Spoilers for 'The Flash' lie ahead!
It's Christmas in Central City and to celebrate we've been given the gift of a super-villain team up which almost seemed like a Flash vs. Rogues storyline... almost.
The story was villain-centric and included a team-up between Weather Wizard, Captain Cold and Mark Hamill's Trickster.
We also saw rather a lot of Zoom, who was conversing with Wells before ultimately blackmailing him; it was inevitable really. Some serious credit has to be given to the writers of The Flash for making the Zoom plot interesting and consistently relevant.
The villains were by far the highlight of The Flash: 'Running to Stand Still,' avoiding the cluttered feeling often apparent amidst by super-villain team-up's. We can't ignore the significance of Wally West and Jesse Quick, but I'll write about that later on. For now we'll focus on villains.
The role of villains in 'The Flash': 'Running to Stand Still.'
1. Captain Cold
Captain Cold played a disappointingly small role in 'Running to Stand Still.' Not that Wentworth Miller's character Leonard Snart was used poorly; as usual Snart was a welcome player in the show, he simply didn't have much screen time.
'Running to Stand Still' continued the point established in 'Family of Rogues' that Snart's heart isn't as cold as we previously thought. Apparently Snart in fact has a heart of gold and he doesn't care who knows it!
Okay... he does care, in fact he seems to resent it completely. But Miller plays his role well, and the sense that Snart hates the fact that he doesn't dislike the Flash really came across this episode.
Mark Hamill's Trickster really held the spotlight this episode! Those who follow Mark Hamill's work will know he plays the role of the manic villain exceptionally well, having voiced The Joker on Batman: The Animated Series.
Trickster really added a touch of Christmas to the episode, as he sat dressed as Santa Claus and offering out explosive presents to children. Well it definitely put me in the Christmas spirit!
He was a fantastic addition to the episode, managing to come across as frightening and dark without distracting from Weather Wizard, who frequently appeared alongside Hamill's maniacal Trickster.
3. Weather Wizard
Each of the four villains of 'Running to Stand Still' appeared for an important reason, and Liam McIntyre's Mark Mardon, a.k.a. Weather Wizard, was no exception. It turns out Weather Wizard, who first appeared early in Season 1, was responsible for the death of Patty Spivot's (Shantel VanSanten) father ten years earlier.
Whilst Hamill's Trickster held the spotlight, Weather Wizard was the staple of the episode, having initiated the emotional turmoil of Barry's love interest, Patty. Mardon also broke Trickster and Snark from Iron Heights prison and led the assault against Barry Allen; but don't worry, The Flash took him down and Spivot arrested him, so it all worked out in the end!
Although Zoom wasn't part of the Rogues team-up, he played a prominent role in the episode through his subplot with Harrison Wells. It's now common knowledge that Zoom has captured Wells's daughter, Jesse, but now Zoom has threatened Wells into compliance and revealed his motivations in the process.
In 'Running to Stand Still' it was revealed that Zoom left Barry alive because he wants to steal his speed. As Wells puts it, Zoom is fattening Barry like a turkey; now there's a great Christmas reference! Like Reverse Flash before him, Zoom wants the Flash to get faster for his own twisted reasons.
This is seriously well-crafted comic book storytelling!
It's impressive that 'Running to Stand Still' managed to include four prominent villains without them figuratively tripping-over one another. In fact Weather Wizard and Trickster complimented one another, whereas Captain Cold was underused whilst coming across pretty well, and Zoom's subplot was wonderfully well-written despite taking a back seat this episode.
So how will team-Flash deal with Wells's insurgence and the ever-presence threat from Zoom? Does the appearance of Jesse Quick and Wally West in the same episode hint at a Flash Season 2 super-speedster team up?
I'll be writing about the appearance of Jesse Quick and Wally West later on. Meanwhile, let me know what you think of heroes and villains in The Flash: 'Running to Stand Still.'