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'The Flash': Zoom's Introduction Is The Stuff of Central City Nightmares

'What do you want from me?' 'Everything.'

Damn. Tonight's episode of “The Flash” didn't pull any punches — narratively or, you know, literally. Zoom's proper introduction to the people of Earth-One and Team Flash was the stuff of nightmares. This is what defining/raising stakes looks like, people.

On any other show, I might be worried that the writers don't know what they're doing by creating such an all-powerful, seemingly sociopathic super-villain and unleashing him so totally this early in the season. Not on "The Flash," though. This show continues to exceed my high expectations. I am terrified of Zoom, and I have never been happier as a "Flash" fan.

Here were the seven best moments from the amazing "Enter Zoom."

  1. Linda plays Dr. Light to lure Zoom into a trap.
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    This episode almost felt like a two-for-one. For the first two acts, we got the dramedy that was Linda Park (Malese Jow) pretending to be Dr. Light so Team Flash could lure Zoom into a trap — and it was so very entertaining, while also representing some real heroism on the part of Linda.

    Watching Linda train on "Men in Black"-style cardboard cut-outs of Team Flash? Delightful. Seeing Linda and Barry pantomine a Flash v. metahuman fight like they were kids playing The Flash on the playground? Delightful. Barry having to move because his foot had fallen asleep while he was playing wounded? Also delightful.

    But, arguably, the biggest dramatic moment in this early storyline came in Barry's decision to reveal his superhero alter ego to his ex-girlfriend. In his eyes, it is the least he can do for someone he himself trusts who is willing to risk her life to save people. And, yes, Linda's reaction is perfect: "Holy crap. I've made out with The Flash."

  2. Linda and Iris are besties, and it is everything.
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    Well, technically, Barry is Iris' bestie, but Linda is her work-bestie. The two pull guns to save each other's lives. Make crossfit plans. And, apparently, end their workdays with a nightcap. Which is awesome.

    "It's too dangerous, right?" Barry asks Iris when he comes up with the plan of using Linda as Zoom bait. Iris' response: "Let Linda decide." It's fitting that Iris is the one simplifying this (apparently complicated) dilemma for Barry. After all, this same choice should have been given to Iris re: knowing The Flash's identity at any point in season 1.

    I am loving the subtle, strong relationship between co-workers Iris and Linda. On a lesser show, these two would have been depicted as in competition with one another. On "The Flash," they are comrades in arms. They have one another's backs — from Iris literally saving Linda's life when Dr. Light came to the office to Iris insisting Team Flash respect Linda's right to make decisions for herself.

  3. "You're responsible for your own happiness, Barry."

    Like most great episodes of "The Flash," the Linda-as-Light set-up was also effective for the ways in which it made Team Flash, and Barry especially, define his purpose. When Joe suggests that Barry is so adamant about catching Zoom so quickly because he never fully got closure with the Reverse Flash, Barry corrects him. It isn't that he wishes he had been the one to finally do Eobard Thawne in. It's something Thawne said to him in his final video message: that he will never be happy.

    In his Joe West Parenting Moment of The Week, Joe awesomely calls B.S. "He may have stalked you for 15 years. But I raised you ... You're responsible for your own happiness, Barry," Joe tells him, prompting Barry to go find Patty and kiss her. (Because getting to know her makes him happy. Aww. ?)

  4. Unfortunately, both Barry and Joe are lying to Patty, and it's getting awkward.

    It's impressive that, after only a few episodes, Patty has already ingratiated herself so fully into this world that I feel guilty Barry and Joe are totally lying to her — especially given that Barry tells Linda his superhero identity in this very episode.

    If Patty were just Barry's new girlfriend or just Joe's new partner, it might feel less necessary to tell her the truth, but — for some reason — it seems even more important that Patty learn the truth. She's being lied to from two directions, just like Iris, and it hurts to watch, especially with Patty trying so hard to get Joe to be honest with her.

  5. Zoom is the scariest TV villain we've seen in a LONG time.

    One of the best things about "The Flash" is it knows how to use a spectrum of tones and emotions. Sure, it is consistently campy and sincere and sentimental, but, beyond that, it understands that an episode of television can be both funny and heart-stoppingly frightening.

    Those disparate aims don't detract from one another — on the contrary, the scope makes the show that much more engrossing by highlighting in contrast the heights and depths of this storytelling universe.

    That's a rambly way of saying: Zoom's apparent lack of empathy and regard for human life is that much scarier when we are reminded of how good and joyful and full of wonder the members of Team Flash are.

    There has been so much hype surrounding the introduction of Zoom — both in "The Flash" universe and in "The Flash" fandom, but this somehow managed to exceed all expectations. There was lightning bolt catching. There was freefall fighting. There was literal back-breaking, and Zoom straight-up catching a handful of bullets like he is collecting damn bubbles from the air.

    But the most terrifying part? Watching Zoom drag Barry around Central City like a limp doll to represent just how much more powerful he is. And reminding us viewers just how much Barry — and the people who love Barry — have to lose.

    Barry only barely manages to escape Zoom with his life when Cisco shoots Zoom with a serum invented to dampen a speedster's speed. That being said, Team Flash is almost laughably outmatched here — a fact even Wells is forced to admit in the wake of Zoom's thorough breaking of Barry's body.

  6. Team Flash learns about Wells' daughter.
    The CW

    In the wake of Barry's near-death, the truth about Zoom's kidnapping of Wells' daughter comes out. Cisco caught sight of her during a vibe-sesh, and we learned more about her through Earth-Two flashbacks...

    Jessie Chambers Wells (Violett Beane) — better known as Jessie Quick in the comics world — is the empathetic, genius daughter of the man we have come to know as Harry. And, though he may be a dick, it is obvious that he cares about her. When Cisco reveals he is still alive, he tells a similarly desperate Joe: "You love Barry. I love my daughter."

    [In other Earth-Two news, Robert Queen is unmasked as The Arrow, Oliver Queen died in the sinking of the Queen Gambit (which means Olicity is not a thing on Earth-Two — maybe that's why Zoom is so upset), and TV screens are vertical rectangles.

    Perhaps in another show or episode, these moments would get their own analysis. On this show, in this episode, they are throwaway moments in a sea of larger, crazier plot developments we need to discuss much, more more.]

  7. Guys, Barry can't feel his legs.
    Cate Cameron/The CW

    The episode ends with Barry waking up to Cisco and Caitlin's smiling faces (just like in the pilot!), but the relative relief doesn't last long. Barry informs his friends that he can't feel his legs because, even in an episode already chockablock full of insane, compelling plot developments, "The Flash" decided to fit in one more. #BecauseWhyNot #AmbitiousStorytelling #WorriedNow