The Flash is looking for a little help from his friends (and enemies) to fight the Reverse-Flash. He not only recruits Arrow and Firestorm (why not the Atom?), but also Captain Cold and his evil kid sister. Yeah, he’s that desperate, but can he trust these Rogues to be loyal when it comes down to it? And what about all the other villains out there, and imprisoned in The Pipeline? This is just one of the only two episodes of “The Flash” left, so the final battle is coming. Meet me after the treacherous super-speed jump for my thoughts on “Rogue Air.”
Culinary Secrets of The Pipeline
For a long time we have wondered about the feeding and care of the super-villains who have been imprisoned in The Pipeline beneath the Particle Accelerator at S.T.A.R. Labs, now it seems we might have at least a couple answers. Below in a deleted scene from last week’s episode, “Grodd Lives,” we learn a little about both the prisoners, and their varied culinary tastes. My question is – who’s paying for all that take-out? And let’s not even discuss the plumbing involved after that…
So, who all do they have locked up in The Pipeline now, sans trial and civil rights? There’s the Weather Wizard, Peekaboo, The Mist, the Rainbow Raider, and Deathbolt. Am I forgetting anyone? At large we have Captain Cold, Heat Wave, the Golden Glider, the Pied Piper, and Super Gorilla Grodd. Things could get very bad if something went wrong at The Pipeline, or if all these baddies got together… now that would be the worst that could happen…
After the Flash’s opening monologue, always made fresh with each episode by including new footage from previous weeks, Harrison Wells gives his own ominous one, directly to Eddie. It’s both menacing promise and threat, as we see the show’s cast, and Wells talks of losing everyone close to him, and what he’d do to get them back. And he will get them back. Cue sinister villain laugh track.
The next scene has another man making promises that he probably can’t keep either – Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen talking to Candice Patton’s Iris West. She’s a mess, conflicted by the events of the last couple episodes, and doubting (as are we) that the Flash is ever going to find Eddie. Let’s face it, if the Flash has looked ‘everywhere,’ where else could Eddie be? The answer is obvious, right under his nose.
Reactivation and Relocation
The Reverse-Flash has been hiding inside S.T.A.R. Labs, inside the particle accelerator itself. Not only that, he’s using future tech to reactivate the accelerator. While Team Flash finds Eddie, they lose Wells, and realize he has pretty complete control over things there. To distract them, he releases Peekaboo, who is much more vicious than her comics counterpart. It’s not a nice encounter.
If the accelerator reactivates, the prisoners in The Pipeline become toast, so a plan is put together via Lyla over in Starling City to transport the prisoners to Lian Yu, the notorious Flashback Island prison where Captain Boomerang and Deathstroke are held. Joe tries to go through legal channels but it ain’t happening. Barry, obviously inspired by the Arrow, decides that he needs to save lives, at any cost.
Saints and Sinners
As Foreigner’s “Cold as Ice” plays in the background, Barry meets with Captain Cold at a bar called appropriately enough Saints and Sinners. He needs help transporting the prisoners, thinking that freezing them while they are on the way to the airport would be the way to go. Cold’s deal is that Barry deletes all records, traces, etc. of Leonard Snart from police and public records, and he’ll help. Barry explains that the prisoners pose a danger to the city Snart loves, and you know, better the devil you know than the one you don’t. Against Joe’s wishes, the deal is struck. My question is – didn’t Cisco originally create the cold gun? So why does Barry need Snart?
Prisoners the Mist, the Rainbow Raider, Peekaboo, Deathbolt, and the Weather Wizard are frozen, loaded into the back of a truck and driven to an abandoned Ferris Air landing strip outside the city. Cold notes that he heard that Ferris Air got shut down to which the Flash responds, “It did, one of their test pilots disappeared.” Great reference to Hal Jordan AKA Green Lantern there, I wonder if we’ll be seeing more of this Easter egg next season? Lisa Snart also makes Cisco give her a name finally… you guessed it, “the Golden Glider.” And then… the worst thing that can happen, happens…
Since being released, Eddie’s been avoiding Iris and when she confronts him, with questions why, and her knowledge he was going to propose to her – he hits back with the truth, the future. They don’t get married, as the Reverse-Flash told him, Barry and Iris get married. Now as a Back to the Future fan, I have to wonder, do they not get married because Wells told him that, or because they don’t get married?
This is like when Cisco first sees the brighter Flash costume in the future newspaper in the Braille Room back in “The Trap” – why does Cisco change the costume? Because it’s a cooler mix of colors or because seeing the image gave him the idea to change it. Chicken or the egg, Eddie or Barry? And now that Eddie has given up and broken up with Iris, will the future happen as it is supposed to, or because those involved have been told it’s supposed to…?
The Worst That Can Happen
Barry is not the Arrow, the Flash is a completely different kind of hero, and he just can’t play the game like the Arrow does. Unfortunately, Barry learns this lesson the hard way. Much like the tale of the scorpion and the frog, Captain Cold is a liar and a criminal. He cannot overcome his nature, and sabotages the truck, so the prisoners recover early, and are ready when they arrive at Ferris. They break out and Team Flash is under siege by evil metahumans.
I thought the conflict would come out differently with the villains attacking each other inside the truck, but once the doors open and they see the Flash, for the most part they present a unified front. Don’t think for a second that Captain Cold doesn’t see this. He is taking the notion of an organized Rogues Gallery very seriously at the moment. With the Flash wounded, Cold allows the villains to escape, making sure they know they owe him. Next season (or maybe next episode!) will be very interesting…
My wife has a favorite line that she likes to say while watching many of the TV programs and movies I like. “Is it time for the good guys to win yet?” When the Rogues get away and Cold and the Glider ride away triumphantly, she said it, obviously discouraged by what is usually a bright spot in superhero television of late. Luckily, the showrunners did not leave us on such a sour note, there was more to come.
With the particle accelerator finally online (I’m guessing this will open a path through time for the Reverse-Flash to return home), Wells returns to S.T.A.R. Labs. The Flash is now ready for him, having contacted friends Firestorm (and how did he do that?) and the Arrow (pulled him out of Nanda Parbat from R’as Al Ghul’s clutches??), he has help.
This seeming fight to the finish begins when Wells points his lightning bolt ring at them and his costume comes out of it. This is exactly how Barry Allen changes into the Flash in the comics, his ring compressed into a tiny compartment in his ring and expanding on contact with the air. Yeah, I nerdgasmed. My only problem is that Ray Palmer is mentioned, but where was the Atom? The fight was awesome, well worth the wait, and giving my wife the happy ending she wanted.
Next: The Season Finale – will Barry be “Fast Enough?”