Lightning changed Barry Allen's life.
There is no debating that, it's a fact. But open for debate during The Flash Season 1 Episode 4 was whether all of the changes were positive. Barry learned some things about his team and about himself that were only made easier by a visit from Felicity Smoak
Using Felicity during an hour like this was a really brilliant move. Not only was Barry fighting the first villain that could kill him, he was questioning his team and forced to face the reality of Iris and Eddie. It was rough going for the burgeoning superhero, but with the help of a friend he knew longer than his pals at STAR Labs, he made it through.
Usually I have a hard time with voice overs not necessarily adding to the viewing experience because they often seem to be the easy way out. This isn't so on The Flash.
The lightning didn't just give me speed, it also gave me friends.Barry
That insight wouldn't make sense spoken out loud. We need to have a way to understand Barry without the need for him to talk to himself and using voice overs at only the beginning and the end of the hour wrap up the need for inner dialog quite nicely.
Felicity's visit coinciding with the revelation that Cisco created a weapon because he didn't know what kind of man Barry might be had some issues. Cisco claimed maybe Barry would be a horrible guy like the other three fellows they've run into. Caitlin agreed; they build STAR Labs to help people and look what that got them.
Except Barry had friends. Felicity herself, who can hardly be judged as a monster, was visiting Barry while he was in his coma and we can assume Iris and Joe were, as well. They would all make a great case for why Cicso didn't need to make a weapon at all, especially since when he made it, he didn't know about the other metahumans running about town. The excuse he was afraid Barry might be like them didn't fit the time frame.
I'll forgive that mistake, because it allowed Felicity to share with Barry some of her experiences with Team Arrow and how long it took for them to trust each other implicitly, but also how important it was to give his team a chance. She knows what the alternative looks like.
Believe me. It took much more than seeing Oliver do the salmon ladder for me to trust him. I've seen first hand what this life can do to people. It's a lonely path. Don't make it any lonelier than it has to be.Felicity
Felicity also provided a much needed buffer between Barry and his interactions with Iris and Eddie. It's never easy to see someone you care for with someone else. Felicity was the epitome of Smoakin' when she showed up at trivia night. Good Lord that dress! Here's hoping she takes it back to Starling City and Arrow where it can be put to use, perhaps on the arm of Ray Palmer while Oliver looks on, bashing his head against the wall...
It's going to take a long time before Iris realizes Barry is into her. She sees him as nothing more than a brother. That was apparent when Felicity arrived in that dress, because if she was hiding any feelings for him, they would have emerged when Felicity walked in, especially if Iris considered Felicity threatening in any way..
I'm disappointed in Iris. She has been the one character who hasn't clicked with me, and this week didn't help. It's not because she doesn't see the wonder that is Barry -- I honestly wouldn't expect her to. Her feelings for him make perfect sense. Instead, it's her general blindness to complex emotional issues. Even if she doesn't have feelings for Barry, she misses the long looks that are obvious to Felicity.
Even more importantly, she was unable to see -- without her father telling her -- why dating Eddie wasn't Joe's favorite thing in the world. (Please check out The Flash quotes, as his explanation was captured.) She is supposed to be intelligent and will soon be a reporter. Being clueless does not fit my expectations of her character. Yes, I do have expectations. Much as what Cisco did was a disappointment and didn't fit within the story, neither does Iris' inability to understand the feelings of those she loves.
I'm anxious for her to get her job at the Central City Picture News so she is given something else to do. Just "feeling" while everyone else gets in on the action isn't giving us an adequate representation of who she can be. I'm trusting all of you when you say she's going to be worth the wait.
So. Not only was Barry dealing with all of this other stuff, but he was faced, thanks to Cisco and a very cool Leonard Snart (unsexy name and all), with losing yet another life because he wasn't "fast enough." I put that in quotes, because that's not why the guy died. Barry has to toughen up a bit, which is difficult with his joyous and optimistic persona. He cannot save everyone, but he has a much better chance than anyone else currently on the planet.
That's a huge burden for a guy so young, but with the help his team, he can overcome it.
With a character as cool and confident as Captain Cold, Barry met his fiercest competition yet. Wentworth Miller owned that role. He was simply brilliant in his ability to remain as chilly as possible while also being cunningly calculating. His references to temperature were perfectly executed and gave him an air of a villain from the 60s. If he would only sport some pegged khaki pants, a turtle neck and some love beads, he could star on an episode of The Mod Squad with all that lingo.
I'm also on board that the first bad guy who slipped through Barry's fingers was given his ticket from one of Barry's own team members. He's also a human and not a metahuman. That had to sting Barry. One moment he felt invincible, and the next he realized just how high the stakes are thank to that lightning strike.
This was another winning installment in The CW's highest rated series in years. There is a reason for all the fuss -- it's just that good. Not to be outdone by other outings, "Going Rogue" even got me a little misty when Felicity said "Bye Barry." It sounded so permanent. It's a good thing we know it's not.
We have to wait two weeks for another new episode, but there is a lot to keep us salivating. That closing scene alone with the promise of Captain Cold and his former Prison Break brother Dominic Purcell as Mick Rory, who Cisco shall name Heat Wave, excited me, and that's a way off. The flicking of matches to light the scene was as groovy as Cold's choice words.
Feel free to fanboy or fangirl out a little about what we witnessed tonight -- the beginning of The Rogues -- and hit the comments to share your thoughts.
If you've missed any of the excitement, you can watch The Flash online via TV Fanatic at any time!
What's up next? Plastique in The Flash Season 1 Episode 5! Get your first look at all the fun coming up when the The Flash returns on November 11 right now!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.