The Flash and The Arrow (or whatever he’s calling himself these days) approach superheroing very differently, and we’ve known this since day one. Oliver Queen’s ethics are determined by the situations, the line between right and wrong is constantly blurred for him. The same can’t be said of Barry Allen, who is a goody-two-shoes through and through.
Tonight, Barry Allen takes a walk on the wild side and asks Leonard Snart, a.k.a Captain Cold, for help with a big problem. Barry Allen is no Oliver Queen. Working with and trusting a foe will almost definitely go wrong for him for him for many reasons—and it does.
“Rogue Air” boast a ton of guest-stars. Unfortunately, this turns out to be more of a curse than a blessing because the episode feels stuffed. Basically, so many guest-stars, so little time.
Not much has changed since last week. Everyone is still pretty torn up about Wells’ betrayal and Eddie’s disappearance, especially Barry who is growing more and more desperate as times goes. He knows he’s still not a match for Wells. Thankfully, Cisco makes some headway as to why. While examining Wells’ wheelchair, he found an arc reactor-looking device that appears to have been charging Wells up this entire time. This explains why he was faster than Barry.
Tonight, Wells finally reveals he’s been hiding in the particle accelerator when he reactivates it using his futuristic key thing. When Joe, Cisco, and Barry head down to check it out, Reverse Flash comes speeding out of the pipeline and Barry runs after him, leaving Cisco and Joe to handle a newly freed Peek-a-Boo—and by handle, I mean get their asses handed to them. Peek-a-Boo is about to take her anger out on Caitlin, one of her jailers and the one responsible for feeding the metahumans, when Iris shows up and knocks her out with a pipe. Meanwhile, Reverse Flash outruns Barry because we’re like five minutes into the episode.
Upon closer examination of the pipeline, they find a weakened Eddie tied to a chair and Wells’ futuristic key thing that appears to be charging the particle accelerator. Barry apologizes to Eddie for not finding him, which elicits this loaded response from Eddie: “Sometimes you can’t see the clues even if they’re right in front of you [looks at Iris and Barry].” While Iris takes Eddie home to recover, Cisco determines that the particle accelerator will be fully charged in about 36 hours.
Worried about what might happen if the accelerator comes on and the metahumans are still imprisoned inside, Team Flash decides they have to be moved. Barry suggests moving them to Oliver’s prison on Lian Yu, an idea that doesn’t sit well with Joe because they’re moving them from one illegal black site to another. Barry is unable to reach Oliver, but luckily, Lyla is willing to help arrange for a plane to transport the metahumans. Joe asks Cecile, his favorite D.A., to help clear a route for the transport, but she refuses because of the illegality of the entire situation. This leads to a reflective moment for Joe, who feels bad for all of the laws he’s broken while working with The Flash.
With the CCPD unable to provide back-up for the illegal prison transport, Barry turns to Leonard Snart for help. Desperation drives people to do stupid things and makes them believe they have no other choice. Barry convinces Snart to help by pointing out the danger the metahumans pose the city Snart loves to steal from so much. Naturally, Snart asks for something in return. Barry says he can’t deliver the first thing he requests, but we never find out what it is.
After some more reflection, Snart strolls into S.T.A.R. Labs—which is obviously less secure than my freshman year dorm—with his demands. Clearly inspired by Selina Kyle’s demands in The Dark Knight Rises, Snart requests that Barry erase any and all information on him in the world–digital and physical. Naturally, Joe has major problems with this arrangement because it’s stepping further over the line than he’s had to do up until now. But, there’s no talking Barry out of it.
NEXT: Reverse Flash vs. More Guest Stars
Meanwhile, Eddie breaks things off with Iris because of what Wells showed him. Iris tries to fight back by arguing she chooses who she loves, but Eddie doesn’t care. He tells her that if she loves him, she’ll let this relationship end.
But there’s no time to reflect on that: We have metahumans to transport. Trusting Snart to help them is very stupid, but one of several upsides of this contrived story line is that it leads to some hilarious interactions between Lisa Snart and Cisco. From the moment she arrives in S.T.A.R. Labs, she doesn’t stop flirting with Cisco and it’s never really clear if she’s actually interested or just loves making him feel uncomfortable. As she and Cisco sit in the truck holding the metahumans waiting for the plane to arrive at Ferris Air, Lisa assures him that “smart is sexy” when he begrudgingly gives her a cool alias: Golden Glider. He’s definitely hating being a good guy this week.
Inside the truck, the metahuamns, whose powers are negated by a dampener Cisco built, are not getting along. Mardon, without any manipulation from Rainbow Raider, tries to start a fight with all of them; Nimbus threatens to kill them all once he gets his powers back; and Shawna just sits back and laughs at all of this male overcompensation. However, Cisco’s dampener stops working and their powers come back and they break out. Using his powers, Mardon destroys the ARGUS plane sent to transport them.
The Flash doesn’t fair well against all of his enemies in this (incoherently shot) fight sequence. Eventually he’s knocked down, and Deathbolt is about to deliver the fatal eye blast, but Captain Cold intervenes and saves Barry. Snart sabotaged the escape because he’s trying to increase the ranks of his Rogues Gallery and wants them all to owe him a favor.
We all saw this double cross coming, and the fact that Barry didn’t further reveals how different he and Oliver are and reminds us how new he is to the superhero game. Oliver would’ve been prepared for such a double cross. Barry, despite being reminded several times by Joe that he can’t trust Snart, wasn’t. However, Barry’s willingness to save the metahumans shows how much more compassionate he is than the Arrow. As Joe comfortingly tells him later on, the line between right and wrong isn’t blurred for Barry, and he knew that letting those humans die when the particle accelerator came one would’ve been wrong.
By now, the particle accelerator is fully charged and Wells struts through the gates of S.T.A.R. Labs to enact the next step in his plan. Barry goes out to confront him, but Wells is rather dismissive of Barry because he’s faster and stronger. This time, however, Barry isn’t alone—Firestorm and Oliver/Al Sah-Him show up (#networksynergy). After a disappointingly short fight that involves some Ray Palmer nanites, the three of them are finally able to knock him out. It’s a big moment for Barry because he’s finally caught the man responsible for his mother’s death. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite have the impact it should because, the episode rushes through the fight.
Although this episode has its problems, it’s easy to appreciate what the writers were trying to do. The prison break plot, which, at times feels as though its merely there to stall until the episode-ending showdown against the Reverse Flash, places the show in a position to stage a bigger and better organized Rogues Gallery fight next season. Plus, I wouldn’t be surprised if next season Iron Heights doesn’t undergo a major renovation to allow it to hold metahumans.
Wall of Weird:
- Wells’ opening monologue to a barely conscious Eddie reveals just how much he loves the sound of his own voice. More importantly, we learn that Wells, too, is also a desperate man. Unlike Barry, however, he’s not afraid and his desperation is tempered by his own confidence in his superiority to The Flash that it doesn’t prevent him from being 1,000 steps ahead of The Flash. The ending of tonight’s episode, however, shows that he can’t account for everything and his self-assuredness quickly turns to damning arrogance as he underestimated Barry’s resourcefulness.
- During the prison break, Rainbow Raider whammies Caitlin, leading her to attack Cisco and reveal that deep down some part of her still blames him for what has happened to Ronnie.
- “Oh, you were right Lenny, [Caitlin] is uptight,” says Lisa.
- Hal Jordan/Green Lantern Easter egg: Ferris Air was shut down after one of its pilots disappeared. Too bad, The Flash/Arrow universe will probably never follow through on this tease.
- It’s hard to make sense of where Oliver’s trip to Central City falls on Arrow‘s timeline of events. Obviously, he’s joined the League by now, but it’s not clear how long he’s been with them. There is no scenario in which I believe Ra’s al Ghul would allow Oliver to leave Nanda Parbat to help Barry since he’s been so intent on making Oliver forget Oliver Queen. Before leaving, he tells Barry he’ll need a favor from him very soon, which Barry will fulfill in Arrow‘s season finale.