Both Barry and Felicity in the same episode!?! Our shields can’t repel nerdiness of that magnitude!
Returning once again to the charming Central City, we open on one of the most fun moments of the show so far, (all four episodes!) Barry is at S.T.A.R. Labs using his speed to play ping pong with Cisco, Operation with Caitlin, and chess with Wells. Sadly their fun comes to an abrupt stop when the lab’s alarm goes off, an armored car is being robbed and Barry is off to save the day. The bad guys, one of which is equipped with a tank of liquid nitrogen and is freezing the door off the truck (gee, I wonder who that is) are able to get away when Barry stops to take a wounded guard to the hospital instead of pursue them. However not all is lost as Barry got a look at one of the baddies and later identifies him from some mug shots as one Leonard Snart. Joe and Eddie set about doing their police work and track him down, and Barry gets a visit from an old friend. That’s right, its a crossover episode! Felicity has come to Central City to pay a visit to Barry, wanting to know that he is okay after the lightning strike. Iris, seeing that Felicity is both smoking hot (pun intended) and just as much of a nerd as Barry, immediately jumps onto the shipper train, and starts to try and push them together. While this is happening, Snart comes into possession of a cold gun stolen from S.T.A.R. Labs. With his new frosty equipment in hand he goes about plotting a diamond theft. Barry has a couples night with Felicity, Iris, and Eddie, but it’s cut short when Eddie gets about Snart being spotted at the museum. While trying to stop Snart, Barry takes a blast from the cold gun, discovering that it can both hurt him and slow him down. Snart sees this and starts trying to blast cops, forcing Barry to save them in lieu of catching him. Sadly, Barry is unable to save a guards life, the blast from the gun slowing him down enough that he couldn’t reach the guard in time. Back at S.T.A.R. we learn that the cold gun was created by Cisco, built just in case that Barry happened to go evil instead of becoming a hero. Barry, still reeling from the death of the guard, is upset by this news, hurt that his friend didn’t trust him enough to tell him about this gun and is rather hostile to the now downtrodden Cisco. Still needing to track down Snart, Cicsco tells them of a signal the gun puts out that Felicity is then able to track. Barry runs off to stop him, confronting the newly named Captain Cold, who freeze blasts the train causing it to crash. In the most visually impressive scene of the series yet, Barry evacs everyone from the train but gets blasted and frozen to the ground by Cold. Before the Captain can put Barry on ice, Cisco shows up with a decked out vacuum cleaner, claiming it is a new and more powerful cold gun, and forces the Captain to back down, retreating for now. With bad guy defeated, at least for the time being, Felicity bids farewell to Barry and Co. and departs for home, while Wells gives Cisco an angry warning about never doing anything like the cold gun again. The episode closes out with Cold addressing a match holding stranger, saying that he is putting together a team and gives the stranger a fire gun that he obtained from the same man he got his cold gun from.
Throughout this we are also treated to a subplot of Joe dealing with Iris and Eddie dating. Joe is giving Iris the silent treatment, not comfortable with the relationship. Iris confronts him about it, and he explains that his discomfort isn’t from their dating, but because Eddie is his partner and his dating Iris forces him to view Eddie in a different light, treat him in a different way. This comes to an end when Eddie saves him from Snart, and Joe now appears to be okay with the relationship.
I am quite happy to say that The Flash is taking positive steps forward with each and every episode. This week Barry had to deal with his failure as a hero, not saving the guard, and the perceived betrayal of a friend. He was on an emotional roller coaster and was fantastic to see. What was best about this was that it didn’t weigh anything down. Barry has his moment of anger at Cisco, saying that they all need to carry the guilt of the guards death, but by the end of the episode he has accepted the fact that Cisco just made a mistake, and their friendship is still strong. This is also in keeping with the general tone of the show, it is lighthearted and focuses mostly on Barry being a hero and symbol. It is a welcome departure from the generally darker tone we have seen from other DC shows and movies. (Arrow is still awesome though) The inclusion of Felicity was also a welcome appearance. We got to see more of the cute nerd love that made Gustin’s guess appearance in Arrow so much fun, and she was able to provide an outsiders perspective to Barry to help him deal with his problem with Cisco. It was a well done guest appearance as her being there didn’t diminish any of the other characters, instead her strengths were folded into the team. The bits of love advice that Barry and Felicity gave to each other was a nice closing touch to her appearance.
The Joe and Iris bits weren’t all that great, but weren’t bad. It was a good build up and felt very natural from where we left of with them in the last episode. What worked best for this was that the drama between them wasn’t dragged on for longer then it needed to be. Their characters and stories are progressing nicely and nothing is being dragged out for the sake of adding unneeded drama. Apart from that, Joe sadly didn’t have much going on this week, which was a disappointment. It is always nice to him interacting with Team Flash, and playing a support role to Barry when he is doing his hero thing and the fact that he was basically pushed almost entirely out of the main story this week was most unfortunate, but Felicity was there to pick up the slack and act as the friendly support, so I can accept Joe’s diminished role as a needed sacrifice to help strengthen the ties between Flash and Arrow.
The final thing to comment on, Captain Cold. Holy crap was he a badass! He is portrayed as cool and calculating, doing his best to refrain from killing, not out of a moral sense but because it draw unwanted attention. He is entirely about the job at hand, and won’t accept anything that could damage that. He even goes so far as to gun down one of his men when tries to walk out. He evolves his tactics based on what he learns about Barry, and employs them perfectly to the task at hand. His squaring off with Cisco was played perfectly, immediately measuring up the inventor and knowing that he could easily walk away from the encounter, with the diamond, and disappear. His giving the heat gun to the unknown match guy, who obviously will be the Flash villain Heat Wave, sets him up for his role as the leader of the Rogues, a collection of Flash’s baddies.
Overall, a-freaking-mazing episode. The crossover with Arrow served to help showcase the shared universe, Cisco was shown as a flawed, making him human and more relatable to the audience. Captain Cold was a truly amazing villain, proving that someone without powers can be a threat to the Flash. The crashing train scene was a truly amazing sequence, and was done perfectly. I haven’t mentioned this much before, but I will now, the effects of Barry using his powers looks fantastic, the cracks of lightning shooting off him as he moves, the bolts in his eyes as he watched everything, tis a visual splendor to watch. The Flash sped out of the gates with its pilot episode, and has only picked up speed from there.