There are a lot of great things about The Flash, and it’s recurring guest cast is one of them. The show already has a built-in means for bringing people back, with the metahuman prison below STAR labs, but it isn’t metahumans returning for more in tonight’s “Revenge of the Rogues”. It’s super gun wielding Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and new partner Heat Wave (Miller’s Prison Break costar Dominic Purcell).
Miller and Purcell are exceptionally fun to watch together, coasting off of chemistry built during their Prison Break days.The relationship here is a very different one from the tight-knit brothers, Captain Cold trying to rein in his new partner, who’s less invested in entertaining himself with a worthy adversary and asserting his dominance and more into just making himself rich. It’s Captain Cold who has the big plans, and while Heat Wave is helpful, he could end up being more of a hindrance. He’s not as well defined as Cold was even in his first appearance, but he serves his purpose this time around. The personality differences are easy to track, Captain Cold chilly and calculating compared to Heat Wave’s more explosive personality.
The pair makes their debut in town at an awkward time in Barry’s superhero journey, when he’s throwing himself into preparing for another confrontation with Reverse Flash. It throws quite the wrench into Cold’s plans of taking the Flash out for good, with Barry putting his superheroics on the backburner at Wells’ encouragement. Now that we know Wells is the Reverse Flash, it’s more confusing what his intentions are with him. He’s helping Barry get stronger and faster, removing him from his face-offs with other metahumans, but to what purpose? That he’s obsessed with Barry isn’t a question, but how obsessed is he that he’s both trying to destroy and assist him? He tells Barry that he makes him better, so is that what he’s after, some kind of twisted self- betterment? Whatever it is, no one’s suspicious of him except for Joe, who mentions how strange it is that Wells has managed to convince Barry to take a break from helping people.
Captain Cold sees the same strangeness developing, with the police (and STAR labs) picking up the slack and the Flash nowhere to be found. To draw him out, he snatches Caitlin and threatens to kill her if the Flash doesn’t show up. It draws them into a very open confrontation, and Miller and Purcell both clearly enjoy themselves in their battle with the Flash. It all screams comic book, in the best way possible, from Miller and Purcell’s opposing performances to their fun fight sequence, Barry trying to get the two’s guns to cross paths. He gets a little help from Eddie, who’s decided that he’s done fighting the Flash after their encounter with Reverse Flash.
Even though Reverse Flash is nowhere in sight and it’s Heat Wave and Captain Cold causing all the problems the show manages to imbue the episode with his presence. This show isn’t an abundantly serialized one, but it keeps up with its other plotlines pretty well in an episode that isn’t very concerned with them. Eddie’s new outlook on the Flash is only one of them. There’s Caitlin’s search for Firestorm, which leads her to a research project run by Martin Stein (who will be showing up sooner rather than later, as comic book fans know). STAR Labs gets some of its credibility back after helping CCPD with special shields, and Iris and Barry are navigating the new awkwardness in their relationship after Barry’s declaration of love.
Iris and Barry take up only a small part of the episode, the two of them circling one another uncertainly. Iris is still moving in with Eddie, but her and Barry are pretending he never told he loved her. It’s given a new dimension to their interactions, which are just slightly stilted and uncomfortable. They’re still on speaking terms, and Iris even gifts Barry with an old backpack of his stuffed in her closet. By the episode’s end, they’re getting over their awkwardness, certain they’ll eventually go back to being besties sooner or later. This episode gives no indication that Iris is rethinking her relationship with Eddie (though Eddie asks her if she’s reconsidering moving in together), but I’m sure it’s coming sooner or later. And I can’t wait.
And perhaps the best part of the episode? Barry moving back in with Joe.
- Caitlin’s very good with the love advice.
- Captain Cold and Heat Wave escape their prison transport with some help from Captain Cold’s sister.
- How long can The Flash go without actually calling this growing group the Rogues despite identifying them as such in episode titles?