Having broken through the time barrier at the end of last weeks episode, Barry re-lives his day again. However this time, against the advice of Dr Wells, he takes it upon himself to change events for the better resulting in different but equally dangerous repercussions. From the high of last week’s finale I was looking forward to an episode with the same immediate urgency as we race toward the end of the season. What we got though was sadly a slow and plodding retread of everything we’ve seen before, which is a shame. Just as Barry relives the same day we as an audience relive the same things
What could have been a cool Groundhog Day concept (recycled to great comic effect in shows like Stargate SG-1) is thrown away early in the episode. Last week’s villain is caught in the first five minutes and everything that seemed so exciting about last week’s cliffhanger is wrapped up before the first commercial break. All that wonderful, wonderful set up is replaced with Barry pining for Iris again, Dr Wells checking on his daily news again and Wentworth Miller as Leonard Snart AKA Captain Cold and Dominic Purcell as Mick Rory AKA Heat Wave hamming the shit out of the screen again.
Captain Cold is a tough one for me, I liked the way he was one of the only villians that doesn’t have superpowers and is more of a mastermind than a thug. But Wentworth Miller’s performance walks the fine line between cool and smooth to outright smarmy and camp. The only thing that doesn’t make me totally dislike him is Dominic Purcell as a distraction hamming it up even worse. His angry and bubbling performance as Heat Wave is so way over the top he’s like a petulant child obsessed with fire and having contestant tantrums. I get that one is cool and calm and the other is hot heated and impulsive but there is no reason Snart would keep this guy around if all he does is stuff up plans and talk about fire constantly, like every single second of the day. Snart killed all the members of his previous gang for less.
But if you are looking for something new don’t fret, because just like you, I too have always wondered what a birthday party at Cisco’s casa would be like and guess what we finally get that here! We are introduced to Cisco’s brother who is the apple of his families eye and Cisco is the black sheep of the family. But this is all just set up to invest in the plight of his brother being kidnapped by none other than you guessed it Captain Cold, Heatwave and the addition of his little sister Lisa Snark (comics Golden Glider) whose weapon of choice is a gold firing gun.
Now I’m not a criminal mastermind of any kind but as a certain other forensic scienst might ask, riddle me this… Why the hell would they want to rob an armoured truck for money if you have a gun that produces pure gold? or if it’s a gun that needs to be filled with gold first where did they get the gold to fuel it? The in’s and out’s of it’s construction we’re kind of glossed over. Anyway, these confrontations lead to one of the crueller villain moments we’ve seen in the show when Snart freezes Cisco’s brothers fingers, I must admit frost bite on ones finger tips is not something I would wish on my worst enemy and is so much more creepy and painful than your standard freeze a person in to a statue deal.
But this was just set up for Snart to coerce The Flash’s secret identity out of Cisco, which built to one of the episodes good points. An interesting dynamic of arch villian mutual respect, when Snart and Barry (mask less) confront each other face to face and Barry proposes “if you are as good of a mastermind as you say then surely you can do all this without taking lives”. A challenge Snart’s arrogance seemingly can’t resist.
And last but not least there’s the bulk of the episode, love triangle, every word I type gives further power to this storyline so I’ll keep it brief. Get rid of it. Iris has become a dead weight in this series and the love triangle is played out. If she left the show in the next episode all it would take is a simple “Iris got a great job overseas” the actor wouldn’t need a farewell scene and the series wouldn’t miss a beat. When Iris was told about how Eddie punched Barry her reaction was just “meh”, like she didn’t care about either person in that situation. I don’t know if that was just her performance or in the writing but it shed her in a terrible light. Then even without the advent of time travel their punch up was simply wrapped up in a bow and moved on with instead of providing further (possibly interesting) conflict between Barry and Eddie down the line. It’s like the show is afraid to commit to anything but wants to try daring things. If the audience likes it they may stick with it, if not then we’ll just wrap it up with a little bit of time travel or good old fashion “lighting psychosis” which seems to fix everything.
I don’t think I could endure a future spin off show with these Flash “rogues” alone, but the idea of them joining the Suicide Squad along with some of Arrow’s better villains does have some appeal 🙂 Until then I’m looking forward to Mark Hamill giving a live action performance of his Batman the Animated Series Joker in the return of the 1990’s The Flash’s Trickster next week. Should be a nice to see what a leaner Hamill looks like now since his workout preparation for a certain “Episode VII” and maybe Barry’s Dad could get a get out of jail free card this week to join the reunion too, can’t wait!
Review by Dylan Boaden.