What did the Flash get for Christmas? Not one, not two, but three Rogues on the loose out to take over Central City. It’s Captain Cold, the Trickster, and the Weather Wizard vs. the Flash, and if that’s not enough, we also meet Wally West for the first time. Meet me after the super speed jump for my thoughts on “Running to Stand Still.”
Now I’ve talked about this before, but here’s a quick refresher course. In the comics, Wally West is Iris’ nephew who hero-worshipped the Flash. Since she knew the scarlet speedster, Iris was a good aunt and introduced them. In Barry’s lab, while the Flash explained how he got his powers, the accident happened again, this time to Wally, giving him super speed.
Back in the more innocent Silver Age of comics, Wally joined the Flash as his sidekick, Kid Flash. He fought crime alone, with his mentor, and later as a member of the Teen Titans. And when Barry Allen died in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wally took on the mantle of the Flash, and even took his place in the Justice League, the first of the teen sidekicks to step up to adulthood.
Here on the show, having known for some time herself, Iris recruits Barry to help her tell their dad that he has a son he didn’t know about – Wally. Jesse L. Martin’s Joe West once again proves what a terrific actor he is when reacting to the news that he has a son. He does it again later with Barry when he gives him his watch. Martin is truly an asset to this series.
The snowy white Christmas is not predicted by the weather bureau and is instead the work of the Weather Wizard. He uses it to break into Iron Heights and free Captain Cold, whom he owes a favor, and… the original Trickster… because he’s crazy. Odd choices, but all with assumedly the same agenda – kill the Flash. Or at least that’s what the Weather Wizard thinks. Captain Cold not only takes a powder, but makes Barry owe him another by warning him about the Wizard and the Trickster.
As much as I enjoy seeing Liam McIntyre’s Weather Wizard and especially Mark Hamill’s Trickster again, Wentworth Miller is the real treat. I love Captain Cold in the comics but Miller has brought a charm and charisma to the character and his love/hate relationship with the Flash that truly original and entertaining. More Captain Cold please. Man, “Legends of Tomorrow” cannot get here soon enough.
While Cold demonstrates goodness and mercy to gain favor for future battles, the other two villains show surprisingly brutal streaks. I understand that comics are now grimmer and grittier, and television based on comics have followed suite, but the idea of the Trickster killing kids for Christmas is a bit much even for me. And the deal with the devil that’s struck, the Flash standing still and doing nothing while the Weather Wizard delivers killing blows to our hero? Wow, too much. In my day, neither of these Rogues were really dangerous or even deadly threats, it’s disturbing to see them portrayed as such, but as with Cold, it’s a new version, I guess I have to live with it for good or ill.
There were things I loved. Among them, Cold’s visit to the West home, the warm and quiet introduction of Wally West, and wasn’t the Flash running across the blades of the airborne news copter the coolest? Hopefully the next episode won’t be so grim. A new episode of “The Flash” airs tomorrow night, “Arrow” on Wednesday, and the premiere of “Legends of Tomorrow” on Thursday. It looks like it’ll be a super-week.
Next: A new villain, more Wally, and will Barry finally tell Patty the truth… too late?