An expected step-down from “Out of Time”, but another step forward for The Flash. You’ll watch for the consequences of the time travel, but stick around for Wentworth Miller’s gleeful performance as Captain Cold.
Warning: Spoilers ahead
It was inevitable that “Rogue Time” would be a step down from Episode 15’s momentous episode, so by that high standard, the episode doesn’t measure up too well. However, taken on its own merits, episode 16 of The Flash is another confident entry into the series’ canon. It doesn’t redefine the formula, it refines it as best it can.
In the wake of Barry (Grant Gustin) travelling back in time by a day, he immediately takes steps to avert the potential catastrophe that Mark Mardon (Liam McIntyre) would have rained upon Central City. Yet the Rogues are returning: Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell) kidnap Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and force him to rebuild their weapons, accompanied by Cold’s sister, Lisa Snart (Peyton List). Meanwhile, Barry attempts to move on Iris after hearing her confess her feelings, and Cisco has family matters to deal with in the shape of his brother.
Pulling back on the Wells (Tom Cavanagh) storyline for this episode makes a great deal of sense narratively. Barring an early scolding to Barry and the coda of the episode which sees him in Reverse-Flash gear doing the chest-plunge move again, he doesn’t feature much more prominently than in any other episode. This week the focus is very clearly shared between Barry and Cisco. Both of them are equally optimistic characters that provide most of the warmth and levity of the show. The latter’s dynamic with his brother Dante (Nicholas Gonzalez) is entertaining and laden with more than enough emotion to convince dramatically. However what happens with Barry’s story, specifically his scenes with Iris are disappointingly predictable. Of course he broke it off with Linda (Malese Jow) – smart, mature, funny Linda – to have a disastrous attempt with Iris. It’s what we expected to happen. Although it was almost entirely worth it for the absolutely insane ‘lightning psychosis’ save from Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker). The bond between her, Barry, and Cisco is so obviously more than just workmates. They’re best friends. Which is handy. Soon they may find themselves without their surrogate father.
However the real highlight of “Out of Time” is Miller’s performance as Captain Cold. Whilst new cast member List doesn’t quite convince as the future ‘Golden Glider’, it’s more because she doesn’t do much. She’s not onscreen enough to provide any meaningful contrast to Heat Wave’s deranged passion, or Cold’s cool confidence. Miller has really grown into the role. It is no longer all menace and detachment; the addition of Purcell has made him grow a sense of humour to contrast. His sheer cockiness as he drawls his lines is an absolute joy to watch. It is almost a shame that after his confrontation with Barry, he apparently resolves to be more an anti-hero than outright villain. Which is no doubt in preparation for him to join a new, crazy sounding team-up show featuring Brandon Routh’s Ray Palmer of Arrow, amongst others.
“Rogue Time” is not perfect, it is by no means revolutionary, but it is absolutely entertaining. Nearly everything about the episode (the acting, the dialogue, the design and the action) works as it should, which is more than enough for now. The best that can be said of it is how it inches the show’s universe further forward, broadening arcs, narrowing others, taking small steps (like revealing Barry’s super-identity to Cold) further forward towards something we hope will be even greater.
The Flash is broadcast on Sky One on Tuesdays at 8pm. Watch the trailer for next week’s episode below: