed break, the team convince Barry; and Jesse convinces Wells, to go out and have some fun.
Later that night, the team join Iris and Wally in a club. Whilst some nervous flirtation between our two newcomers – Wally and Jesse – doesn’t go amiss, Jesse is distracted by her Father’s murderous confessions on her meta-watch – which seems as stupid as handing over your computer without clearing the browser history first.
Elsewhere, as Iris discusses being married to Barry in both, the future and Earth-2, another speedster arrives to put an end to their short-lived partying. Though public opinion believes the Flash has become a thief, Barry chases after her, shocked by her anonymity and faster speed.
As Iris struggles to keep the paper from slandering the Flash’s reputation, Jesse confronts her father over murdering the Turtle. Unable to see beyond the killer, Jesse confesses that her father will no longer be her hero.
As the Star Labs team try to determine the Speedster’s origins, Caitlin is forced to relent to her creation of V9; as an angry Barry argues the benefit it could’ve rewarded him with – despite the risks.
As Caitlin confesses that “the V9 is deadly” a comforting Cisco, is shocked to vibe indistinct images from her sadness. Distracted by “Bad Flash” ’s reemergence on Meta-Tinder, Barry leaves; discovering that his enemy is indeed, a she.
Both excited at the prospect of a female speedster, and the construct of her suit, Cisco’s romanticisation is put aside, as Caitlin incriminates her former colleague in her origins. Identified as Eliza Harmon, Caitlin and Jo pay a visit to Mercury Labs for answers.
Elsewhere, Iris stalls the paper’s action against Barry, subsequently placing her at a ‘date’ with her boss; Scott.
Back at Mercury Labs, Eliza works tirelessly to defend herself to a voice seemingly in her head. As she takes the lab’s last dose of the reverse-engineered V9, the speedster is revealed to be her, as she confronts her reflection. If perchance, Jay Garrick is Zoom, and not Hunter, then perhaps Jay is the naive victim of addiction, much like Eliza’s situation.
Back at Star Labs, Wells confronts Barry; who has stolen the V9. Though he hasn’t taken it, Barry expresses his defeat in playing a rigged game. With Wells’ advice, he relents; smashing the V9 on the ground.
“You lose a chunk of your humanity every time you compromise you’re values” – Harrison Wells
As Eliza aka Trajectory attacks Star Labs; looking for the serum, Jesse is held as leverage at gunpoint. As Caitlin tries to tell her that she’s sick, Eliza takes aim at Cisco. Though unharmed, he vibes Zoom.
Forced to cooperate, Eliza has Wells creating more V9, as both sides have run out.
Back at CC Jitters and Iris’ date with Scott, he expresses his scepticism at the notion of a hero – noting that even heroes need to be held accountable.
As Scott gets caught up in their date, Iris’ guilt is palpable as he realises he was being played. Later, Iris makes it known that despite her falsehoods of the evening, she’d be interested in dating Scott.
At Star Labs, tensions peak, as Eliza tests the V9 on Jesse. Having left, the team race to save Jesse who is now overdosing on the V9.
With differing blood types – or at least names for them – on Earth-2, Wells is left to be Jesse’s sole saviour, with a blood transfusion.
Though he later promises to make his indiscretions up to her, Jesse leaves town for Opal City, unwilling to forgive her father. Whilst it’s a welcome Easter Egg to include Opal City in the episode – the home of Adam Foster; who is connected to the Supergirl Universe – the Flash x Supergirl crossover event sought to end speculation on Jesse’s future, as it confirmed Supergirl was another world.
Prior to her exit, Caitlin helps track Eliza; having laced the V9 with a microtracker.
The team are led into a dire situation, as Trajectory’s speed threatens to destroy a bridge and everyone on it.
As Barry tries to save everyone, the addition of his speed, alongside his fight against Eliza, causes the bridge to crumble. Having to truly apply his speed -training in the field, Barry realises that he needs to be able to run across the river, at a certain speed for a limited amount of time.
Though he is able to knock her down, Eliza tries to inject herself with V9 again. Seemingly overdosing, her lightning turns blue -like Zoom – and she disintegrates before him.
Will Zoom’s demise come before Barry can confront him? Unlikely in the DC universe of action, but a legitimate claim. Will Barry’s own sacrifice doom Zoom?
Back at Star Labs, Barry comes to the same conclusion; omitting any awareness of Hunter Zoloman, as the team determined Eliza’s death was due to cellular degeneration. Though he’s convinced Zoom is dying, the team forgo the theory that Zoom is evil because of V9; though Jay’s story started out as innocently as Barry’s plight. This then is why I still lead with Hunter Zoloman as our villain; for Barry’s sake.
As everyone but Caitlin remains unaware of Hunter, Barry finds himself questioning the residual image, often created by the speed-force – concluding that Zoom is the residual image of Jay. With the notion of Doppelganger’s forgotten, Cisco confirms Barry’s assumption as he vibes Zoom unmasking himself to be, what looks like, Jay.
With this revelation, we enter episode 17, “Flash Back” as Barry’s anger is not dissuaded by a return to the past, and the notion of falsehood and pseudo-mentors.
“Flash Back” opens with Barry’s angry narration regarding Jay Garrick; over being manipulated by his mentors, for his power. Almost as if he doesn’t realise he’s playing into his enemy’s hands, Barry is determined to become faster; the fastest, in order to stop Zoom.
Continuing her scepticism from the episode prior, Caitlin thinks Barry will be unable to reach the maximum speed.
Back at the West residence, Iris tells Barry that she’s dating Scott, though she confesses that she can’t help but remember Eddie; and thereby feels guilty.
After offering some comfort, Wally arrives. Discussing his school work on mechanical engineering, Barry is inspired to follow suit. Whilst there doesn’t seem to be a suit upgrade in sight, Barry decides to revisit the wise – yet evil – words of Eobard Thawne aka Pseudo-Wells.
Despite Wells-2’s objections, Barry begins to plan for a trip back in time to confront his old mentor; warned against interfering with the timeline.
Traveling back to the Pied Piper’s time at Star labs, prior to Ronnie’s reemergence, his death and subsequently Eddie’s death, Barry is forced to knock his old self out upon confrontation; unable to tell him the truth about Pseudo-Wells.
With mere hours to seek Wells’ help, he switches his emblem for the one on his old suit, captures Hartley aka the Pied Piper, and goes to Star Labs.
Already interfering with the timeline, new Barry prevents Hartley from using his ear tech to escape the Star Lab’s prison…for now.
His perceptiveness begins the first of Pseudo-Wells’ suspicions; before he is even able to ask for help.
In Barry’s lab at the CCPD, a cop is attacked by a creature that first appeared in Barry’s time-portal. Resembling a Dementor, Barry is forced to leave Star Labs and intervene. Having sped away, I can’t help but wonder if he appeared to have become faster to an already suspicious Pseudo-Wells.
Arriving too late; the Dementor having fled, Barry runs into Eddie; his awkward grief misplaced as jealously to an unsuspecting Joe.
With time running out, the Star Labs team are further distracted by the Dementor’s presence.
As Barry admits he’s seen it before, omitting that it was on his trip back through time, Wells’ suspicions grow even more.
With subtle jokes to his future self’s meta-human identity, the Star Labs team set Cisco upon the task of tracking it.
His suspicions having grown too strong, Pseudo-Wells he takes Barry aside; knocking him out, where he later awakens in the braille/time vault room.
In his interrogation of Barry, Wells’ reveals that Dementor is actually a time wraith, who; free of a presumably trademarked villainous name, hunts time travellers.
Revealing himself to be Eobard, predicting the lack of shock on Barry’s face, Barry’s trip from the future is all but revealed.
When questioning his presence, Barry reveals that he’s in town -and time- for the speed-force equation. Implying that Eobard isn’t around in the future, Wells’ is threatened by his assumed defeat.
Covering his ass, Barry lies; telling him that he was beaten and he had returned home to his future, but the singularity issue still exists.
Yet to be fully convinced, Wells questions why he would have any need for Barry if he was successful. With the ploy of a hidden letter, threatening to give Wells’ away, he is forced to concede his aid to Barry.
Elsewhere, Cisco wants to know how Hartley’s gloves work; more specifically, which frequency they operate on; as the Wraith arrives, attacking Caitlin.
Led into a cell with Hartley, he is able to convince Cisco and Caitlin to give him the gloves, wherein he is able to frighten the wraith off with their frequency – though not destroy it completely.
Feeling indebted, Wells instructs the team to fix his gloves as a way of destroying the Wraith completely.
As Barry goes to the CCPD to research other ways to stop the Wraith, he runs into Eddie once more; taking the initiative to record a message from him to Iris, on the pretence of it being a Birthday gift.
As Hartley helps the team fix his gloves, old – well, current- Barry arrives, confronting his future self.
As humour ensues, Barry confesses to his trip through time as Wells gives Barry the Tachyon enhancement needed to answer the speed-force equation; to take home.
As Barry is sent home, he entrusts the Star Labs team with discovering how to beat the Wraith by the literal time, he gets back, as it follows him.
Upon his return, present day Hartley is able to help Barry stop the Wraith, leaving him a bigger friend to Star Labs than he already was over the past year or so.
Back at the West residence, Iris mournfully looks over photos of Eddie, causing Barry to seize the opportunity to show her the video; omitting the method of its creation.
As Barry decides to approach his enemies head on, reminded of the losses caused by his last mentor, he picks up Jay’s helmet – still unaware of Hunter Zoloman- determined to win this time.
Tonight, we see the origins of Hunter Zoloman in “Versus Zoom”!
[Featured Image Courtesy of Diyah Pera/The CW; Source Content for Gifs: The Flash, The CW 2016 ]