We are finally back after the mid-season break, and still weary from his clash with the Reverse-Flash, our hero doesn’t catch a break. This is the episode of “The Flash” we have been waiting for since Captain Cold first showed up in “Going Rogue,” he’s back, and he’s brought a very special friend along from the other end of the temperate spectrum – Heat Wave! Can this super-villain team-up crush the fastest man alive? Meet me after the superspeed jump to find out!
Behind and Ahead
That last episode, “The Man in the Yellow Suit,” was a big one. Not only did we finally meet the Reverse-Flash, but now we know who he is. As verified in the final scene of the episode, and in interviews with Tom Cavanagh since, we know that Harrison Wells is the Reverse-Flash. There might be a slight question of which Reverse-Flash he is, but we know Dr. Wells is certainly not on the side of the angels. We also know that he is now in possession of a dangerous tachyon device, that possibly might lead to time travel? It would definitely fit in with the future-born villain and hints we have seen throughout the show.
We have also seen some things to come in previews and trailers. More Rogues are coming. Besides Heat Wave making his official debut in this episode, there is also the Pied Piper on the horizon, who will be Captain Singh’s partner, as in the comics. There’s also Peekaboo, a newcomer and teleporter from the last decade. Linda Park, news reporter and love interest/wife to the Wally West Flash, has been cast. And we have two Tricksters coming, one played by Mark Hamill, who originated the role on the 1990s “The Flash” TV series. Lots of goodies on the way, and I’m not even mentioning Grodd, Firestorm, and the promise of another “Arrow” crossover next year, implying renewal for both shows.
“Revenge of the Rogues” features not one, but two of Flash’s Rogues Gallery, in action against our hero. In the comics, Mick Rory was a straight up pyromaniac, who later in life, after starting fires and even gigging as a fire eater in the circus for a time, saw the Rogues in action against the Flash. This inspired him, and he created the identity of heat Wave. Donning an ugly white asbestos uniform and building a gun-shaped flamethrower he called the Hot Rod, he went into the super-villain and eventually joined the Rogues Gallery himself.
Later he went straight, then went crooked again, but got a more high tech gun and a more streamlined costume, still white and drab, but not as lame as the previous containment suit design. He was always basically a ‘hot’ version of his rival Captain Cold in the comics, and even had a fear of cold literally – cryophobia. The New 52 version of the character is a bit more powerful, a burn victim who can project flames from his chest. Yeah, I kinda prefer the bulky white suit guy to that incarnation. You can’t win them all.
Reunions and Partnerships
Dominic Purcell makes his official debut in this episode as Heat Wave alongside Wentworth Miller III as Captain Cold. This reunites the two stars of the four season Fox drama “Prison Break” for the first time since that show’s cancelation in 2009. Notably it’s not the only such type of reunion in the Flash and Arrow universe as both Deathstroke and Captain Boomerang, respectively Manu Bennett and Nick Tarabay of “Spartacus,” have been imprisoned together and will likely stage their own, wait for it, ‘prison break.’
In the comics, Captain Cold and Heat Wave while cooperative in the team of Flash’s Rogues Gallery, have often clashed and just barely get along. Almost like a nefarious Heat Miser and Snow Miser, they sometimes have gone to war with each other both for the fun of it, and for the right to be the one that kills the Flash once and for all. Unlike this pairing on the small screen, these two do not get on well.
As the episode opens we see a drone opening fire on the Flash as it chases him. It’s a training exercise as Barry is now obsessed with getting faster, getting better, so he can outfight the Reverse-Flash when he shows up again. The obsession even extends to his opening voiceover – he’s no longer the fastest man alive. Barry should take his own advice to get over it that he gave to Arrow, obsession is not the way.
There’s a moment when the drone is bearing down on Barry and he looks like he’s done. However he turns it around and destroys the drone, showing that he can learn, showing that he’s thinking about how to best use his powers. In that moment, Wells nearly gets up out of his chair (to save him?), but doesn’t when Barry saves himself. Wells needs Barry alive, but for what?
Game of Rogues
Captain Cold has a mission, not only to be a big time criminal, but he predicts the shape of the super-villain. He and Heat Wave are baiting the Flash, not just stealing and not just waiting for the cops, but lying in wait for the Flash. Cold is taking the game to the next level, the superhero vs. super-villain level. Geoff Johns, who co-wrote this episode, is definitely putting his mark on one of his favorite characters. I love that Heat Wave is rather hot tempered when compared to the cool calculating Captain Cold, nice touch.
The big score that Captain Cold and Heat Wave are looking at to bring the Flash out into the open is stealing a valuable painting called ‘Fire and Ice.’ Fitting, but the cooler part is they’d be stealing it from the Rathaways. Comics fans know that their wayward son Hartley (the one they claim they don’t have) is also Captain Singh’s lover, and the Pied Piper. Three Rogues in one episode? Be still my heart, not this one, but the next.
The Justice Shield
I’ve wanted to bring this up a few times but never had the chance until now. Cicso brings heat shields to the police department and demonstrates them in front of the Truth-Liberty-Justice mural we always see at police headquarters. As noted on the Back in a Flash Podcast (recommended listening) this mural was designed for the show and represents the Justice League (or Society). Check out the coolness closely.
Also notable about the scene is how the police, and one would guess everyone se as well, still don’t trust S.T.A.R. Labs after the particle accelerator accident. Hmmm… wait until they find out they’re housing super-powered criminals there too. Also while the shields will defend the cops from Captain Cold’s gun… they don’t yet know about Heat Wave. It foreshadows the police being prepared for Cold, but Heat Wave sending a few to the burn ward. Not a good showing for S.T.A.R., at least at first.
Ice and Fire Storms
The final battle, when it comes, goes from homage to Ghostbusters in trying to get Snart and Rory to cross the streams of their guns to parody very quickly. The special effects are amazing, and the public debut of the Flash, as well convincing Thawne that good guys and bad guys are really who they are is a beautiful hat trick. I disliked however that Barry couldn’t have come up with how to stop the temperature twins himself. The drone problem earlier on was a great foreshadowing of his thinking hero, had they stayed in line. And that’s what I like about the Flash, he’s a thinking hero.
While the action of the episode rages on, and before Caitlin becomes bait in the war between good and evil, she is still mooning over Ronnie, the same way Barry worries over Iris moving out this episode. She’s researching the word ‘firestorm,’ which turns out to be an acronym not a word like in the comics. Before her kidnapping, she tracks down Jason Rusch, one of Firestorm’s later personas, and learns this is all wrapped up in the disappearance of Professor Martin Stein, another persona. I’m sure this mystery will continue, but I for one must object to the super-over-complication of Firestorm’s origin… and I’m a Firestorm fan.
Awesome Easter Eggs
Super duper extra credit bonus go to Geoff Johns for the inclusion of McSnertle the Turtle, AKA the Terrific Whatsit, a super-powered turtle from DC Comics past who dressed like the Golden Age Flash and had super speed. This fanboy was in geek heaven at that reference. In the opening I love the pile of Big Belly Burger wrappers to represent all the burgers it takes to replenish Barry’s metabolism. I also love that Barry is a comic book fan here on TV just like in the comics. Porter, a cross street mentioned by Cold, might be a reference to comics artist Howard Porter, but then, none of them match up to the biggest Easter egg of them all.
In the last scene we see Snart and Rory on their way to Iron Heights prison, while Heat Wave berates Cold for his plan not working, he just smiles with quiet cool. He knows everything is just, well, cool. There’s an explosion, and then the back doors of the paddy wagon open up, and Cold says “Hi sis.” It’s Lisa Snart, who becomes the Golden Glider, the first Bronze Age entry into Flash’s Rogues Gallery. While Captain Cold is a calculating criminal, his sister is a straight up sociopath. Things aren’t looking good for the Flash. I told you we’d get three Rogues this episode…
Next: The Pied Piper!