Four episodes into its debut season, and I’m still waiting for one that I don’t like. With everything last night’s episode had going for it — the debut of Flash’s most iconic nemesis Captain Cold and Felicity Smoak’s long awaited crossover appearance — chances were high that “Going Rogue” was going to be another home run for The CW’s most watched show ever.
We begin with another great depiction of Barry’s powers. As he flashes back and forth between a ping pong match with Cisco, an Operation game with Caitlin, and a chess match with Dr. Wells, we get to see something rare in live action superhero tales: the protagonist actually having fun! I guess the CW universe really is separate from the cinematic universe after all.
While Barry is having fun multitasking at S.T.A.R. Labs, a crew of hi-tech thugs is attempting to hijack an armored truck transporting a rare diamond from the Kahndaq Dynasty (no sign of The Rock, though) to the Central City museum. One of the crooks tries to break through the truck’s door using an elaborate liquid nitrogen device before they’re stopped by “The Streak” — a name Barry doesn’t really care for, by the way.
Barry and Detective West figure out that the crew was being headed by a lifetime criminal named Leonard Snart, played with cool menace by Wentworth Miller of Prison Break fame. Though he dispenses with a lot of Schwarzenegger-esque one-liners, Miller sells the puns in a way that the Governator never could. We also get our first look at Felicity in Central City — picking up a thread left behind at the end of last week’s Arrow.
There’s a great scene where Barry reveals his superpowers to Felicity in broad daylight before taking her to meet Team Flash at the lab. We also get another look at the (not) Cosmic Treadmill. Meanwhile, West and Thawne are staking out the museum waiting for Snart to make a move on the diamond. And to be honest, I’m waiting for the Eddie/Iris part of the show to go somewhere interesting. Right now, that aspect of the show is the most cliche, and Eddie’s a pretty milquetoast character1. The only reason I’m even remotely interested in him is because I’m curious how (or if) they’re going to reveal he’s the Reverse Flash.
While Barry is taking Felicity on the town, Snart is back in his hideout meeting with a guy who has stolen some S.T.A.R. Labs weaponry — and also thinks he was cast on Gotham. (Seriously, between the arms dealer and the museum tour guide, the hammy acting this week was The Flash’s most egregious misstep). We see Snart introduced to his trademark freeze gun and goggles — as well as a unique flamethrower, but more on that later. Again, hats off to Wentworth Miller, who elevated what could have been a cringeworthy “villain’s origin” scene in the hands of a lesser actor (basically, every episode of Gotham so far).
After the break, we’re back with the good guys where Iris and Eddie are on a double date with Barry and Felicity at a “Trivia Night” — hosted by Oswald Loomis, aka The Prankster, natch. Snart, meanwhile, is casing the museum for a way to snatch the Khandaq diamond (what is it with ice villains and stealing diamonds anyway?) and when Eddie gets called to the scene, Felicity covers for Barry’s superheroing, a practice she’s pretty used to in Starling.
At the museum, we see Snart unleash his new toy on the unsuspecting citizens of Central City. When Flash arrives, he gets blasted by Snart’s gun while attempting to save Detective West. Apparently, the freeze ray is able to slow down Barry’s molecules enough to weaken him. In fact, he’s too weak to outrun Snart’s freeze blast and save the life of a poor theater usher.
It turns out the gun was developed by Cisco as a means to stop Barry if he ever went rogue (cold is the opposite of speed, after all). After Cisco gets scolded by Wells — for not only losing the gun but for creating it to begin with — he also loses Barry’s trust in the process. Barry starts isolating the rest of Team Flash before a pep talk from Felicity opens his eyes to the importance of trusting his teammates.
After having stolen the diamond, Snart is trying to flee Central City. Team Flash has figured out a way to track the cold gun but needs to hack into the city’s computer network to locate it. Fortunately, Felicity — the fastest woman alive when it comes to hacking — is able to get them in instantly. After he receives Snart’s coordinates, Barry takes off in a huff, shutting down his earpiece because he’s still mad at Cisco. Resigned to leave Barry alone, Caitlin and Cisco are convinced by Felicity to go after him.
When Flash confronts Snart on the train, it turns out that he wasn’t fleeing at all. Instead, he has lured Flash to a giant death trap. Having deduced that Flash’s weakness is saving lives, Snart derails the train with his freeze gun, causing Barry to save all of the passengers while Snart gets away. Which leads to the coolest image of the episode, and I’m once again reminded how much better than Gotham this show is:
Of course, Barry is able to save the whole train (because, duh, he’s the Flash) but Snart is waiting for him, ready to blast him with his cold gun once and for all. Before offing the Flash, he actually thanks him. It seems Flash’s appearance in Central City has caused the city’s villains to “up their game.” Basically, it’s the escalation speech Commissioner Gordon gives Batman at the end of Batman Begins.
That’s when Team Flash — Cisco, Caitlin, and Felicity in tow — arrive in the nick of time to stop newly christened “Captain Cold” with their own prototype freeze gun — which was nothing more than a vacuum cleaner with “a lot of LEDs.” Cold relents and leaves the scene, and thankfully, a villain of the week lives on to fight another day (about time, too!)
After getting a sense of how superheroes live in Central City, Felicity decides it’s time to go back to Starling. After making her goodbyes, she hops on a train back to the Arrow. While alone in a train car, Barry shows up out of nowhere, and the two have a heart-to-heart about how they both love people they can’t be with. But that doesn’t mean they can’t kiss!
The episode ends, as it always does, with an epilogue scene right before the credits. Fortunately this time, it has nothing to do with how mysterious Dr. Wells is! Instead, we’re back with Snart, who’s now going by Captain Cold in a darkened hotel room. Cold is addressing someone that the audience can’t see, but it’s clear they’ve worked together.
It looks like, as part of the escalation brought on by the Flash’s presence, Captain Cold is beginning to assemble a new kind of crew and he’s brought the flame gun from earlier in the episode. We learn that the person he’s talking to is named Mick, and the Flash fanboys lose their mind because they know it’s Mick Rory, aka Heat Wave2. And just like that, another classic Flash rogue has been introduced!
- Though I chuckled at the “awkward radio songs” scene, it did make me wonder how much money the production blew on getting the rights to two seconds of “When a Man Loves a Woman” and “Let’s Get it On” from the Percy Sledge and Marvin Gaye estates, respectively. Probably cost them a pretty penny for the gag. ↩
- And in a nice meta twist, the actor who’s playing Heat Wave is none other than Wentworth Miller’s Prison Break co-star Dominic Purcell! ↩