The Flash, Season 1, Episode 10, “Revenge of the Rogues”
Written by Geoff Johns & Kai Yu Wu
Directed by Nick Copus
Airs Tuesdays at 8pm ET on the CW
The CW’s hit series came back from its mid-season break with “Revenge of the Rogues,” an action packed hour juggling many subplots and further building the DC universe. When last we saw our hero, he was defeated by the mysterious Man in the Yellow Suit, but thanks to a wild card in Firestorm, the Scarlett Speedster made out with his life. That encounter plays heavily into the show’s mid-season premiere which opens with Barry’s narration changed to reflect his battle with the Reverse Flash, followed by Barry working on improving his speed through various training exercises that force him to dodge drones piloted by Cisco (How cool was that?). While it might be quite some time before the Reverse-Flash is seen again, the training comes in handy as Barry finds himself once again the target of Leonard Snart (Captain Cold), who with the help of his new partner (Heatwave), forces The Flash to go public in an epic showdown in the middle of Central City. Meanwhile, Caitlin investigates what happened to Ronnie to cause his transformation and Cisco tries to regain the trust of the police and earn a little redemption for STAR Labs (responsible for the particle accelerator explosion a year earlier). Between Cisco and Caitlin’s subplots, these characters are finally coming into the spotlight and given something more to do.
“My name is Barry Allen, and I’m not the fastest man alive.”
“Revenge of the Rogues” ups the ante for our hero in several ways. Not only do we get to see the return of one of the most iconic villains in Leonard Snart, we also get to see the on-screen reunion of Prison Break co-stars Wentworth Miller (Cold) and Dominic Purcell as the hot-headed Mick Rory (Heat). Since his debut in “Going Rogue” last year, Cold remains the most compelling villain we’ve seen so far and now he’s recruiting his own small team of super villains to spice things up. “Revenge of the Rogues” is a major step in establishing the Rogues as a force to be reckoned with and as Barry’s abilities continue to grow, one man with a freeze gun is just not enough of a threat to keep audiences gripping to their seats. The Rogues themselves get just enough screen time to make a lasting impression without overshadowing the various subplots, and the episode’s stinger teases us by mentioning – but not showing – a third member of the growing Rogues lineup.
Although Purcell could have dialed it back a notch, he and Miller do play well off each other’s contrasting personalities which clash much like their weapons of choice. However, the final battle in the third act was oddly structured, leaving Cold and Heat surrounded by half of Central City’s police force who do nothing but stand back and watch The Flash do all the work. How difficult would it have been for any one of the police officers to shoot down either villain? And if The Flash is so fast, how did Snark and Rory do such a good job in locking him on target? Furthermore, when a super villain goes on live television and announces when and where he will do battle with a superhero, shouldn’t reporters show up? And wasn’t the entire point in Snark’s plan – to show the world the Flash exists? Where were the new crews?
Battle aside, the most exciting scenes are actually those spent with Caitlin’s continuing search for Ronnie Raymond. The episode focuses some attention on the growing mystery behind Ronnie’s reappearance as Caitlin discovers of a secret project Professor Martin Stein was working on. Turns out F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M is actually an acronym for a transmutation research project conducted by Stein’s student Jason Rusch (Luc Roderique). While fans of DC Comics know how Stein and Rusch tie into the Firestorm story, casual viewers will no doubt be guessing as the weeks go by. For those familiar with the comics, this episode does make it clear that the heart of Firestorm’s abilities remain intact here: Firestorm has the ability to rearrange the atomic and subatomic structure of inorganic matter, rearranging subatomic particles to create objects of different atomic characteristics of equal mass. It will be interesting to see if he will also demonstrate other abilities such as flight, super speed and the ability to render himself intangible and thereby pass through solid objects harmlessly. Needless to say, I’m excited to see more of Firestorm, and so should you.
The heart of the story here revolves around the adversity Barry is feeling following in the aftermath of the Reverse-Flash battle, and standing by him are his two father figures and mentors, Dr. Wells and Joe West. As many have pointed out, Joe is the heart and Wells is the brains and it will be interesting to see how the tension between them escalates. Part of Barry wants to try and forget his past, look ahead and focus on keeping the citizens of Starling City safe as West advises, while another part of him is obsessed on getting revenge, and putting the man who murdered his mother behind bars, as Wells insists he do.
Perhaps The Flash‘s most promising aspect is how well it resolves the drama surrounding Barry’s personal life. In such a short time, Barry as greatly matured, and is gaining confidence as he’s gaining power. More so, he is also growing up. As Barry points out, he’s an adult now, and he makes his own decisions and it’s great to see his character grow without the use of over-the-top drama that plagues other shows of its kind. Barry seems to have made peace with most of his demons, and it’s nice to see Barry and Iris handling their relationship like adults as they manage to brush aside their awkward fallout, and return to speaking terms.
Despite a somewhat disappointing action set-piece that did more in paying homage to Ghostbusters than creating nail-biting suspense, this was a strong return for The Flash, a series growing stronger with each instalment. Grant Gustin remains charasmatic as ever – the onslaught of villains continues to expand – the series remains faithful enough to the original source material, and the mystery behind the motive of the Reverse-Flash will have viewers guessing to the end.
“Revenge of the Rogues” is an infectiously fun blend of special effects, comedy and drama, with Gustin’s superb performance leading the charge.
– Ricky D
Miller and Purcell might not break out of prison here, but they do escape from the Iron Heights transport.
It will be interesting to see what they do with Snart’s sister, List, but my guess is she won’t be around very long
The Pied Piper is due next week!!!
Dr. Wells: “I hope we’re not enemies.”
I love the nod to Ghosbusters!