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Flash: Revenge of the Rogues Review

Kalem Lalonde's picture

Ah isn’t it great to have The Flash back on the air?

The first half of Flash’s inaugural season was the ideal way to kickstart a superhero T.V. series. The Flash has a great sense of balancing its character and its plot. Every episode contained strong character moments in which everyone has the chance to shine, fun cases of the week and advancements to the underlying story; the story of Barry Allen becoming the Flash. And with the end of the first half of the season, the writers showed us that this show can grow out of its fun and lighthearted tone to bring some really intense drama to the forefront. The mid-season finale was the best episode of the season and quite possibly my favourite episode of superhero T.V. ever. However, it wasn’t focused on building much excitement for the future. Whereas Arrow gave us an insane shift in the status-quo, Flash left the characters in a lively place with a few new situations but nothing drastic enough to alter the fundamentals of the show. And thus comes the midseason premiere of the Flash, bringing Captain Cold back to battle Barry along with his new partner Heatwave. The episode, while being quite regular for Flash, was definitely a strong showing for the best superhero show of the year. Flash continues to impress in 2015.

I think that I speak for a lot of people when I say the fact that a lot of comic book T.V. shows are plagued with one-note, ephemeral villains who are simply there to stir things up for the hero and get the plot rolling is irritatingly unoriginal and dull. The Flash finally seems to be breaking out of this tedious convention by setting up a rogues gallery for team Flash just like a great animated series would do (BAS). As previously stated, Captain Cold returns this week with the newest addition to the Rogues, Heatwave. Heatwave worked well with Cold but his overall presence felt extremely plot-oriented. His character was filled with corny one liners and awkward scenes. His villain appeal was sorely lacking in an episode where he felt like a forced in presence because the episode had to be title “Rogues.”

On the other hand, Captain Cold showed us once again why he is the Flash’s most notorious and beloved villain. Intelligent, cunning and calculated, Snart is the only villain on the show without superpowers who has posed a legitimate threat to Barry whom he seems to be obsessed with. Snart tells Heatwave that he wants to take out the Flash because he could own the city afterwards but he evidently has a peculiar fascination with the scarlet speedster. The writer’s are building an interesting relationship between the two, giving it more energy than just good versus evil. I’m overall very pleased with the villain aspect of this show because the creative minds seem to care about pitching their hero against a compelling personality or a menacing presence.

And as always, most of the supporting characters shined bright this week. Cisco had a very strong showing (doesn’t he always?) as he helped salvage Star Lab’s reputation. He played the role of presenter for their counter-measure to Captain Cold’s gun. From the first shot of Cisco saying, “Listen up” I was laughing hysterically. He’s been great comic relief and continues to be so in 2015.

And while Cisco was showing off his new invention, Harrison Wells and Jo West built upon an ambivalent relationship by disputing over Harrison’s influence on Barry. Jo confronts Wells about manipulating Barry’s motivation which led to one of the best scenes of the episode. Jo is most likely my favourite supporting character on the show and watching him stand up for Barry as a friend and worry about his well-being like a father simply reminded me why his character is an integral part of my love for this show.

But Jo isn’t the only reason this scene struck me, Wells’ chilling words and furtive motivations added a great deal of mystery. Wells (recently revealed to be the Reverse Flash) is building to be a strong villain and the notion of his betrayal is going to be abysmally shocking for Barry. In his brief scene with Barry, Wells interrupts Barry saying that they’re partners as Barry was preparing to define their relationship as a friendship. The writer’s seem to be hinting that Wells is just using Barry to get what he wants and his strange protection over the Flash has some terrible connection to his secret agenda.

On the negative aspect, though I’m not overly keen on Catelyn Snow. Her portrayal seems to bounce between an aloof and disconnected girl to just a normal scientist without much personality. She’s by far my least favourite character on the show, unfortunately. Though, she is the gateway to the Firestorm sub-plot that’s developing nicely within the narrative. The presentation of it in this episode felt a lot less random than in the mid-season finale.

 I could continue to discuss various aspects of this episode but I’ll call it quits here because my point is fairly simple. This episode was a strong opener for Flash in 2015. If you haven’t hopped on board this series, you’re missing out on what is potentially the best superhero series of all time. The fact that the quality presented in this week’s episode was only scratching the surface of what this show can do says a lot. Welcome back Flash, we’re glad to have you back!