Drawing parallels between Smallville and The Flash is quite inevitable. Both shows have focused on some of DC’s most iconic characters, and they’ve done it in a way that often stays true to the spirit of the comics, though Smallville tended to play a lot with how the characters and events could be turned to fit in the mentality of a show that was about Clark Kent as a teenager in high school and later on, before he ever became Superman. Though only four episodes in as of this week, The Flash has not disappointed me at all with its promise of bringing Barry Allen and his incredibly rogues gallery and that’s what the new episode is really all about.
One of the coolest things to happen in the lead-up to The Flash was the casting of Wentworth Miller as Captain Cold aka Leonard Snart. He is one of Barry’s most iconic villains and has enjoyed a certain resurgent notoriety in recent years thanks to DC’s New 52 reboot, which brought him and his gang, the Rogues, together again. This week’s “Going Rogue” is the origin story of Leonard Snart’s transformation into Captain Cold and it is, by far, the best episode of the show in the entire month it has been on air. With a guest spot by Arrow‘s Felicity Smoak, Going Rogue was an amazing episode that sets up a lot of future stories and also provides for some great character moments.
I was pretty excited about a month back when The Flash was about to make its debut and then DC went ahead and released the look of Wentworth Miller as the infamous anti-hero Captain Cold. It was a look that told me the show’s productions department was taking things pretty seriously and that they were very much interested in keeping the look of the various iconic characters iconic while also putting a bit of a modern touch to it all. Check out the image at the bottom of the post and tell me if it doesn’t match up to those words. Seeing Captain Cold on the show today, I can say with conviction that the look rocks and that Wentworth Miller is fantastic as the villain and that he is going to do some great things on this show, now that he and Barry have hashed out their enmity for each other.
One of the things that writers Geoff Johns and Kai Yu Wu stress in this episode is the concept of teamwork and trust in each other. It seems that a lot of shows with team casts are looking to stress that concept (you just need to look at this week’s Sleepy Hollow and The Blacklist) and The Flash is no different. The difference however, is that the team doesn’t struggle with this concept on its own, but that it has some outside support. Arrow’s Felicity Smoak is someone who has been (“subtly”) romantically involved with Barry from the two-episode season 2 Fall finale from last year and that he was someone she had come to care about since they were similar to each other, and a good match since none of them came with the baggage of powers or training or vengeance or anything.
Going Rogue tests that relationship and shows that the two of them have indeed moved on, underscored by something that Felicity did last week (or might have been the week before, not sure), and what Barry has been doing so far since he found out that Iris and Eddie are dating. But at the same time, they are not quite ready to commit. I found the tease of their romance to be quite a wonderful thing since it keeps the door on that subplot open for future exploration while also showing that though Felicity may have romantically moved on from Oliver, she isn’t just looking for someone to replace him. That’s not what she is about.
There is a lot of heart-to-heart in this episode, whether it is the awkward conversation between Detective West and Eddie or Detective West and Iris or Iris and Barry or Barry and Felicity. I loved it. The show is taking the time to build on all of these complicated relationships and there’s no rush o get any of it done, which is just fine by me. I’d rather the show properly set up the dynamics and relationships rather than rush through them for some unforeseen-as-yet goal that only the showrunners can see, and thus ruining the whole thing in the process.
With all that the showrunners and writers have done in the last three weeks since the show debuted, they’ve definitely been making huge deposits in my “Trust The Flash team” account, and each episode gives me more to laugh about, to have fun with, to get excited about.
And that brings me to Captain Cold himself, one of my favourite of all of Barry’s enemies.
Leonard Snart is introduced as the son of a former cop, a bad cop, and through the all-knowing Detective Joe West we learn that Leonard is a driven and focused individual who always gets what he wants, implying that the two have tangled before, especially since CCPD has a mug shot of Leonard on file. Barry stops Loenard and his crew of random criminals from robbing a truck carrying the Kahndaq Dynasty Diamond, and that then sets off everything else that follows, especially the whole theme of trust and teamwork.
In the course of stopping Leonard Snart, Barry is unable to save the life of a random someone and this creates a sense of guilt in him since he just couldn’t beat Snart’s cold gun, a piece of tech that he acquired through secondary means from STAR Labs itself. The how and the why of it, and how it impacts Barry’s relationship with his friends at STAR Labs, is one of the best moments of the episode, by far, and I loved that the show took pains to identify that even the fastest man alive has his limits, and that the world he inhabits a dark and dangerous world where there need to be contingencies. Brilliant stuff.
But then, when Geoff Johns is writing an episode of a DC properties show, you expect greatness, and that is exactly what you get here, without a doubt.
Can’t say more than that without giving a lot of what happens on the show, but suffice to say that this episode was firing on all cylinders and that there wasn’t a single negative moment at all. Great villain, great heroes, great story, great pacing, great everything. And that cliffhanger for once did not do with the creepily enigmatic Harrison Wells, but with Leonard Snart as he started to form the Rogues, beginning with one of his closest… buddies. Can’t wait to see what is going to come out of this, and I have a feeling that whatever it is, this is going to factor into the upcoming crossover between Arrow and The Flash, without a doubt.