Adam Reynoso ’15 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Coming off a midseason finale that finally revealed the Big Bad of the season (and Barry’s Mom’s real killer) as the man in the yellow suit, the winter premiere picks up a few weeks after their first fight and dealing with the ramifications of the encounter. What the show continues to do right is advancing the story and really exploring Barry’s (Grant Gustin) journey as a hero. Like any hero, he has some antagonists who are going to come back and keep pushing him to his limits, this being the case with the return of Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and the addition of Heatwave (Dominic Purcell).
Barry starts the episode training in the field with Cisco (Carlos Valdes), Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), and Dr. Wells (Tom Cavanagh) and there’s an impressive sequence involving a drone and a missile and it proves that the effects really go a long way with The Flash. But after losing to the newly named Reverse Flash, which Wells likes, Barry is determined to get faster and actually beat him. So when Captain Cold and Heatwave come to town, Wells convinces him to stay focused on the task at hand and let the rest of the team help the police. Instead, Barry continues to focus on his training, which catches Joe (Jesse L. Martin) attention. He confronts Wells and eventually gets Barry to take on Cold and Heatwave.
Subplot-wise, Caitlin’s investigating what Ronnie (Robbie Amell) was saying about Firestorm. Her search leads her to a nervous researcher (and an example of Barry speed reading) who believes his professor, Dr. Martin Stein, was targeted for their research on Firestorm after his disappearance the night of the explosion. The conspiracy is continuing to add on to what’s going with Ronnie, who’s bound to show up again later down the road. Elsewhere, Iris (Candice Patton) is preparing for her move into Eddie’s (Rick Cosnett) apartment and also still reeling from Barry’s confession. Lastly, Cisco lends a hand to the police and builds a defense against Cold’d cold gun.
Barry’s struggle with what to do and what to focus came off as very realistic, especially after his violent confrontation with Reverse Flash. But to see Wells manipulate Barry into training more hints at his own agenda. After the reveal that he is the Reverse Flash, the audience gets to see who Wells really is, bit by bit. As the pieces fall into place, everything Wells does has some kind of ulterior motive behind it. Everything he says has a double meaning and it’s hard to keep watching as the rest of the group has no clue what he’s really doing.
However, it’s his relationship with Joe that’s the heart of the show. Their father/son dynamic highlights the good that Barry stands for, what the Flash stands for. But ultimately, it’s also about the Flash revealing himself in a public confrontation with Cold and Heatwave. It’s a decision he doesn’t take lightly, but with Caitlin taken as hostage, he doesn’t hesitate. This act really sets the Flash apart from Arrow in that he takes the opportunity to be seen as a real hero.
As for the villains of the week, Cold and Heatwave are quite the pair. From their entrance to their capture, Cold’s always the one calling the shots and there’s always a plan. But, it’s Cold’s obsession with the Flash that’s intriguing. He sees the Flash as the only roadblock in their way and he has to defeat him to be able to move on. It’s a rivalry that’s seemingly going to be continued to be explored. As for Heatwave, where Cold is calculating and level, he is impulsive and hotheaded. But he listens to Cold and trusts him for some reason, despite getting carried away at points. But the two work as great recurring villains, as well as Cold’s sister hinted at the tag at the end.
Setting the stage for the next block of episodes, The Flash kept up it’s momentum from the winter finale and is continuing to build on its mythology. Another shout out to the effects team behind the show as they continue to set up amazing spectacles for the fights and the Flash’s own abilities.
Overall Episode Grade: B+