Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Flash Season 1, Episode 4: Going Rogue

This week the Flash gets a visit from an Arrow cast member to remind us that both shows are set in the same universe, and a major villain from the comic finally makes his debut.


The Plot:
A gang of thieves tries to hijack an armored car carrying a comically huge diamond, but they're thwarted by the Flash. Barry identifies the leader of the thieves as the improbably named Leonard Snart. 

Meanwhile, Felicity Smoak takes a break from Arrow and pays a visit to The Flash set, which I'm sure was absolutely not an attempt at boosting the ratings of both shows. Iris thinks Barry and Felicity would be perfect for one another, as the audience agrees. Unfortunately Barry is still smitten with dumb old Iris, for reasons that remain unclear. 

Snart manages to acquire a freeze gun that was invented by Cisco at STAR Labs. He becomes Captain Cold and uses the gun to steal the aforementioned diamond from a museum. Dr. Wells flips his wig when he finds out Cisco built the gun to use against Barry, in the event he should ever turn bad. 

Even though Cisco's actions were perfectly reasonable, Barry feels betrayed by him and throws a big hissy fit. He tries to stop Captain Cold, but is zapped by the freeze ray. Just as Cold is about to ice Barry (see what I did there?), Cisco, Caitlin and Felicity show up with an even bigger freeze gun. Not being an idiot, Cold wisely retreats. Cisco reveals that the big gun was really a vacuum cleaner. Wah-wahhhhh.

Felicity tells Barry goodbye as she heads back to her own show. The two of them realize they're right for each other, but they're both too busy pining for people they can't have. 

• At the beginning of the episode, Dr. Wells is testing Barry's ability to multitask at super speed. To that end, Barry zips back and forth playing chess, ping pong and Operation.

Hmm. The definition of "multitasking" must have changed while I wasn't looking. I thought it meant to perform several functions at the same time. Flitting from one separate exercise to another, even at super speed, is not multitasking. 

Now if he'd been playing chess with one hand and Operation with the other while running on the treadmill– that would have been multitasking.

• The Going Rogue title no doubt refers to the Flash's Rogues Gallery of the comics, which usually featured Mirror Master, Heat Wave, Weather Wizard, The Trickster, Pied Piper, The Top, Captain Boomerang, and of course Captain Cold.

• This week's Easter Egg Alert:

• The armored car that Snart and his gang robs says "Blackhawk Security" on the door. The Blackhawks were a team of pilots who fought crime in WWII.  
• The museum director is named Dexter Myles. In the comics, he was the curator of the Flash Museum in Central City. 
• The Kahndaq Dynasty Diamond also has a comic connection. Kahndaq is the fictional Middle Eastern country ruled by Black Adam, the arch enemy of Captain Marvel (I know, I know. I've been calling him Captain Marvel my whole life and I refuse to start calling him Shazam now. To hell with the corporate lawyers!).
• As always, Emily Bett Rickards is wonderful as Felicity Smoak. Her appearance was like a breath of fresh air on the show. Unfortunately, she's far more interesting than Caitlin Snow. Felicity's bubbly personality only highlights how underwritten and, well, dull Caitlin is.

It's really too bad they can't figure out a way for Felicity to be on both shows. C'mon, Oscar Goldman was on both The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, so it's not like it couldn't be done.

• Felicity confesses she knows Barry is secretly the Flash, as she overheard him and Arrow talking on a rooftop a few weeks ago (!). Jesus, yet another person who knows Barry's identity. Why's he even bothering with the mask by this point?

• Barry brings Felicity to STAR Labs and introduces her to the gang. That seems a bit presumptuous on his part. Shouldn't he have checked with the unpredictable and creepy Dr. Wells before bringing her in?

• As Barry shows off his super speed on the treadmill, Felicity worries about the effect his powers may have on his health. She wonders if he ages more quickly when he uses super speed, and fears he could run so fast he "turns to dust in a red costume."

This was mostly likely a shout out to Crisis On Infinite Earths, the 1985 DC Comics miniseries that tried and failed to clean up their continuity. In the miniseries, the Flash battles a god-like being called the Anti-Monitor, and runs so fast he begins aging and literally turns to dust.

• Det. West knows all about Snart and info dumps his back story to Barry. Snart's father was a bad cop who routinely beat him, so of course this troubled childhood explains why he's now a criminal mastermind. Sigh...

Once again, I wish superhero shows would quit trying to humanize and rationalize their villains. Why can't the bad guy just be a colossal asshole who robs and kills because that's what he does? Why do we always need some deep-seated psychological justification for a villain's actions?

• Snart steals the freeze gun from a janitor who in turn stole if from STAR Labs. In most versions of the comic, Leonard Snart invented the gun himself. 

Let's hope for his sake that it never runs out of whatever it uses for ammo, as it's unlikely he'd be able to figure out how to reload it.

• I believe Captain Cold is the first non-metahuman villain we've had on the show so far. Wentworth Miller (now that's a name!) does a fantastic job portraying Cold, giving him a cool, icy demeanor.

• It was great to see Captain Cold in the flesh, but I really wish they'd have given him some sort of costume. Something besides goggles and a gun. Yes, they give him a parka at the end, but it wasn't enough.

The Flash has a costume and this is a superhero show after all, so why do they keep dressing the villains in normal street clothes?

On the other hand, it shouldn't be too hard to cobble together a Captain Cold costume for Halloween. Get a military sweater from the Army Surplus Store, some welder's goggles and a Nerf rifle painted black and you're good to go.

• We're told repeatedly that Snart is a criminal mastermind, who spends months casing a joint and planning out a strategy before robbing it. But he's then he's almost caught because he goes on the same museum tour twice in one day. Doy!

• Cisco confesses that he created the cold gun to use against Barry in case he became a super villain after his accident. When Dr. Wells finds out, he tears Cisco a new one for creating such a thing, saying that weapons have no place in STAR Labs.

This is an odd thing to say, especially for someone who's stabbed another man in the chest a week or so ago.

• Once again I have to give props to actor Carlos Valdes. Cisco, the show's resident kewl & radical genius slacker, could have easily been one of the most annoying characters in the history of TV. Somehow Valdes makes him not only tolerable, but likable.

• Captain Cold's master plan involves stealing a ridiculously huge diamond. Always with the diamonds. What is it with cold-based characters and diamonds? Mr. Freeze did the same thing in Batman And Robin. Is it because diamonds look like ice?

• Um... when Barry and Felicity show up at the Trivia Night Challenge, isn't it, well, night time? So how come a few minutes later when Barry leaves on Flash business, it's now daytime? Whoops!

• The show's doing a good job of making Eddie Thawne likable in spite of himself. It's gonna hurt even more when he eventually becomes the Reverse Flash.

• When Iris says she's starting a blog dedicated to mysterious Streak, Barry says he's thought of a better name for him: the Flash.

Wha...? Hasn't that name already been established? Cisco christened Barry "The Flash" back in the first episode. So I guess Iris and the general public doesn't know that? I suppose not, if they're all calling him "The Streak." Confusing.

By the way, "The Streak" is probably not the best nickname they could have chosen. People who grew up in the 1970s will understand why.

• Cisco tells Barry that the freeze gun is deadly to him because "speed and cold are opposites." Well... I guess so, in some esoteric sense. I get that molecules are constantly in motion and they slow down in extreme cold, but... that doesn't seem to have anything to do with speed.

• Barry's seen running on the treadmill several times during the episode, and according to the speedometer he's going around 280 - 300 mph. Once again, that's way too slow for him to be moving too fast to be seen.

Also, in several episodes we've seen Barry run so fast that everything around him appears to stop. 300 mph is nowhere near slow enough for that to be possible. Heck, Formula 1 cars can go around 250 or so, and I'm pretty sure time doesn't  stop for the drivers.

Barry would need to be running many thousands of miles per hour for the "time stop" effect to occur.

• Captain Cold figures out Barry's weakness– he cares. Despite the fact that this particular plot has been done many times before (I'm lookin' at you, Spider-Man), it pays off pretty well here. The Captain deliberately derails a crowded train in order to make his getaway, and Barry saves each of the passengers at super speed– while the train is still crashing! That was pretty awesome!

• After seeing Barry and Felicity together, I have to wonder what the hell he still sees in Iris, a woman who clearly has no romantic feelings for him. I guess that was the point, to introduce some CW brand relationship drama.

• Joe tells his daughter Iris that he's hurt that she kept her relationship with Eddie a secret from him for so long. Iris apologizes to him and says, "From now on, no more secrets."

Well, except for the fact that your father knows your best friend is really the Flash. But other than that, there's no secrets between you two!

• After Captain Cold is threatened with the vacuum cleaner, er, I mean Big F-ing Freeze Gun, he walks away, resisting the urge to shout, "We'll meet again, Flash, and when we do, you'll rue the day you were born!"

We then see Captain Cold handing out a heat gun to a his former partner Mick. Obviously Mick is being set up here as Heat Wave, another villain from the comic.

Hmm. Villain partners, one with icy powers, the other controls heat. Now where have I seen that before...


  1. I don't think Snart's dad was a cop in the comics, but I knew he was an abusive son-of-a-bitch. This backstory isn't new; they used it in the pre-52 to justify Captain Cold's, well, cold emotional state. (Apart from his sister, Golden Glider, whom he "rescued" from their abusive father. In fact, years later as an adult he ultimately goes back home and kills his old man, if I'm not mistaken. That was sometime in the 2000s -- fairly recently.)

  2. @Dr. OTR, Cold's dad was indeed a disgraced ex-cop in the comics. He doesn't seem to have ever been in jail though, or at least not that we heard about.

    Ultimately Cold didn't kill his father, but he asked Heat Wave to do it (who obliged).


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