THE FLASH Rewinds to a Cold Start

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Episode 116 “Rogue Time”

[Photos: Dean Buscher/The CW]

We pick up where we left off: Barry back in time. He’s disoriented, trying to figure out just what’s happened to him. And when he does figure out that he’s taken a quantum leap to the past, he delivers a perfectly appropriate “Oh, boy.”

Cisco – still very much alive – tells Barry he’s got to get to the morgue, no time to stop. Barry: “I was there yesterday.” When he gets to the morgue, he knows things he shouldn’t know. He can predict what’s going to happen before they happen, giving Joe a case of the heebie jeebies.

As his day progresses, it’s going to get a lot messier.

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In the aftermath of Cisco’s death last week, we get a very Cisco-oriented “all about the siblings” episode this week.

We pick up Cisco at the point where he’s talking with Caitlin about the upcoming birthday party for his brother. Remember, in last week’s episode we learned that Cisco didn’t even go. Caitlin’s offer to be his +1, coupled with the fact that there’s now no threat from Mark Martin, changes the circumstances so that they actually go this time instead of Cisco and Wells watching Buster Keaton.

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Barry, in the meantime, is catching up to the fact that he can now alter the timeline to protect the city — capture Martin and thereby save Joe, save Iris, and prevent the tsunami from ever happening. Only Wells figures out Barry’s reliving a day, experiencing a “temporal reversion”. Now, as the audience looking in, we know that Wells has been anticipating this, as it gives him the entry point to time travel that will allow him to get home. But for all Barry knows, Wells is speculating the timeline will exact a price for Barry’s mishap.

The Law of Unintended Consequences will follow throughout the episode, as the removal of Martin from the board opens the path for Leonard Snart and Mick Rory to come back, killing the head of the Santini crime family and moving in on his territory. To do this, they need their weapons. To get the weapons, they need the Sisko Cisco.

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Cisco, meantime, is getting a heavy dose of the “Why can’t you be more like Danté?” treatment at home, where older brother Danté — the concert pianist and Mama’s favorite — is a little dismissive of his little brother.

This leads to the intersection point between Barry’s time-tampering plot and Cisco’s sibling rivalry plot, as the boy genius gets seduced by a hot blonde spouting sciencey-speak — until she gets him home to her brother, Leonard Snart. Cisco’s reaction: “Please don’t kill me for kissing your sister.” Turns out this is actually Lisa Snart, and along with her brother and Heat Wave, they force Cisco to rebuild the weapons they had before. As incentive, they bring in older brother Danté.

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And little sister wants a gun, too. Something in gold.

This all so that the Rogues can knock over one of Santini’s casinos. And Golden Glider’s gun actually … coats the target in gold? Hopefully not real gold, because that would negate so many reasons for criminals to do anything… but it’s actually a more sophisticated plan than that. The casinos have a policy that if there’s ever an attack, all of the money gets loaded up in a truck and moved to Beverly…

Meanwhile, Barry — knowing how Iris feels before she does — meets Linda at the office, and she’s already got it figured out that he’s got the hots for Iris, asking him point blank, “Your heart should ache for me. Does it?”

No, Flash writers, because Linda Park belongs to the Wally West continuity. Linda Park marries Wally West. After Barry Allen’s been dead for some years. It’s Wally West whose heart aches for Linda Park.

So Barry goes to meet Iris to tell her how she feels. Because he knows how she feels, even though she doesn’t. So when she shuts him down rather rudely and stalks off, he’s left wondering just what he did to get the timeline mad at him. Wells figures the original confession was triggered by the impending doom of whatever hasn’t happened anymore. So without the trigger, she has no conscious recognition of how she really feels.

This leads to Eddie punching Barry in the face.

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As things spiral out of synch, Wells pulls a very gentle “told ya so” with regard to the timeline trying to counter his changes. He tells Barry, “Time is an extremely fragile construct.” And while the timeline is still intact, according to Gideon, Wells knows it’s only a matter of time (ahem) before Barry makes the attempt to save his mother. And on balance, if he succeeds, what could be the cost?

“How many more people could die if your mother lives?”

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Cisco and Danté have an After School Special moment where big brother admits to being jealous of little brother, because of course he was. And that leads to Danté attacking Mick, which leads to Cold shooting Danté’s fingers. Remember, Danté is the piano player. Now, it’s just first degree frostbite, but the threat is there. And Captain Cold makes a deal: Cisco and Danté go free in exchange for the identity of the Flash.

Well, what would you do?

This leads to one of the best moments of the whole episode, but not before Wells takes a very guilty-feeling Cisco down to the containment room, where he killed the young man last week. We have some of the same dialogue about how Cisco is like a son for Wells, and it really feels like there’s a shoe about to drop. Except it doesn’t. Because the circumstances around this conversation are completely different this week.

The other conversation is the one that happens in the woods, between Barry and Snart. It’s reminiscent of The Killing Joke or Doctor Who, where the hero and the villain have a nice chat over their adversarial roles. In this conversation right here, we see the beginnings of the understanding the Rogues have with the Flash, which is why they were all upset when he died. They enjoy challenging Barry. It’s almost like a game of chess (or checkers, for some of the less intelligent Rogues), and this scene starts to set some of the rules in place.

And then the Reverse Flash kills Mason Bridge and destroys the hard drive.

This is after Barry told Bridge that there’s no way Wells could be involved with Simon Stagg’s disappearance, even though Bridge hadn’t said anything to Barry on this version of the day yet. When Bridge turns up missing, now Barry’s not so sure of himself. He meets with Joe at the lab, where the Nora Wall is out, and Barry tells Joe there may be something to his suspicions about Wells after all.

And the lightning flashes…

[Show web site at CW]     [Previous Recap: “Out of Time”]

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Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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