Skip to Content

The Flash, Ep. 1.16, “Rogue Time” and the problems with time travel

The Flash, Ep. 1.16, “Rogue Time” and the problems with time travel
The Flash, Season 1, Episode 16, “Rogue Time”
Written by Brooke Eikmeier & Kai Yu Wu
Directed by John Behring
Airs Tuesdays at 8pm ET on the CW
Last week, The Flash took our hero in an unexpected trip through time after running so fast when trying to stop a tidal wave. The question left hanging at the end of the episode was how many of the big events would be undone now that he’s ruptured the time continuum? As many of us expected and feared, the events of “Out of Time” are completely undone: Cisco discovering that Harrison Wells is the Reverse Flash – Dr. Wells killing Cisco – Iris confessing her feelings for Barry, and Barry revealing his secret identity to Iris – are all wiped clean. The result is very disappointing.

As mentioned last week, the concept of traveling into the past becomes a bit murky the second causality rears its head. Whether it’s “plastic time” or “single fixed history” or the “butterfly effect” or “grandfather paradox,” today’s time-travel TV shows and movies generally favor entertainment above science, often ignoring the contradictions caused by time-travel storytelling. Geoff Johns might have handled time travel quite well on the pages of the comics, but this is an entirely different medium. Knowing that the major arc of the season revolves around Barry and Reverse Flash meeting the night Nora Allen is killed has me somewhat worried, given the show’s first attempt at time travel comes with mixed results.

“Rogue Time” is disappointing on many levels, but mostly because it introduces a ridiculous villain (I’m looking at you Golden Glider), and an even more ridiculous weapon of choice. This week’s major development is the return of Captain Cold and Heat Wave, this time accompanied by Cold’s sister Lisa, and her super gun that turns things (and people) into gold. I know this is based on a comic but why do The Rogues even have to pull an elaborate heist in the first place, if they can just pull a trigger and turn anything into gold? Even worse are the visual effects for Golden Glider’s “Midas Touch” gun, making me wonder why they even bothered to include her character in the first place?

And while it is always a joy watching Wentworth Miller chew up scenery as Captain Cold, The Rogues aren’t necessarily the most compelling villains. And don’t even get me started on how Barry talks Snart into a truce. So it’s ok if Snart and his gang of thugs continue to wreak havoc, so long as nobody dies? And more importantly, what part of the timeline changed that would introduce this sub-plot, when these events did not take place last week? More so, was anyone else disappointed that last week, Weather Wizard destroys most of Central City and this week he’s captured within seconds?

**I understand this conversation is an encapsulation of theRogue philosophy but it’s far too easy, and far too early to set these ground rules for anyone who isn’t familiar with the source material**

Rogue Time

Time travel plays a crucial part of the Flash mythos, and to its credit, “Rogue Time” does do a few things right – starting with Dr. Wells: As Barry puts the facts together, and starts to think about how he can save everyone he knows, Dr. Wells drops some Doc Brown advice, warning Barry against altering any events. Meanwhile, when Wells brings Cisco to the basement of S.T.A.R. Labs, Harrison doesn’t kill Cisco, and instead convinces him not to leave, telling Cisco that he considers him a son. It’s amazing how we as viewers know Harrison’s sinister motives, and yet, with a combination of writing and the fine acting from Tom Cavanagh, Dr. Wells seems to still mean well. And for those of us who assumed “Rogue Time” would simply relive the moments from the previous day, the episode instead comes up with some clever variations on these incidents, as Wells murders reporter Mason Bridge, and Barry’s secret identity is revealed not to Iris but to Leonard Snart.

– Ricky D

I guess we are forced to endure more cringeworthy Barry and Iris scenes.

Next week Mark Hamill reprises his role as the Trickster from the early ‘90s Flash series!!!

Captain Cold and Heat Wave are both said to appear in the proposed DC spinoff that will also include Firestorm and the Atom.

Cisco: “You need to make up some time, man. You’d better hurry up.”

Dr. Wells: “Show me the future.”

Rory: “So glad your house is made of wood. It’s going to be a pleasure to watch it burn.”