Welcome back, The Flash! The CW’s new hit series came back from its mid-season break in a big way with “Revenge of the Rogues.” Not only did we get to see the return of one of the title speedster’s most troublesome villains in Leonard Snart/Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), we also got to see the on-screen team up with his Prison Break co-star Dominic Purcell as the insane pyromaniac Mick Rory/Heat Wave. This is one helluva way to start the second half of a season, and The Flash is showing no signs of slowing down.
Hit the jump for The Flash recap.
When last we left our hero, he had been soundly beaten by The Man in the Yellow Suit, aka Reverse Flash, saved only at the last second by his allies (and a powerful wild card in Firestorm). So it was a nice touch in tonight’s opener when Barry’s usual narration of, “My name is Barry Allen, and I’m the fastest man alive,” was changed to reflect the current state of speed. It also set the stage for the rest of the season, which will see Barry training more and more intensely to improve to the point of being able to best Reverse Flash. Though the best laid plans of Barry and Wells might just get derailed by a supervillain/metahuman or two.
Barry’s live-action intro has him running from drones piloted by Cisco, drones with live rounds of ammunition and fairly powerful missiles strapped to the sides of them. Rather than run from one of them (after nearly getting blown up the first time), Barry decides to run towards it instead, flinging the missile back at the drone. It’s such an exciting moment that Dr. Wells just about stands up out of his chair, which would be a big surprise to everyone (on the show, at least).
Quite soon, we get our first look at Captain Cold and Heat Wave together on screen. (Of course the pair has great chemistry, and each of them play up their character’s on-the-nose personality traits with vigor.) They break into an exotic car garage, hoping to lure The Flash out to stop them. He doesn’t show, so the duo splits before the cops even get a chance to arrive. Barry gets to the scene after Joe and Eddie to do his forensics thing, explaining that the wall was frozen before shattering. They quickly peg Snart for the break-in, and Barry soon figures out that Snart staged the crime to set a trap for him. (I’d just like to take a moment to say that despite some rather suspect strategies on the part of Barry and the S.T.A.R. Labs team, the writing most often lets the protagonists use their common sense when applicable, which is refreshing.) Snart and Rory are next after a piece of modern art dubbed “Fire & Ice” valued at $25 million.
Wells tries to warn Barry away from taking on Snart, unaware that he’s partnered up. He says that the team will support Barry, but encourages the speedster to focus on developing his speed and other abilities since Reverse Flash is a bigger threat. After interrupting a cozy conversation between Iris and Eddie, Barry goes to talk to Joe about his decision. He tells Joe that he plans to put all his efforts to stopping Reverse Flash instead of helping the police department put Captain Cold on ice (I said it).
Meanwhile, Iris is boxing up her things at Joe’s house, and they share some nice memories and father/daughter moments. Barry arrives at Iris’ request; she found his old (Flash-colored) backpack, aka “Nerd Survival Kit”). After Iris leaves, Barry confesses to Joe that he told her how he felt, and they have another nice father/son moment. Barry then uses his super-speed to clean up Iris’ piles and piles of boxes.
Cisco arrives at the CCPD with a crazy looking gun. He explains to the gathered police forces that they’ve outfitted their riot shields with a fancy heating element to negate Captain Cold’s weapon. One of the cops asks why they should trust S.T.A.R. Labs after the explosion nearly leveled the city. (A just question, my liege.) Cisco asks for a chance to help them, to help make things better. He gives them a live demonstration of his heated shields and everyone agrees that, yeah, that does look preferable to being turned into an ice sculpture.
With Barry torn between taking on the Rogues or focusing on taking down Reverse Flash, West and Wells butt heads a bit over Barry’s current behavior. West is worryied about the change in his adopted son’s behavior, and Wells is being super creepy/suspicious about his own motives. How long will it be before Joe puts two and two together and figures that the good doctor is not so good for Barry after all?
In a nice side moment that actually manages to tie into the main plot, Barry sees Caitlin going over one of Ronnie’s last computer files, something dubbed “Firestorm.” The filename is an acronym for a project that explores the dismantling of elements on an atomic level in order to rebuild them as something different. Turns out that Jason Rusch (Luc Roderique), a co-author on the 800-page paper, is nearby.
The Rogues’ debut against the cops was a certainly a fun one, but rather short-lived thanks to Heat Wave’s zeal for playing with fire. Fire and Ice aren’t exactly mixing and the duo have a stand-off of sorts. Snart is obsessed with defeating The Flash in order to take over Central City, while Rory seems happy to cash in on the painting. Snart gives him a choice, and Rory casts his lot in with his partner by torching the $25 million work of art. They then plan to go after Barry’s allies.
Caitlin tracks down Rusch (who just took a job at Mercury Labs…) to talk about F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M., but he seems reluctant. Rusch reveals that Dr. Martin Stein (Victor Garber) was an integral part of the project, and that he disappeared just a day before the Army showed up to confiscate their research. Satisfied with her intel, Caitlin attempts to head back to the lab, but the Rogues kidnap her instead.
Wells reinforces his friendship/mentorship with Barry just in case Joe tries to do the same. Cisco interrupts to share some research on Heat Wave’s gun, suggesting that the two weapons might cancel each other out if they can get them to cross the streams. (Total protonic reversal.) Barry will get a chance to put the theory to the test since Snart and Rory publicly televise their kidnapping of Caitlin, calling out The Flash for a showdown. Not only is this a major test for our hero, it’s a big coming-out party for him since the entire city – no, the world – will know that he exists after tonight.
This plan of getting Snart and Rory to cross their beams seems rather silly, though it’s obviously put in place for dramatic effect. I’d imagine that Barry is more than fast enough to simply run circles around the duo, knock them out, and steal their guns before they could do too much damage. While Barry keeps the elemental criminals busy, the cops get in on some good old-fashioned action: Joe manages to tackle Caitlin to safety before an explosive charge can blast her, and Eddie Thawne uses a heat shield to protect a fallen Flash (and gets slammed into a window with a brief “Thanks” from the superhero for his trouble). Wells and Barry come to the conclusion that speed isn’t working, so Barry literally walks into both of their ray guns at mortal-speed until the two beams collide, knocking the bad guys unconscious.
The cops haul in Rory (showing off his fiery disdain for authority) and Snart, who acts the usual cool customer. Cisco takes the heat/cold guns and promises to dispose of them; but will they be destroyed or simply locked up? Anyway, the legend of The Flash begins to grow as the police are now on his side.
Back to more mundane tasks, Barry helps Iris move out. Barry seems to grant his well wishes to Iris and her relationship with Eddie. Joe hears their whole conversation but acts the perfect friend and father to Barry, who might just be moving back in Joe. (That’s a sitcom I’d love to see. Oh, and I guess we will!)
In the episode’s stinger scene, Rory and Snart are arguing in an armored transport vehicle headed to Iron Heights. Rory’s not too happy with how the plan worked out, but a … prison(er) break by Snart’s sister changes things quite dramatically.
This was quite the return for The Flash which easily could have run out of steam by mid-season, but really only seems to be getting started. There has already been a huge onslaught of villains and other characters pulled right from the comicbook pages, but the showrunners are smart enough to give the major ones recurring opportunities to cause havoc. This is easily my most anticipated hour of television each week, and although The Flash is the fastest man alive, The Flash can’t get here fast enough.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Barry’s intro: “My name is Barry Allen, and I’m not the fastest man alive.”
Barry: “I’m ready for another round. How many drones do you have left?” Cisco: “Two. And … they’ve got lasers.”
Mick Rory / Heat Wave: “God you’re beautiful.”
Caitlin: “My dead fiance can fly…”
What was the name of the rich couple who owned the painting? It sounded like they had a son named Harvey, is that right? If so, was it a nod to Harvey Dent?
I wonder why/when Team Flash doesn’t know about Oliver Queen’s spoiler: apparent death just yet…
Heat Wave: “Why do they call you people the Heat? I’m the Heat!”
Comicbook fans may recognize the name Jason Rusch as spoiler: the latter alias of Firestorm after Ronnie Raymond’s death. He’s an interesting addition this early in the show, considering that Ronnie hasn’t even had a real chance to show off his powers yet.
Dr. Wells: “I hope we’re not enemies.”
I love the nod to Ghosbusters, and I know you were all thinking the same thing!
Purcell plays a great lunatic in Mick Rory. I hope he sticks around for a while.
Is Snart the first character to call Barry “the Scarlet Speedster”?
Want to know more about Snart’s sister? Spoiler: This Wikipedia article has all you need to know about the Golden Glider.
The Flash returns next Tuesday at 8pm on The CW.