The last episode of The Flash was the king of the cliffhangers. The Weather Wizard was about to destroy Central City with a giant freak tsunami. Barry had revealed his heroic secret identity to Iris. Cisco was dead at the hands of Dr. Harrison Wells, now exposed as Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash of the 25th century. At this moment of crisis, Barry finds himself thrown backward in time. It can only get worse as Captain Cold and Heat Wave return, with the Golden Glider in tow. Don’t miss my thoughts on “Rogue Time,” after the super speed time jump!
Now in the comics, the Flash is no stranger to time travel, he does it all the time. He battles the Reverse-Flash in his 25th century home. Iris West is originally from the mid-30th century (looong story), where the two of them actually spent decades and raised a family, whose children later become involved in the Legion of Super-Heroes. He races back and forth through time so much, he even has a machine with which to do it, the Cosmic Treadmill, of which a similar looking device has been seen on the TV show. This however, is the first time he’s done it in his television incarnation, and so far, it looks kinda like Groundhog Day.
After accelerating to stop the Weather Wizard’s tsunami, Barry has broken the time barrier, and come back a day earlier. The afterimage of himself he saw last episode actually was himself. Now he has a chance to redo a day that had its good points, and its bad points, as I outlined in the introduction. Scarily, as we re-see events from last episode, and Barry knows things before they happen – veteran time traveler Harrison Wells catches on quickly what’s happened to Barry – which in itself is very creepy.
Wells, who is somehow dependent on a future where the Flash vanishes during the mysterious Crisis ten years from now, warns Barry not to deviate from anything that happened yesterday today. Time is fragile. Anything different could shatter the timeline, and we know how Wells needs this timeline intact. However, Barry knows what is going to happen, and knows he has to stop it. He sees Captain Singh, he sees Joe, and he knows what he has to do. Barry captures the Weather Wizard, catching him unawares, and puts him away at the S.T.A.R. Labs pipeline, yet another member of the who-feeds-them-and-don’t-even-ask-about-the-bathroom-situation club.
Wells warns Barry, rather sharply, that messing with the timeline is dangerous, any tragedy that is averted could be replaced by something even worse. He puts him to work trying to break the down barrier, ironically on the Cosmic Treadmill-looking device, but Barry can’t do it. Meanwhile, something even worse happens. Captain Cold and Heat Wave are back in town, and beginning a new reign as the heads of crime in Central City by taking out the old godfather. This cannot be good.
This subplot was touched upon a couple times in the last episode, but Cisco’s brother’s birthday is coming up and he doesn’t want to go. Apparently he’s the black sheep of the family, and his brother Dante, the bum, can do no wrong. He finally ends up going to the party, with Caitlin. Dante is a dirtbag, and yes, everyone likes him, and no one likes Cisco. This is so far off anything we have previously seen in the comics with Cisco, but honestly, I like the TV version a lot better.
This family dynamic, and most of the character by the way, is vastly different from what is in the comics. While loved on television, Francisco Paco Ramon is almost hated in the comics. Former gang member and breakdancer, the hero known as Vibe joined the Justice League at a point when it was known as Justice League Detroit, because it was headquartered in that city, close to the streets as opposed to a satellite in space. Paco affected a stereotype Latin accent and played dumb to hide his intelligence. After he died in action, his younger brother Armando took on the identity of Reverb (don’t laugh), and later Hardline. No sign of Armando here. But as Cisco is drowning his sorrows, a woman named Lisa enters his life…
The Golden Glider
Captain Cold and Heat Wave are back, and this time they’ve brought Cold’s kid sister Lisa along. She has quite a history in the comics. Lisa Snart A.K.A. Lisa Star, the Golden Glider, or just Glider, was the first female member, and the first new member in the Bronze Age, of Flash’s Rogues Gallery. Combining her own gimmicks and skills with those of two other Rogues, as well as her own grim motivation, she’s one of Flash’s more dangerous enemies.
Much like the Silver Age Lex Luthor who blamed Superman for causing the accident that made him bald back when they were teenagers, or the disturbingly Oedipal comic book origins of the Avengers foe Ultron, the Golden Glider plays for keeps, because it’s personal. She blames the Flash for the death of her beloved, so she has one driving motivation behind destroying him – and that is to kill the one he loves most first. In the comics, she caught on pretty quick that the Flash had a thing for Iris West, who by then was Iris Allen.
Two Rogues in One
First things first, Lisa Snart is Cold’s kid sister, and just so you know, the sociopathic ruthlessness does run in the family, as does the technology. In the comics, she uses not only a type of his cold gun, but also has ice skates that generate ice, making it appear as she’s skating on air. Her motif and her former professional career are also skating themed, and with various mind controlling techniques has had a fondness for mimbos with either jewel or cold variants to be her henchmen/slaves.
Glider was also the girlfriend of Roscoe Dillon, The Top, a villain we have yet to see on the TV series. From Dillon she learned the spinning that made her a skating star, as well as his skills with gadgetry and mind control. Just as most of Rogues are obsessed with some sort of theme or gadget, something they share with Batman’s enemies, Glider obsesses on jewels, but never too much to keep her from throwing in a top or cold based trap now and then in honor of her loved ones. Known as simply Glider in the New 52 continuity, her powers are vastly different, involving astral projection and super speed.
Something Even Worse
Peyton List, perhaps better known as Roger Sterling’s second wife from “Mad Men” (loved Cold’s clever ‘sterling’ joke) and the CW’s “Tomorrow People” reimagining, is playing the role of Lisa Snart here, and she’s the honey trap for Cisco while he’s drowning those family troubles at the bar. She leads him into a trap. Now Cisco is at the mercy of Cold, Heat Wave, and Glider, and they’re holding his brother Dante hostage. They want their guns, and one for Lisa as well – something pretty, toxic, and gold. Cisco makes her a gun that apparently turns people and things to gold? I’m neither sure this is better nor cooler than anything Glider has previously had. Seriously, though, Cisco has already invented weapons for other Rogues… if this is real transmutation, has he just created a weapon for Doctor Alchemy?
After one confrontation with the Flash, Snart returns to Cisco with a deal. All Cisco has to do is tell Cold who the Flash is. Cisco holds out for as long as he can, his brother’s piano concerto fingers at frostbite risk, so he tells them what they want to know. Returning to S.T.A.R. afterward, Cisco confesses what happened to the team, and quits. The most chilling part of the episode, despite all that we’ve seen, is when Wells brings Cisco to the place where he killed him last episode to have a heart to heart, saying he’s like a son to him, and convinces him to stay. Was there anyone watching whose heart was not beating at super speed?
That punch, the one we’ve been waiting for from Eddie at Barry, came and went, with little real effect. Thinking Iris would react in the same way she did when her father was in danger and the city about to be destroyed by a tsunami, Barry again tells Iris he has feelings for her. She reacts badly and the next time Eddie sees Barry, pow. Somehow, it was just unsatisfying, and even more unsatisfying when it’s resolved with Caitlin telling Iris and Eddie some garbage about ‘lightning psychosis,’ a side effect of getting hit by lightning that causes mood swings and fits of affection. Lame, even if it does explain why Barry is at S.T.A.R. so often.
Also so lame was the break up with Linda. Was this just a tease to infuriate comics readers who knew how blasphemous a Barry/Linda matching was? And speaking of journalists and lame, the Reverse-Flash shows up to kill Mason Bridge just before he broke the story on Harrison Wells. So we have Stagg, Eiling, and Bridge all murdered, but Joe was only warned? I guess Joe’s continued existence is necessary to the timeline. The only good to come of this is that now Barry suspects Wells.
Now as long as I’m talking about things in this episode that are lame, you might think I should bring up the ending with Captain Cold and the Flash’s final confrontation regarding Barry’s identity. That I’m going to give a pass to, because it makes sense. Cold swears not to kill, and that none of his Rogues (nice touch that Barry names them) will kill either, in exchange for none of them harming Barry’s friends or family, and the Rogues getting to continue what they’re doing.
Although never said, there seemed to be such an agreement in the old Silver Age Flash comics. Oh sure, the Rogues tried to kill Barry, never succeeded, and never harmed anyone around him. But there was a sense of it all being a game, that they were playing, that it was fun – dangerous fun, but fun. There is also the very marked point that the Rogues never allowed Grodd or the Reverse-Flash to join up – why? – because they were killers. Too evil for the game. This also plays on Cold’s Modern Age code of honor. He lives by a code and by his word, so this works just as well with today’s comics. I like it.
Next: Mark Hamill, and not one, but two “Tricksters!”