Last week’s Out of Time came with plenty of revelations for the characters within The Flash’s universe. Iris and Barry shared their first kiss just moments before Barry revealed to Iris that he was The Flash; Cisco discovered the truth about Harrison Wells and was murdered moments later; and Wells revealed that he is in fact Eobard Thawne and that he travelled centuries back in time to kill Barry as a child, killing Nora Allen instead by mistake. It was the strongest episode of the season, then all of the revelations were gone in a, well, flash, when Barry wound up running fast enough to travel back in time, effectively erasing the events of the episode. Audiences were left with a hell of a cliffhanger and last night’s episode, Rogue Time, sought to answer many questions that audiences had. Was it a worthy follow up? Unfortunately, no. Spoilers ahead.
Rogue Time dealt with the consequences of Barry changing the past and, man, were there some interesting consequences! After Barry realizes that he has travelled back in time, he decides to use his knowledge of the future to his advantage, which resulted in some very uncomfortable situations. After all, as Wells points out to Barry, the universe tends to even things out. While The Flash and Central City PD dealt with Weather Wizard last week, Barry decides that the first course of action in the new timeline should be grabbing Mardon and adding him to the growing collection of baddies prisoned beneath S.T.A.R. Labs. Unfortunately, in doing so, Barry paved the way for another villainous threat to take Mardon’s place, this time in the form of Captain Cold, Heat Wave, and Captain Cold’s little sister, Golden Glider. Unfortunately for Central City, while Weather Wizard pretty much focused all of his aggression at Joe until the final moments of Out of Time, Captain Cold and his Rogues have more ambitious goals than just revenge. When we first see Mick Rory and the Snarts (am I the only one with a house full of giggles every time the name “Snart” is used?), they are already at the beginning of a crime spree and having met these 2 out of 3 of these criminals previously, audiences can be sure that the robbery truly was just the beginning.
A new criminal threat means that events that transpired throughout Out of Time have already been drastically altered. Luckily, however, with Weather Wizard captured, Cisco decides to attend his brother’s birthday party with Caitlin, just as Wells suggested, rather than digging into Wells. This was an interesting look into Cisco’s life and it was a welcome peek. Fans of the comic book series will recognize Cisco’s siblings, and Dante (Nicholas Gonzalez) was played to perfection. As Caitlin quickly learns, Cisco’s talents go greatly unappreciated in the Ramon household, his parents choosing to fawn over Dante’s musical abilities instead. The reason this scene was so important is that it shows that Cisco has always craved his parents’ approval but it was never shone upon him. Cisco feels like an outcast in his own family, giving weight to Wells’ pre-Cisco-murder speech in Out of Time. Of course, being the man that Cisco is, which is a good man, when the chips are down and he has to make a tough decision, he chooses to save his brother instead of letting him fall; a decision that truly burdens Cisco’s conscience.
Meanwhile, Barry has decided that the kiss he and Iris shared in the last episode must mean that he and Iris are meant to be together, no matter the timeline. He quickly discovers that this is not the case when he, again, professes his love to Iris, this time insisting that he knows she reciprocates that love. Just like a cold shower after a hot date, Iris’ reaction stings Barry a bit and quickly brings him back to reality. That reality includes a punch to the face later in the episode from Iris’ beau, Eddie. It must have been a hell of a punch, too, because some time later, Barry still has an ice pack on his face. This is a man who was able to shake off the effects of a sonic instrument turning his internal organs to jelly in moments, yet a punch to the face from an angry boyfriend manages to damage him. It is unclear whether this was a mistake made by the writers, a testament to Eddie’s strength, or if Barry had a tougher time healing because of a skewed timeline but it seemed a bit odd and an unusual misstep for the series.
As for Harrison Wells, aka Eobard Thawne, aka Reverse Flash, his path changed a bit as well. Wells quickly realizes that Barry has travelled back in time and does everything he can to stop Barry from sharing the events of the other timeline. The audience quickly learns that this was a selfish move on Wells’ part (surprise, surprise), and Wells is much more concerned with maintaining his own timeline in order to reach a point where he can carry out his dastardly plan. More importantly, in this timeline, instead of having a heart-to-heart with Cisco before viciously murdering him, he has a wonderful heart-to-heart with Cisco, again letting Cisco know that he is like a son to him, before heading off to murder someone else. This time, Mason Bridge takes the fist through the chest, dying before he can share his knowledge of Wells with the world. Not a smart move on Harrison’s part, considering Barry is already fully aware of Bridge’s suspicions, leading Barry to the conclusion that Wells must be a bad guy once it is announced that Mason is gone.
Many of the issues with this episode really come from the fact that its counterpart, Out of Time, was so damn good! It is tough to follow up an episode like that, which is why episodes such as last week’s are generally saved for the season finale. Audiences need a break in order to get their expectations back down to a reasonable level and without that break, the next episode is almost guaranteed to disappoint. Many of Captain Cold’s scenes played a bit like something right out of Batman & Robin…wait. That’s a bit harsh. Many of Snart’s (giggle) scenes played like something right out of Batman Forever. That’s a bit better. The villains were over the top and much of their dialogue seemed either cheesy or forced. Golden Glider’s gun, which covered things in gold, was absolutely ridiculous. If she has a gun that creates gold, why rob anyone? It was a silly item used for the sake of the cool VFX that could have been avoided. The point that the universe will always compensate for changes in the timeline was brought home pretty quickly in the episode and by the end, it felt almost like it was hammered in to our subconscious. Though, the reason why was pretty clear once Barry brought up saving his mother, something that Flashpoint fans know can only result in tears and bloodshed.
This wasn’t a bad hour of television, far from it! It was still interesting and fun – it just wasn’t up to the standards of Out of Time. There is no doubt that the series will feel like it’s back to its former glory when it returns next week with Mark Hamill reprising his role as Trickster. Here’s a quick clip!
What did you think of last night’s episode? Was it a satisfying follow up to Out of Time or was it a bit of a letdown?