In last night’s episode of The Flash, titled “Going Rogue,” we finally get to see one of the “big bads” of the Flash mythos — Captain Cold (a.k.a. Leonard Snart), played very well by Wentworth Miller. Miller displayed the cool-under-pressure sinisterness of Captain Cold that fans of the villain’s appearance in comics and in animated versions should appreciate.
The episode title is also likely a sly reference to The Rogues, a group of villains in the comics headed by Captain Cold who regularly tried to stop The Flash. The end of this episode also saw Captain Cold trying to recruit a former cohort named Mick, who apparently likes to play with fire, a reference to the villain Mick Rory, known as Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell has been cast as Rory, it was announced last month).
But let’s back up a bit to how we got to that ending. Early in the episode, Snart and his gang attempt the robbery of an armored truck, which is carrying a priceless diamond to the museum. Snart is a cool customer, the son of a former police officer, who knows down to the second how much time they have to pull off the caper before police arrive. But Snart does not count on “the streak” (or “blur”), as Central City still refers to Barry’s alter-ego. (At one point in the episode, Barry is about to suggest a better name for his super-self, and begins to utter “The Fla–” before being interrupted.)
Barry, as The Flash, interrupts Snart’s robbery attempt, and when one of Snart’s men shoots one of the drivers, Barry lets up on pursuing the thieves so he can bring the man to the hospital. We will find out later that Snart noticed this, and considers Barry’s concern for others to be his main weakness.
Later, in their lair, Snart reprimands his men for not “keeping their cool” by shooting the man. “I don’t need the heat,” he tells them. These subtle references to hot and cold by the future Captain Cold are welcome differences from how the similarly themed villain Mr. Freeze uttered awful “ice” puns throughout the film Batman & Robin. Looking at security footage of the robbery, Snart notices “the streak” and realizes that it is a human that he will need to somehow slow down if he is to succeed at crime in Central City.
Having lost his mask at the scene of the crime, Snart is able to be identified by Barry (who instantly flips through a book of suspects) as Snart, and Joe begins hunting for the criminal. Meanwhile, Barry’s friend from Starling City, Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards, crossing over from Arrow), arrives in town. She has found out (by listening to Barry and Oliver’s conversation in The Flash pilot) about Barry’s new abilities. Barry takes her to S.T.A.R. Labs, where Wells says he has heard of Smoak’s brilliant work. Felicity is able to watch Barry in action, and expresses concern for his safety to the team. Wells reiterates his strong desire to keep Barry safe (and we’ve seen in a previous episode that he is even willing to kill to keep Barry unharmed).
When Iris is introduced to Felicity, she tells Barry that Felicity seems obviously interested in him (still not realizing herself that Barry is actually into her). She suggests Barry and Felicity join Eddie and her at a Jitters Trivia Night. Barry reluctantly agrees to the double-date.
Speaking of Iris and Eddie, they are both subjected to icy treatments of their own in this episode, and not at the hands of Captain Cold. Joe, now aware of Iris and Eddie’s relationship, coolly brushes off both of them, even telling Eddie at one point that they are partners, not friends. When Iris presses Joe, he admits that he is afraid of what he would have to say to Iris if something happens to Eddie on the job. Iris understands, and they come to an agreement, especially when Eddie shows bravery in the line of fire in a final showdown with Snart.
Snart leads up to that showdown by acquiring a stolen “cold gun,” which has been swiped from S.T.A.R. Labs (the thief initially shows Snart a heat gun, in which he has no interest; “I need to slow things down,” he says, referring to The Flash). Snart takes the cold gun (as well as the glare-protecting goggles that came with it) and tests it out by icing the thief.
Around this time, Wells and Cisco realize the gun has been stolen, and Wells is furious that Cisco created the weapon on his own, without informing Wells. Wells is extremely worried that the gun could be used to hurt Barry, which, of course, is just what Snart is intending to do.
During Trivia Night at Jitters, Felicity shows up in a smoking-hot dress, and when Iris has a moment she again tells Barry that Felicity is clearly into him. But at one point in the evening, Eddie gets a call from Joe that Snart has been spotted casing out the museum in an effort to finally steal the diamond. As police pursue Snart, Snart uses his cold gun to freeze the street, causing a squad car to skid and crash. Eddie takes off, and so does Barry, with Felicity promising that she would find an excuse for his absence as she’s had to do with Oliver (though none of Oliver’s excuses, such as a hangover, would work for Barry, but Barry’s not too keen on her other excuse options, either, like “diarrhea.”)
As The Flash, Barry races to the pursuit of Snart. Snart has gone into a theater, where Barry zips in just in time to push Joe out of the way of the cold gun, but not before taking the blast in the stomach. Snart tells Barry he wants to test his speed, so he starts shooting the gun at various theatregoers, with Barry zipping in to save them — all but one, an usher who is frozen to death by Snart. Barry is grief-stricken by his failure to save the man, which Snart again notices.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry is checked out and found to have a case of frostbite, with his molecules slowed down a bit due to the cold, but still quick enough to have saved him from death. Cisco explains he created the cold gun as protection against Barry, before knowing Barry as he does now. Cisco references the other meta-humans who turned out to be dangerous and says he could not be sure of Barry initially. Barry understands that reasoning, but feels betrayed that Cisco did not tell him.
Barry continues to be haunted by the dead man at the theater, and is determined to find a way to go faster. Felicity talks about how the Arrow’s team took time to come together and trust each other, and tells Barry not to make his potentially “lonely path” as a hero any lonelier than it has to be by cutting Cisco out of his circle.
Meanwhile, Snart — now in full parka and goggles, which comics fans will recognize as the trademark attire of Captain Cold — shows up at the museum and takes the diamond, fleeing to the train station. The team tracks him there, and The Flash confronts Snart on a train, telling him that he needed to find something faster than a train if he wanted to get away. Snart explains that he didn’t want to get away, and reminds Barry of his weakness for wanting to help people before freezing the floor of the train straight through to the tracks. Barry averts a crash and returns to the pursuit of Snart, but Snart is able to hit him again with a cold blast.
Before the final shot to Barry, Snart overexplains himself, like most villains. He thanks Barry for forcing him to “up his game.” Suddenly, Cisco, Caitlin and Felicity show up, with Cisco wielding what he tells Snart is a prototype of another, more powerful cold gun (actually a jazzed-up vacuum cleaner, we later find out). Cisco calls Snart “Captain Cold” (a monker Snart grins at and seems to like) and tells him to leave Barry or be blasted. Snart obliges, but refuses to give up the diamond before taking off.
Later, Barry and Cisco rebond as allies, and Wells again angrily tells Wells never to do anything like that on his own again. As Wells wheels away, Cisco seems confused as to Well’s overprotective concern for Barry, as viewers likely are, too, at this point.
Felicity catches a train back to Starling City, and Barry uses his super-speed to catch up to the train and join her in the car, where they each talk about their unrequited crushes — Barry’s for Iris, Felicity’s for Oliver Queen. They both admit that while they are perfect for each other, they both want others they can’t have. They share an affectionate kiss farewell, before Barry zips back to Central City. The emotion in the scene leads one to think there is more than just friendship potential for these two, so perhaps Iris was right.
That brings us to the epilogue mentioned above, where Snart, determined to thrive as a criminal in Central City but unable to do so with The Flash around, tries to recruit help from Mick Rory, who eagerly tells Snart that he’s in, especially when Snart presents him with the heat gun he passed on earlier.
This ending, and this episode in general, was a welcome change of pace to me. As fun as the previous three episodes of The Flash have been, they followed a similar pattern. This one featured a non-metahuman villain and left room for his return, and a potentially bigger creative canvas, in later episodes.
Right now, it looks like Captain Cold and Heat Wave are expected to team up in Episode 10, so we’ll have to wait a little bit to see if The Rogues expand, and how The Flash stands up to more than one villain (he did have his troubles with the self-duplicating Multiplex in Episode 2, after all).
In the meantime, no new episode of The Flash is scheduled until Nov. 11, but “Going Rogue” was a nice one to leave us to ponder over the next two weeks.
Here’s a promo for the Nov. 11 episode, “Plastique”:
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