It’s quite the leap for The Flash to devote the followup to one of the most jampacked episodes ever with another Rogue installment, the events of the previous episode completely wiped out and replaced by a relatively run of the mill episode. Last week a bunch of things happened from Barry revealing his identity to Iris to the two of them kissing to Wells’ secret being discovered and Cisco paying a heavy price. And that tidal wave headed toward the city pretty effectively gave Barry an out, and the Mark Mardon situation is hastily wrapped, with Rogues coming to replace him as the present threat. “Rogue Time” isn’t as packed as its predecessor but it’s still got a lot going on.
Besides the uncertain mechanics of the time travel (Why didn’t the Rogues appear in last week’s episode as well? Why weren’t there two Barrys running around after they crossed paths), “Rogue Time” is a decent enough episode. It’s not up to par with last week’s, but it’s not a poor venture. Heat Wave and Captain Cold reappear in Starling City looking to tussle with the local crime family and bring Lisa Snart (who unfortunately doesn’t get her supervillian name of Golden Glider) along for the ride. They turn to Cisco, threatening to kill his brother (Nicholas Gonzalez) if he doesn’t cooperate and provide them with weapons.
In a relatively humdrum episode, Cisco’s nice to see taking a larger role. His relationship with his brother isn’t as compelling as it could be, bogged down under the weight of an already packed episode, that still doesn’t manage to fit together as nicely as it should have. Cisco with something to do is nice enough, especially as he’s forced to reveal Barry’s secret identity to Captain Cold so Dante can keep his fingers. But Cisco’s so sweet, and means well, that seeing his despair after exposing Barry, upset enough that he wants to leave the team entirely. He’s only convinced to do otherwise by Wells, who has a heartfelt chat with Cisco about seeing him as a son, which is both better and worse than the last conversation we saw them having when it ended with Cisco dead.
Wells says time will find a way to replace tragedies, and “Rogue Time” does so. Barry’s able to save Captain Singh and Joe with his quick capture of Mardon, but instead of his super secret being revealed to Iris it comes out to Captain Cold, who holds the information over Barry’s head to get him to back off. It’s not a bad play, and it’s the only element that makes this particular Rogue episode worthwhile (it doesn’t live up to previous Rogue installments). Barry and Captain Cold negotiate on how their relationship will proceed. Cold’s free to continue stealing but Barry will intervene, secret identity reveal or no, if Cold kills anyone or comes after Barry’s family or friends.
Though Cisco survives the episode, the same can’t be said of Mason Bridges who is found by Reverse Flash and killed for his evidence against Wells. Since last week had such a huge moment in Cisco discovering the truth, backtracking completely would be cheap, and it’s a relief The Flash maintains some forward momentum even with the timeline shift. With Mason reported missing, Barry immediately looks to Wells as a potential culprit because it’s terribly convenient for Mason, the only person in town certain that Wells is evil, to be suddenly out of the picture. And God willing we’ll be on our way to seeing this storyline unravel since I don’t think I can spend anymore time watching people defend Wells.
But remember how promising last week was for Iris character wise? Remember that? When she had to confront her feelings for Barry and was beginning to suspect that everything wasn’t right at STAR Labs? No more, which is enough for me to kind of hate time travel. Mason never gets around to telling Iris his suspicions about Wells, and Iris appears onscreen only occasionally. Besides the fact that Iris being utilized only to further hers and Barry’s relationship is a poor excuse for characterization and development, her professional ambitions have been lost in the time jump. It’s Barry who gets to act on Mason’s information, and all Iris gets to do is deal with more of her love triangle. She at least gets to call Barry out on continuing to bombard her with his feelings with no reason, expecting hers to have changed, but there’s so much more Iris could be doing that doesn’t revolve completely around how Barry feels about her.
- Cisco and Barry should drink together more often.
- I’m confused about how Eddie found out about Barry’s confession. I assume Iris told him, but she didn’t tell him the first time and telling him now, when they’re having so many problems, doesn’t seem like something she would do either.
- In any case, thank God for Caitlin coming up with “lightning psychosis”, since Barry very nearly ruined himself with all that.