The Flash is back from Xmas vacation! Huzzah! I am not a fan of these mid-season breaks, but at least this show was only off for a month. Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. won't be back until freakin' March, and Doctor Who is gone until late fall (!).
There's a lot going on this week, as the general public finally gets its first real look at the Flash, Iris moves in with Eddie, and we get our first super villain team up as Captain Cold joins forces with his pal Heat Wave.
Still smarting from his defeat by the Reverse Flash, Barry trains to improve his speed. Captain Cold, aka Leonard Snart, returns to Central City with his partner Heat Wave, aka Mick Rory. They fake a robbery in order to set a trap for the Flash, but he's too busy training to show.
Dr. Wells tells Barry that if he ignores Captain Cold, he'll get bored and go away. Seems like sound advice to me! Barry tells Joe that he's going to concentrate on his speed, so he and the police force will have to deal with Cold themselves. This makes Joe unhappy. Cisco comes up with a special art deco shield to help protect the police.
Meanwhile in non-Flash related subplots, and Iris moves out and into Eddie's apartment, much to Joe's chagrin. Caitlin talks to a colleague of her late fiancé Ronnie. She discovers that "Firestorm," the last thing Ronnie said to her, is not a name, but an acronym for the transmutation project he was working on with a Dr. Martin Stein.
Cold and Heat Wave kidnap Caitlin to draw out the Flash. Dr. Wells and Cisco theorize that if Barry can get the Rogues's respective guns to cross streams, they'll cancel each other out. And by cancel out, they mean "create a big-ass explosion." Dr. Wells admits this is just like Ghostbusters.
Joe and Cisco rescue Caitlin, while Barry battles Cold and Heat Wave in full view of the Central City police force. He eventually gets them to cross the streams, they blow up, and the public now knows the Flash is real and not an urban legend.
After Iris moves out of Joe's house, Barry decides to move back in. As the Rogues are being transported to prison, their van is hijacked by Snart's sister, who's most likely Golden Glider.
• Barry's opening narration is changed this week, as he says, "My name is Barry Allen, and I'm NOT the fastest man alive," reflecting his run-in (HA!) with the Reverse Flash.
• The STAR Labs Gang helps Barry train by chasing him with flying drones. Drones that are equipped with live ammo, by the way, including missiles! Yikes! Hopefully Barry doesn't ever trip!
• As one of the training missiles bears down on Barry, Dr. Wells comes this close to jumping out of his wheelchair and revealing himself for the fraud he is. Fortunately for him (I guess), Barry rallies and saves himself, and Dr. Wells sits back down.
• I believe this episode set the record for the most times the name "Snart" has ever been said in a single televised hour. I have to admit I snicker a little every time I hear the name "Snart." Do the writers really think that moniker is any less silly than saying Captain Cold?
• By the way, did you notice that Captain Cold has a calm, icy demeanor while Heat Wave is a raging hothead? Subtle!
• The Rathaways, the wealthiest family in Central City, buy a valuable painting for a cool $25 million. The Rogues show up and steal it from them.
A few things about this little interlude. First of all, the painting is called Fire And Ice. It's an abstract work; one side is white, while the other side is red because of course it is.
Second, as he exits his private jet, Mr. Rathaway hands his driver the painting and tells him to be careful with it. Amazingly this $25 million dollar painting isn't inside a crate or any kind of protective packaging! The fragile canvas is totally exposed to the elements, spilled drinks and sharp corners. They didn't even bother to throw a tarp over it! "Yass, DO be careful Jeeves, and don't put your foot through my priceless painting!"
In their super secret villain lair, Heat Wave accuses Cold of being obsessed with killing the Flash and says they should just sell the painting and enjoy their newfound wealth. Um... where exactly do you sell a painting? Especially one that the whole art world knows is stolen? At the local pawn shop? They bicker for a bit and Heat Wave eventually comes around to Cold's point of view, agreeing to kill the Flash. He then torches the painting, just for kicks.
Well, that was all certainly meaningless! What the hell was the point of this whole "painting theft" scene, other than to eat up a few minutes of the run time?
• When Caitlin is discussing Ronnie with Barry, she says the last time she saw him, he muttered "Firestorm" and then flew away. She then says, "My dead fiance can fly. Haven't broken that to my parents yet." HA!
The two of them then figure out that "Firestorm" isn't a name or word, but an acronym for a project that Ronnie and his colleague Jason Rusch were working on. It stands for Fusion, Ignition, Research Experiment and Science of Transmutation Originating RNA and Molecular Structures. Phew! To paraphrase Grant Ward over on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., "Somebody really wanted that to spell 'Firestorm."
This is significant, because in the comics Firestorm could not only fly, but had the power to transmute objects. That's a relief, because I was afraid they were going to turn him into a lame Human Torch clone.
By the way, in the comics, Jason Rusch is a rebooted, alternate version of Firestorm. I doubt he's going to turn into a superhero; I'm betting they just threw him in to make the fanboys swoon.
• Caitlin finds Ronnie's F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M. paper online, but balks at reading it because it's 800 pages long. Barry reads it in just a few seconds.
Apparently Barry's cognitive abilities also have super speed, if he's able to comprehend such a massive amount of info so quickly. This actually makes sense. The ability to run 500 miles an hour would be useless if you couldn't see an object in your path and be able to avoid it in time.
• Cisco whips up some special heated art deco shields for the police. They use them when Captain Cold attacks, and whaddya know, they actually work. Unfortunately for the cops though, the shields leave their legs exposed. Fortunately for the cops it never occurs to Cold to aim below the shields.
• The Rogues kidnap Caitlin in an effort to draw out the Flash. In their secret super villain lair, Heat Wave ties her to a booby-trapped chair with an incendiary device attached to a trip wire. As a finishing touch he places a gag in her mouth so she can't warn anyone who rushes in to rescue her.
Here's a fun little experiment. Take a handkerchief and place it across your open mouth. Now pull it as tight as you can around your face. Have you done so yet? OK, now try to speak. Can you still talk? Of course you can! Sure, your voice is a little muffled, but you can still speak at least as clearly as the average ventriloquist!
I can't really blame The Flash writers too much for this idiocy. This "mouth gag" er, gag has been going on since the earliest day of cinema.
• The Rogues then send a "ransom message" to the Flash over the TV airwaves. Despite the fact that it's playing on a hi-def TV, the video is very low res and has visible scan lines. Funny how we still have to use these scan lines to indicate we're watching a video, despite the fact that TVs no longer display them.
• Dr. Wells, Cisco and Barry discuss how to neutralize Cold and Heat Wave's guns. Apparently Cold's gun fires an absolute zero ray— absolute zero being the coldest anything can possibly be. It's around −459ºF. That's pretty darned cold.
Heat Wave's gun emits an absolute hot beam. I'd never heard this term before, and assumed it was just comic book science made up for the show. Apparently it's a real thing. It's the highest attainable temperature of matter, called the Planck temperature. It's 1.416 x 10(32)K. I have no idea what that means, but it's got like thirty two zeros in it and sounds really, really hot. Hot enough to melt not only Barry's suit, but probably the entire city as well.
• The entire time Barry's zipping up and down the street trying to get the Rogues to cross their streams, the police stand motionless like statues, seemingly powerless to do anything but gape at them. I guess the Central City Police Force doesn't have any snipers who could have picked off the villains from a rooftop? Maybe they all had the night off.
The only one who moves a muscle to help is Eddie, and even then he doesn't fire his weapon, but covers the Flash with a heat shield.