Barry Allen is no Oliver Queen, but he sure tries his methods to transport the illegal metahumans from S.T.A.R. Labs to an island in the North Sea by teaming up with Captain Cold and Golden Glider to mixed success.

Yes, Barry Allen is no Oliver Queen — he’s less broody, for one thing — but he does make a deal with the devil for the greater good. The Flash reminds us that Barry is perhaps the purest hero in the DC Universe, save a suspiciously absent Superman, and that sometimes he’s too good for his own good to save the illegal detainees from the particle accelerator Wells turned on.

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It’s almost as if this episode, “Rogue Air,” exists to remind us of everything The Flash is and everything the spin-offs are. Barry Allen is a good person with a light soul — every human life is precious to him. Oliver Queen could care less if the inmates were collateral damage against his war with his mortal enemy. Captain Cold is a hardened criminal willing to hurt people to get what he wants, even to betray the Flash just this once, but still keeps his word about his identity. These are interesting portrayals of villains and heroes, and it’s a nice reminder to see all three of them here before each goes back to their respective shows. It’s this fundamental goodness that makes The Flash a different breed than Arrow or even the recently announced spin-off Legends of Tomorrow. It also makes for a different kind of drama for a different kind of hero.

The episode largely sets up pieces for the finale by dealing with the whole “illegal detainment” of metahumans thing that’s become a bit of a running joke. The solution? Send them to another black ops detainment facility in the China Sea to save their lives and forget about that whole rehabilitation thing. It’s nice that The Flash is finally wrapping up this gaping plothole so it can set up the Rogues Gallery better, and bonus points for a showdown between Wells and the future members of the Justice League (minus Firestorm, I guess), but it’s the final team-up that will have fans foaming at the mouth. 

But luckily, even as the end of The Flash‘s first season nears,  it’s also a lot of fun, which is something The Flash specializes in.

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Captain Cold and Golden Glider Team Up with Team Flash — Mixed Results

Team Flash is still looking for Eddie all throughout the city, but the one place they have not looked yet is S.T.A.R. Labs. Fair enough. Though, considering the scope of that place, it does seem like Barry didn’t do the best of work searching for Iris’ almost-betrothed. Wells keeps Eddie in a bunker below ground and uses his time to not-so-stealthily reactivate the particle accelerator with some fancy device from the future.

Which brings us to the main dilemma of this episode: what does Team Flash finally do with their squad of illegal detainees? It’s a plot point that has bugged me all season with burning questions: who feeds them? How do they use the toilet? How do they shower? Are they allowed any exercise time? These sound like silly questions for a comic book show, but I need to know.

I’ll probably never get answers to my questions, but at least I’ll get closure in knowing that the prison is no more. Barry concocts a plan to transport the metahumans to an air facility so that ARGUS can transport them to Oliver’s island. That way, everyone will become buddy-buddy with Slade Wilson and we’ll have a true showdown between the JL versus evil people.

Barry then decides to turn to everyone’s favorite campy villains in the Rogue Gallery. While the hothead is MIA this episode, we luckily get an episode devoted to Captain Cold and his sister helping out Team Flash in exchange for a complete wipe of their criminal records (which must come in handy for their new show next season). Plenty of camp, plenty of snark, plenty of betrayal. Though Cisco can refurbish a holding cell for their band of transports, everyone kind of forgets that they really shouldn’t trust Captain Cold and the newly anointed Golden Glider.

It’s no surprise that the two of them tinkered with the settings to have the crew escape, but it sure is fun to watch everyone openly despise one another. From Team Flash (including a particularly annoyed Caitlin) to the inmates just looking for a good row, it’s a great reminder of The Flash‘s best metahuman villains (and one of the lamer ones). With the metahumans free and at large, it will be interesting to see where the show goes from here to deal with these superpowered criminals.

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The Flash and Firestorm and Whatever They’re Calling Oliver Now Team Up — A-Okay Results

But on to the real main event: another cross-over! The Reverse Flash shows up to do something shady with his device from the future, but Barry goes out there to stop him. And who shows up but Firestorm and whatever we’re supposed to call Ollie now — fighting side by side to take down Wells, who has been super-charging himself in his wheelchair all along! 

This isn’t The Flash‘s most sophisticated choreography or sci-fi spectacle, but it’s satisfying nonetheless to see these three team up. Or at least to see Wells shot down with a bunch of Ollie’s nanite-infused arrows. But a part of me wonders if this was Wells’ plan all along. Regardless, it’s setting up the pieces for a finale that looks nothing short of awesome.

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Other Thoughts

— There is no good explanation as to why no one comments that Ronnie and Oliver look alike. The material is right in front of you, writers! Give Caitlin a funny line!

— Iris and Eddie break up despite Iris’ assertion that she believes she makes her own destiny because, as Eddie says, Barry was always in their relationship. 

— The team-ups with The Flash and his nemeses also make for a more memorable team-up than that time ATOM and Felicity came to town. That is probably the worst one by far.

— Cisco and the Golden Glider also get some great screen time and it’s lovely to see Cisco so contemptuous of another person.

— Iris saves Caitlin from getting popped by the teleporter, thus continuing her underappreciated awesomeness. Meanwhile, there’s talk of Joe’s beanies getting a spin-off. 

— I wish I could dig deeper for this episode, but honestly it’s just so much fun that’s it’s hard to swallow any hatorade on it. It’s a good episode that has a lot of work to do to tie up the metahumans plotline, while also reminding us of everything else in this world. Until the finale!

The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8pm on The CW.

(Image courtesy of The CW)

Emily E. Steck

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV