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Who Is Zoom in ‘The Flash’ Series? And Why Is That Such a Hard Question To Answer?

Hunter Zolomon, a.k.a. Zoom in 'The Flash' TV series

Despite being side-eyed by the internet, The Flash is coming to theaters soon. If you’re like me and didn’t realize the Flash actually had villains of his own, boy do I have a story for you! It’s the story of Hunter Zolomon, also known as the villain Zoom! He’s a bigger villain than Ezra Miller! Could he have picked a less threatening name? I don’t think so.

While we’re still waiting to find out which villains will appear in The Flash movie, there’s a whole other Flash story coming to an end on the small screen with the final season of The CW series The Flash. And this Zoom guy is all over the thing.

So who is Zoom in the comics?

Hunter Zolomon is a young man who had a really rough life. Just abysmal. His father was a serial killer responsible for the murder of six little girls and Zoloman’s own mother. After his father was gunned down in a battle with the police, Zolomon was orphaned. He became obsessed with the criminal mind because of this incident, and later went on to study criminology and psychology before starting a career with the FBI. After a disastrous encounter with an armed criminal, Zolomon needed a cane to walk. He was fired from the FBI due to fallout from his mission, and picked up a career as a profiler, befriending speedster Wally West. It was then that he was injured again—this time during an encounter with Gorilla Grodd—and left paralyzed from the waist down. Zolomon begged West to use a time traveling cosmic treadmill (yes, really) to go back into the past and prevent his injury, but Wally refused, as he didn’t want to mess up the timestream. Wally’s decision shattered the pair’s friendship, and left Zolomon bitter and angry. He attempted to use the treadmill himself, but a malfunction caused the machine to explode, which left Zolomon miraculously unparalyzed! He also gained super speed powers from the result of the explosion, and was able to travel through time.

Still resentful of Wally West, Zolomon reasoned that the speedster had refused to help him because he had never suffered a tragedy in his own life. Zolomon then made it his life’s mission to bring pain and misery to Wally, and dubbed himself “Zoom,” a villainous speedster. And boy was he villainous. While working with the psychopathic Reverse Flash, Eobard Thawne, Zoom caused Wally West’s wife to have a miscarriage. And it only gets worse from there …

Does Zoom show up in The Flash TV show?

Okay, so this is where things get REALLY CONFUSING. So, Barry Allen of Earth-1 meets Jay Garrick, the Flash of Earth-2, after the former discovers the multiverse. In Jay’s universe, he has lost his speedster powers and Central City is under attack from his nemesis, Zoom. Meanwhile on Earth-1, Jay Garrick forms a relationship with Barry’s friend Caitlin, and shows her his Earth-1 doppelganger: a quiet young man named—you guessed it—Hunter Zolomon.

After Barry fights Zoom on Earth-2, he meets a strange man in an iron mask who has been held prisoner by the villain. Due to his mask, the man can only communicate in POW tap codes. He spells out the word “Jay” before Zoom comes in and stops him. Meanwhile on Earth-1, Caitlin makes Jay Garrick a drug that gives him his powers back in order to fend off an attack.

Later, Zoom jumps through a portal into Earth-1 and kills Jay Garrick before returning to his own world of Earth-2. He then takes off his mask to reveal that he IS JAY GARRICK?! In a later episode, we learn that Jay Garrick is an alias being used by Zoom. His real name is Hunter Zolomon and he is a serial killer on Earth-2 (he was inspired by his father, remember that?). Zolomon was captured on Earth-2, but gained speed powers as the result of an electroshock therapy session.

According to the Hunter of Earth-2, he pretended to be the Flash as a cover to cause chaos and destruction. Hunter later reveals the he is inexplicably dying and needs more Speed Force to survive. He hatches a plan to steal the Speed Force from Barry Allen by helping him run faster and faster, fattening him up like a goose liver. In order to convince S.T.A.R. labs that he isn’t a bad guy, he uses a younger “Time Remnant” version of himself and convinces his past self to pose as Jay. THIS is the Jay Garrick that we saw Zoom kill.

Yes, it is confusing af.

There are still TONS of unanswered questions that not even the finest theorists on Reddit can answer. Shouldn’t your past self dying mean that YOU ALSO DIE?! Or disappear from the universe entirely? Create a time paradox-black hole-something? Also, where did Hunter Zolomon get the name Jay Garrick from? In the comics, Jay Garrick is the ORIGINAL FLASH from Flash #1 that was released in 1940. Garrick actually serves as a mentor to Barry Allen from time to time. Why is he now a serial killer? What were these writers smoking? Also WHO THE F—K IS THE MASKED MAN? HOW DOES HE KNOW ALL THIS STUFF? WHY DID HE SIGNAL “JAY” IF HUNTER ZOLOMON IS ZOOM’S TRUE IDENTITY?

Some people on Reddit think that the Masked Man is actually Hunter Zolomon’s dad, and that Zolomon was the one who killed all those little girls and his own mother, then let his dad be punished for it. Honestly not a bad theory. But it still doesn’t solve the glaring time paradox BS.

Ultimately, the Hunter/Jay/Zoom identity snafu is a blight on an otherwise extremely well-made series. But that’s what happens when you mess around with time and parallel dimensions. Things get wacky. And if you don’t have an A1 team of writers who can handle it, the series is going to suffer. Unless of course the writers are so good that they’re playing 3D mental chess with us and they’re 12 moves ahead. Maybe The Flash writers are gonna hit us with the plot twist to end all plot twists and end things in a way that’s satisfying. But for my money, the plot has twisted and turned enough already. I’m starting to get carsick.

(featured image: The CW)

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Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels in crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.