SPOILER ALERT! This article discusses the FINALE of ‘The Flash’ Season Two. If you have not seen it yet, DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER!
‘The Flash’ Season Two was filled with mystery as the concept of Earth-2 and other parallel realities came into play. At first, things seemed quite pleasant as “our” Flash/Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) met the Flash from Earth-2, Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears) (or so we thought) and even a benevolent version of Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh). Things quickly took a dark turn, however, with the arrival of Zoom, a mysterious evil speedster whose identity viewers spent all season speculating about.
One early theory hypothesized that Zoom was actually Henry Allen, Barry’s father, or at least a parallel universe version of him, based on the appearance of Zoom’s eyes, which resembled those of John Wesley Shipp, the actor that plays Henry. This is a theory that Shipp is well aware of, saying:
“The fun thing is, first of all, everyone was convinced I was Zoom – the magazine polls, the online polls, 60-70% of people thought I was Zoom.”
This theory helped throw fans off, when the time came to guess who Zoom’s prisoner, dubbed the Man in the Iron Mask, was, even after the revelation that Zoom was… Jay Garrick. Well, a version of him who then killed his heroic doppelganger. (Kinda.)
Then came a smattering of additional clues, including that Henry Allen’s mother’s maiden name was Garrick. Finally, the show revealed that the Man in the Iron Mask was… Henry Allen?! No, actually, it’s Shipp as ANOTHER version of Jay Garrick, from Earth-3.
Shipp, of course, played Barry himself in the 1990s version of ‘The Flash’ so when he was cast in the new series, fans immediately wanted to see him in the mentor role of Jay Garrick.
“Everybody wanted me to be to be Jay Garrick – that’s what I’ve gotten at conventions all over the world: “we love you as Henry Allen, but we really wish you’d been Jay Garrick.” I was glad that I wasn’t, because to go right from the superhero costume 25 years ago to a superhero costume 25 years later would’ve been a little daunting for me — but I got to have two years of this very grounded, gritty, emotion-based, truth-of-the-moment acting role with Grant in the interim. So now maybe I can put on the suit again and have a little bit of fun.”
Though the next seasons of the DC shows won’t begin for months, Shipp sees a lot of possibilities for him in this new role– more so than with Henry Allen. He also sees the possibility of him interacting with some characters on the other programs like ‘Legends of Tomorrow’.
The palette is wide open. The thing they love to do at the end of the season is they introduce so many different elements that could go in so many different directions. For me, personally, as an actor, Henry Allen was rather closed-ended, he was there for a purpose, he served his purpose, it was time for him to die. The fact that I’m now getting to morph into an entirely different character that is so important to the Justice Society of America, which also bleeds into “Legends of Tomorrow,” he’s such an important character to this whole world – it just opens up enormous possibilities for me as an actor going forward, and the challenge for me, having played Henry, is that I now get to create an entirely different character going forward.
Finally, Shipp discusses how his new identity will impact Barry:
“If I were to lose my father, and then there was someone there who looks just like my father, my impulse would be to want to go and get the same things from this guy that I got from my father. This guy’s not going to know any of that, he’s not going to understand it, so I hope there are those awkward moments where Barry tries to get from Jay what he got from Henry and it’s not gonna be forthcoming, and they’re going to have to make their own peace and form their own relationship based on the reality of what is. That opens itself up for all kinds of psychological possibilities.
How did you feel about the twists at the end of ‘The Flash’ Season 2? Are you more excited to see Shipp as Jay Garrick than as Henry Allen?