Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Half Crap, Half Intense On The Flash: "Enter Zoom!"

The Good: Performances, Moments of character, Special effects/latter half
The Bad: Lame set-up, Unremarkable plot construction, First half
The Basics: "Enter Zoom" is an episode saved by its rough climax from being an otherwise preposterous episode of The Flash!

Every now and then, there is an hour of television that is so fractured in its presentation that viewers almost are forced to ask "What the hell did I just watch?!" when it is over. In the worst television, it is because those fractured episodes are just so badly developed that viewers want to know how the executive producers could let the piece see the light of day in its poor form. The Flash is not bad television - in fact, it has been one of the best surprises to hit television in the last two years! - but "Enter Zoom" is not one of its best outings. Watching "Enter Zoom," one gets the impression that the executive producers had an idea of where they wanted the episode to end and they had absolutely no clue how to get there. So, they used the ingredients in the kitchen and the first course turned out terrible . . . but the second course is, to continue the analogy, a culinary masterpiece.

"Enter Zoom" is essentially two stories: one a witless entrapment ploy, the second a fast, brutal, smackdown. For a change, the action portion of the episode exceeds the character-based part of the episode and that is a bit of a conceptual disappointment as The Flash usually relies upon its smart characters fighting metahuman crime in clever ways.
"Enter Zoom" follows "The Darkness And The Light" (reviewed here!) and it is impossible to discuss the new episode without understanding how the principle characters got to where they are at the beginning of the new episode.

Seventy-two hours before Doctor Light appears to thwart The Flash and steal his chest symbol, The Flash learns that Doctor Light had a plan to return home. She tells Barry that she was supposed to throw the chest symbol through the breach and Zoom would come to kill Barry. At S.T.A.R. Labs, Dr. Snow, Cisco and Dr. Wells hatch a plan to create a weapon that will sap Zoom's speed. At the Central City Police Department, Patty Spivot tries to pursue the Doctor Light case, telling Joe that the villainess can probably make herself invisible. Shortly thereafter, Doctor Light makes herself invisible and Cisco unintentionally lets her out.

The S.T.A.R. Labs team then decides to use Linda Park and Doctor Light's outfit to try to lure Zoom through the breach. When it appears to fail, the team is disheartened . . . until Zoom captures Linda and lures The Flash into a battle with horrific consequences for Barry.

The first problem comes in the episode's teaser. After The Flash so handily defeated Doctor Light at the climax of the prior episode, the opening of the episode does not play with any real dramatic tension or sense of realism. Any fan of science fiction or comic book movies will be able to tell that the event was staged and there is something insulting about half-assed attempt made in "Enter Zoom." Attentive viewers will wonder why no one at S.T.A.R. Labs even asks, "why can't we just throw the symbol through the breach and lure Zoom through?" The whole staged event with Doctor Light is overly complicated, even if Zoom is able to look through breaches (the breaches are a tunnel, ergo they act like a window, not something that has a 360 degree field of vision).

Peppered throughout "Enter Zoom" are flashes to Earth-2 where Harrison Wells interacts with his daughter, Jessie Quick. Wells is wary of Cisco, but Cisco fabricates conditions where he is able to use his power to see Jesse at Zoom's mercy! Cisco outing Wells at the episode's climax plays well opposite Wells outing Cisco for his power in the previous episode.

Also peppered into "Enter Zoom" are scenes with Barry and Patty and they are super-adorable together. Grant Gustin and Shantel VanSanten have amazing on-screen chemistry. Tom Cavanagh continues to illustrate his acting range by presenting Wells as both angry and cocky in a way that his role last season lacked. Perhaps the real performance highlight comes from Malese Jow, who plays both Linda Park and Dr. Light. When Jow plays Park playing Light the goofy quality she plays up is entirely different from anything else she has played on The Flash.

"Exit Zoom" is light on character development, though the episode delves into Linda Park and the lingering anger Barry Allen might possess for not being the one to defeat the Reverse Flash, but it generally works. After meandering through the first half, "Enter Zoom" hits its stride when Barry encounters Zoom and the episode turns into a terrible smackdown. The latter half is devoid of genuine character development, but the progression is fast, brutal and incredibly watchable.

Ultimately, "Enter Zoom" is an unbalanced episode that viewers and fans will trudge through until the second half when their hearts are bound to explode from the fast-paced battle it embodies.

For the other works with Tony Todd, check out my reviews of:
"Flash Of Two Worlds" - The Flash
Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen
"A Call To Arms" - Babylon 5
"Prey" - Star Trek: Voyager
"Sons Of Mogh" - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
"The Visitor" - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
"Sleepless" - The X-Files
"Redemption Part 2" - Star Trek: The Next Generation
"Redemption" - Star Trek: The Next Generation
"Sins Of The Father" - Star Trek: The Next Generation


For other television season and episode reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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