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!