Season 2 of The Flash has been shrouded in mystery. Similar to season one, we saw Barry face off against a masked speedster who is faster and more terrifying than Well's Reverse Flash could ever be. Zoom's true identity was the focus of many viewers attention right up to his big reveal. Like Harrison Wells, the deadly speedster was hiding right under Team Flash's noses as the seemingly powerless and dying Jay Garrick.
But with the big-bad now unmasked and by the looks of it, nearly impossible to stop, there couldn't possibly be more to the story. Surprise, there is! We know Barry will pull out of this. Why? Because this is The Flash and a show about a painfully slow Barry Allen trying to keep up with Central City's escalating crime just wouldn't work well for ratings. But the question we haven't been asking enough isn't why, it's how. How will Barry regain his speed? How will he come back from disintegrating at the hands of the lightning that gave him his speed in the first place? More importantly, how will he put a stop to Zoom's terrorizing reign once and for all?
Well, the answer has been staring back at us ever since Barry and Cisco took their first trip to Earth-2. At first, it was unclear whether or not the man in the iron mask was important to the current storyline. He was able to relay the identity of Zoom to Barry, but the speedster ultimately misunderstood his warning and went back to his Earth unaware of the impending dangers. Flash-forward several episodes and we had nearly forgotten about the man in the iron mask.
With recent information brought to light and the upcoming finale appropriately named Man In The Iron Mask, it has become apparent that this man and his identity is important to Team Flash somehow. Thus, the second mystery of the season is put into motion. We might not know the why or how, but we might just know who is hiding behind that mask.
Here is a theory on who this man in the mask could be:
No, I don't mean Hunter Zolomon and no I don't mean Zoom either. I'm talking about the real Jay Garrick - the Jay Garrick we never actually knew. In the comics, he was the first speedster and every bit the hero Barry strives to be today. Being that he is an iconic character in his own right, it seems odd the writers would use him as nothing more than an alias for Hunter Zolomon during his time on Earth-1. But don't count Jay's legacy out just yet. Greg Berlanti, executive producer of The Flash, recently tweeted this in response to a worried fan:
The tweet proves there is more to the story when it comes to Jay Garrick, but is there more evidence that would suggest the man in the iron mask can be linked to him? Turns out, there is.
If this man is in fact Jay Garrick it would explain the need for a mask. At the time of Barry's first encounter with the masked man, the identity of Zoom was unknown, which explains the need to keep the prisoner a mystery. Arguably, this point can be made about anyone. But what's a little more difficult to link to other theories is the question Barry asks right after Zoom reveals his true self, "Who is the man in the mask?". Barry has just found out Jay, a friend and a man he trusted full-heartedly, has betrayed him and he is worried about the guy imprisoned in Zoom's lair. Seems like odd timing. But what is even odder is Zoom's response, "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
Quite possibly the biggest clue to the man's identity is one we can easily miss. Looking closely at the earlier scenes in Zoom's lair, you'll notice a slight difference when it comes to the cells these prisoners are being held in.
Jessie, who was once Zoom's bargaining chip against Wells, spent the first half of the season captive in the villain's lair. What's worth noting about her time there, is the type of cell she was being held in. While her cell was reinforced by metal bars, the man in the mask's cell was enclosed by thick glass panels. Barry was held in a similar cell during his time on Earth-2 and Killer Frost, upon being captured, was put in a glass cell adjacent to the man in the mask.
This would suggest the cells are reinforced to withstand meta-humans, as well as speedsters. If the man processes speed-force, it would explain why he was not held in a regular cell like Jessie.
It is also worth bringing up Cisco and his vibes. Coming in contact with Jay's metal hat causes Cisco to have visions of Zoom. This is how Team Flash was able to find out who was really behind the mask and monitor Zoom from a different Earth. But what's interesting about these scenes is the fact that Zoom is always in his lair when Cisco has a vibe.
It's not a far stretch to say that Cisco could be picking up vibes on the real owner of the hat, Jay Garrick. Especially if that owner is sitting in a cell several feet away when these vibes are happening.
Adding onto the point about Jay Garrick's metal hat, there's also the story of how he became Earth-2's version of the Flash. Barry was initially skeptical of Jay (Hunter Zolomon) when he arrived. This is understandable considering the events that took place last season with the Reverse-Flash and Harrison Wells. Not only did Barry have a tough time wrapping his mind around the multiple universes theory, but he found Jay's alibi to be suspicious.
Jay claimed to be a scientist who was affected by the particle accelerator on his earth, becoming a speedster and hero in the process. But Zoom was faster and nearly killed Jay Garrick before he plummeted into a signatory that had opened between the two worlds. In the process, Jay was stripped of his speed-force and left powerless on Earth-1. What's interesting about Jay's story though is the consistency to back it up. At least the part about Jay taking on the Flash mantle to protect his city.
Harry had known Jay Garrick before they met face to face on Earth-1. A flashback earlier in season two revealed the two butted heads regularly on their own Earth. Harry being the reason Jay had to protect the city from Meta-Humans and Jay getting in the way of Harry's work. Harrison Wells, having seen Jay's Flash in action, had no doubts about the speedster's story because he had witnessed it first hand.
Then there's Jay Garrick's costume. It doesn't matter how motivated Zoom was to gain Team Flash's trust, he doesn't seem like the kind of guy to spend a whole lot of time sewing a fake Flash costume together. Which leads me to believe he wasn't lying about there being an Earth-2 Flash, he was just lying about it being him. At some point in time, in some universe, there was speedster named Jay Garrick and Zoom used his story as a tool to gain Barry's trust.
The final clue that hints the real Jay Garrick might still be out there came from Barry's father, Henry Allen, on the newest episode of The Flash, titled Rupture. When Barry paid a visit to his father, he brought him up to speed on losing his powers and Jay kidnapping Caitlin. Henry was taken back by Jay's betrayal, but he was far more surprised to hear Jay's surname, Garrick.
"Garrick?" he asked Barry. "That was my mother's maiden name," Henry explained before letting Barry carry on with the conversation.
It was a small tidbit for the audience, one that will most likely tie into the mystery of the man in the iron mask. By Henry revealing that the Garrick name does exist, at least on Earth-1, it could mean Jay Garrick exists in some capacity. For Zoom, taking the name of someone that could still exist on Barry's Earth is a huge risk. Unless of course, that person is no longer on Earth-1. What's interesting enough about all this is how closely linked the name Garrick is to the Allen family. Zoom wouldn't have taken such a risk on something as simple as an alias if it wasn't important to him somehow.
That's what this all comes down to; the man in the iron mask is important. Important enough to have a finale episode named after him; important enough for Barry to reference him several times throughout the last half of the season; and important enough to keep alive. When Killer Frost tricked Caitlin into breaking her out of her cell, she admitted the only reason Zoom kept her alive was because of the resemblance she shared with her doppelgänger. Now that he had Caitlin she was expandable. Zoom has kept the man in the iron mask alive all this time for a reason, one we will learn soon enough.
As for how this man could be Jay Garrick, the possibilities are endless. With time-travel and the multiverse now in play the man could literally be anyone from any timeline or world. Zoom could have captured one of his doppelgangers from another Earth. He could possess the ability to shape-shift for all we know. But maybe, just maybe, the real Jay Garrick looks nothing like the Jay we've come to know on the show. Maybe he's a different person altogether.