Only my fellow nerds understand how excited I was to hear a narrative voiceover again, despite basically memorizing our hero’s speech. But it’s a new year, and we have a new Barry!
“My name is Barry Allen. I am not the fastest man alive.”
Here we have the set up for the second half of the season: Barry acknowledges his shortcomings and is determined to work to close the gap between him and the Reverse Flash. Barry is suited up and training against what looks to be a highly complex, very expensive flying terminator that keeps using its machine gun wings to almost kill our Flash-y hero, considering this is supposed to be a standard exercise.
Maybe Barry needs to stop doing voiceovers about how the Man in the Yellow Suit is faster than he is and FOCUS ON THE TERMINATOR, BARRY! I’m happy that this is the first scene that we see post-hiatus, as if the writers are assuring us that the big set-ups from the winter finale aren’t going to become background sub-plots but will be the central storyline… (The Central City storyline? Sorry. It’s been a while.) Team Flash are fully-fleshed out in their characterizations during this reintroduction: Caitlin is concerned and reprimanding, Cisco is handling the way-too-advanced technology way too nonchalantly as if it’s a video game, and Dr. Wells is being vague and all-knowing and making me hate him.
Barry is in second-half-of-the-season mode and challenges Cisco to “bring it!” because Reverse Flash is totally gonna bring it and Barry wants to tell him, “Oh, it’s already been broughten!” Barry stands off against the Training Terminator that is about to shoot a probably fucking illegal missile at him. Team Flash is concerned that he’s not running. “Why is he not running?” Caitlin asks doing her best Hermione Granger. Dr. Wells lifts a little bit from his fake wheelchair like he’s going to speed to intervene. I hold my breath. Barry look into the eyes of the missile (if it had eyes) and imagines it has a Yellow Suit on. This is Barry Allen, and he is facing his problems head on.
Barry is also jumping into the air, catching those problems, and then Olympic-style hurling them into other problems so that they explode while his hero music swells and I cheer from my couch. I’ve rewatched this part over and over again, and it is still awesome.
Wells commends Barry, but it’s not enough for Barry; he needs to be more to beat the Reverse Flash. Also, Wells likes the name “Reverse Flash” and we all yell, “UGH, YOU WOULD. YOU’RE THE WORST.” Alright, time for laser terminator training.
Crashing into the next scene are our bad guys: Captain Cold (aka Leonard Snart) and Heat Wave (aka Mick Rory). Our Rogues and Fox River prisoners on-the-run are portrayed by Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell, respectively. Now usually during the Metahuman of the Week (MOTW) scenes, I’m just waiting for Barry to come back, but I could watch hours of the Bro-Rogues bantering. Miller as Captain Cold has such an excellent villain voice: icy, cool, dangerous. Purcell as Heat Wave is gruff with a whole mess of craziness burning beneath the surface. They are a scary dichotomy, but immensely entertaining and sexy as hell. Also, they aren’t the only Flarrow villains to break out of Fox River apparently.
Captain Cold wants to bait The Flash, but when he doesn’t come speeding by (because he’s too busy focusing on his Reverse Flash training), the Rogue duo leave. Instead, they forge a plan to steal a multi-million dollar painting called Fire and Ice (Mhmmmm) and maybe get the speedster’s attention.
After a talk with Wells, Barry tells Papa Joe West that he’s decided to take a break playing Central City’s hero and focus on getting stronger and faster to defeat the Reverse Flash. Papa Joe is bummed, but respects his decision because he is the best parent ever. He’s also incredibly supportive of Iris moving out of their home and into Eddie’s place. Barry drops buy to pick up an old, red backpack full of old comic books; it is Barry’s bag from when he was a boy, and Iris found it in her closet. There are a lot of heavy silences and longing looks as Joe observes like wtf. Then Barry does the best thing ever and cleans up Iris’s mess in about two seconds, and I think about how messy my room is and how I really, really want superspeed.
Wells and Cisco are at CCPD presenting some heavy duty shields, but CCPD is kind of like, “You guys exploded our city last year. I don’t think I trust you yet.” Cisco is dignified and apologizes, but despite the demonstration of the new heavy-duty shields working, Captain Singh is still cold. (I wanted to make a joke and call him Captain… Cold, but I figured that would be way too confusing. Maybe next recap.)
Snowbarry bonds in the STAR Labs and try to figure out what the hell “Firestorm” means. Guess what? It’s an acronym. “Fusion, Ignition, Research Experiment and Science of Transmutation Originating RNA and Molecular Structures” reads Caitlin. There are 800 pages all about it and I get horrible flashbacks to college. Barry makes me wish I had superspeed, once again, and reads all of it. Oh, by the way, all of the relevant information was in the acronym. Barry does find two very important names: Dr. Martin Stein and Jason Rusch. I smell a Firestorm spinoff heating up.
We cut to rich people stepping out of their fancy private jets with their rich paintings getting party-crashed by the Rogues! Yay! Wentworth Miller plays such a good villain, and he makes my favorite villainous entrance so far.
Captain Cold and Heat Wave shoot not-the-best visual effects out of their guns, and Heat Wave tries to upstage Cold’s villain showmanship. Cold tries to calm him down, but Heat Wave is on fire — not literally, but as a crazy, demented, pyro-criminal antagonizing the police. Joe manages to damage Heat Wave’s gun with a lucky bullet, and the Rogues retreat back to the Rogue lair where they argue. Hot vs. Cold. It’s good stuff. Eventually, they just release their frustrations on the painting and destroy it with their superguns. I like to think that they are both pretending the painting is the other Rogue. This partnership is like watching that married couple that won’t get divorced because the sex is too good.
Caitlin meets Jason Rusch portrayed by Luc Roderique at Jitters to have an uncomfortable chat about the top secret FIRESTORM project that went wrong. Welcome, fellow Nerd of Color Jason! I’m glad they didn’t whitewash you! They set up FIRESTORM some more, and when Caitlin goes to leave, she is kidnapped by the rogues. Captain Cold leave ice all over her car, perhaps the writers foreshadowing Caitlin becoming supervillain Killer Frost? (Let us know what you think about this in the comments.)
At CCPD, Barry and Joe watch Captain Cold’s viral video message to the Flash, but I can’t stop thinking about how much it looks like a music video from the millennium with the goggles and puffy jacket. Heat Wave gives a crazy-person speech to Caitlin, but Caitlin remains cool and strong telling him to leave Barry alone. It’s another Fire and Ice dichotomy, and I love it.
Barry decides to make his first public appearance after Captain Cold’s video outing, and the Rogues vs. The Flash pre-battle montage begins. There’s a lot of putting-on of accessories and shots of streaks racing around the city and policemen going, “Whoa, what was that?!” Our hero finally meets our two villains and Cold announces in his deliciously cool, bad guy voice, “The Scarlett Speedster! Any preference on how you’d like to die? The flame or the frost?”
IT’S CAMPY AND AMAZING.
Barry knows that he’s going to have to Ghostbusters that shit (according to Cisco, who is currently with Joe and successfully saving Caitlin in the Rogue lair) and make the two guns’ streams cross. After unsuccessfully running around, Barry realizes that he actually has to move slowly and trick the Rogues. I know, it was weird. At one point, Eddie jumped in front of Barry with his supershield to protect him, while Iris watched. It was weird. But I like weird. My favorite moment might be when Cold has fallen and reaches for his gun, but the music goes “BUUMMM BUMMMMMM!” and The Flash’s boot steps on top of the weapon. And like that, the entire police department becomes Flash fanboys.
Back to reality, Iris moves out while Eddie tries and tries to not remind Joe that he’s banging his daughter. (He fails). Barry and Iris have a cute little talk that gives us hope that maybe this awkwardness might be over, and she leaves smiling with tears in her beautiful, goddess eyes while holding a Westallen picture frame. Joe and Barry have another glorious father/son scene where we probably don’t even get to see the best parts, and Barry moves back in! They are the best.
The cliffhanger scene of this episode doesn’t feature Dr. Wells being creepy, but our two Rogues in jumpsuits(!) in the back of a prison van (!) while Captain Scofield Cold concocts a plan! An explosion is heard and while Heat Wave loses his shit, Captain Cold keeps his cool (how many times have I made that joke this recap? Someone tell me in the comments). And then Sister Snart (aka Lisa Snart aka golden Gilder) opens the door off-camera.
“Hey, Sis. Thanks for the prison break,” is what I wish he’d said.
- Barry “seeing the future” refers to some speedsters’ ability to travel through time.
- Firestorm’s three: Ronnie Raymond, Dr. Martin Stein, and Jason Rusch all of whom have paired up to become the two consciousnesses of Firestorm
- Mercury Labs
- The Rathaways are the rich owners of the multi-million painting and the parents of Hartley Rathaway (next week’s MOTW!)
- Snart makes me think of 30 Rock’s definition of a “snart”