The Flash: Going Rogue

“The lightning didn’t just give me speed. It also gave me friends.”

Cold hands don’t equate warm heart in this opening salvo of a promising crossover. Just to drive the point home, an emotionless killer defeats our team for the first time–and he’s not even a metahuman.

The character of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) still comes across as an overgrown boy to me, and the opening of this episode doesn’t help–although I love how Wells tested Barry’s mental processing capabilities by having him play chess, Ping-Pong and Operation, three of my personal growing-up faves. Barry’s failure at chess emphasizes the idea: he can’t win at the adult games. He has too much growing up to do. (I don’t know how characteristic this is for forensic scientists.)

This episode is a crossover with Arrow, featuring the incredibly awesome Felicity Smoak. Felicity, in the recent Arrow episode, suffered serious Oliver Queen heart-breakage. It makes sense she’s gone hero-hunting in Central City. Barry’s clearly not ready for her, either–and he’s clearly not ready for who's to come.

We’re initially introduced in this episode to a villain I first thought of as the Numbers Guy. Wentworth Miller previously held fame in my mind as one of the hot swimmers who explodes into a fishy cannibal monster from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He ain’t a minnow any longer. “182 seconds,” he intones, his team rolls out, and I’m reminded of villains from Arrow and Fringe–shows also featuring very precise anti-heroes. Their near-hijacking of a truck, using liquid nitrogen to steal diamonds, is foiled when the Flash shows and helps save the cops.

Luckily Barry’s seen the Guy’s face–and identifies him by working with the police. Leonard Snart has a history, and a plan: he’s looking to up his game, and goes from zero to anti-hero when one of STAR Labs’ cleaning staff nicks an old invention of Cisco’s. At this point Barry Allen experiences his first failure. He’s fast, but fast doesn’t equate more than one place at one time–and Captain Cold scores his first on-camera kill in a test run, leaving the Flash trembling with guilt and unable to function. Barry just doesn’t have enough experience with being responsible for death to take this in stride. Why doesn’t Cold kill Barry while he’s in shock? I think it simply wasn’t part of the plan.

Barry doesn’t have much experience with life either. Felicity clearly has some feelings in Barry's direction, and instead of committing Barry’s acting like a coy closeted gay teenager. “Dude? Whaaaaat?” I get it. Some guys act totally asexual so they don’t risk not being available to the object of their affections. The downside is Iris never gets to see him as someone who's dating, and probably won’t think of him as someone she could, er, date. No matter how wonderful she knows he is.

Still. It really sucks that THAT DRESS went to waste. What ARE you waiting for, Barry? But love must wait for the Flash to save lives. The Flash version of Mr. Freeze attacks again, using cool planning to compromise and exhaust Barry in order to disable and overpower (and probably kill) our hero in yet another awesome scene full of well-done special effects; Our Hero is saved in the nick of time by Cisco and Caitlin after some choice advice from Felicity. I thought their bluffing was absolutely mad but it does show these two are dedicated to doing good. And Felicity’s right: Barry needs to know that there’s trust out there.

Felicity has had Barry’s number all along, as it turns out, and calls him on his constant puppy-dog looks at Iris. The kiss goodbye at the end felt natural and well done and also completely horrible for Felicity, who is going back to Starling City to do her duty. It felt like she was giving it one last shot. I don’t want to see yet another gorgeous, intelligent, powerful woman suffer because the handsome but self-involved men around her can’t get over their baggage. Hopefully there’ll be a few new super guys around who are barely worthy of her time over on her own show.

And here in Central City we’re left with the question: if a normal human being with a superpowered weapon and good planning and organization skills can cause this much havoc, what’ll happen when a metahuman with a firm grasp of Google Calendars appears?

Bits and pieces

-I’m starting to become familiar with the comics, and now I’m really watching Eddie and Wells to see what’s going to develop.

-The interplay between Wells and Cisco. Cisco sees something is not quite right there–and Wells looked almost insane for a moment. Another clue to his true identity?

-The idea of Cisco inventing a machine that can reverse the Flash, then just locking it up somewhere. Cisco comes across as a good-guy version of Andrew from Buffy: eternally geeky and cheesy, but wanting to Do Good deep inside. I’m warming up to him.

-The train scene was incredible and I wasn’t even sure Barry could make it happen, but he did.

-Iris calling Felicity “the computerer.” Clearly her search for the identity of the Streak hasn’t led her to a dictionary.

-I think we need more of Iris; she can’t just be Glowing Girl on a Pedestal. Iris’ growing obsession with the Streak, and her friendly support of Barry, are basically her only redeeming qualities so far. Eddie, however, has begun to pay off: he’s not taking Joe’s machismo bullshit, and he’s still doing his job.


Caitlin: This isn’t even remotely anatomically correct.

Detective: Guard says there was three of them.
Barry: Actually, there was four. I mean, that’s how many I would bring if I were doing a robbery of this nature. That’s definitely a four guy truck. A driver, two more to cover the guards, and— somebody used liquid nitrogen to crack open this door, so… four bad guys.
Detective: Thank you, Mr. Allen, for your brilliant insight.
Joe: For somebody so fast, you’re a little slow on the improvising.

Felicity: I heard you were out of the coma. Didn’t call, didn’t write, didn’t race over...

Eddie: I’m sorry. I thought I knew it, and I got excited, and I—I just hit it.
Barry: No, I mean, maybe they’ll get it wrong too.
Felicity: No, I am sure that the team named Pride and Padawans doesn't know the name of Han Solo’s ship.
Iris: Oh, honey, you are so cute when you’re confused.


There was a lot of meat to this episode, and it was tough to pick and choose what to focus on. Definitely one of the best for what's been a sterling first season. Four out of four portable cryo engines!


Jess Lynde said...

I think your point about Barry being an overgrown boy is spot on. He's still got a lot of growing up to do. But that's okay with me. It gives the series places to go. Hopefully, they'll let him grow while still maintaining his positivity and his ability to have fun. We don't need another dark, broody hero. It's one of the reasons my husband and I chose to watch this show over Gotham. We wanted something new that had more of a fun vibe than a dark one (I needed some more balance in my viewing!).

I was really pleased that we finally got a non-metahuman nemesis, especially one that lived to fight another day. I enjoyed Wentworth Miller --- who will always be Michael from Prison Break to me, even though I do remember him from 'Go Fish' --- as Captain Cold. Intelligent, with a cool, calm charisma. I'll be glad to see him down the line again. And his newest crew member. (I got a huge kick out of that tag scene. "I know it's been awhile since we pulled that job." Tee hee!)

Billie Doux said...

I'm also a Wentworth Miller fan, and yay for him as a continuing human nemesis for Barry. I'm where you are, Jess, as far as The Flash and Gotham are concerned. The Flash is a lot of fun and I'm enjoying it more than I expected to. I especially liked the Felicity visit, the trivia game scene and the vacuum cleaner.

Bea said...

I'm really liking this show! Much more than I expected, too.

I agree on the overgrown boy comment as well, but I definetely enjoy the boyish charm of Grant Gustin's Barry. It provides a nice companion to Arrow's brooding Oliver, and it gives the show a lighter tone that makes it stand out.

I really enjoyed the feeling of team bonding on the episode, and Felicity commenting on how trust doesn't just happen. Team Arrow wasn't built in a day, indeed. I like the path they're taking with the team, unveiling them little by little; Caitlinn got a bit more background last episode, and in between that one and this one Cisco has stepped out from the role of just the funny guy, so I hope they keep digging there. It was also cool to see Wells step out of his pleasant character and show some of his true colors.

(Also, was anyone else completely saddened by Barry basically starting the episode by saying yey! I got friends! To me, it said a lot about the way he's been living his life, basically dedicated to the mistery of his mom's death).

Felicity gelled really well in the episode, and I did love the direction they took with her relationship with Barry. They can't have them falling for each other, after all, no matter how many crossovers they do, and I thought it was very sweet how they admitted feelings for other people even if they do seem perfect for each other. The kiss was nice, and also the soft goodbye. Hopefully, Iris will get to see that side of Barry, too (or Caitlinn, I guess? The fandom is already going full ship wars with WestAllen vs. Snowbarry, and the show did give us a lot of paralels between Barry and Caitlinn's fiancé, after all).

Lovely review!

Patrick said...

Felicity fits in very well with Team Flash, since they definitely have a lighter tone than Team Arrow. And I'm glad for that, which is why Barry works as something of an overgrown boy. It makes for a good contrast with Oliver Queen. I think if they'd made them too similar, this show wouldn't have been nearly as good. And HOLY MOTHER OF PETE did Felicity look gorgeous in this episode! I'm sorry, I have no way of being diplomatic about it, my jaw was on the floor when she showed up in that black dress. If Oliver had seen her wearing that, he'd be over his "I can't afford a life for myself" nonsense in a....flash.

For any Wentworth Miller fans who are fond of his Prison Break days, rewatch his last scene in this episode again and pay special attention to the voice of the unseen character he's talking to. Pretty sure it's the fellow Prison Break alum confirmed to be showing up at some point. No, not T-Bag, er- I mean Clock King, though he'll be visiting from Arrow in the big crossover episode soon enough. :)

Something I've noticed lately, any time we've seen a screen showing Barry's speed, has it been topping out at 250-300mph, and they're talking about Barry still pushing his limits? Call me crazy, but I could've sworn in the pilot Barry got close to supersonic speeds on that test track & when he unwound that tornado. Maybe it's just a retcon from the pilot, or maybe I'm remembering it wrong.

Josie Kafka said...

I'm really enjoying this show, too! I was worried it would feel a bit too light, in no small part because of the overgrown-boy thing you have all mentioned. But I thought that this episode had a nice balance of the light and the dark, and the "woo-hoo" at the end as the Flash sped away was an honest acknowledgement of the fact that having superpowers is really cool.

Barry Allen seems so young that I kept thinking Felicity was too old for him, but the actors are both in their early twenties.

And add me to the Wentworth Miller fanclub. Patrick, I hope you're right about the person he was speaking to. :-)

JRS said...

Well, youth and inexperience definitely doesn't equal emptiness!

I have a lot of sympathy for Barry. He's one of those awkward doesn't-fit-in types.

I think they're going to play his speed lightly this season - have to save the travels to other dimensions for future seasons! So they're being careful about specifying how fast Barry can go...

Patrick said...

Josie, he's confirmed to be showing up as another villain, and I'm pretty sure they confirmed that he & Wentworth Miller would be appearing in at least one episode together, so it only makes sense that it was his voice we heard. Could you imagine it we got both of them AND Clock King in the same episode? Even better if they all busted out of Iron Heights together? :)

Piper said...

I am really loving this show. Barry being an 'overgrown boy' really works for me, yes because he is a great contrast to Oliver Queen, but also because it's not very often that I see a geeky, awkward, smiley superhero since most of the superheroes are always these super hot, untouchable, broody guys.

Felicity SERIOUSLY deserves someone who will see her for what she is worth. She is just so perfect and so adorable man, I'd go lesbian for her! Oliver should have seen her in that black number, his jaw would have hit the floor so hard he would've forgotten all about his "I don't deserve a life outside of my mask" mumbo-jumbo.

I am sooo glad Arrow/The Flash writers are not afraid of crossovers, UNLIKE a certain Julie Plec.

I think I would ship Caitlyn and Barry (at least until and unless they introduce someone better) because I cannot stand the stereotypical trope the show seems to be headed on. You know the one? The boy falls in love with his best friend and the girl is blind and one day the girl's boyfriend breaks her heart and then her eyes open to who she's REALLY missing on! Pfft! That is soo boring. Caitlyn and Barry have greater chemistry, and it would be intriguing to watch the dynamic between them grow. Barry breaking down those Caitlyn's walls. On the other hand, there's a possibility her fiance will return from the dead, this is a fantasy show after all and anything is possible!

Anyway, I loved this episode and I can't wait for the next. :D

Marianna said...

I agree that the Flash has a boyish charm to him that sets a fun tone for the show in contrast to Arrow. Case in point:

Barry: That's before The Streak was around.
Joe: Did you just refer to yourself in the third person?
Barry: I referred to The Streak, which I'm pretty sure I can top. I've been thinking of a new name. What do you think about The Flash?

I couldn't help but giggle!