The Flash: Who Is The Man In The Iron Mask?


Don’t look now, but the most intriguing on The Flash Season 2 no longer concerns the identity of Zoom. Instead, it’s the man who’s being held captive in the Big Bad’s lair who has captured the imagination of fans, a process that accelerated this week during episode 14, “Escape from Earth-2.”

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Since nearly the beginning of the season, we’ve known that Harry Wells’ daughter Jesse was a prisoner of Zoom, providing Harry with the motivation he needed to both work with and (at one point, anyway) secretly work against Barry Allen and his friends. But she’s not alone.

Once Barry himself ended up in Zoom’s dungeon, we also saw that a man in an unusual metal mask was also stuck there. The mask allows him to see but not to talk, forcing him to communicate with Barry and Jesse in “Escape from Earth-2” by tapping out the numerical values of letters on the walls of his cell. Other than that, all we know is that Zoom didn’t want people talking to him, and that he reacted in either anger, frustration or panic when he spelled out “Jay” to the others and Barry told him Jay Garrick was still alive but not with them.

Obviously, the man in the metal mask is connected to the Earth-2 Flash in some way. But how? And is he being kept in the mask just to keep him from communicating, or because his mere identity would set off alarm bells for our heroes?

It could take a while to find out, because the final breach between worlds looks like it’s sealed, and Jay was grabbed through the chest and pulled back through it by Zoom, probably killing him. Yet you know we haven’t seen the last of Zoom, and the mysterious prisoner is going to figure into the rest of Season 2 in some fashion, especially because Barry vowed to return and free him.

With that in mind, here are some of the best theories we’ve seen around the internet concerning the man in the iron mask.

It’s Jay Garrick

This tweet to our friends at The Flash After Show sums up this line of thinking beautifully.

Essentially, this presumes that the Jay Garrick we knew and loved was always an imposter. The Jay from the comics was active as far back as World War II, thus making him older and wiser than Barry Allen and Wally West once they all started interacting. It’s always been an interesting choice on the part of the writers to make him more of a contemporary of Barry, but that might be out the window if he’s not actually Jay.

It might also explain why when Jay showed Caitlin Snow his Earth-1 doppelganger, that turned out to be Hunter Zolomon. Maybe the man we thought was Jay was actually the Earth-2 Zolomon and has been misrepresenting himself the whole time — though as people around the internet have pointed out, that would mean Team Flash fell for the exact same trick as in Season 1, with a person who’s not what he claims infiltrating Barry’s inner circle.

There are some things to like about this theory though, especially the fact that “Jay” needed Velocity-9 to give him super-speed because he never truly had it on his own. This can’t be ruled out, and if the real Jay is freed at the end of the season, Barry could end up with an elder statesman speedster after all.

It’s Jay Garrick, but from the future

If the Jay who’s been playing kissy-face with Caitlin is the real deal, maybe the man in the mask is a future version of him. We know speedsters on The Flash can break the time barrier, so he could have attempted to go back in time on Earth-2 to stop Zoom early on and failed. Zoom could be keeping alive to drain his speed, which seems to be one of the villain’s priorities.

The biggest problem with this theory is that if present day Jay really was just killed off, his future self should cease to exist, similar to what happened to Reverse-Flash in Season 1. Of course there are always ways around that kind of paradox on a series like this, and if there’s a way out, it might leave us in the same place as the first theory, with an older Jay rescued at season’s end and sticking around in this time to tutor someone. Say, Jesse, if she ends up with super-speed?

It’s Jay Garrick’s twin

This one comes via a reader on, and it’s a fun one too. That site likes it because it would be a sly reference to The Man in the Iron Mask and a nod to the important role that twins play in the Flash legacy in the pages of DC Comics.

Perhaps “Jay” was jealous of his twin brother for being granted super-speed and agreed to help Zoom. He started to come around because he fell in love with Caitlin and got a taste of being a hero while on Velocity-9 only to have Zoom kill him because of his disloyalty. It certainly would explain why a man who had supposedly been the Flash longer than Barry knew so little, as well as explaining his cowardice.

It’s the Earth-2 Wally West

Some fans have taken to examining the skin tone of the prisoner’s hands, the only part of him we can really see, and suggested that there’s a black man under the iron mask. Since we’ve not seen the Earth-2 Wally yet (we barely know the Earth-1 Wally, to be honest), it could be that he’s a speedster there and was hoping to team with Jay and our Barry to stop Zoom.

After this week, the conventional wisdom is that it was just the poor lighting in Zoom’s dungeon that made the man look like he had a darker complexion, ruling Wally out. This could have been a fun one, especially if the prime Wally never gets super-speed, as it would mean at least one version of him was continuing the character’s comic book Speed Force legacy. You would have thought Jay would have mentioned him at some point though …

It’s Henry Allen

Barry’s dad has only been seen briefly this season, so his current whereabouts are unknown. It’s interesting to note that the writers brought him up in “Welcome to Earth-2” and had Barry explicitly say he hadn’t talked to his dad because he was afraid Henry would talk him out of making the journey between worlds.

Before the breaches were sealed, it would have been simple for Zoom to zip to Earth-1 and grab Dr. Allen, or have one of the villains he kept sending over do the same thing. With his dad a prisoner, Barry would have been subject to blackmail the same way Harry Wells was. And this theory gets even juicier if you subscribe to the notion that Zoom is the Earth-2 Henry Allen, which is a popular one, since he’d be keeping his own doppelganger under a close watch.

The one part of this theory that doesn’t add up is that as far as we know, Earth-1 Henry doesn’t know that much about Jay, having only met him briefly. There doesn’t appear to be a strong enough connection between them for Henry to have spelled Jay’s name as the very first thing he’d tell his son when they were both locked up together.

Next: The Flash: Is Jay Garrick a Clone?

With Zoom’s identity being teased for a reveal in the not too distant future, it could be that the secret of the man in the iron mask is the ultimate Season 2 mystery on The Flash. Given all of the entertaining speculation it’s provided this far, that would be just fine with us.