‘The Flash’ Season 1 Recap, Episode 4: “Going Rogue”
Welcome back to Up To Speed, home of the the Flashest Recaps Alive. Here we’ll recap the latest episode of The Flash, dispense some Flash Facts and talk about what works, what doesn’t and where the series might be headed, as we try and keep up with the adventures of Central City’s finest hero, Barry Allen: aka the Red Blur, aka Funkmaster Flash, aka The Flash.
This week, we’re looking at the fourth episode episode of the first season, wherein we’re introduced to a pretty cooooool guy. (This is clever wordplay because the villain is a guy named Captain Cold who has an ice-gun.) Let’s get started on, “Going Rogue”!
FLASHBACK: What Happened This Week
The episode starts with a “Previously on The Flash…” segment that is composed mostly of stuff that didn’t actually occur on The Flash, it occurred on The Arrow, which was good, because for a second I was thinking I had forgotten a large chunk of the previous three episodes and was about to call my doctor to schedule a CAT scan.
In Barry’s other voiceover opening, he talks about how before he got hit by lightning, his life was a little less exciting and mentions that on his days off, he could be found at home, chillin, and thus begins our slow descent into the fiery hell that is Geoff Johns’ ability to cram every reference to somebody’s powers into a script. See, the Freak of the Week for this episode is Captain Cold, and boy, do Johns and his co-writer, Kai Yu Wu (who’s worked on Hannibal and Burn Notice), not hold anything back in the cold puns department. I’m not gonna list them all out, but we’re approaching Batman & Robin levels here.
Barry’s Flashing to S.T.A.R. Labs, where the S.T.A.bbers are testing his ability to multitask at super-speed with concurrent games of ping pong, Operation and chess and boy is Barry super happy with all his ST.A.R. Labs friends. Nothing’s gonna harsh his mellow, no siree. Especially if he were to find out that one of his new friends didn’t trust him 100% from Day One. (SPOILERS: This is exactly what happens.)
Meanwhile, a Black Hawk Security armored Car (Yay! Fan service!) is getting robbed by dirtbike dudes in masks and anoraks, who use a tow truck that is driving in reverse to snare their quarry in a daring robbery that can be described as both fairly fast and kind of furious. The armored car is supposed to be holding the Kahndaq (Yay! Fan service!) Dynasty Diamond, a fact that we know because one of the guards in the truck is reading about it in the newspaper that he has helpfully turned at a ¾ view for the camera to pick up. One of the dudes is gonna shoot a guard, but their leader tells him to “cool it,” and like I said, yeesh. The main dude pulls out a little gun thingy and starts icing up the door of the armored truck as we cut to…
S.T.A.R. Labs, where Barry’s beat Cisco at ping pong and Caitlin at Operation, but lost at chess to Harrison Wells because … FORESHADOWING! They get the call and Barry Flashes over to the robbery, where Main Dude is beating open the door to the truck by just straight jumping at it, but it’s empty and also Barry shows up and just starts wrecking the other bad dudes in super-speed. The one guy from earlier did not “cool it” and shoots one of the guards before Barry can stop him, which is very “uncool.” Barry has to give up pursuit of the robbers in order to call in an ambulance for the wounded guard.
We dissolve to the cops, who have the area taped off as Barry’s showing up to CSI the crime scene. He makes a fool of himself by accidentally letting slip that he knows exactly how many dudes were robbing the truck because he was there, but sort of saves it, while still looking dumb in front of Singh, who says, really condescending-like, “Thank you, Mister Allen, for your brilliant insight.” Except that Barry actually brought some brilliant insight into how the robbery went down, so maybe back off, man. Singh seems like not a fun guy to work for. I’m looking forward to the Matt Fraction-written episode where Barry uses the Speed Force to drop secret poos in Singh’s office plants. There’s also a bit where Joe and Eddie have a really awkward chat and Eddie keeps bringing up Iris around Joe, because this is a good idea. We get some good JoeFace out of it, so it’s worth it.
Barry mentions he saw the Main Dude’s face, so back at police HQ, Barry super-speed-IDs the guy in a book of mugshots as one Leonard Snart,
Mall Cop Robber Guy. (Portrayed by Prison Break’s Wentworth Miller, doing his best Clint Eastwood impression in this role.) Jesse L. Martin also gets to say the phrase “Snart’s father,” and I can only imagine that there are some pretty great bloopers from that scene. Apparently Snart's M.O. is to case the joint for months, planning out every detail and never giving up, which is sort of Barry’s romance strategy, too.
Iris shows up with coffee, but Joe gives her the “cold shoulder,” and takes off. Iris and Barry walk-and-talk, and Iris tells Barry that she’s gone and thrown her life away by starting a blog. Barry is, naturally, horrified, because bloggers are just the worst. I mean, what kind of sick individual would devote their life to, I don’t know, recapping a television program or something for stranger son the internet? Yuck. (Though I’m looking forward to all of Iris’ tweets from Panera Bread.) They get to Barry’s moldering crime lab and are greeted by Felicity Smoak, who, apparently, is the character from Arrow that we saw in the "Previously on The Flash" segment. Felicity then does some meta-nerd-bashing, declaring that the Internet is full of weirdos and “nerdrage,” and I’m sorry we didn’t all love it when you had Wonder Dog murder/maul Wendy and Marvin in Teen Titans, okay, Mr. Johns? Also, after this whole GamerGate thing, I’m inclined to agree with Felicity. The internet is terrible. We are all terrible. We belong in the terlet.
Anyway, they all introduce each other and it’s obvious Barry and Felicity have chemistry, but whatever, keep hounding your sister, I guess.
Back at the Cold Cave, Snart (do not type “shart,” do not type “shart”…) is hanging with his henchmen, one of which is sort of freaking out about the Streak, going all “Game over, man, GAME OVER” but then Snart just shoots him and is like, “Ice to meet you," or something.
Meanwhile in “a central park,” Barry and Felicity talk and Barry shows off his powers by running to the top of a building and back really fast, which makes his sneakers catch on fire a little. Barry does this little soft shoe to try and put them out and it’s amazingly awkward. I hope we get to see Grant Gustin dance sometime in this show, because I bet it is a-m-a-z-i-n-g.
Barry brings Felicity to S.T.A.R. Labs, (but apparently she changed clothes first because she’s wearing a weird, ribbed midriff sweater now?) where she meets all the S.T.A.bbers, including Harrison Wells, who instantly turns on the super-creep by being all, “Oh yeah, I know everything about you,” to Felicity and then, in his best I’m A Villain From the Future Voice, says he “…foresaw great things from you.” Dude is one black bathrobe away from going full-on Emperor Palpatine in Return of the Jedi. But then Barry’s like, “Wanna see me run fast some more?” so they head to the Cosmic Treadmill room so he can run fast. Felicity asks all these questions about Barry’s physiology, but then Barry’s like, (and this is a direct quote) “Wanna see how fast I can run backwards?” and the proceeds to slam himself into (through?) the wall behind him. Trust me, ladies love it when you run into walls at top speed.
Outside the museum where the Kahndaq diamond is being held, Joe and Eddie are staking the place out. Joe does this thing where he anti-work-friend-zones Eddie and then there’s a funny bit where Eddie decides to put the radio on to ease the tension and just finds hyper-sexual songs on the radio: Percy Sledge’s “When A Man Loves A Woman,” Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” Prince’s “Darling Nikki,” The Ying Yang Twins’ “The Whisper Song,” The entirety of 2 Live Crew's catalog, Eddie Money’s “Two Tickets To Paradise.” It’s a disaster.
Across town, Barry and Felicity are headed over to Central Perk to hang out with Iris, because what woman doesn’t want to hang out with you and your sister that you have a mega-crush on? Iris sets up a double date for trivia night at Jitters, which Barry whines about, because it’s terrible to have a cute, smart woman that you have a lot in common with come visit you. It’s just the pits.
Meanwhile, at the Cold Cave, Snart is chatting with a guy who sounds like James Urbaniak about some state-of the-art weaponry that he’s recently stolen from S.T.A.R. Labs. His selection includes a dope-ass flamethrower and and even colder cold-gun. Snart looks it over and, once he sees that it includes some cool goggles, is like, “Yep, this is me now.” Then he asks the guy “Who else knows about this?” which, #protip: if anybody asks you this question, you are about to get straight-up murderdeathkilled. Which is exactly what happens to this dude.
Back at the coffee shop, the host, who is wearing the weirdest matching plaid suit/tie combo, introduces Barry’s trivia team, E=MC Hammer, a mildly clever name that Barry has to explain to Iris and Eddie because apparently they’re morons? Like seriously, Barry, we know you’re smart, but this is a joke literally anybody can get without it being explained. Felicity shows up wearing a (again, really weird) black dress that causes even Barry to finally seem to notice her.
Back at the museum, Snart’s taking the tour, checking out the place while the guide goes on and on about (I kid you not) early Keystone pioneer Bobby “Bovine” McFeely. She talks a lot about Bovine McFeely. Like an insane amount. To the point where I searched to see if he was part of Flash lore. He isn’t. But Dexter Myles, the museum director, is. Apparently, he’s the director of the Flash Museum in the comics. Anyway, Myles notices Snart sniffing around and calls the cops.
Back at trivia night, the E-MC Hammer team is CRUSHING their competition. Eddie and Felicity get up and Iris like immediately gives the hard sell on Felicity, but Barry is all, “She’s okay, I guessss.”
At S.T.A.R. Labs, the S.T.A.bbers just now noticed that their fire and ice guns have gone missing. Wells, who you think would be a little more chill about this – seeing as he pretty much goofed and put a giant crater in the middle of the city with a science bomb – flips out on Cisco, all talking about how weapons are so terrible, like we didn’t see him stab the eff out of Simon Stagg like two episodes ago.
At the museum, Joe shows up because he is the only detective in the whole twin cities, apparently, and he immediately gets made by Snart, who takes off running. Back at trivia night, Eddie is completely blowing it on his turn, getting the name of the Millennium Falcon wrong. Oh, and they’re losing to a bunch of Star Wars nerds, which I personally take offense to, especially since their Luke Skywalker is sporting a red lasersword, which is clearly a Sith-favored, synthetic crystal lightsaber color. SMDH.
Eddie gets the call and both him and Barry take off for the museum. Joe chases Snart from the museum into a theatre, but Snart gets the drop on him and fires his freeze-gun. Barry manages to knock Joe out of the way and takes the ice-blast to the gut. It burns! Snart decides to test Barry out and starts firing on civilians, causing Barry to try and outrun the freeze ray to save them. But OOPS he’s not fast enough to save a security guard, who gets all froze up and Barry is bummed out about this.
At S.T.A.R. Labs, they check Barry out. The shot’s healing, but it’s also slowed his healing factor around the wound. Barry and Felicity are like, “Well, Snart didn’t build this, so who did?” And then Cisco has to be like, “Me.” Turns out he built an "absolute zero" gun in case he ever had to take The Flash down, but then he found out The Flash was cool, so he just stuck it in a locker and was like, “Good thing nobody will ever steal this.” Barry is upset, because he was just doing this voiceover at the star of the episode about how great his new friends are and then this happens.
Bask at the West house, Joe and Iris are still being weird with each other. Iris asks Joe how long he’s going to keep this up, that “it seems like the cold treatment is going around.” which is not a saying. She conflated “The Silent Treatment,” and “The Cold Shoulder,” but sure, whatever. Joe explains that the Eddis/Iris thing has thrown him off, that now he has to treat Eddie differently cuz he’s not just his partner, he’s his daughter’s boyfriend. Which is, as usual, actually pretty sweet of Joe.
At the Cold Cave, Snart’s breaking down his plan to his last two henchmen, one of whom is Canadian as heck, and they’re like, “Nah, we’re out of here.” and Snart is like, “Snow skin off my nose,” as he caresses his coldgun.
At S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry’s running away his feelings on the treadmill and Felicity’s tells him, “Listen, you gotta relax. Sometimes people die. Things take some time to gel. I mean, look at my show. The first season? Terrible. Literally unwatchable. I mean, apparently it got better in the second season, but it took time. Be patient.” And then she gives him the “Being a superhero is a lonely road and you need all the friends you can get,” speech, and Barry’s like, “Hmmm.” Meanwhile, if Iris had said it to him he'd be all, "YOU'RE TOTALLY RIGHT, IRIS, AS USUAL, HAHAHAH I LOVE YOU!"
At the museum, Snart’s broken in and is also wearing a pretty nice-looking parka. The S.T.A.bbers all say scientific-sounding stuff about how they can find Snart’s gun and Felicity hacks the planet and before you know it, Barry Flashes off to the museum to stop him, but not without letting Cisco know he’s still mad about the whole “You made a gun specifically to murder me with,” thing.
Snart grabs the diamond and is headed to the train station, which is a thing robbers do, I guess? Joe and Eddie are on the scene, but Joe tells Eddie to hang back and Eddie’s like, “Nope, I'm your partner!” and then Eddie saves Joe’s life like NBD when Cold gets the drop on him *again*. Cold jumps on a departing train and is like, "See you later, suckers!" but Barry finds him pretty quick. They banter and stuff and then Cold is like, “Welp, I’m gonna blow this train up and escape while you have to rescue everybody. Byeeee!” and then he does that. There’s a pretty great action scene with Barry moving in slow-mo to try and get everybody off before the train gets demolished. It’s sort of like that Quicksilver scene in the Days of Future Past movie except way more CW-looking. I’m not gonna pretend like it didn’t make me cheer a little inside to see Barry working his butt off to save people, though.
He saves everybody and then Captain Cold shoots him in the back with his freeze-gun and says, “You’re pretty fast kid, but not fast enough.” And then Barry’s probably all, “Yeah, I know. I’ve said that at least once per episode.” Cold has him pinned under some ice and then monologues, not noticing Cisco sneaking up behind him with a cold-gun that is “four-times the size, four-times the power.” Cold is like, “Alright, well; that seems excessive. I’m out.” And moonwalks out of there. Cisco breathes a sigh of relief because his weapon was just the S.T.A.R. Labs vacuum cleaner with a buttload of LEDs attached to it.
Back at S.T.A.R., everybody wraps stuff up. Looks like Captain Cold disabled the doodad that made it easy to track his gun, Wells is kind of creepy to Cisco cuz he almost harmed his precious Barry Allen, Felicity is like, “Alright, gotta go back to my show now,” and Barry finally thinks, “Hey, maybe I should try and actually talk to her.” At the police station, Joe and Iris have a chat and Joe is like, “Well, Eddie saved my life today, so I guess you guys can date.” No more “cold treatment” at the West house. Everybody's happy, except for Caitlin, because she didn't really have anything to do this episode besides lose at Operation, aka a game for children.
Barry catches up with Felicity’s train and Flashes into the seat across from her. They both talk about their unobtainable crushes, and how they’re basically perfect for each other, but then Barry’s like “Well, I guess Paula Abdul and MC Skat Kat were right, opposites do attract.”
Then they kiss. On a train. It’s called subtext, folks.
Then we get an epilogue with Captain Cold talking to a guy who really likes matches. Like, he likes matches the way that museum lady loved Bovine McFeely. He offers this guy the fire-shooter-gun and suggests a team-up. Because, you know, opposites attract.
FLASH FACTS: Random Observations
- So, based on the last two episodes, it looks like we’re going to get an opening with Barry allen in voiceover sort of breaking down the concept in lieu of a theme song or something similar, which is a huge mistake. Not enough shows these days have great theme songs that explain the high concept of the show. Remember The Fall Guy? Now that was a theme song, and sung by Lee Majors, no less! (Colt Seaver Has A Posse.)
- There were two music cues in this episode. The first was Free’s “All Right Now,” which is there to set the tone that Barry’s life is going pretty good, albeit in an incredibly on-the-nose fashion. The other one was Tennis’ “100 Lovers,” the last track off their Small Sound EP, which is fantastic. If you haven’t heard that, or their latest, Ritual In Repeat, you should probably fix that.
- In the museum tour scene, Snart gives a kid a piece of gum, and dammit, I was totally expecting him to mention that it was his “favorite flavor, wintermint,” or something, but nope. He just gives the kid some gum aaaand scene? It was weird.
- The Blackhawk Security armored car is, of course, a reference to the DC Comics property of pilots who jet away evil with bombs and whatnot.
- The whole “Cisco is responsible for Captain Cold” angle is a little stretched, mainly cuz his motivation seems pretty out of character. If anybody would be the one to logically and calculatedly build a deathray to stop The Flash should he turn out to be a psychopath, it would have been Caitlin, but from a Writer’s Room perspective, I see the advantages. It gives them something to do with Cisco besides just delivering exposition into Barry’s earpiece and being a generally enthusiastic guy. I also feel like having the cold gun, as well as the metahumans, being a byproduct of S.T.A.R. Labs sort of shrinks the mythos down and ties things up a little too neatly.
- Who the hell was picking out Felicity’s outfits? I mean, I get it, Emily Bett Rickards is a very pretty lady, but yeesh, these were bad clothes. The weird midriff sweater, the black dress with shapes cut out of the sides. Literally the only good thing I can say about them is that they matched the unfortunate outfits women are usually wearing in the source material.
- Kahndaq is the fictional Middle Eastern country that serves as the homeland for Shazam/Captain Marvel villain Black Adam.
FLASH-FORWARD: Future Happenings
The promo for the next episode (November 11) has a guy who looks like Dr. Sivana and Hugo Strange had a baby, a guy driving a truck who turns into liquid metal because Terminator 2, another guy who looks like Brian from Spaced with novelty contacts in or something and The Flash running up the side of a building. So check back in two weeks. It's gonna be flashtastic.