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The Flash #1.10 “Revenge of the Rogues” Recap & Review

The Flash returns with an impressively well-structured and unendingly fun episode, dialing back the drama for an old-fashioned comic book villain team-up.

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FLA110b_0139bSummary: The Flash returns with an impressively well-structured and unendingly fun episode, dialing back the drama for an old-fashioned comic book villain team-up.

Recap

Leonard Snart/Captain Cold returns to Central City with a new hotheaded partner in tow – Mick Rory/Heat Wave. The duo plan to steal a multi-million dollar painting, but Cold has another agenda while in town – to set a trap for The Flash. Barry, who has been doubling his training effort for when he inevitably faces Reverse-Flash again, decides to ignore Snart due to the immense destruction of their last battle. Cisco provides the CCPD a new shield to confront Cold themselves. Joe disagrees with Barry’s decision, believing Barry is being swayed away from his duties as a hero by Dr. Wells. Caitlin investigates the word “Firestorm” that Ronnie said in their last meeting, and discovers it’s an acronym for a project involving transmutation and splitting atoms, and a scientist involved named Martin Stein has disappeared. After Flash doesn’t respond to their traps, Cold and Heat Wave kidnap Caitlin and threaten to kill her unless The Flash shows up for a battle of fire and ice. With help from Wells and Eddie, Flash is able to stop the two villains by crossing the beams from their fire and ice guns. Meanwhile, Iris and Barry confront the awkwardness in the aftermath of Barry’s confession; Barry helps her move in with Eddie and promises that they will be okay, and that he is okay with she and Eddie together. Barry decides to move back into the West house in Iris’s empty room. In police transport, and Captain Cold and Heat Wave are rescued by Cold’s sister.

Review

FLA110b_0342bOne of the key trials for any semi-serialized “mytharc” show is how to fit in episodes not dealing with the main A-plot of the season. When the Big Bad is running around, it’s hard to justify why the hero would be pursing anything but the most dangerous bad guy. “Revenge of the Rogues” uses this concept as its core, and posits this question right at the forefront.

The Reverse-Flash was such a good nemesis that the returning Captain Cold pales in comparison, so why would Barry move on from the danger established in the midseason finale? After all, we only consider a villain-of-the-week the primary one at the time because the episode focuses on him/her; plenty of other villains are constantly in the background, plotting and doing minor misdeeds. So if Barry never confronts the potential bad guy, that doesn’t make him a major bad guy, right? It’s a fun, somewhat meta twist on the “if a tree falls in the forest” adage, because it assumes the villain is only a real threat if the hero is going after him.

The episode’s singular answer to these questions is that the lines can’t be so clearly drawn. There are numerous examples of split dichotomies and focuses — Heatwave and Captain Cold are completely different powersets and personalities; Wells and Joe are opposite kinds of mentors; Reverse-Flash and the current Rogues are staying hidden and trying to get attention, respectively. Things fall apart when these dichotomies are kept totally separate, and Flash only succeeds when — on-point Ghostbusters reference aside — he crosses the streams, both literally and metaphorically. The training for facing Reverse-Flash can be helpful for other situations, and both the logic of Dr. Wells and the empathetic need to save people of Joe together are what makes Barry succeed as Flash. You could even extend this concept to other elements like Eddie, who saves Flash despite his anti-Flash instincts, erasing the hero/villain line he’d drawn back in “Flash vs. Arrow.” Or that Barry and Iris recognize that they can blur the line a bit between best friends and unrequited love, if it helps save their friendship.

FLA110A_0083bPrison Break alums Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell as Leonard Snart/Captain Cold and Mick Rory/Heat Wave, respectively, fit into this dichotomy theme almost to a fault. As good as Miller was on his own as the calculating Snart in his first appearance, the two playing off each other yields the most comic book-y villians in the DCwU so far. Frankly, the two of them would fit in just as well in the cheesier villains of the classic The Flash series. Yet, while the puns are generally nothing but cringe-worthy, it’s hard to criticize any of it. It’s completely purposeful, for one, intentionally invoking the cheese associated with classic superhero comics. The characters are quick to comment on the weirder world they’ve found themselves in, like Wells realizing he says “catch cold,” or Miller’s hilarious deadpan delivery of “That’s funny” to Joe calling Heatwave a hothead.  It also helps to ease into the lighter fare; “The Man in the Yellow Suit” wasn’t necessarily a dark episode, but it carried heavier concepts than most episodes do, and two threatening-but-funny villains brings the drama back down a notch, even if only slightly. Miller and Purcell are clearly having a blast together, and that only adds to the high energy of their scenes, even when little is actually happening. They probably wouldn’t fit on any other show like this, and it’s a testament to The Flash‘s uniqueness.

The surrounding elements are also The Flash bringing its A-Game. The show struck gold with Jesse L. Martin and Tom Cavanaugh, and that the budding rivalry between the two means we’ll be getting more and bigger scenes with the two of them is a huge plus. While this isn’t the teen/young adult drama that Smallville was, The Flash has used Barry’s youth as a reason to mirror the family/parental material that worked in the former show in the early years. It’s an unexpected move, with Joe becoming a much more central character than expected, and this oncoming war of the father figures has potential for great drama. While Barry moving back in with Joe is a supremely sweet development — more teary-eyed huggy moments between Joe and Barry is certainly welcome! — it also digs Barry further into being under the wing of two very different mentors.

Barry himself is more confident than ever this week, changed but not damaged by the pivotal confrontation with the Reverse-Flash. Grant Gustin gets to be a lot less awkward, as the increasingly headstrong Barry confronts problems more directly than he had before. In particular, the Iris situation moves along, with Barry doing his best to put her at ease that he is okay with her relationship with Eddie. The worry here is what Iris will contribute to the show now that her primary arcs are wrapped. Barry’s feelings are exposed, she’s out of Joe’s house, and she’s currently ceased the Flash support, but at the same time, the path of the rest of the season in general is wildly uncertain.

FLA110b_0213bOn the side is Caitlin’s investigation into Ronnie and Firestorm — or rather, F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M. While the development is slow burn here — we learn the mouthful of an acronym for a project about transmutation, and it may be involved in a conspiracy with a missing scientist — it’s just as promising as anything else, a solo story for Caitlin to pursue that could easily spread into a major storyline. And three Firestorms are impressively met or mentioned in this episode (Ronnie Raymond, Martin Stein, and Jason Rusch) before Caitlin is kidnapped, so things are certainly getting accomplished.

“Revenge of the Rogues” is an impeccably well-structured hour, one that picks up all the plot points from the finale and furthers them with ease. Moreover, it’s a good example of how well this show was conceived. Its characters and elements were so elegantly set-up from the start that even a rather filler-y episode is heavy with engaging and thematically interlocking subplots. As with every episode of the show, it’s just a helluva lot of fun, and even the silliest, most over-the-top elements work within the scope. And even if they don’t, they’re forgivable because the rest of the show is and continues to be just so damn competent.

Odds & Ends

  • I had my qualms with Cisco early in the series, but he’s been coming into his own since around “The Brave and the Bold.” Absolutely love his interactions with the cops and the cold-shields STAR Labs creates.
  • What was with Iris awkwardly showing up to the big battle? Did they so badly need someone to be yelling for Eddie when he ran into the fight?
  • Funny and kind of scary that Wells likes Cisco’s Reverse-Flash name suggestion. His reaction to Cisco naming Heatwave takes the cake, though (“Stop doing that…”)
  • Of course Captain Cold kidnaps Caitlin Snow, who in the comics is Killer Frost. This episode is brilliant in its silliness.
  • It’s hard to pin down exactly why, but Joe seems more like an actual dad than a whole lot of TV dads. Jesse L. Martin does a fantastic job capturing every morsel of emotion he can. And there are moments like where he admits to taking away Iris’s stuffed animal because she broke his Duke Ellington: Live at the Blue Note vinyl. Actually, lots of banter between Joe, Iris, and Barry this week is great, and Martin’s material even feels ad-libbed a lot of the time.
  • “I have a fiancé that can fly. I haven’t broke that to my parents yet.”
  • “Maybe you’re the sick ones. Ever think about that?”
    “…Not really.”
  • “I am a millennial, that is what we do.”

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. dadchu

    January 22, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    Really! What millionaires would carry a “$25m” painting in their jet WITHOUT AT LEAST BUBBLE WRAP????

    • Derek B. Gayle

      January 23, 2015 at 5:54 am

      HA! That’s hilarious. I hadn’t even thought of that.

  2. Halberdier17

    January 24, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    I didn’t see it pointed out but Iris’ favorite toy growing up was McSnurtle the Turtle.

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Blu-ray Review: The Flash: The Complete Sixth Season

Review of The Flash Season 6 Blu-ray set from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

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The Flash: The Complete Sixth Season is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, and we have been provided with a copy of the set to review on the site!

The set features all 19 episodes of The Flash Season 6 plus extras — the Blu-ray includes all of the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover!

Here’s what’s up:

Packaging & Design: Starting with this because it’s probably the first thing you’ll notice. The box art for this set has changed since the original press release — the fired Hartley Sawyer’s Ralph Dibny is no longer on the packaging. While I understand the show distancing themselves — Ralph was indeed an important part of Season 6, with his Sue Dearbon story, and I’m not 100% sure how I think they should have handled it. As it is, it looks odd with just the other four members of Team Flash on it. Though, to be fair, Nash Wells isn’t on the cover either.

With that said, The Flash sets usually have some of the best designed packaging and menu art and this set is no exception.

The Episodes: Also seems I am repeating myself but the Blu-ray presentation on The Flash is loads better than what we see on TV and is pretty cinematic. All 19 episodes of Season 6 are here, and — spoiler warning — because of COVID-19, they were cut off at 19 episodes, so that means some storylines aren’t completely wrapped. With that said, this season saw Eric Wallace taking over as showrunner, and with him came a new tactic that he referred to as “graphic novels.” The first “graphic novel” included the character Bloodwork (Sendhil Ramamurthy) as characters are facing death, and the second, after Crisis, dealt with a new “Mirror Master.”

I will say that The Flash under Eric Wallace has a great vision and I love his enthusiasm, which you can actually hear on the “Kiss Kiss Breach Breach” commentary. He’s as big of a geek as we are, and I mean that in the absolute best way. The only thing I’d have to say negative about Season 6 is that the mirror storyline has gone on way too long — and I wonder, if they had known all along that we’d end with 19 episodes (an impossibility, because who would?), it might have been a bit shorter.

This “graphic novel” set-up, however, does offer the chance to binge the season in parts, which is pretty cool, and the Blu-ray bonus disc of all of Crisis on Infinite Earths is a good thing to throw in the middle to tee up Graphic Novel #2.

The other thing I will say about Season 6 is that I really liked some of the new characters that are set up. Chester P. Runk, Sue Dearbon, Kamilla, and Allegra — all fun characters that add to rather than detract from the series.

The Extras: The set includes a bonus black and white noir version of “Kiss Kiss Breach Breach” with commentary by Eric Wallace. Commentaries don’t happen too often these days, so I’m so glad they put something on this set. There is also a gag reel and deleted scenes. And, of course, all of Crisis which has a lot of great Flash content!

Is It Worth It? If you’re a Flash completist or want to see the most recent season in high definition, sure. You might want to start at the very beginning, though. Still, I think The Flash is on its way back to its former glory and Season 6 is the start of that journey. Can’t wait for Season 7, and for now, this set will be revisited often.

Get your copy of the Blu-ray from Amazon.com at a discounted price and support FlashTVNews!

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Blu-ray Review: The Flash: The Complete Fifth Season

Review of the Flash Season 5 Blu-ray set.

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Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided FlashTVNews with a free copy of this set for review in this post. The opinions shared are my own.

The Flash: The Complete Fifth Season hits Blu-ray and DVD this week, containing all 22 episodes of Season 5 plus bonus episodes from the Elseworlds crossover. In addition to the entire season, there are few extra features for all to enjoy, though some are duplicated from other sets that were made available this year. Here’s the review.

The Episodes: As mentioned, all 22 episodes plus extras are on this set. And as I tend to write every year, the show isn’t quite at the high level it was in its first season, but there are definitely standouts in Season 5. A big theme for the season is family, and the conflicts between parents and their children. Caitlin and her parents are a part of that. The season’s villain is a part of that. And the biggest part of that is Nora West-Allen (Jessica Parker Kennedy), the daughter of Barry and Iris brought back from the future. Kennedy is fantastic in the role, though it is at times disappointing to see so much attention on a new character when we are here for the ones we’ve seen for 100+ episodes.

The Flash Season 5 contains the series’ 100th episode which is a great journey through the five years of the show. Sadly absent from Episode 100, though, is Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) who was recovering from an injury for a good part of the season. Martin’s presence was certainly missed though it is nice that the show upgraded Danielle Nicolet (Cecile) to series regular this year.

I’ll be honest: I wasn’t very invested in the Cicada story, at least not as much as I probably should have been. And I was even less into the latest Wells, “Sherloque,” which was a joke that stopped being funny within about 2 minutes, with no offense meant to the writers or Tom Cavanagh. It was nice to see the talented Cavanagh in another role, though part of me still is wondering why it was not Matt Letscher, though I’m forgiving that because, again, Tom Cavanagh.

I’m also not sure what to make of Vibe’s eventual fate, unless it is a way to make things less easy for next year’s crossover. In any event, watching these episodes still has me excited for Season 6, and The Flash is certainly a series that is worth the Blu-Ray upgrade.

The Extras: There’s a fantastic featurette about the origins of Killer Frost which is really well put together. I was, however, surprised that such attention wasn’t paid to XS/Nora as she was also a major arc for Season 5. Was there only room to cover one story? I’m also surprised there wasn’t some kind of 100th episode spotlight, especially since Warner Bros. did have press kit people on the line interviewing the cast.

There are Elseworlds, villains, and Comic-Con featurettes that you can find on the other DC TV shows this year, which I can only imagine is a cost-cutting measure to include them everywhere.

The set also has deleted scenes, with the most notable being Superman running with Oliver Queen from “Elseworlds Part 1.” It’s a shame that was cut. There was also a “My Name Is Barry Allen” from “Elseworlds” with Stephen Amell replacing Grant Gustin as Grant replaced him in the aired Part 2 — this was surely cut and unfinished so as to not blow the reveal that Oliver was Barry in Part 1. It’s still really cute and fun.

Finally, there’s a gag reel. While they are introduced with credits like The Office, they’re still a bit… meh.

Packaging and Design: Seeing Barry and Nora running side by side is the perfect way to sell this. Very nice looking.

Is It Worth It? I’ll always recommend picking up Flash Blu-Rays from the beginning, but this is certainly worthwhile, especially to prepare for Season 6 to premiere on October 8. You can purchase this set (and support this site!) here.

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Blu-ray Review: The Flash: The Complete Fourth Season

Review of the Blu-ray set for The Flash: The Complete Fourth Season

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The Complete Fourth Season of The Flash hits Blu-ray and DVD this week (Tuesday, August 28), and we’ve got our hands on a review copy!

Before we get to the review, here’s how the season is described:

In Season Four, the mission of Barry Allen, aka The Flash (Grant Gustin), is once more to protect Central City from metahuman threats. First, he’ll have to escape the Speed Force. With Barry trapped, the job of protecting Central City falls to his family – Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin); his fiancée, Iris West (Candice Patton); and Wally West/Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale) – and the team at S.T.A.R. Labs – Dr. Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker), Cisco Ramon/Vibe (Carlos Valdes) and brilliant scientist Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh). When a powerful villain threatens to level the city if The Flash doesn’t appear, Cisco risks everything to break Barry out of the Speed Force. But this is only the first move of a life-or-death chess game with Clifford DeVoe aka The Thinker (Neil Sandilands), a mastermind who’s always ten steps ahead of Barry, no matter how fast he’s running. Shocking surprises come fast and furious in all 23 action-packed adventures featuring The Fastest Man Alive.

So, how’s the set?

The Episodes: It’s going to be very hard to ever replicate the greatness that was the first season of The Flash. Unfortunately, one thing that The Flash Season 1 did so well that still didn’t connect for Season 4 is a strong villain. While I have more appreciation for The Thinker after rewatching some episodes and checking out the extra interview features on this set, I still don’t really feel that empathy and care for him that I had for, say, Eobard/Wells.

Season 4 also tried to course correct with more humor to varied success. Sometimes it worked; others the show was far too amused with itself. (I don’t need to see any more Wellses no matter how much I love Tom Cavanagh, for example, and “psychic pregnancy” will never not be too campy for me.)

There’s some good stuff, though. The best version of Barry’s suit so far premieres in Season 4, and Barry and Iris finally get married this year, even if every time they got married, they ended up interrupted. There are some episodes that worked to innovate, and there are also things like Barry in jail which seem to go on for too long. But at least with a DVD or Blu-ray you can fast forward, right?

Season 4 is also where we meet Ralph Dibny. He grows on you until you finally stretch your appreciation levels. By season’s end, you love Ralph as much as everyone else might.

The Extras: Of all the DC TV shows, The Flash usually gets the best treatment as far as extras go. We’ve got deleted scenes (including some WestAllen!), bloopers, and the all-encompassing Comic-Con video… and some other great extras, including Sterling Gates and Eric Wallace with Katee Sackhoff offering commentary on Amunet (who I do enjoy more after seeing Sackhoff speaking about her, but I still don’t understand why the silly accent was a thing). There’s also a really nice feature about the Elongated Man, and all four episodes of this year’s DC TV crossover are represented.

There’s also talk about The Thinker, and as I said, I appreciate the storyline more but I still didn’t have that emotional connection with the character that I feel I needed. The other bodies thing at midseason made that all even worse.

Packaging & Art: This is one of the best looking Flash Blu-ray sets so far. Dynamic design on the box art and on the discs. I like it.

Is It Worth It? As I said, nothing will be Season 1 again, but if you’re a fan of The Flash there are a lot of extras to make this worth it. Order yours from Amazon.com at a discounted rate and support this website!

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