Every superhero is only as good as his villain, and since it premiered, The Flash has had somewhat of a villain problem; none of them have been particularly memorable. However, tonight’s episode, aptly named “Going Rogue,” takes steps to correct this by introducing one of The Flash’s most famous foes, Leonard Snart, a.k.a. Captain Cold (Prison Break‘s Wentworth Miller). Not merely content with introducing this iconic villain, tonight’s episode also starts to look at how the presence of people with abilities has complicated things for not only our heroes, but also for Central City’s normal criminals.
We open at S.T.A.R. Labs, where Barry is concurrently playing chess against Dr. Wells, ping-pong with Cisco, and playing “Operation” with Caitlin, all of which is meant to test the speed of his mind by pushing him to multitask. However, this amusing test, set to the sounds of Free’s “All Right Now,” is interrupted when they are alerted to a robbery in progress. Naturally, Barry speeds off, but not before Wells calls checkmate in their game.
When Barry arrives on the scene, he finds Leonard Snart and his crew in the process of robbing an armored truck that’s transporting a diamond to Central City’s Museum. One of Snart’s men starts shooting at one of the armored truck’s guards, which forces Barry to give up on apprehending the crew in order to save the wounded guard.
Barry’s later able to identify Snart from a mugshot book because Snart removed his mask during the robbery. We find out from Joe that Snart’s father used to a policeman, but was a bad one and used to take his anger out on his children. Now he’s locked away in jail. His son, Leonard, went on to become a criminal mastermind who meticulously plans out all of his jobs for months and will disappear once they’re completed.
Elsewhere, Snart is scolding his men for their conduct during their operation. He’s a fairly, pardon the pun, cool villain and values order in the way in which he carries out his operations, so, obviously, he’s not happy that his men started shooting at the guards. Snart’s also annoyed, but at the same time somewhat impressed, by Barry’s interference in his operation because he plans every operation down to the minute and if it weren’t for the Flash’s speedy response time, they would’ve made it away clean and clear with the diamond.
Even before Snart becomes Captain Cold, it’s clear that this is a new foe for Barry; Multiplex and The Mist were all out for revenge and didn’t give their criminal activities much thought, and Mardon was just crazy. Snart, however, is in it for the thrill and seems oddly excited by the prospect of needing to up his game if he’s going to overcome this new challenge. Essentially, Barry has inadvertently created his first supervillain and member of his rogues gallery. Snart starts by upgrading his technology and enlists a criminal acquaintance, who has stolen a lot of tech from S.T.A.R. Labs and other places, to help him do so. At first the acquaintance offers his a fancy flame thrower, but Snart has already deduced one of Barry’s weaknesses, and says he needs something to slow things down. Luckily his guy has just the thing, a freeze gun.
NEXT: Felicity comes to town.
Following last week’s episode of Arrow, Felicity has decided to pay Barry a visit in Central City and surprises him and Iris in his lab. As always, Emily Betts Rickards is an amazing presence and helped give Barry and Iris’ scenes the jump-start they needed. After showing off his newfound powers to her, Barry takes her to S.T.A.R. Labs to meet his Team Flash. Naturally, Caitlin and Cisco respond in predictable ways: Caitlin’s worried about someone knowing about Barry’s powers and Cisco’s caught up in how cool it must be for Felicity to work with the Arrow. Dr. Wells eventually comes in and reveals that he already knows who Felicity is because he likes to keep an eye out for promising talent in the scientific field—that’s how he found Caitlin and Cisco.
(ASIDE: It’s not clear how soon the show will move Cisco and Caitlin toward their comic book destinies. However, assuming that’s the plan, do you think Wells already knows who they’ll become? Wait, why am I asking? Of course he does.)
Although she’s impressed by everything Barry and his team have shown her, Felicity is also worried that they still don’t know how much that lightning bolt changed Barry: Is he aging quicker? What happens when he runs too fast? Dr. Wells tries to ease her worries by saying that everything they do there is meant to protect Barry and promises her that he’s in really good hands.
Iris insists on inviting Barry and Felicity out on a double date because she’s started shipping Barry and Felicity, and wants to force Barry into making a move. Later that night, Felicity bolsters Iris’ ship when she shows up looking amazing, albeit slightly overdressed, for trivia night, and when Barry and Felicity turn out to be the perfect trivia night partners.
Meanwhile, Cisco realizes that his cold gun has been stolen, and Wells is not happy to learn that Cisco built such a gun. For one, Wells hates weapons and believes they have no place at S.T.A.R. Labs. More importantly, however, he’s upset because of the danger the gun poses to Barry—and also to innocent lives, even though this last bit rings rather false since he killed several people in the particle accelerator explosion just to create Barry. This is the first time Wells has let the rest of the S.T.A.R. Labs crew see how much he cares about Barry.
Unfortunately, the double date is cut short when Eddie and Barry, separately, are called to the museum when Joe spots Snart there. Barry arrives on the scene just in time to jump in front of Snart’s cold gun to save Joe. However, his daring save not only slows him down, but also reveals his second weakness to Snart: how much he cares for innocent bystanders. To make his escape, Snart distracts Barry by shooting at an usher in the theater. Unfortunately, Barry isn’t quick enough to save him and the usher dies.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry’s also not happy to find out that Cisco built Snart’s new weapon. Cisco explains his reasoning to the group: Speed and cold are opposites, and he built the gun that could achieve absolute zero in case Barry turned out to be like Mardon or Nimbus. Caitlin can sympathize with Cisco’s worries, but Barry feels betrayed because Cisco didn’t tell him about it. What’s interesting about this latest development is how it basically positions Cisco as the team’s quasi-Batman; in the Justice League of America story “Tower of Babel,” it was revealed that Batman had devised ways to take out every member of the league should they ever become a threat to the world. Part of me wishes that the show had held off on this reveal (that Cisco was devising contingency plans) a bit longer, but it’s nice to know that the writers were aware that this is something that should’ve been on either Caitlin or Cisco’s minds. Furthermore, it goes a long way in helping us take Cisco more seriously; he’s not just the guy who makes the toys.
NEXT: Rogues assemble
Snart returns to the museum—without his crew because they’ve grown scared of the streak—and steals the diamond without encountering any resistance from the guards.
Meanwhile, Barry is running off his feelings in the lab. He’s upset about both Cisco’s perceived betrayal and not being able to save the usher. Thankfully, Felicity assumes Joe’s role and dishes out some much-needed wisdom: She explains that it took time for Team Arrow to develop the level of trust it has now, and that it makes sense that Barry’s own team still has a trust deficit because they were just recently thrown together. Her pep talk reveals a key difference between Team Arrow and Team Flash: Most of the members of the former, to some extent chose this life, whereas members of the latter were, please forgive me, all struck by lightning and pushed into it (by Wells). Felicity’s last bit of advice to him is that she’s seen how lonely this life can get, and that he shouldn’t make it any lonelier by pushing them away.
Using the gun’s internal computer, Cisco, with Felicity’s quick hacking skills, is able to locate Snart. Before zooming off, Barry makes a point of turning his earpiece off because he doesn’t want to talk to them. After he speeds away, Felicity turns on the S.T.A.R. Labs team and tells them to go after him because no matter how much he says he wants to be alone, he doesn’t mean it and that partners always have each other’s back.
At the train station—which looks very similar to the station in the Arrow season finale—Barry finds Snart on one of the trains. Again, Snart uses Barry’s penchant for saving people and proceeds to derail the car, forcing Barry to quickly save every passenger.
Snart’s there waiting for Barry when he’s done saving people and proceeds to shoot him with his gun and bind him to the ground. He thanks Barry for making him step up his game, and starts to kill Barry, but is interrupted by Felicity, Cisco, and Caitlin who show up. With a prototype cold gun in hand, Cisco tells Snart to let Barry go or else. Clearly thinking several moves ahead, Snart decides to give up and starts walking away. Once he’s gone, we find out that Cisco’s “prototype cold gun” was actually a vacuum cleaner with a lot of LEDs attached to it.
Back at the lab, it seems as though everyone has made up as Felicity bids Barry goodbye. However, once everyone leaves, Wells pulls Cisco aside and sternly tells him to never do something like that again.
Felicity is not only the awesomest person in the world, but also the luckiest as she somehow manages to secure a train car all to herself on her train ride home. Barry surprises her on the train, and after talking about how perfect they are for each other, but can’t work because they’re pining for other people, Barry and Felicity reassure each other that they will come running if either ever needs help. Before zooming away, Barry kisses Felicity, and basically confuses every Felicity-Oliver and Felicity-Ray shipper.
Breaking from the pattern up to this point, tonight’s stinger involves Snart approaching his old pal Mick Roy to join his crew. Given that the world has changed with The Flash’s appearance, Snart has realized that he needs a new crew with a different set of skills, and offers him the flame gun from earlier. Going forward, it’ll be interesting to see how the show plays with the idea that Barry’s superhero antics and Wells’ scheming are the reasons for the emergence of more and more supervillains like Captain Cold, and now Mick Roy.
Wall of Weird:
–In this week’s c-plot, we find out that, in addition to being really good at dishing nuggets of wisdom, Joe is also a master of the silent treatment and judgmental stares; he’s barely talked to Iris since she and Eddie told him about their relationship and his working relationship with Eddie has also chilled (hehe) since the revelation. Eddie keeps trying to talk to Joe about it, but Joe has no desire to. As Joe tells Eddie, he and Eddie aren’t friends, and thus, Joe has no interest in hearing about his dating life. When Iris eventually confronts Joe about his behavior, Joe explains that now their relationship is a distraction for him because now he has to worry about what will happen Eddie in the field, and, if something were to go wrong, how Iris would react to him. He’s also hurt that she kept it from him for so long. By the end of the episode, they’ve made up.
–Just in case you missed the news: Wentworth Miller’s Prison Break co-star Dominic Purcell was cast to play Heat Wave.
–Basically, every line Emily Betts Rickards had this week was hilarious.
–What did you guys think about Wentworth Miller’s debut? I think he did a good job, but there’s definitely room for him to grow. Thankfully, this isn’t the last time we’ll see him.
–Do you think Felicity plays a role in Wells’ grand plan?
–”Leonard? That’s almost as bad as Bartholomew.” Ugh!
–We need to talk about the casting of Malese Jow as Linda Park: What does this mean for the future of Wally West, Iris’ nephew? Before taking the mantle of The Flash after Barry’s death, Wally West was Kid Flash, Barry’s sidekick. Because Linda Park is supposed to befriend Barry and Iris on the show, we can assume that she’s around the same age as them, which means, should Wally be introduced, he will most likely not be introduced as Kid Flash, so that he can eventually marry Linda as he does in the comics. If the writers do bring Wally West on, it will most likely not be until the show deals with Barry’s death—and let’s face it, they will probably tackle that storyline in some way in a few seasons down the road. Not having a Kid Flash is probably a good thing because, at this point in the show, it’s hard for me to imagine Barry with a sidekick. But all of this is just speculation.
–The Flash returns on November 11!