Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Flash Season 1, Episode 16: Rogue Time

As I predicted last week, Rogue Time pressed the big red reset button, undoing pretty much all the events that happened on The Flash last week. 

I was expecting a mini version of Groundhog Day, as Barry was forced to relive the same events of the previous day. Instead we got a completely new timeline— one that's absolutely worse for Barry, but way better for everyone else. For example, Barry loses two women in the same day, but Mardon's now behind bars, Joe's safe and sound, Captain Singh is healthy, Dr. Wells' secret is safe and Cisco is still alive. It was an interesting— and unexpected— way to go.

Last week I worried that the show was revealing too much too soon, especially when it came to the Dr. Wells / Reverse Flash storyline. I guess I needed have concerned myself. Just like that, Wells' revelation is gone, and the characters are none the wiser as to his true identity (although we still know it of course).

Let's just hope they put a lid on the time travel and don't use it too awfully much, lest it become a cheap crutch for the writers.


The Plot:
We pick up right where we left off last week, as Barry finds he's time traveled a day into the past. He begins finishing everyone's sentences, prompting Dr. Wells to realize what happened. He warns Barry not to alter the future, as the universe will try to balance any changes he makes.

Barry enters the police station and sees a non-abducted Joe and an unparalyzed Captain Signh and says screw it, ignoring Wells' advice. He captures Mark Mardon at super speed before he can hurt anyone, making us wonder why he doesn't do something similar every week. The universe doesn't take this well, and replaces Mardon with Captain Cold and Heat Wave.

Dr. Wells worries that Barry will mess up the time stream, preventing him from getting back to the future. He checks his futuristic newspaper to make sure the time hasn't been altered.

Cold then kidnaps Cisco and forces him to make replacement weapons for himself and Heat Wave. When he refuses, Cold trots out Cisco's estranged brother Dante, threatening to kill him unless he complies. Cisco reluctantly recreates the guns. Cold's sister Lisa says she wants in on the action as well, so Cisco whips up a gun for her that shoots gold (more on that in a bit). She then dubs herself the Golden Glider for some reason.

Meanwhile, Barry breaks up with Linda Park, now that he knows Iris is going to profess her love for him in just a few hours. He excitedly invites her to lunch, but is disappointed when she rejects his advances. Eddie even ends up punching him in the nose for going after Iris. Barry then realizes Dr. Wells was right— his attempts to change the future have ruined his life.

Captain Cold tells Cisco that he'll let him and Dante go if he tells him the Flash's secret identity (which most everyone already knows at this point). Cisco balks, so Cold begins torturing Dante, freezing his concert piano-playing fingers. Cisco finally breaks and spills his guts. 

Cold releases Cisco (and I guess Dante went to the hospital?) and returns to STAR Labs, where he tearfully informs Barry of what he's done. Barry says, "Eh," and they hug it out.

As Cold, Heat Wave and Golden Glider attempt to rob an armored car. Barry grabs Cold and zooms him into the middle of nowhere to have a talk. Barry threatens to lock up Cold in Super Jail. Cold says if he does, an automatic signal will broadcast Barry's identity to the world. It's a real standoff.

Eventually they come to an agreement— Barry promises to leave Cool Cold & The Gang free to steal (!) as long as they don't hurt any innocents, and Snart promises to keep Barry's identity secret. 

Lastly, Iris' boss Mason Bridge tries to give her the damning evidence he has on Dr. Wells, but before he can, the RF appears and kills him. Barry sees a news report that Bridge is missing, and becomes suspicious of Wells.

• So Barry runs so fast he goes back in time to the previous day. I'm still trying to figure out why there aren't two of him now. It's a loop, right? He leaped from Tuesday back into Monday. So why didn't Tuesday Barry run into Monday Barry? Did he somehow jump into his old body?

• As soon as Barry realizes he's gone back in time a day, he zooms over to Mark Mardon's hideout, grabs him and tosses him into Dr. Wells' secret Super Jail, all in the blink of an eye.

Realistically (heh) this is how EVERY episode of The Flash should play out. You've got a superhero who can literally outrun lightning (as seen last week). How could any villain have a defense for that?

And once again, Wells is apparently imprisoning someone in his private prison, without due process.

• Captain Cold captures Cisco so he can build replacement guns for him and Heat Wave. Cisco refuses, so they bring out his estranged brother Dante and threaten to kill him if he doesn't comply.

It would have been funny if, when Cisco saw his jerk of a brother being held hostage, he said, "Meh. Whatever."

• Despite the fact that there doesn't seem to be any lab equipment in Cold's hideout, Cisco somehow builds replacement cold and heat guns. When Cold's sister Lisa sees the weapons, she says she wants one too. Cisco's such a genius that in just an hour or two, and again with no apparent equipment, he builds a gun that spontaneously generates gold. 

Obviously the gold gun isn't spraying out real gold, but a gold-like resin or something. Because if it is real gold, then Captain Cold and his little crew will have absolutely no reason to steal ever again. All they have to do is shoot a few rocks or an old vase and they'll be set for life.

And if the gun really is shooting actual gold, why didn't Cisco think of this before? He could be ruler of the entire solar system by now, sitting on a hundred foot tall solid gold throne.

They could have easily cleared up this issue with a simple line of dialog.

• After receiving her gold gun, Lisa Snart gives herself the perfectly logical name of Golden Glider.

In the comics, Golden Glider was a figure skater, who used a pair of hi-tech skates that created their own ice. These allowed her to skate over any surface, even in mid-air. She also used a lot of jewel-themed weapons, like rings and jewels, which I assume is why they gave her the gold gun here.

• Barry tries to deliberately break the time barrier in STAR Labs, but fails. Dr. Wells comes up with some lame explanation as to why he can't.

I'm glad they included this scene, because Barry's time travel ability needs to have limits, and be used very sparingly. Otherwise anytime he makes a mistake he can just run really fast and undo it.

• When Linda Park confronts Barry about their relationship, she says his heart should "ache for her." Unless there've been a lot of scenes we've not been privy to, they've gone on about four dates. Give the guy some space, Linda!

• During the final minutes of last week's episode, Iris confessed she still had feelings for Barry. Now that he's gone back in time, he's all excited, expecting her to reveal her feelings all over again. Unfortunately his hopes are dashed, as she apparently has no feelings for him this time now.

Dr. Wells tells Barry that Iris' feelings for him are actually there in her subconscious, but they need a shock or trauma to bubble to the surface.

In other words, Iris needs a goddamned tidal wave to destroy her city before she realizes she loves Barry. I've made no secret of the fact that I'm not a fan of Iris, and this cockamamie revelation does nothing to change that.

• When Barry can find no sign of the missing Cisco, Dr. Wells says, "Brave heart, Barry." Was that another Doctor Who shout out? The Fifth Doctor often said "Brave heart, Tegan" to his companion back in the day. I'm assuming they threw this in because of all the time travel in the episode?

• Did you get a load of Iris' outfit at the newspaper? Apparently black leather hip boots are now acceptable office attire.

• Last week Dr. Wells confronted Cisco in front of the Reverse Flash Containment Unit, right before he killed him. 

In this new timeline they share the same moment, but it plays out much differently. This time Wells is supportive and encouraging to Cisco, rather than monologuing right before he kills him with his vibro hand.

It was a nice little bookend to the scene last week. Still, it was a bit chilling when Dr. Wells told Cisco he considers him a son, and we realize he's capable of the same feeling in both timelines.

• The Flash / Captain Cold standoff, in which the two reach an understanding, was very well done. Although it does seem a bit odd that Barry basically just gave Cold permission to commit crimes, as long as he doesn't hurt anyone. I guess Cold had him over a barrel with the secret identity thing.

I'm betting they set up this "mutual respect" thing for two reasons. First of all, in the comic the Flash's Rogue Gallery had their own twisted code of honor. They were thieves yes, but they did their best to never kill cops or innocents. And I believe Captain Cold once even through a Rogue out for doing drugs (!). The Rogues also had a grudging respect for the Flash.

Secondly, The CW is planning a superhero team series soon. This team will supposedly consist of Black Canary, the Atom, Firestorm and... Captain Cold. I'm betting they're softening up Cold a bit so it'll be more realistic when he becomes a team player.

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