The Flash: 5.20 Gone Rogue
As a standalone, throwaway episode, Gone Rogue was very enjoyable. Watching the Nora as a villain concept unfold after the events of last week was a refreshing change of pace, and the inclusion of past foes, while not the best of choices, added another level of satisfaction. It was nice to finally feel as though the writers were having fun with the characters and not taking them too seriously. The biggest problem was the timing of it all, what with only two episodes until the finale, there was no feeling of dread and the ending is simply not in sight.
Developing the story to bring past, familiar villains back was a nice touch but the three chosen were bizarre. Nora pulled together three villains to help her complete an unlawful task. Weather Witch is easily the most forgettable and dull baddie in the roster. Her staff and the general concept of meta-tech, when first introduced, sparked interest, but because it’s never been delved into, the weapon stands out more than her character. Bug-Eyed Bandit is another mediocre villain who just falls into the background and is one of the least menacing and unmemorable villains The Flash has ever seen. Thankfully, Ragdoll saved the day, with his creepy nature that brought tension and a horror-esque vibe rarely seen in superhero shows. It’s a shame he’s not been used more.
Nora’s entire arc this episode, turning to the dark side, played out as obviously as you’d expect. Although it would’ve been interesting to see the idea further developed, possibly generating a Cicada team-up leading towards the finale, it nevertheless worked and melded together well. The back and forth between characters, discussing good and bad, killing and not killing developed dialogue worthy of thought, and dare it be said, shined a light on characters who would otherwise live in the pile of underused but potentially great villains.
The continued West-Allen family conflict was amplified last week with a great final sequence showing Nora releasing pent-up aggression. There was an instant fear that she would become a super powered whiny teenager, angry at the world due to the introduction of the negative speed force, but thankfully this wasn’t the case. Instead she was portrayed more level headed that she has ever been. Her story turned out to be surprisingly satisfying, and while it concluded rather abruptly, the reveal that her true intentions was to steal a weapon capable of defeating Cicada, subsequently patching things up with daddy, worked very well.
Speaking of Cicada, this was the most frustrating element of this episode. A lack of the major season villain, aside from small cameo appearances, serves only as a reminder of how poorly this character has been treated. Her arrival at the end was a head scratcher and not in an interesting way, but in a huff of annoyance way. Why was Cicada-Orlin there? Is he real or a hallucination? What’s her master plan? … Who cares? It’s a real shame that there’s no drive to reinvigorate this character as the role has been boiled down to a cliché of everyone must die.
While the storyline with Nora creating her own team worked well, the same cannot be said for the random Caitlin and Ralph subplot, which saw them investigate Cicada - poorly might I add. The dialogue, too, was decent enough and had humour but was badly timed, and in terms of flow was somewhat disjointing. I love Ralph but he isn’t getting the attention he deserves.
Gone Rogue was bizarre. On one hand it was entertaining, left you wanting more and followed the story on from last week; however, the lack of development of the main antagonist leaves me worried for the season’s completion. Otherwise, Nora’s turn, and the additional emphasis on villains whose stand-alone episodes didn’t make an impact, depicted how far The Flash has come over the years. With the season finale around the corner, I remain anxious but silently optimistic.