Each week, I’m more and more impressed with The Flash. It’s amazing how this is one of the few spin-offs that has become more enjoyable than its parent series (sorry, Arrow). Tonight’s episode, “Family of Rogues” was a little easy on the superhero-ness and a little heavier on the drama, but it was still a fun-filled hour capped off with a chill-inducing ending. (no pun intended – and spoilers ahead!)
All week, the CW has been teasing the return of Leonard Snart/Captain Cold. As we saw toward the end of last season, the Flash and Captain Cold have established a truce of sorts where Barry will let Snart run free in exchange for CC not revealing his identity or killing anyone. But in this episode, it turns out that Snart is running out of bounds, so it’s up to Barry to stop him.
The whole plot is set in motion when Lisa Snart comes to Cisco and the S.T.A.R. Labs team asking for help. She believes that her brother has been kidnapped, but in truth, he’s been recruited by their father, Lewis, to conduct a series of heists across Central City. Michael Ironside cameos as Lewis Snart, and let me tell you, he does a wonderful job in the role. He plays the abusive, manipulative prick to a T, and no matter how much of a scumbag his character is, you gotta give him credit. I’ve been impressed with many of the guest stars on The Flash thus far, but Ironside has to be my favorite (after Mark Hamill‘s stint as the Trickster, of course).
In the middle of all this chaos, we have two subplots that slightly slowed down the action and pacing. If you recall, the S.T.A.R. Labs crew is working with Jay Garrick to return him to Earth Two. However, it seems like he might be sticking around for a while to help catch Zoom and to possibly pursue a relationship with Caitlin Snow. Now, I like a cheesy superhero romance as much as the next person, but I don’t see the sparks between Jay and Snow. For real, can’t we just have one platonic relationship between characters on the CW? It seems like EVERY time a man and a woman are put in the same scene, they HAVE to have some type of romantic tension between them. Just let it be.
Speaking of which, let’s not deny that Barry Allen and Patty Spivot are going to be thing. It’s obvious there will be a romantic fling in there as well, and I’ll be okay with it, but please, please, please don’t turn Patty into a Felicity clone. They already gave her the annoying “Oh, look at me, I’m so awkward and nerdy and cute” persona. It’s what made me hate Felicity and Ray in Arrow. Patty was fine in her first appearance; why are they trying to press her to be more like Felicity? Are the writers taking their cues directly from Tumblr now?
“Family of Rogues” didn’t solely consist of happy relationships. The other major subplot involved Joe West’s ex-wife Francine West coming back to town. As it turns out, she never died. She just up and left, and Joe was okay with it because she was a careless drug addict. Now she’s back in Central City, and she wants to be a part of Iris’s life. While I appreciate the backstory on Francine and the attempt at introducing her into the show, I felt like the subplot didn’t belong on this episode. It felt very rushed and out of place. They should’ve found a way to include it in the Season 2 premiere. I guess they wanted to tie everything together this episode with a family theme, which I appreciate, but they could’ve done a better job.
The two subplots weren’t enough to detract my enjoyment of the main storyline. We find out that Lewis Snart is a real piece of crap, having abused Leonard and Lisa as children. Leonard is only helping his dad with the heists because Papa Snart has implanted a bomb in Lisa’s body. The moment Leonard steps out of line, Lewis will trigger it.
Barry figures out Leonard’s intentions and decides to help him save his sister. In order to do that, Barry will have to go undercover as a tech guru who will assist the Snarts with their heists. The bad news: Lewis is a douchebag who ends up shooting Barry after he helps them. The good news: Barry is a freakin superhuman who survives the gunshot and returns to apprehend the villains. Leonard is caught between a rock and a hard place; he either kills the Flash, or Lewis will blow up Lisa.
Cisco saves the day by extracting the explosive from Lisa’s body, which takes away Lewis’s leverage. The Flash is about to take Lewis off to Iron Heights, but Captain Cold is all “Nope” and shoots an icicle through his dad’s chest. Jesus Christ. This show turned dark quickly (actually, it got pretty dark about a half-hour earlier when Lewis blew a guy’s head off). The Flash is forced to bring Leonard to jail for murder, but while they’re having a parting discussion, Barry tells him that he knows there’s good in him somewhere. And you know what? I agree.
Leonard Snart/Captain Cold isn’t truly evil, nor is he truly good. We know that he is willing to bend the law to benefit himself, but he ultimately cares for his sister, and it looks like he slightly cares about Barry now as well. This gives us a nice little setup to the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow where Captain Cold will join the heroes in a mission to save the world. Maybe we’ll see a whole new heroic Captain Cold by the second half of Season 2 of The Flash?
The episode was excellent, even if the subplots made it slightly drag on at points. I’m curious to see whether this will be the last we’ll see of Snart before Legends of Tomorrow, or if we’ll get another appearance before on The Flash where he’ll demonstrate his ability to be a hero. In the meantime, I’m going to settle for watching the S.T.A.R. Lab team working with Jay to help him re-acquire his powers as the Flash.
Final Grade: A –
+ Michael Ironside killed it.
+ The whole heist scene with Barry, Leonard, and Lewis was great.
+ I liked the set-up for Snart’s return as a hero in Legends of Tomorrow.
– For the love of God, please don’t turn Patty into doppel-Felicity.
– I don’t really feel the chemistry between Caitlin and Jay; whatever happened to platonic relationships?
– Does Francine’s appearance hint at Wally West’s arrival in the next couple of episodes?
What do you think of Leonard Snart’s alignment? Is he still bad to the bone, or is he warming up to the heroes? Tell us what you thought about this episode of The Flash in the comments or on Twitter!