TV Review: The Flash - Season 2 Episode 3 "Family of Rogues"
EPISODE 3: "Family of Rogues"
SYNOPSIS: When Barry and the team find out Captain Cold has been kidnapped, they form an uneasy alliance with his sister, Lisa. However, Barry feels double-crossed when he finds out Leonard is working with his father, Lewis Snart on a heist. Meanwhile, Joe is faced with a difficult decision.
REVIEW: (Beware of spoilers!):
With multiple appearances, more than any villain aside from Harrison Wells, Leonard Snart's return to The Flash was inevitable. Plus, with the character becoming an anti-hero in next year's Legends of Tomorrow, there is not a lot of time for Snart to begin changing from bad guy to good. That comes in the guise of an episode about absent parents and for the first time on this show, it doesn't have to do with Barry Allen. Two parents return to the lives of their children and very different kinds of chaos ensues. On one hand, you have Captain Cold's father Lewis and on the other you have Iris West's mother Francine, long presumed to be dead.
While Jay Garrick and Professor Stein work to determine how the wormhole within S.T.A.R. Labs can be harnessed to return Jay to Earth-2, Lisa Snart drops in to ask for Cisco's help, along with The Flash, in rescuing her kidnapped brother. Barry finds Snart but soon learns that he is working with his father. Lisa then gives the backstory that Lenny Snart abused her as a child. Captain Cold, it turns out, is working under duress as the elder Snart has put a bomb inside Lisa's head and is using it to force his son to rob a safe with him. Barry and Snart, who had a truce, have to now work together to try and get out of the situation alive. Captain Cold is given several opportunities to develop as a character her and let his love for his sister shine through.
But, what this episode fails to do is capitalize on having someone with the geek credibility that Michael Ironside brings to the mix. Ironside, a character actor and veteran bad guy, is not given too much to do this hour aside from quickly dispatch characters on the way to his ultimate goal of robbing the safe whether it be through exploding heads or gunshots wounds. Even when Barry goes undercover to join Snart's crew as a method to aid Captain Cold, Ironside only growls momentarily like a cliche movie villain. But, while Cisco and Caitlyn manage to find a way to save Lisa before her father can blow her head off, Barry appears as The Flash to try and stop him. But, the moment Lisa is safe and Barry tells Leonard, he still chooses to kill his father. Snart accepts his fate and goes willingly to prison where Barry tells Joe that he still sees good deep in Captain Cold. Backdoor pilot setup, anyone?
On the other side of things, this episode also afforded a return to the flirtations between Cisco and Lisa. In their last meeting, Lisa used Cisco as a means to an end and he is hesistant this week. But, a more sincere Lisa comes out and this gives the geeky scientist a little more of a true romantic subplot, something the character greatly deserves. Cisco has always been a highlight of this series and it is nice to see him get his time in the spotlight. Barry's new romantic interest, Patty Spivot, drops her number on Barry this week, furthering their awkward relationship, but one that still makes more sense than the Barry/Iris love story. We also get a more direct build in the Caitlny/Jay romance when she helps him think through a way to stabilize the wormhole to Earth-2 followed by her not so subtle pleading for him to stay on Earth-1 until they close the wormholes and stop Zoom.
The weakest subplot this week involved Francine West, Iris' drug addict mother who popped back in Central City last week. Joe tries to pay her off to leave and eventually reveals to his daughter that she almost died when Iris was a child and he wanted her to know she was loved and not the product of a mother that didn't want to care for her as much as she wanted her next fix. Jesse L. Martin has a great set of scenes in this episode but it is undermined by the fact that Iris quickly forgives him for lying to her about her mother for years and the eventual reunion is handled off camera. The payoff just isn't there which undermines the build-up from last week to this week. Overall, this episode seems to really culminate with two big moments: Professor Stein's transformation back into Firestorm and the stinger scene of Earth-2's Harrison Wells coming through the wormhole.
Overall, this episode falls a little flat for me as it doesn't really further the season arc very much and actually pushes Barry to a supporting role. Much like when The Flash debuted as a supporting character on Arrow, Captain Cold feels like he is given this hour to try and convince audiences he is worth his own show. But, where Grant Gustin's approach to Barry Allen made him very likeable and watchable, Captain Cold just isn't The Flash in any way shape or form. All of the plots showcased this episode could have been folded into other episodes instead of it's own hour. I hate to say it, but this is one of the weakest episodes of The Flash I have seen. Here's hoping next week's development for Firestorm, another character moving to Legends of Tomorrow, isn't quite as blatant.
NEXT ON THE FLASH: "The Fury of Firestorm" airs on October 27th: Barry and the team look for another Firestorm match for Dr. Stein. When the team meets Jefferson "Jax" Jackson, Caitlin has her reservations about whether Jax is the right match for Dr. Stein. Iris surprises Joe while Barry and Patty Spivot grow closer.