Eobard gets show-opening duties tonight for the season’s penultimate episode, “Rogue Air.” As the camera pays a visit to all of the show’s heroic characters, we hear the villain’s threatening monologue promising to reclaim everything that was taken from him. Another way of putting it is that Reverse Wells will get everything that’s coming to him, at least if Barry, the S.T.A.R. Labs team, and a few special friends have anything to say about it.
Admittedly, the title of tonight’s episode got me rather excited. The plot of the hour starts with Cisco and the others discovering Wells’ plan to power up the particle accelerator, which quickly leads them to the conclusion that any imprisoned meta-humans will die in the resulting explosion. Ever the hero, Barry decides to transport the super-powered prisoners to safety, even if it’s just to another temporary prison. This puts in motion the delightful idea of ferrying the city’s most dangerous demigods to the remote, isolated island of Lian Yu via A.R.G.U.S. plane. (Apparently The Slab is not currently operational.) So it was with a little disappointment that I didn’t get to see The CW’s version of “Con-Air with supervillains” because Barry’s plan soon goes awry.
We did, however, get to see a brief prisoner transport by big rig, which conjured up memories of The Dark Knight and led me to believe we were in for a bit of Mad Max-style road rage. Alas, more opportunities missed. I can give The Flash a pass though because they did manage to cram quite a bit of comicbook chaos into this exhilarating hour.
How do you top Grodd, you ask? Well, for starters, let’s free all of the previously captured meta-humans, and then have Barry et al team up with Captain Cold and Golden Glider in order to control the villains should they get out of hand. In retrospect, not Barry’s smartest moment. But what’s a hero to do when his allies are in the far-flung reaches of Nanda Parbat or … Pittsburgh?
Of course, as villains are wont to do, Captain Cold betrays The Flash and frees the meta-humans, allowing them full use of their nefarious abilities. It’s one of the more chaotic scenes on the show yet, and it felt like it was pulled straight from the pages of a comicbook. Weather Wizard takes down the approaching A.R.G.U.S. transport while Nimbus occupies The Flash, with Deathbolt hemming in Joe as Rainbow Raider turns Caitlin against Cisco. It’s actually a pretty perilous situation for our heroes until Captain Cold ices Deathbolt (because he owed him money…) and lets the others roam free. Now everyone, including Barry, owes the Captain one … even though Barry already scrubbed Snart’s criminal record clean in order to get his cooperation on this escapade. (It’s almost as if they’re setting something up for Snart…) Lesson learned, Barry.
While the battle against the roguish Rogues was pretty fantastic, it’s the (final?) showdown between Flash and Reverse Flash that really amped up this episode. With the accelerator fully powered up, the team spies Wells approaching the facility. Barry rushes out to face him despite Joe’s warning, and Wells is all too happy to see him. Surprisingly, he’s not all that concerned at the arrival of
Arrow Al Sah-him and Firestorm. Perhaps he thinks his overwhelming speed is more than a match for the three of them?
Well, he might be right. Arrow and Firestorm are at a loss to keep up with the speed of the two Flashes, just as Barry’s equally unable to match Reverse Flash. Once he gets thrown clear, however, Al Sah-him manages to shoot Eobard in the leg with a nanite-arrowhead (courtesy of Ray Palmer) and Firestorm gets a few shots in. With Reverse Flash slowed down considerably, Al Sah-him gets a few great melee strikes in before the villain turns the tables and nearly knifes through his chest with Eobard Thawne’s patented shaky-hand. Flash saves the day and then lures Wells into the path of Firestorm’s blast after a mind-bending chase sequence, knocking him from the roof of the accelerator building. Al Sah-him nails Reverse Flash with an arrow in the back after the villain crash lands on a car. Wells collapses onto the ground with the heroes standing over him, victorious. (Phew. Did I get everything?)
So is Reverse Flash actually dead? We don’t see him in next week’s preview in which Barry attempts to run into his past and save his mother, so will that time travel inadvertently restore Eobard Thawne to the timeline? Let us know in the comments!
In less interesting plot points, while the team is busy ferreting Eobard out of his lair (conveniently placed directly beneath S.T.A.R. Labs) they manage to rescue Eddie after two weeks’ imprisonment. But is he the same? It seems as if Eobard’s mindgames have gotten to his ancestor because Eddie’s acting a little strange now that he thinks Iris will end up with Barry no matter what he does. It’s a sad end to their relationship but opens up the possibilities for a more antagonistic Eddie Thawne, which is far more interesting.
And though it’s been a while since Joe and Barry had a great father/son moment, I was happy to see that trend restored tonight. Joe straightup makes a comparison between The Flash and Arrow, calling out Oliver’s trek to the darkside as something Barry could never do because it’s not in his nature. Though that penchant for being unfailingly heroic will surely come back to bite him at some point, it certainly goes a long way towards putting some separation between The Flash and Arrow, even if they can occasionally cross over.
So with that big fight scene between Flash and Reverse Flash apparently at an end, what’s left for the season one finale? Will Barry be able to save his mother in the past, thus preventing his father’s incarceration? But what other changes will that cause as his actions ripple through the timeline? Perhaps Wells’ early episode warning about watching as all the things and people who are dear to you disappear will come back into play… Tune in to find out!
Rating: ★★★★ Very Good
So Wells has been zipping around with what amounts to a nuclear reactor strapped below his butt this entire time? I don’t think that’s O.S.H.A. approved.
I can’t decide if Cisco’s orange soda idea is clever or silly…
Joe: “I thought the plan was to rehabilitate them, and then set them free.” Caitlin: “We’ve been a little busy.”
Joe: “What the hell’s Lian Yu?”
Captain Cold: “Well, well, well, if it isn’t the Scarlet Speedster.”
Anyone else notice Foreigner’s “Cold as Ice” playing in the bar?
Oh, hello Captain Cold! Still no locks or guards at the S.T.A.R. Labs facility, I see.
Joe’s dressed like a Gloucester fisherman for his escapade.
Another nod to Ferris Air and a strange occurrence with one of their test pilots. Where, oh where, is Green Lantern?
In case you didn’t remember Anthony Carrigan‘s appearance as Nimbus in The Flash, you might have seen him as DC Comics villain Victor Zsasz on Gotham as well.
Mardon: “You’re letting us go? Why’d you shoot that guy?” Snart: “He owed me money.”
Joe: “Oliver walks on the dark side.” Boy, you have no idea.
Barry: “I’ve just learned the hard way not to trust the bad guy.”
Cool shot of Reverse Flash’s costume launching out of Wells’ ring!
The Flash: “I see you’ve abandoned your traditional green.” Arrow: “I’m trying something different.”
The Flash: “I got you.”