“Going Rogue” was a wonderfully executed episode of superhero television. It’s comedic due to Barry’s awkward game being brought up to 100 due to Felicity’s (Emily Bett Rickards) presence; there’s an infinite amount of palpable chemistry between Grant Gustin and Rickards; the villain Captain Cold is played with the perfect amount of detached curiosity by Wentworth Miller; and, overall, it’s simply a very enjoyable piece of television.
Although only now four episodes in, last week there was a nudge of concern that The Flash may fall hard onto routine, and while I wouldn’t count the likelihood of that out just yet, it certainly was refreshing to see tonight’s episode spin in different ways.
Captain Cold is our villain of the week, and what makes him more interesting than the others so far is that he’s completely human. No meta powers, no special gifts, just a thief who wants to steal a diamond. However, the ice gun that he steals from Star Labs certainly doesn’t hurt. He isn’t out to prove anything, he isn’t acting on vengeance or trying to be a criminal mastermind. Captain Cold wants the diamond and, because of The Flash, he wants to up his game. Miller also delivers a strong and fun performance as Cold, never laying it on thick but delivering the cheese-ball lines with ease. He’s a character I’ll enjoy seeing pop back up after he escapes at the end of the episode. I’ll be particularly pleased if he shows up with Rogue buddy Heat Wave.
Felicity also helped the show venture out into new territory, despite the fact that Barry continued to pine over Iris as Felicity watched on. The two of them admit that on paper they’re perfect for each other, and boy did that kiss at the end sell it, but the notion of opposites attract applies here. However, Rickards shares a hell of a lot more chemistry with Stephen Amell’s Oliver than Gustin does with Candice Patton’s Iris, who continually is written to treat Barry like a kid brother.
This makes sense considering they grew up together in the same house.
I also enjoyed the attempt at expanding Cisco’s character, even if it wasn’t executed as well as the stronger aspects of the episode. Carlos Valdes is doing solid work as Cisco, and he’s certainly more consistently bearable than Danielle Panabaker’s Caitlin, but his miniature character arc in the episode is undercut by just about everything else going on. The twist to the gun that Captain Cold steals is that Cisco desgined it, in case Barry woke up and wasn’t the heroic and good-natured guy we know him to be. Cisco had a contingency plan (they never seem to work well in comic books) in case something wonderful such as Barry’s powers, turned into something horrible and destructive.
Barry is frustrated by this knowledge, having thought he’d found some real friends at Star Labs. His reaction seems almost a little too illogical at first, until you consider that he’s annoyed also because he wasn’t told about the gun in time to save a man from dying by its power. He didn’t make the right moves quick enough or intelligently enough to save an innocent man’s life and maybe if he’d known the weapon he was facing, he’d have stood a greater chance.
However, the BEST part of the episode, bar none, is the expertly handled and choreographed train sequence at the end. Captain Cold has figured out that Barry’s weakness is trying to save everyone, so he puts Barry in a situation where he’ll have to act quickly and intelligently to save all of the train’s patrons under seemingly impossible circumstances. The slow motion is used to great effect as we see how Barry’s world slows down in order to calculate every move. The special effects have only gotten better as the team learns what works for them and what doesn’t, and the use of the speed effects surrounding Barry as he whisks from one person to the next makes it as exciting and action packed as a sequence such as this can be, especially for television.
The episode ends with Captain Cold getting away, Felicity traveling back home to be a part of Team Arrow, and Barry and the Star Lab team back in each other’s good graces.
There were no inspirational speeches given by father figures, no mention of the murder of Barry’s mom, and no questioning if Barry had what it takes to save the day this week. It was a welcome and refreshing change of pace, and I hope the show can continue in a similar nature, even with Felicity gone.