Barry, Barry, Barry…if only you’d left well enough alone. The Flash season two episode 18 found Barry unwilling to give up on the idea of taking down Zoom once and for all. Episode 18 titled ‘Versus Zoom’ also delved into Zoom’s past and exposed the path he took to becoming the evil master villain who terrorized Earth-1 and Earth-2. One of the better episodes of season two, ‘Versus Zoom’ packed in the action but also allowed for quieter moments for the characters to connect and confirm that despite the dangerous situations they find themselves in, they’re still family.
Next up is a visit to Earth-2 many years ago where a young Hunter Zolomon watches as his father beats up his mother. The father places his helmet on Hunter’s head and then shoots his wife, leaving Hunter an orphan. No relatives claimed him so he winds up at an orphanage.
Present day, Barry’s in Keystone City ready to test the tachyon device. He turns it on, it charges him up, and he definitely feels different. And he’s off…speeding back to Caitlin, Cisco and Iris at S.T.A.R. Labs as they monitor his speed. He’s never gone this fast before and his vitals are great. He says he can go even faster and does, arriving at the lab after going four times faster than ever before. Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) strolls in and says that’s faster than Zoom’s ever gone. Barry wants the tachyon device to be made a bit smaller but other than that he’s ready to go get Zoom. Cisco (Carlos Valdes) points out the small problem with that plan: the breaches are closed. Barry asks Harrison about opening them and Harrison suggests he forget about the breaches and Zoom. He’s definitely not on board with helping Barry get to Zoom because Harrison doesn’t want Zoom to attack anyone they know and care for ever again. But Barry’s determined to not let Zoom get away with what he’s done. After Harrison leaves, Barry tells they gang they’ll get to Earth-2 even without Harrison’s help.
Joe and Barry finish up a dinner of pizza and beer, and Joe wants to know if he’s sticking around to watch Formula One with Wally. Barry passes on the offer because he needs to get back to work at the lab on the breach problem, but Joe thinks Barry should listen to Harrison and just forget about it. In walks Wally (with his laundry), and Joe offers him money to help with his college living expenses. Wally declines the money, and after he leaves Joe confesses to Barry he can’t figure him out. “I wonder if his doppleganger is that complicated,” says Joe, and Barry looks like he has an idea.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Cisco and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) tell Barry thus far the only plan they have is to set off a nuclear warhead next to the city’s electrical grid which, of course, is never going to happen. Barry asks Wells for everything he knows about Cisco’s doppleganger, Reverb. Wells says he can access the multi-dimensional energies between Earths. He can see through dimensions and find breaches. Barry adds, “Reverb had the ability to somehow manipulate that multi-dimensional energy.” Which means Reverb can open a breach to any Earth, and that means Cisco can also do it.
Cisco concentrates and nothing happens. Barry wants him to try again, encouraging him but he still fails. After a couple of attempts, Cisco says he can’t do it and leaves.
Wells shows up at Joe’s house and wants to know if Joe’s had any luck finding his daughter. And, he also wants Joe to talk Barry out of reopening the breach to Earth-2. Joe says he can’t, even though he thinks it’s a dumb idea. Barry’s too stubborn and no way will he let it go. Joe asks Wells to do him a favor and help Barry because he’ll stand a better chance of beating Zoom.
Cisco and Barry go to where a breach used to exist and Cisco tries once again. Nothing happens, and Cisco is frustrated. Then Wells shows up and tells Barry he’ll help so Barry doesn’t get himself killed. Wells gives Cisco new re-calibrated goggles and this time Cisco is able to open the breach. On Earth-2, Zoom hears the breach open and says, “Keep coming, Cisco. Keep coming!” Cisco yanks off the glasses and closes the breach, telling Barry he can’t do it and to please never ask him to do it ever again.
At S.T.A.R. Labs Wells has given the tachyon absorption enhancer an upgrade. Caitlin, Wells, and Barry haven’t seen Cisco, and Joe and Iris show up to see if they can help with anything. Joe asks Barry why Wally won’t let him help out financially, and Barry explains it’s because Wally wants him to ask him to move in, not give him money to live somewhere else. Meanwhile, Iris (Candice Patton) and Caitlin talk about whether it actually is Iris’ destiny to be with Barry.
It turns out Barry was right. Joe sets up a bedroom for Wally and then offers it to him, and Wally’s smile is huge as he says yes.
Cisco finally confesses to Barry that he’s worried he’ll turn to the dark side if he opens breaches. He’s Anakin Skywalker right now, but this could be how he becomes Darth Vader. That’s what happened to Reverb, and Barry laughs and says he gets it. He’s also been worried about any new ability he’s learned, but Cisco’s been there for him. Cisco has Caitlin, Barry, Iris, Wells, and Joe, which is something Reverb never had. They are family. With that, Cisco agrees to try again.
Caitlin’s worried and definitely doesn’t want to face Jay again, and while discussing the man they now know is Zoom she says his Earth-1 doppleganger was Hunter Zolomon. Wells asks if she’s sure, which she is, and Wells reveals on Earth-2 Hunter Zolomon is a well known serial killer. He killed 23 people, was sent to a mental institute, and had daily electroshock therapy. The particle accelerator explosion happened while Hunter was receiving one of those treatments. That’s how he became Zoom. Jay doesn’t know they know this, and Barry thinks that will work to their advantage.
Cisco opens a breach and Zoom immediately comes through and faces The Flash (Cisco runs out of the room, hopefully to safety). Zoom taunts The Flash and then they set off racing across the city. Zoom’s getting close to Barry but Barry keeps just ahead of him, leading him to where Wells and Joe wait to shoot Zoom. The chase leads back to S.T.A.R. Labs where The Flash stops and he and Zoom circle one another, with Zoom saying he still wants to take The Flash’s speed. They race around S.T.A.R. Labs and up pops a life-size cutout of Hunter’s dad. Zoom stares at it and then they’re off again, this time with a life-size cutout of Hunter’s mom stopping Zoom in his tracks. The Flash shoots Zoom and then rips off his mask, pushing him to the ground. Zoom asks how they figured out his real name and Barry reminds him he told Caitlin the name of his Earth-1 doppleganger. Barry tells him they would have helped him, but Zoom says it would have only been a temporary cure that Caitlin could offer. Zoom admits he doesn’t care how many people he kills and tells Barry he could have just as easily become a bad guy. Barry tells him it’s over and Zoom says, “You can’t lock up the Darkness.” His eyes turn black and his hand vibrates and off he goes with The Flash hot on his heels. They race across the city again and The Flash loses him.
Joe, Iris, and Barry head back to Joe’s and the house is torn apart. On the wall in Wally’s room is a message: “Your speed for Wally.” (Barry should have listened to Joe and Wells!)
Wally is locked up in the cage on Earth-2 and Zoom tells him only one person can help him and that’s The Flash. Wally doesn’t know The Flash, but Zoom tells him someone The Flash cares about cares about him.
At Joe’s they try to figure out what to do and Barry says they’ll do what they have to to get Wally back. Barry is willing to give Zoom his speed in exchange for Wally.
At S.T.A.R. Labs, Cisco puts on the goggles and can see Wally in the cage by touching Jay’s helmet. Cisco also sees Zoom and tells him Barry’s willing to make the deal. Zoom brings Wally back through the breach to S.T.A.R. Labs where everyone points their guns at Zoom. Barry says, “My speed for Wally’s life. Hand him over and it’s yours.” Zoom hands him over and Cisco quickly gets Wally to safety. Wells prepares to take Barry’s speed from him, but he needs to calibrate the gadget that will do the job. He also threatens Jay, saying, “One day I’m going to knock that smug expression clean off your face.” Barry realizes this was Jay’s plan all along, and Jay admits that’s true. He used his time remnant by going back in time (like the Reverse Flash) and he knew that if they saw Jay die, then they’d try to make Barry go faster. Barry asks who the man in the iron mask is and Jay replies, “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” He also says he dressed as The Flash to give people hope, just so he could rip it away from them. Caitlin calls him a monster which reminds him of his mom saying that to his dad before his dad shot her.
Barry prepares to have his speed removed. He starts running in place, with Wells collecting the speed in the speed force transmitter. They watch as it fills up as Barry runs slower and slower until he’s human once again. They rush to him when he collapses and Wells hands Jay the transmitter. He immediately injects himself and grabs Barry by the neck with Caitlin begging him to let Barry go if he has any humanity left. He does, throwing Barry to the ground. Then he grabs Caitlin and leaves!