Following last week’s game changing episode “Out of Time”, I was prepared for an episode that had a slower tempo. Now, we had to deal with the after effects and the reset button being pushed. All things considered, it was a very good episode, faulting only when we paused to see how hard the wheels were turning for future episodes. It wasn’t a filler episode, but it was certainly a stepping stone.
Barry has traveled through time, and due to that, it is left with a present that’s altered from the one he has just been. Dr. Wells is furious, believing he has ruptured the timeline and that any tragedy Barry just saved them from is either doomed to be repeated. Having already witnessed his friends and family in peril Barry opts to ignore Wells and imprisons Weather Wizard. Of course, this is when things begin to go off the rails. Captain Cold and Heat Wave are back in town now with the formers sister Lisa (Peyton List) a.k.a. Golden Glider in tow (who really doesn’t get to do enough). They kidnap Cisco and his brother (who gets just enough to do) Dante (Nicolas Gonzalez) and torture him, forcing Cisco to admit The Flash’s true identitity. Elsewhere, Barry breaks up with Linda Park (another wasted character) and goes to Iris, expecting his feelings to be returned after their kiss before the tidal wave, but instead is brushed off. Iris is angry that he keeps putting her in the situation where she’s the bad guy and then Eddie punches him in the face.
Barry’s day is pretty awful.
My favorite character on the show continues to be Cisco. Carlos Valdes once again gets to show off some serious chops as he’s run through a series of emotional highs and lows. He goes to his brother’s birthday where he’s ignored. He’s tricked into a date with Lisa who leads him to being captured. He gives up Barry’s identity and feels the guilt of it until–in maybe my favorite scene of the night–Barry tells him that he’s sorry because Cisco would never had been in that position to choose if it hadn’t been for him.
I love it when a lead gets to actually own up to his actions without it turning into one giant moping fest.
On the bright side, Cisco isn’t dead. The change of delivery can mean everything to a performance and Tom Cavanagh’s take of “you’re like a son to me” this week opposed to last week prove again how much he brings to the show. In “Out of Time” it was laced with sinister undertones and in “Rogue Time” it’s earnest. We believe him.
I can’t complain about more Captain Cold when Wentworth Miller continues to chew the scenery as well as he does. Miller is obviously having fun with the role without turning it into a joke. He’s a legitimate threat who feels like a villain out of the pages of the golden era. He and Grant Gustin share a nice antagonistic chemistry that sells the last scene with the two of them. They’ve reached an impasse. Barry can’t do anything to him in fear of him revealing his identity and Cold can’t reveal who Barry is without being locked away. Barry tries to convince him to leave town but nothing works until Barry goads him by saying that he could do what he’s been doing without killing. Cold takes the deal and the two part ways, allowing for there to be future stories while simultaneously delivering and ending for this chapter.
Barry gets off relatively easy on the Iris front with Caitlin coming to the rescue, telling both Eddie and Iris that he’s been suffering side effects of being struck by lightning. Eddie forgives him and continues to be the most adorable side character while Iris forgives and forgets but can’t hold back one lingering look at the end.
The ending shakes up the foundation of the show once more, bringing Barry’s doubts to the surface. Iris’s supervisor is killed by the Reverse Flash (who may or may not be Harrison Wells…alternate timelines) and is reported missing. Barry see’s this and startled goes to Joe. He tells him that he may finally believe him about everything he’s been saying about Wells. We saw the creeping doubt in Barry for the episode’s run with each seemingly ruthless decision by Wells being met with protest by Barry. In particular the moment where Wells implies that it would be in poor judgment for Barry to try and save his mother. Things are about to get a lot less upbeat.
After the episode, I’m not all that surprised. I’m not used to The Flash taking its characters to darker places, even with some devastating moments in their pasts. I was shocked when Dante’s hands were frozen, more surprised when Cisco gave Barry up , even if it was necessary on his part. The murder committed by Reverse Flash was equally as upfront as it’s going to get with a character we know. The show isn’t afraid to play with the threatening world our characters have found themselves in, even when villains like Captain Cold are the ones behind the operations. Also, quick thing, seeing the Rogues continue to grow in number is pretty exciting.
Bonus thought: The music was on point this week. Composer Blake Neely has created a signature theme for the Rogue Gallery and with all of the changes happening this week the score feels suitably off. It’s a little curious, a little somber and caught my interest in a good way.
Mark Hamill next week!