I really like ‘The Flash’, but the show continues to get bogged down by dumb plotting issues. Sadly, this week’s episode is a prime example.
First off, is the episode title ‘Rogue Air’ meant to be a play on ‘Con Air‘? If so, I guess it’s kind of funny that the show’s writers would make a reference like that, but the pun doesn’t quite work.
If Dr. Wells has been evicted from S.T.A.R. Labs, why has neither Barry nor anyone else attempted to use his computer Gideon again? You’d think she’d be a wealth of useful information at their fingertips. If Wells did something to disable the computer before he left, some brief acknowledgment of that would be helpful. As it is, this seems like a gaping plot hole.
At the start of the episode, Wells vows that, “I will get everything that was taken from me.” I really hope that we finally learn what was taken from him in next week’s season finale.
As we found out last week, Wells has been hiding out with Eddie in a secret room beneath the particle accelerator. Barry and the team discover this when the accelerator mysteriously powers up and Cisco can’t shut it down. Barry sees Wells race out of the lab and chases after him, but can’t catch him.
Before he left, Wells released one of the prisoners as a distraction, the teleporting girl called “Peek-a-Boo.” She’s understandably pissed about her imprisonment and attacks Caitlin, but Iris knocks her out so they can lock her up again.
Joe hears Eddie crying for help and follows his voice to the hidden room to release him. Eddie says that Wells was working on a metal tube doohickey, but that’s all he knows.
Unfortunately, the accelerator continues to charge. It will be fully active in 36 hours, which is a big problem because it will vaporize all the caged meta-humans inside it and the team has nowhere else to contain them. Barry suggests that they should be transported to Oliver Queen’s secret island prison, and puts in a call to his pal.
Because his captain is on a honeymoon vacation, Joe talks to the District Attorney (who’s aware of the existence of meta-humans) about clearing a path to the airport in case this is all a ruse to free the supervillains. In the process of this, he’s forced to tell her about the reactor prison. She’s appalled at the blatant human rights violation (or meta-human rights, as the case may be) and warns him that he could go to prison for his involvement in something like that. Joe figures that a police escort is out of the question now.
Feeling that he has no other options, Barry recruits Leonard Snart (a.k.a. Captain Cold) to provide protection during the transport. We’ll get into why that’s such a terrible idea in a minute. In exchange, Snart demands that Barry destroy his police file and any other records of his existence. Not only does Barry agree to this, he goes through with it before Snart delivers on his end of the arrangement. Barry is a terrible negotiator.
Snart also enlists his sister Lisa (the one with the gold-making gun) to help. She flirts relentlessly with Cisco and asks him to give her a villainess nickname. What he comes up with is “Golden Glider.” That’s pretty lame no matter how you slice it, but at least in the comics it has some justification because the character glides around on magic ice skates. In this continuity, where’s he getting the “glider” portion from?
Cisco uses knock-out gas to put all the meta-humans to sleep, then rigs up a freezer truck with dampers that will disable their powers during transport. Yet nobody thinks to put any of them in handcuffs? The prisoners in question are Peek-a-Boo, Weather Wizard, The Mist, Rainbow Raider and Deathbolt. The latter, played by Doug Jones, was introduced on ‘Arrow’ and has the power to shoot plasma bolts from his eyes.
As they arrive at the airport, the dampers malfunction and the prisoners break free. Weather Wizard sees the A.R.G.U.S. plane flying in and causes it to crash. Not only does Snart fail to help recapture any of the meta-humans, he actually sabotaged the truck and set them free. He double-crossed Barry so that the metas would all owe him favors in the future. However, when Deathbolt gets the better of Barry and seems poised to finish him off, Snart kills him.
With all their meta-human prisoners now free, Barry is incredibly disappointed in himself, as he should be. To make matters worse, the particle accelerator finishes charging and Dr. Wells shows up on the doorstep of S.T.A.R. Labs to taunt Barry into coming out and fighting him. Wells claims that he’s not a villain, but Barry doesn’t exactly believe him.
Because Barry has already proven that he’s no match for the Reverse-Flash, a couple of his friends – Firestorm and The Arrow (cousins Robbie and Stephen Amell) – show up to help. Wells is delighted by the challenge. If I understand correctly what happens, the lightning bolt ring on his finger shoots out his yellow suit (how did it fit in there?), which Wells zips into with super-speed. I guess that’s something out of the comics.
The group have a big fight, and The Arrow proves to be the only one of much use. He hits Wells with an arrow containing nanites that disable his speed powers, but only momentarily. Wells regains them again and chases Barry up to the top of a building. Barry and Firestorm knock him off the roof. Wells plummets to the ground and smashes into a car below. Although he survives, Oliver hits him again, this time with a tranq arrow.
Their job done, The Arrow and Firestorm say their goodbyes. Barry boasts to Wells, “I’ve got you.”
OK, with all that recapping out of the way, let’s start with the good. I like that the episode directly addresses the ethical implications of the illegal meta-human prison, even if it ultimately shrugs them off by letting all the meta-humans escape.
Now released from his own captivity, Eddie has little interest in Iris since Wells told him that she’ll eventually marry Barry. As much as she tries to convince him that she still loves him and their fate isn’t written, he dumps her. Good for Eddie.
The final confrontation with Wells is also clearly a momentous event in that storyline.
All that said, Barry’s plan to enlist the help of Captain Cold is totally idiotic. How could he possibly think it’s a good idea to trust his most annoying arch-nemesis? You want some better ideas? How about Barry and Cisco use the gas to keep the prisoners unconscious the whole time? For that matter, if Cisco has technology to dampen their powers, why couldn’t he rig up a temporary holding cell within another room at S.T.A.R. Labs until the particle accelerator situation could be resolved?
This episode is very frustrating, which is quite unfortunate given that the season only has one more left.