[This article contains SPOILERS for The Flash season 1, and POTENTIAL SPOILERS for season 2]
It's hard enough for the average TV fan to learn the ins and outs of a superhero's unique science fiction, but adding in time travel, alternate time lines and parallel universes is another level entirely. And for that very reason, season 2 of The Flash may be a hard one for non-DC Comics fans to wrap their head around. The season finale left audiences wondering what consequences Barry Allen and his Central City friends would face as a result of messing with the Speed Force (and history itself), but the showrunners have since revealed that they're just getting started.
With not only another famous DC Speedster joining Barry and co., but a version of The Flash from a parallel universe, viewers might have assumed that a single 'villain' wouldn't be needed to supply the drama. But that was before fans learned that in just weeks, Zoom would be coming. The announcement - and the enemy referenced - has intrigued and confused fans, but clues have been dropped as to how the Speed Force, Barry's new powers, and the deadly Zoom all connect.
We're operating on the same information and theories as any Flash fan, but in the interest of clearing up confusion and telling the less diehard comic readers what they might be able too look forward to, we offer our own Zoom theory for season 2 of The Flash.
Where Season 1 Left Us
It took more than half a season for The CW's writers to sink their teeth into the Speed Force - an element of "Flash" comics mythology as well known to DC fans as Krypton is to Superman. Simply put: the lightning bolt which struck Barry connected him directly to the extradimensional energy source, granting him superspeed (at first). With coaching from Harrison Wells and thousands of lives in danger, Barry pushed himself so hard, he tore through time itself, erupting - out of a blue wormhole, we point out - one day in the past.
Realizing his connection to the Speed Force meant Barry could tunnel through the fabric of space time, he travelled back to the night of his mother's murder - eventually realizing the past wasn't for him to change. Along the way, he saw glimpses of the future - again, bathed in blue light - but still couldn't avoid disaster. The singularity gained size, threatening to swallow all of Central City into its swirling blue maw. To prevent it, Barry leaped in head first.
The Speed Force Clues So Far
It shouldn't be too difficult to spot the potential clues and building mythology the show's creative team has sprinkled throughout the first season. While it's true that the three primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) may not contain ALL the information fans need, the message seems clear: the yellow lightning is Barry's (good), the red is/was Eobard Thawne/Reverse-Flash's (evil) and the blue is the mark of the Speed Force itself. Knowing that The CW hopes to bring even casual comic fans along for the ride, that division is simple enough to follow - and a much clearer introduction to the Speed Force than most "Flash" comics offer.
To see the road being followed by The Flash so far, the answer seems clear: look to the blue. In hindsight, the first appearance of a blue tear in space was a sign of something completely new - introduced along with Barry's first run-in with time travel. Further exploration showed "the blue" wasn't just tied to time travel, but a sign that someone had accessed the time-bending reality of the Speed Force, where past, present and future all coexist.
The arrival of an iconic hat from the pages of DC Comics teased that it was a force (and color) that crossed parallel universes, as well.
The secret of Jay Garrick - also known as the Golden Age Flash of "Earth-Two" - was spilled not long after, with producers confirming that he and Barry would cross paths (and universes) exactly as they had in the comics. But how? At this point, the most obvious explanation is the 'singularity' opened above Central City. Well, what's referred to as a "singularity" in the show - but seems more likely to be a tear in the Speed Force linking two worlds occupied by two different Flashes. Different heroes, who share the same energy source.
That's speculation at this point, and if Jay Garrick is going to remain a permanent resident of Barry's (and the show's) universe - not return home through a hopefully less destructive means - then the writers' long term plan is hard to pin down. But if Barry's new powers being teased in the show's season 2 marketing are any indication, the Speed Force will continue to be the real star of the series. Barry's channelling of blue lightning could mean anything, but looking at the use of the color so far, a few conclusions can be drawn.
Thinking purely in terms of a serialized TV show, the need to demonstrate Barry truly stretching his abilities has already proven difficult. As much as the writers got by with Barry asking "how fast I'd need to run" to accomplish specific tasks, the acceleration into blue has been the only clear barrier he has broken with his speed.
One thing is clear: if Barry is going to keep getting faster, then tapping into the Speed Force (the blue lightning), as opposed to the yellow lightning which changed his own cells and metabolism, seems to make sense.
But the network isn't getting fans talking by promising that "Faster Speeds are coming." That honor goes to Zoom. So... who is he?