SPOILER WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for this week's episode of "The Flash," "Escape from Earth-2."
The arrival of Earth-2's Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears) in the final moments of the second season's premiere added a new wrinkle to "The Flash." His arrival introduced a seasoned speedster to the show, one who knew more about the Speed Force and how to harness it than Barry Allen. Though the team was initially leery of his motivations, he earned their trust -- and a little more than just trust from Cailtin Snow -- but after the events of this week's episode, "Escape From Earth-2," it appears that Jay may have been lying to Team Flash all along.
The previous episode saw Barry and Cisco head to Earth-2 with Harrison Wells in order to rescue Wells' daughter, Jesse Quick, from Zoom's clutches. Last episode, the three were successful in their quest and returned to Earth-1 with Jesse. However, the victory proved short-lived as Jay Garrick presumably met an untimely demise when Zoom's clawed hand shot through the portal -- and through Jay's chest -- pulling him back to Earth-2 just as the breach closed. While we'll have to wait until next week to see if Jay somehow managed to survive, what happened earlier in the episode might be even more important than what happened at the climax.
While attempting to save Jesse, Earth-1's Barry Allen was taken captive by Zoom and imprisoned alongside her and a mysterious man in an iron mask. Unable to speak, the masked man could only tap on his glass prison. Barry eventually realized he was spelling something out using a 5x5 tap code: J-A-Y. Barry assumed he was asking about Jay Garrick, but the man appeared upset when he learned Jay was safe on Earth-1. The curious reaction poses a potentially game-changing question: Is it possible the man in the mask is the real Earth-2 Jay Garrick, and that the person helping Team Flash has been an impostor all along?
Below, we present several theories based on the assumption that the man in the iron mask is some version of Jay Garrick. For the sake of our argument, we're starting from the stance that the Jay who first arrived on Earth-1 is harboring some kind of dark secret beyond losing access to the Speed Force.
Question #1: Who is the Man in the Iron Mask?
The man in the iron mask tapped out three letters: J-A-Y. While Barry thought the masked man was asking if Jay was OK, when he explained that he was safe back on Earth-1 the man in the mask became distraught, frantically shaking his head back and forth. Why would Jay being safe be a bad thing? The most logical theory is that the man in the mask is the real Jay Garrick from Earth-2. He could be upset because the man claiming to be Jay on Earth-1 is an impostor. If that's true, the real Jay might still have his speed, and Zoom is holding him hostage until he's able to devise a way to steal it.
Question #2: Who is Jay Garrick?
When Jay Garrick arrived on Earth-1, he had no speed and no trace of the Speed Force in his cells, but he knew everything there was to know about Team Flash and eventually taught Barry a new way to use his powers. All of these signals were initially red flags for Barry not to trust him. If this Jay is an impostor, his true identity could be one of the following characters from "Flash" comic lore:
- Earth-2 Edward Clariss/The Rival
- Earth-2 Hunter Zolomon
- Earth-3 Jay Garrick
Earth-2 Edward Clariss/The Rival
In the comics, Earth-2 Edward Clariss was a scientist who became obsessed with Jay Garrick's The Flash. Clariss was so desperate to become a speedster, he created a speed serum called Velocity 9. Its effects were temporary, but they gave Clariss the speed he so desperately desired, and he used his new powers to become a villain who went by the name "The Rival." Though there are some differences, this follows the track Jay Garrick has been on since he arrived on Earth-1: He arrived with no speed, he was an expert in The Flash's abilities, and he convinced Caitlin to create a stable version of Velocity 6, which she named Velocity 9, which is too great a coincidence not to mention. Soon after Velocity 9 was complete and injected into Jay's system, he was conveniently pulled back to Earth-2. Because Zoom abducted him, the illusion was complete and everyone would think Jay died a hero.
Earth-2 Hunter Zolomon
When Jay wanted to show Caitlin his Earth-1 double, he showed her a man named Hunter Zolomon. Asked why he wasn't named Jay Garrick, Jay explained that Zolomon was adopted on this Earth and thus had a different name. In the comics, Zolomon was friends with the Wally West version of The Flash, though they eventually became bitter enemies and Zolomon took on the name Zoom. After the events of last episode, it stands to reason that Earth-2 Jay's real name may very well be Hunter Zolomon/Zoom, and we simply haven't met Jay Garrick yet. Could Zoom be Earth-2's Garrick, and the man in the mask be the real Earth-1 Garrick?
The metahuman named "Everyman" appeared on Earth-1 in "The Flash" Season 1, Episode 19. He could morph into anyone he wanted to be just by touching their skin. Earth-1's Hannibal Bates/Everyman was killed by Joe West, but that doesn't mean he's not alive and morphing on Earth-2. What if Zoom used Everyman to travel to Earth-1 to pretend to be Jay Garrick so Team Flash could create Velocity 9? If Zoom was also suffering from the effects of Velocity 6, he would want to use Velocity 9 to boost his speed without any damaging effects. This theory was previously posited by Jason Inman on The Flash Podcast this week, and seems to hold some weight.
Earth-3 Jay Garrick
If the man under the mask is Earth-2 Jay Garrick, and Earth-1 Jay Garrick is actually the man who goes by the adoptive name of Hunter Zolomon, could the impostor actually be Earth-3's Jay Garrick? When Barry, Cisco and Wells entered the portal they saw characters and heroes from other earths -- including Supergirl. What if there exists a third Jay who is an evil incarnation Jay Garrick from from Earth-3? In the comics, Earth-3 was created in the wake of "Infinite Crisis" and is the home of the Crime Society, the evil version of the Justice Society. That means the impostor could be Johnny Quick, the villainous speedster from that Earth.
"The Flash" airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW and stars Grant Gustin, Jesse L. Martin, Candice Patton, Carlos Valdes, Tom Cavanagh and Danielle Panabaker.