Image Credit - BossLogic
Personally speaking, I thought that the second season of The Flash was weak; despite a strong start, it ultimately faltered, and couldn’t quite reach the heights of its stellar first season. The central issue, to my mind, was the rather convoluted reveal that ‘Jay Garrick’, as we knew him, was in fact Zoom the entire series. I’d argue there were several issues here, which I’ll get to shortly.
What I find so surprising, though, is that the writers had a much better option open to them that they decided not to take. I’m quite firmly of the believe that had Zoom been revealed to be Eddie, he would have been a far superior villain, and indeed given us a far superior season to boot. I’ve written a little bit about this before, highlighting why I thought Eddie-as-Zoom not only made sense in terms of the plot, but also thematically and dramatically. Consider - Barry has been dealing with the choice he made at the end of the S1 finale. What better villain to confront him with than the one who most directly suffered from this? Of course, it doesn’t even have to be a simple “I want to kill you” motivation – were Zoom’s actions an attempt to mould Barry into a better hero, there’s the potential for a far more nuanced perspective. Indeed, it also allows the final stretch of episode to work better - rather than the metahuman army being a bit of filler, adding a farcical desire to conquer the world to Zoom’s character, it’s about pushing Barry, stretching him, challenging him. The motivation of Zoom as presented was quite poor; to simply say that the villain is a madman and acts on insanity is, I’d argue, not a motivation of any real dramatic interest.
Of course, what also allows for more dramatic weight is the fact that Eddie would have a pre-existing relationship with many of our core characters. This was presumably the intention behind introducing ‘Jay Garrick’ at the start of the season – to give the eventual identity reveal more impact – but this ultimately felt flat and derivative, little more than a repeat of the first season’s reveal that Barry’s mentor Harrison Wells was in fact the Reverse Flash. Eddie, however, was Joe’s partner and Iris’ boyfriend; coming to terms with the fact he’s now a villain, particularly while still grieving for the Eddie they knew, would surely be a far more meaningful scene than any we ultimately got last year. It would also have provided Candice Patton with some much needed screentime, bringing Iris much closer to the centre of the program, and further developing the character.
(Interestingly, Eddie-as-Zoom hews far closer to the source material than the show actually did, presenting Zoom as a wounded cop and former friend of the Flash who is now trying to push him to be better. While I’d be the last to advocate slavish adherence to the comics, this did seem worthy of note, albeit largely as a point of curiosity rather than anything else.)
Ultimately, then, had Zoom been revealed as Eddie, rather than ‘Jay Garrick’, The Flash season two would have been able to avoid several key weaknesses, as well as advancing a storyline with a much stronger dramatic weight and thematic resonance.
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