Revenge of the Rogues Plot:
As Barry (Grant Gustin) is struggling to train his speed in order to beat Reverse Flash, his old friend, Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), returns to Central City with the help of a new villain, Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell).
The Flash is back in a spectacular mid-season premiere (albeit with a bunch of the usual glaring plot holes) but in this episode it’s all about the villains.
We spend the episode with a much more mature Barry Allen. The experience with the Reverse Flash has focused Barry and the team on increasing his speed. Unfortunately, for everyone else in Central City, crime fighting has taken a backseat to training and it couldn’t come at a worse time. Leonard Snart/Captain Cold is back and obsessed with beating The Flash. He has help in the form of Heatwave, an old partner of Snart’s, whose hot head and pension for arson have gotten the duo in trouble in the past.
Two things stand out for me in the episode. The first is that we really are dealing with a different Barry this time around. He has a clear goal and he is focused on achieving it. If that meant ignoring Snart this one time, it is worth it to him. Considering that Joe (Jesse L. Martin) is always right, in the end it seemed like Barry was being manipulated by Wells — but Wells (Tom Cavanaugh) logic still held up. Why can’t the police intervene when non meta-humans with superguns like Cold and Heat Wave show up? Maybe if a super-villain clearly wants to just fight The Flash, Barry should stay out of it. Either way, Barry’s new maturity is a really strong step forward to making the series a little more grounded.
Speaking of less grounded, the second thing that stood out in this episode is how great Wentworth Miller continues to be. He is quickly becoming my favorite part of this show. Originally, I thought him to be a bit cheesy — his emotionless delivery is easy to mistake for plain old bad acting. It’s really so much more. Snart is calculating and reserved and he knows exactly what he is after. He doesn’t show emotion because he doesn’t need to. That’s not who Captain Cold is. You do, in Revenge of the Rogues, see a couple of moments of actual emotion. He is visibly disappointed when Flash doesn’t show up at the car heist. It’s subtle but it’s there and it really works. I am really excited to see more of him in the future.
Joining Captain Cold in this episode is Mick Rory a.k.a. Heat Wave. He’s played by Miller’s Prison Break alum Dominic Purcell and yet there is NOT ONE line or nod to that show. There are two moments where it would have fit perfectly but I guess the writers didn’t want to make the easy joke. Fair enough. Everyone that watched Prison Break was on board with the joke since we heard Purcell was cast. Rory is an excellent foil to Snart. The fact that they are both criminals may be the only similarity between the two. Rory is hot tempered and Considering his fascination with fire, he seems truly insane which makes Snart look like a much better leader than I expected.
The real highlight of the episode had to be the dynamic of The Rogues. For the unfamiliar, The Rogues are a group of villains, similar to Spiderman’s Sinister Six, formed by Captain Cold to commit crimes and get that sweet, sweet paper. Per episode it consist of two characters, but entire roster is filled with fan favorites like: Weather Wizard, Mirror Master, The Trickster, and Captain Boomerang. The fun thing about The Rogues isn’t necessarily watching them fight The Flash but watching them argue with each other. New members bring fun new issues to the table. Even on their first group outing, they hit a lot of beats that lead you to believe that they are going in the right direction. Heat Wave has to constantly be reined in by Captain Cold. Snart also forces Rory to learn everything about his weapon so that he can rebuild it, should it brake of get taken from him. Snart’s ambition to steal a painting that was obnoxiously symbolic of the current Rogues lineup was also a nice touch. The Rogues-est moment ‘Revenge of the Rogues’ offered is when Rory gets in the getaway car, ready to go, and Snart just calmly said “Seatbelt”. Even though Rory is much larger and meaner, Snart is always in charge like a parent and he isn’t afraid to get his fellow Rogues in line.
This episode culminated in the goofiest fight scene the show has posited so far. The Rogues call Flash out on TV. They give him an intersection in which to fight them for Caitlin’s (Danielle Panabaker) life. Obviously, Barry shows up but as you would expect if a criminal started calling his shots, so do the police. Loads of them, including Eddie (Rick Cosnett), barricade the area so that they can presumably watch the fight because once Flash shows up and the Rogues appear, the police do NOTHING. This whole fight is just Cold and Heatwave shooting at Flash while Flash runs around. During the fight, there are even shots where their backs are to the police. Why do the police do nothing? I have no idea. It really only required one change to the script to fix.
“The Flash enters the scene. He surveys the area, but The Rogues are nowhere to be found. Suddenly a wall of ice forms between the police and Barry. Eddie tries to shoot through it but to no avail. Barry hears “The Scarlet Speedster” as Captain Cold and Heatwave enter. Barry is alone with The Rogues.”
That’s all we need to make it less silly. I’m not even going to get into Barry not just whooping Cold and Heatwave up and down the street or the bizarre way in which he ends up defeating them. It’s goofy but it’s comic book goofy. Having the police just watch the fight is mind-numbing.
Overall, the episode was really good. The formation of The Rogues (and their subsequent escape) sets up a lot of fun moving forward. The moments between Barry and Joe continue to be great. Caitlin had a bit of screen time devoted to Ronnie’s (Robbie Amell) disappearance that contained a level of bizarre problem solving I have only seen before in Black Dynamite. (Scuba is an acronym. What if Firestorm is an acronym?) And what the hell is going on with Wells? The more we know, the more confusing it gets. And that’s how I like it.
Matthew Nando Kelly is an incredibly cool and handsome staff writer for Pop-Break who was allowed to write his own bio. Aside from weekly Flash reviews, he writes about film, television, music, and video games. Matthew also has a podcast called Mad Bracket Status where he discusses pop culture related brackets with fellow Pop-Break writer DJ Chapman. He loves U2, cats, and the New Orleans Saints. He can also occasionally be found writing lists on Topless Robot and his twitter handle is @NationofNando