[WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for The Flash Season 2, Episode 11.]
It wouldn't be an ensemble story if the supporting characters of The Flash didn't get storylines of their own, packed with twists and turns that, more often than not, have had serious repercussions on the overall plot. While the CW show has taken some time off from the ever-looming threat of the Earth-2 supervillain speedster 'Zoom', it hasn't exactly given fans more time with Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears) - the alternate Earth Flash whose arrival was once heralded as one of the season's biggest developments.
Unfortunately, the latest episodes have shown that the audience's time with Jay may be running out faster than they feared. But surprisingly, that wasn't even the biggest bombshell dropped in the developing subplot - at least as far as DC Comics fans of "The Flash" are concerned. No, the moment that sent fan speculation and excitement off at breakneck speed has more to do with a certain doppelgänger. Or, more accurately, his name.
Since some viewers may have missed the meaning, or are simply confused by the countless headlines and theories claiming that the episode revealed... well, anything, let alone the identity of Zoom, we're here to help. That starts and ends with answering a simple question: who is 'Hunter Zolomon'?
Jay Garrick's Dilemma
It's truly a shame that Jay Garrick has taken a backseat to other season subplots; a point perfectly illustrated by the fact that fans are nowhere near as interested in his looming death as the fruits of Team Flash's investigation into a cure. With his connection to the Speed Force stolen, Jay's cells have begun to die, with no solution other than restoring the healing effects (we assume) of the Speed Force. That is, until Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) got on the case.
Her plan was simple, relying on the fact that every resident of their Earth has an alternate version of themselves on Earth-2 (an idea most of the cast have apparently pushed out of their minds entirely). Simply find Jay Garrick's Earth-1 doppelgänger, and replace the dying cells with the genetically identical, thriving ones. There's just one problem: Jay doesn't have a doppelgänger. Well, sort of. We'll get back to that.
Unfortunately, the entire plan is a bust, since Jay's cells were mutated by his injection of Speed Force back on his Earth (meaning an Earth-2 doppelgänger cells wouldn't match). The only answer then, as it was assumed beforehand, was to defeat Zoom, and regain his powers.
Still, it was a good plan, and one that Jay had already thought of beforehand. Of course, Jay could have simply said "my cells won't be the same as my doppelgänger" and that would have been the end of the issue. But he - and the writers - clearly have more up their sleeve, with Jay insisting on explaining the problem to Caitlin in person, taking her to a spot frequented by his genetic "twin."
Who is Hunter Zolomon?
Having lost his mother in childbirth, and been bounced from one foster home to another before finding a permanent family, the man who would have been 'Jay Garrick' goes by the name 'Hunter Zolomon.' Sadly, Jay doesn't go into any further detail, leaving the audience to draw their own conclusions about the mystery man based on little more than his appearance. Well-dressed, well-kept, and taking in an afternoon in the park with book in hand; all signs that 'Zolomon' did all right for himself, given his tragic beginnings.
We would also point out that it's not a pulp or trashy novel he's reading, but "Siddhartha" by Hermann Hesse. The glasses should be a hint, in television terms, that it's not for the light reader. It's impossible to know how much the novel's narrative relates to his own life, but the protagonist's longing to find his true self, and an understanding of his place in the world isn't hard to grasp for an orphan. On a larger scale, the novel's ultimate message - that past, present, future, good, bad, pain and joy are all part of one massive force.
Apply that idea to The Flash as a whole, and it's clear the series is a literal interpretation of those same ideas, with both a Flash and Reverse-Flash, and an understanding that time is a moving, subjective force. That's a nice touch on the part of the showrunners, but it isn't Zolomon's tastes in literature that have fans talking.
You see, 'Hunter Zolomon' also happens to be the name of a pretty famous DC Comics characters - and here's where things get interesting...
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