This The Flash review contains spoilers.
Nevertheless, it’s appropriate. I simply can’t believe that this show is willing to do some of the things it does. Perhaps more to the point, I sometimes can’t believe it does them at all.
I just assumed “Rogue Time” would be a series of vignettes where Barry is forced to relive moments from the previous day, where he goes out of his way to prevent certain events from unfolding the way they did the first time around. To be sure, we get some of that, but things take a left turn before they get too gimmick-y. In fact, by about mid-episode, that formula was all but tossed out the window in favor of an entirely new story. For a show that is occasionally a little predictable in its format, I sure as hell didn’t see that coming.
Perhaps most impressive of all was the one moment from the “Out of Time” timeline that I held most dear: the moments between Barry and Iris from that episode’s climax. What I said at the time was that I would be pissed if they hit the reset button on that, because I felt that was well-earned. The Flash outsmarted me by not hitting the reset button at all, but rather, ummmm…changing the rules?
Honestly, I can’t quite explain why I’m okay with this, but I am.
Maybe it’s because, well, if I was in Barry’s shoes, I’d probably behave almost exactly the same way. He’s bursting with the knowledge that he can tell his feelings to Iris (or so he thinks), and there’s an almost dreamlike quality to the way he goes about setting this up. You ever have one of those dreams where you’re back in a situation you lived once before, but this time you know what you didn’t know then? It’s usually a good feeling, and you’re only let down when you wake up before accomplishing your goal.
And could things have been any more different between Cisco and Harrison’s chat from week to week? Again, that’s a hell of a trigger to un-pull, but now the audience can sense the menace that Cisco can’t. To Tom Cavanagh’s credit (and the writers deserve a round of applause for this), this was played so straight that if you didn’t see “Out of Time” it wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. It would just feel like another natural step in Cisco and Harrison’s close relationship. The audience knows better, and the show knows we know, and didn’t feel the need to beat us to death with it. I hope Gotham is taking notes.
As good as “Rogue Time” is, though, it doesn’t quite pack the emotional “we have nothing to lose” punch that “Out of Time” did. Some of this is to be expected, simply by the nature of these types of episodes. But it also stumbles a little during the confrontation with Flash, Golden Glider, and Captain Cold. Just as it happened in “Revenge of the Rogues,” the show has failed to provide a satisfactory explanation of why Barry can’t just confiscate these super weapons before his enemies can blink. The whole standoff/stalemate thing shouldn’t work when one party involved just moved so fast that he accidentally traveled through time. It’s a major flaw in the show’s logic, and they’re going to have to address it soon.
That being said, it makes up for it with Barry and Cold’s little chat in the woods. I’ll get to that in a minute, though.
This makes for a fine segue into this week’s jaunt with the actual Rogues. I don’t think enough can ever be said about how how good Wentworth Miller is as Leonard Snart, but even better, Dominic Purcell dialed down his Heat Wave this week, which is nice. He was a little too broad in his first appearance. Peyton List makes a nice addition as Lisa “Golden Glider” Snart, and she certainly fares better than Plastique did early on. Along with the hastily disposed of Mark Mardon, we’re starting to get to the core of baddies who will ultimately elevate this show beyond the villain of the week stuff.
I suppose I do have to take issue with Barry’s rather abrupt change of heart on Harrison Wells. Barry’s deductive powers are quite good, but even though he had that conversation (that now never happened) with the suddenly deceased reporter, I’m not sure that would be quite enough to bring all of that doubt to the forefront. Then again, it might just be like Harrison Wells was saying about the subconscious mind…sometimes things just need to be jarred loose. It’s the one element from these two episodes that felt a little rushed, and considering how elegantly it’s been handling most of these issues, I found it a little surprising.
– Alright, so this isn’t really a DC Comics thing, but Harrison’s reaction to Barry trying to explain his “other” day to him was so very Doc Brown from Back to the Future. Nice touch. It was also neat to see that Harrison was immediately wise to what was going on with Barry.
– So, Eddie was kinda justified in slugging Barry. We’re back to this show not doing what I expect it to do and set Eddie up as the arrogant rival, potential supervillain/ancestor of Reverse-Flash. What the hell, show? Why do you have to be, y’know, this good?
That being said, his behavior is still pretty erratic lately. His almost tearful “I don’t know what came over me” thing at the end really makes me think something is up, and there’s still a certain gorilla with mind control powers loose in Central City.
– Even though it results in Barry sticking Weather Wizard in his stupid and unconstitutional science jail, Flash scouring the city like that is such a proper Silver Age maneuver. But again, it points out why there need to be serious checks and balances in place to keep him from looking stupid just because somebody has a fancy science gun around. C’mon.
– Now, about that chat with Barry and Mr. Snart. Fans of the comics know that Flash’s rogues aren’t Batman’s. They aren’t maniacs or serial killers. The show has done a good job establishing that the core of the Rogues, particularly as led by Cold, are ego driven thieves. They commit crimes because, well, they love crime.
This conversation was such a perfect encapsulation of that Rogue philosophy. It sets up the ground rules for anyone who isn’t familiar with the source material, but it also, perhaps because Grant Gustin and Wentworth Miller are superb, didn’t feel like a big awkward chunk of exposition. The whole “nobody else dies” thing is a nice callback to “Going Rogue” when Cold actually did kill someone and Barry wasn’t fast enough to help. There’s a bit of a stalemate here now that Cold knows Barry’s identity, so maybe that helps with the speed issue, but it also helps set up his time as a potential hero on the still-untitled superhero team-up show that launches in the fall (which had better be called The Brave and the Bold, damn it).
– I believe the Santini family have turned up in Gotham City…but not on that show. Just the comics.
– Well, this show has suddenly built a nice arc for Cisco, hasn’t it? They’ve done well with not beating us too heavily with his potentially superheroic future.
I’d still be willing to bet that an encounter with the Reverse-Flash is what unlocks his vibrational powers when the time comes, but that’s just me. At this point, I don’t even care how it happens. They haven’t disappointed on the big reveals yet.