Tuesday, January 20, 2015

REVIEW: 'The Flash' - Captain Cold Returns to Central City with a New Partner in 'Revenge of the Rogues'

The CW's The Flash - Episode 1.10 "Revenge of the Rogues"

Captain Cold and Heat Wave return to Central City to steal a multi-million dollar painting and to set a trap for The Flash by kidnapping a member of the team. Barry asks Dr. Wells, Caitlin and Cisco to help him double his training efforts so he's ready for the Reverse Flash. Iris deals with the aftermath of Barry's confession. Cisco makes the CCPD a new shield.

The Flash returned from its holiday hiatus with a new sense of urgency in part because of the looming threat that the Reverse Flash has over Barry. After his failure to beat the man who killed his mother in the midseason finale, Barry needs to focus on getting better with his own abilities. And yet, the world of Central City keeps on revolving. The Reverse Flash doesn't make another physical appearance in "Revenge of the Rogues." But the citizens of this city still need the Flash's protection. It's a very interesting dichotomy to pose for the lead hero. He can act now and save people in harm's ways or he could train to get better in the hopes of stopping his biggest nemesis right now.

What helps amazingly throughout this episode is the return of Leonard Snart aka Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), with his new partner Mick Rory aka Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell). It's a Prison Break reunion! I, for one, have never seen an episode of the former FOX drama. So I can't speak as to how it worked for fans of this casting. However, Miller and Purcell both made for excellent villains for The Flash to fight against. Yes, their character traits aren't all that subtle. Snart is cool, calm and collected. He's the brains of this operation. He has the singular goal of going up against the Flash again and organizes their escape from custody in the end. Meanwhile, Rory is a hothead who easy looses his temper. There's a dangerous unpredictability to that character. It also means though that Purcell could be a bit more hammy in the role.

It's great for Barry to have bad guys to face on a recurring basis who aren't the Reverse Flash. Each face off with these two villains has its own purpose. The first time Barry dealt with Snart he had to weigh saving the lives of many versus stopping the bad guy. This time he had to step out into the public light in order to stop these guys who are forcing him into a fight. Barry wants the police to handle Snart and Rory. With Cisco's help, they have shields that can help protect them from Snart's dangerous cold gun. But Snart and Rory are very formidable opponents. The law needs the Flash's help in order to stop them and the villains give him the motivation to get into a confrontation after they capture Caitlin.

It all leads up to another excellent and cinematic fight sequence between the people with special powers. Barry needs to get Snart and Rory to turn their weapons on each other in order to cancel the other out. It's a very daunting task and one that requires a careful approach. He can't force them to act by simply outrunning them. He needs them to believe that they have the upper hand for a second before they fall right into his trap. It's a very impressive sequence. And one that greatly helps with his training to become an even better hero.

But now, the whole city knows that the Flash is real and is a man acting as hero protecting the citizens of Central City. It's an evolution for the character. He is stepping out of the shadows and serving as a hero for his city. He is no longer just the red blur people would hear stories about but not entirely belief was possible. Now, he has proven to be real which is sure to be a game changer moving forward.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Revenge of the Rogues" was written by Geoff Johns & Kai Yu Wu and directed by Nick Copus.
  • Joe recognizes that Wells is manipulating Barry into doing what he thinks is best. They both continue to serve as father figures in Barry's live. But they both represent something different. Joe is Barry's heart and the desire to help people no matter what. Wells is Barry's brain and the need to train to become the best version of his heroic self.
  • Caitlin did some digging into Firestorm - the word that Ronnie said before he flew off. It was a project run by Dr. Stein - seen as Victor Garber in a picture very briefly.
  • STAR Labs is also working on regaining its reputation in the city. It's a major step in the right direction when Cisco provides the shields that can protect the detectives from the cold gun. He deserves that credit and gratitude as well.
  • So what was the point of Eddie's task force against the Flash as they now seem to be supporting the masked hero? Eddie even saves the Flash during the big fight.
  • Iris moves out of Joe's house and it's understandably very emotional for him. It's also big for Barry because of the awkwardness their friendship is in after his big confession in the midseason finale. They patch it up some but things probably aren't going to be the same as they were so easily.
  • Barry also moves back into Joe's house. Those two being roommates again sounds very promising.
  • The Flash versus the drone and its missiles was also very cool.