With just one episode to follow in The Flash’s debut season, Rogue Air throws up a whole host of variables to grab viewers’ attention a multiple levels.
Firstly, Eobard Thawne/Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) puts into motion a plan to restart the very same particle accelerator which did so much damage to Central City and dished out magical new powers to many of its inhabitants. Upon realising Wells’ plan, the S.T.A.R. Labs crew are left with quite the conundrum: as well as having to stop the accelerator from powering up, they also have to think of the safety of the various rogue meta-humans that they have housed up on their premises. Added to this, they come to the conclusion that Wells has really been hiding out below S.T.A.R. all along.
Luckily, Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett) is located early on in this episode, although his outlook on his life has been a little altered thanks to the look into the future that Reverse-Flash gave him. That future, of course, revealed that Iris (Candice Patton) would end up married to Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) rather than Eddie. Whilst Joe (Jesse L. Martin) is the one who finally finds Eddie, after a brief appearance by the Reverse-Flash, it’s Barry who again darts off in the hope of catching the man he knows as Harrison Wells. But again, as ever has been the case so far in the show, The Flash just simply cannot catch Reverse-Flash. And much like Joe found Eddie, Iris also happens across the ring with which Eddie was going to propose to her with. Only, y’know, he’s now way against the idea having looked into the murky tealeaves (or should that be future newspaper) that Reverse-Flash showed him. In fairness to Eddie, his honesty has to be commended. It was up for debate as to whether the character would go down a villainous path after being kidnapped, and he still could, but in Rogue Air he reveals the truth about Harrison Wells being the time-travelling Eobard Thawne and also lets Iris in on the fact that she marries Barry in the future.
So with Barry unable to catch Wells, attention turns to protecting the villains who are being held deep within S.T.A.R. Labs. As Barry puts it, the team either need to move the rogues or the wrong 'uns could die. Despite objections from Joe, The Flash gets in touch with Arrow’s Lyla Michaels to arrange air transport from Ferris Air to Lian Yu, the very same island where Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) did so much training and now keeps Deathstroke confined to. Still, The Flash needs some assistance in getting the rogues from S.T.A.R. to Ferris Air. With no one else to turn to, he seeks the help of one Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller). As ever, Snart’s presence is a welcome one on the show, even if the accompanying Cold as Ice song in the background was a little cheesy. Captain Cold agrees to come on board so long as The Flash sees to it that all records of his criminal activity are scrapped. With no choice, the Scarlet Speedster obliges and scraps all of the records himself. In the meantime, Cold has brought in sister Lisa (Peyton List), aka Golden Glider, in on the gig.
All seems set: The Flash has struck a deal with Captain Cold, the villains are being transported to Ferris Air, and an ARGUS air carrier is about to land… oh wait, what’s that? Oh yeah, of course, Captain Cold is a villain! As expected, the villains all break out of their containment after it’s revealed that Captain Cold had sabotaged the tech that Cisco (Carlos Valdes) was using to keep their powers neutered. Who’d have thunk that a villain called Captain Cold, who has previously tried to stake his claim on Central City and butted heads several times with The Flash, would turn out to be a no-good double-crossing son of a gun?
What follows is like something out of an old-school, scrolling beat-em-up. Having defeated bosses on each level as you go, isn’t it a total shitter when you get to that level where all of the previous bosses are together and beating the crap out of you? Yep, it certainly is, and that’s what happens here for poor naïve Flash, with the likes of Weather Wizard, The Mist and Deathbolt amongst those causing trouble. Coming to Barry’s rescue is Leonard Snart, though, as Snart sends them packing. His logic is that the villains all now “owe him one” for getting them out of S.T.A.R. Labs (likely leading to some new additions to Snart’s Rogues team) and he also saves The Flash from a beating, meaning he kind of owes him one too. Well played, Leonard, well played, sir.
With all of these villains now out in Central City, Barry slumps off back to S.T.A.R. Labs to wallow in what went wrong and to contemplate how he will seemingly never catch Reverse-Flash. By siding with Captain Cold, his logic was to be like The Arrow, be somebody who will do whatever is needed to be done. As Joe reminds him, he’s not like The Arrow, he’s a different type of hero. But this is all soon the least of Barry’s concern when Eoboard Thawne/Harrison Wells turns up at the scene. And so off Barry goes, speeding off to confront his former mentor.
What follows is something that we all thought was going to take place in the season finale: The Flash vs Reverse-Flash. Obviously there’s still more to come, but the final 10 minutes of Rogue Air were fantastic to watch. From Wells’ quip of “Ever the hero, huh Barry?”, to The Flash bringing along The Arrow and Firestorm (Robbie Amell) for company, to Wells’ popping a Flash ring to get into costume… it was all great to see playout. It was also equally cool to see Oliver Queen, complete with League of Assassins attire, go one-on-one with Reverse-Flash whilst Flash himself had to zoom off to help a crash-landing Firestorm. Ever the thinker, Ollie hits Reverse-Flash with an arrow filled with nanobites which slow the Man in the Yellow Suit to normal speed, leading to the two partaking in hand-to-hand combat. Mighty, mighty cool. Oh, and we learn that Oliver Queen apparently lives to be 86 years of age in the future.
When all is said and done, the combined might of The Flash, The Arrow and Firestorm is enough to put Reverse-Flash down for now. And that’s it, the episode comes to a halt as we ponder what the season finale will bring.
Rogue Air was a mixed-bag in terms of tone and content, bringing some serious matters to the fore, such as the Iris and Eddie break-up and Barry’s failure at attempting to trust a rogue, and the episode also delivered plenty of action when it was called from. And, y’know, it saw the teaming up of three DC superheroes when all is said and done. It’s also worth noting, with rumours of a possible Green Lantern appearance at some point in the future of Arrow and/or The Flash, the mention by Barry about the disappearance of a certain Ferris Air test pilot. Hmm, we wonder who that could possibly be…
What started up as a good, strong episode with the inclusion of numerous villainous faces from earlier in the season (particularly the brilliant Wentworth Miller and his flawless, engaging take on Captain Cold), ended up being amped up to a whole other level with the final 10 minutes, setting the stage for another mixed tone sort of finale next week. From the teaser trailer footage of the finale, expect to see Barry grilling Wells on why he killed Nora Allen, expect to see Barry finally going back in time to that night, and also expect one mighty big final battle between The Flash and Reverse-Flash and possibly one or two of the show’s familiar faces to not make it to Season 2. Oh, and keep an eye out for a couple of nods towards Arrow/Flash spin-off show DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.