The CW’s The Flash resumes Season 2 tonight at 8/7c with an episode that will at least start to answer our many, many questions about the sinister speedster known as Zoom, who was recently revealed to be “Jay Garrick” aka Earth-2’s Hunter Zolomon.
Was anything about Jay real? How did Zoom become who he is? And what’s behind his need for all the speed? Teddy Sears shared with TVLine a look behind the man in that mask… and a tease about the man behind that other mask.
TVLINE | How long did it take you to understand the Jay/Zoom twist?
Boy — I’m still trying to figure it out! No, I guess that’s not entirely true. [Laughs] Yeah, there are many layers here, man. It’s definitely like a piece of origami. It’s folded upon itself and upon itself and eventually it becomes this thing that you recognize. But right now, we’re still folding it in on itself. We’re not quite at the end.
TVLINE | Perhaps the best starting point is: Who was kissing Caitlin that whole time?
Good question. Hunter. Hunter Zolomon has been kissing Caitlin this whole time, and Hunter Zolomon has real feelings for Caitlin, while he played everybody else. What wasn’t part of the plan was falling for Caitlin, so that was a nice little twist. That was something the writers wanted me to keep in mind very early on, that what quote-unquote “Jay” is experiencing for Caitlin is very real and unanticipated. The one thing that was real, the only thing that was real, was his feelings for her.
TVLINE | So from the first day you set foot on set, you knew you weren’t simply playing a square-jawed do-right hero?
Just before accepting the job, I got on a phone call with [showrunner] Andrew Kreisberg and a few of the writers and he laid out for me what this guy was going to do this season. Bear in mind that when I auditioned, I didn’t know that it was for Jay Garrick; they kept it very vague, saying only that [the character] would be a mentor to Barry Allen this season. Now, had I known the comic books, had I seen the finale when the helmet flew in, maybe I would have put two and two together, but I honestly didn’t know what I was there to do. I have two younger brothers, so I was excited by the idea of playing a mentor. When I then was told how it would actually unfold, I got very excited, because how fun is that going to be, to play a couple wildly divergent characters?
Now if you look back, my hope — and I like to think I accomplished this — is that sprinkled throughout the [earlier] episodes, up until where we are now, you should be able to see very distinct moments where you’re like, “Ohhh. He’s tipping his hat a bit, to who he really is.” And it starts with the first time you see Jay Garrick. He’s sort of stepping behind a brick wall snapping a picture and then receding. How shady is that? Yet we forget that that was the first breadcrumb. “That’s weird, he’s taking pictures of Barry Allen, and then he’s hanging out at Flash Day?”
TVLINE | All leading up to the fact that he “took a nap” at a very bad time a few weeks ago.
[Laughs] Yeah, exactly! “How come Jay’s never around when Zoom is wreaking havoc?” But I will say this: I did grow very attached to playing Jay. A lot of time passed between that initial phone call and the big reveal, and in that time I had convinced myself that the writers had decided to go a different direction, that they were going to have someone else play Zoom. because playing Jay was great, but he didn’t really have a lot to do. If you look back, he mentored Barry in Episode 202, but that was it.
TVLINE | But that kind of fed into my theory that there’s probably a big reveal coming up. They were letting him fly under the radar a bit.
Then you win the prize, man. And I know that there were some people who were kind of pissed — “Thanks for adding a guy in the second season who really doesn’t bring much to the table.” But like you said, there was very much a reason why he was laying low, like a snake in the grass.
TVLINE | How would you describe the backstory we’re getting this week?
It’s mirror image to Barry Allen’s backstory. These two had a similar event happen to them at virtually the same age in their childhood. Barry went one direction, Hunter went the other. I can describe it as parallel events in the lives of these two kids which help form their identity going forward, one using his abilities for good, the other one for… not-so-good, to put it mildly. We’re going to see that play out in this episode: Why is Zoom the way he is, how did he become this guy?
TVLINE | Maybe to that point, why does Zoom want to be so fast? Is it simply a vanity project, to lay claim to that Fastest Man Alive trophy? Or is there something he wants to do with that speed?
We won’t know exactly why after this particular episode, but there is something. It is not purely vanity. There is a very specific reason why he needs this speed. But it’s funny, as we head towards the finale, lots of different things that will come to light. We’ll see that he wants this speed, needs this speed, for a number of different reasons, all personal.
TVLINE | As we explore this and bounce around Earth-2 some more, will we get any new clues to the Man in the Iron Mask [being help captive by Zoom]?
Good question…. We’re shooting the finale [now], and if you had asked me this question last week, I would have said that I don’t know that we’ve sprinkled any clues. We do see him throughout [the final episodes], but I didn’t know who he was until the finale. Some of the other actors will tell you, “Oh, no, we sort of knew.” Or, “We had ideas who it was going to be.” If they knew, then they knew a lot more than me, because I didn’t have a clue. But the identity will be revealed and I think it’s going to be very satisfying for the viewers.
TVLINE | Because I have seen some wild theories, from “There are four Jay Garricks” to “There are 12.” One reader laid out a scenario with twins of doppelgangers and doppelgangers of twins….
[Laughs] I know, I know. There’s a part of me that’s like, “Oh awesome, that’s more roles to play!” And another part of me is like, “That sounds exhausting! Can we not do that??” No, this job has been amazing. I’ve been able to wear many hats and that is very satisfying.