The Flash is back! Tuesdays just got more watchable again!
Okay, maybe I don’t need that much enthusiasm. Still, I’m glad to have the show back, especially considering where things ended.
So, this week doesn’t exactly try to make any earth-shattering revelations after the mid-season finale. To be perfectly honest though, I think that’s probably the better way to go with it. This still does a good job on following up on some plot threads while also taking a moment to breath from before.
The Reverse Flash isn’t back this week, but his official reveal has changed things. Barry is now actively training to become faster in order to challenge him. A bonus of which we start the episode with a nice little action sequence involving Barry testing his speed against a STAR Labs drone.
The main plot for this week instead marks the return of another antagonist from the first half. As one of the few that got away, Leonard Snart/Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) is back to try and bring down Barry once again, only this time he’s got some backup – a pyromaniac with a flamethrower codenamed Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell).
I’m really glad they brought Snart back. Besides being well acted he was a standout in first half as an antagonist who wasn’t a metahuman and who genuinely just has it in for Barry. Sometimes, you just need a straightforward villain who takes it on themselves to one-up the hero for the sake of one-upping the hero.
Compared to Snart, Heat Wave is entertaining for a different reason. Purcell’s line reads on this, I’ll admit, work in a ‘so hammy, they’re funny’ sort of way. I can’t rightly call this a complaint, because I personally enjoyed it. It’s more I enjoyed for reasons that weren’t factored in or intentional.
Also, this show has continued to improve on its action. If there’s one issue the earlier episodes of The Flash had, it was that the means of dealing with the metahuman of the week were often rather underwhelming. Near the end of the first half, they really started to develop more of a style that’s continued here. Even when the actual finisher is an easy idea on paper, Barry has to really work for it.
Alongside this, the continued investigation into the mystery of Ronnie Raymond continues. As someone who knows where this is headed, I’d be lying if I wasn’t a little frustrated by them taking the scenic route to get there. At the same time, I also acknowledge Firestorm isn’t as well known in general, so I can also accept it’s necessary. Plus, I’ll admit looking at it without the other information, it is pacing fairly well as a long-running mystery storyline.
That said, for all the mysteries, criminal plotting, and action, honestly the best part of this episode for me was actually the final scenes. To set the scene, Iris is moving in with Eddie after the events of the midseason finale.
This was followed up on this week with not one, but two genuinely sweet character moments. The first of these was between Iris and Joe – understandably having their ‘leaving the nest’ moment. Moments like this really speak to how well Candice Patton has made the role of Iris work despite being something of a stock character concept. Plus, she and Jesse L. Martin do well with playing the father-daughter dynamic. For a combination that the show hasn’t done a lot with, they still make it feel like it’s been fully built up here.
The other of these moments comes after Iris leaves, and Barry has his own heart-to-heart with his adoptive father figure. It really is one of the best written and acted scenes in the episode and one that really hammers home just how much a part of the family Barry is. When the idea of Barry moving back in is floated, it’s a nice bit of humor that, again, the two play well.
It’s a minor moment in the overall episode, but it’s still an incredibly satisfying way to end.
Revenge of the Rogues isn’t a game changing episode by any means, but that’s honestly to its benefit. After the big reveals in The Man in the Yellow Suit, it felt like the show needed a week to settle itself and sort out everything out. Bringing Snart back was a good way to get a conflict out without having to come back to the mystery yet, and his final scenes make it very clear we haven’t seen the last of him by a long shot.
In all, this is a nice way to get back into the flow after having been away for a few weeks. It also ends with signs of bigger problems on the horizon, so there’s more reasons to keep with it.
It’s good to be back. It really is.
Based on the previews, I’m already curious to see where next week takes things with The Sound and the Fury.
-Welcome return of Leonard Snart as a villain
-Jesse L. Martin’s scenes provide a nice dose of heart this week
-Heat Wave, while entertaining, is still pretty hammy
-While the action is pretty enjoyable, this DID still step back to the old ‘one hit takedown’ style