The Flash, Season 2, Episode 3, “Family of Rogues”
Directed by John F. Showalter
Teleplay by Julian Meiojas & Katherine Walczak
Airs on Tuesdays at 8 pm (ET) on The CW
While the first two episodes of this season focused on introducing Zoom and the concept of multiple worlds, The Flash takes a detour with “Family of Rogues,” an aptly named episode considering both the A and B plots this week are all about family. Lisa Snart shows up asking for Flash’s help in rescuing her brother Leonard, who was apparently kidnapped, and Joe’s long-lost, supposedly dead wife is back in town and wants to reunite with her daughter. Barry tracks down Leonard, who reveals that he is working with his father Lewis (Michael Ironside) against his will. It seems Lewis was not the ideal father figure, particularly to Lisa Snart, who we learn he physically abused as a child. Now he’s installed an explosive device in her brain, and if his son won’t help him pull off a heist and steal some diamonds, he’s going to set it off. While Cisco works on getting the bomb out of Lisa’s head, Barry goes undercover as Leonard’s assistant in hopes he can stop Lewis before anyone else gets hurt.
I wonder if Barry will ever get over his trust issues considering everything that has happened to him in such a short period of time? Just last week he understandably had a very hard time trusting Jay Garrick, and now this week he walks right back into another double-cross. Placing Lisa in danger helped give the centerpiece of the episode some added weight. It’s not always exciting to watch metahumans square off against ordinary villains who can’t match their powers and abilities (as we see in the opening), but with Lewis things are different. Unlike his son, he’s a cold-blooded murderer and he’s not aided by any special ability or super weapon. It also helps when you cast legendary genre actor Michael Ironside to play their abusive, domineering father.
The robbery is intriguing enough, but the show missed a golden opportunity here. For starters, Ironside has a whopping 200-plus acting credits to his name, and similar to the likes of Lance Henriksen and Rutger Hauer, he’s cultivated a respected fan base over the decades. His cold-eyed stare and deeply unnerving grimace are just two of the characteristics which make Michael Ironside a go-to villain in genre cinema. Why would you kill his character so fast? Secondly, the creators of The Flash could have really done a better job in stretching this out into a two-parter with the actual heist taking up more screen time. Who doesn’t love watching a fun caper and marveling at the ingenious ways in which criminals pull off a heist? I realize Barry has superpowers, and that makes stealing the diamonds a little too easy, but he was also in a position in which he couldn’t use them at any given moment considering Lisa’s life was in danger and he didn’t want to reveal his true identity. By restricting Barry from using his powers, the creators of the series could have brainstormed some interesting and clever ways for Leonard, Lewis and Barry to get the job done. Instead, we watched Barry use his speed to open a locked door and that was pretty much it. The sequence cutting between the heist and Cisco preparing to extract the bomb lacked suspense, and the creators really missed out on delivering an interesting and thrilling sting. Did anyone really think Lisa’s head would explode over poor sweet Cisco? I doubt it.
The main appeal this week is seeing a different side of the Snart siblings and watching the dynamic between Lisa and Cisco, and Barry and Leonard evolve over the course of the episode. Barry believes Leonard has the potential to use his powers for the greater good and not just for his own personal benefit and the grudging mutual respect between Barry and Cold will no doubt lead to something big. The relationship between Barry and Snart has become one of the show’s most interesting arcs and although their reunion was written to position Captain Cold for his role in the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow, it still does a great job in reinforcing that Leonard isn’t a cold blooded killer. He has a code that he lives by and deep down inside you can’t help but think that Leonard wants to use his skills and tools to help people rather than rob people. I just hope this isn’t the last we see of the character on The Flash. Wentworth Miller’s performance is so perfectly calibrated that he might just be the best casting choice yet – which is saying a lot considering the talented roster. With any luck, though, we’ll be seeing him again on The Flash. Meanwhile, the dynamic between Cisco and Lisa was equally enjoyable to watch. This episode didn’t just focus on their sexual tension but instead built a more genuine bond between them. Here’s hoping this develops into something more.
What doesn’t work so well is the plot surrounding Joe, Iris, and her mom. Iris has always believed her mom to be dead, but the true story is that Francine was a drug addict who was sent to rehab and had been in hiding until her recent return to Central City. The introduction of Joe’s wife is the sort of melodramatic twist this show usually avoids. Everything revolving around the West family felt like it didn’t belong on The Flash, but rather it’s sister show Arrow. Nothing about the Joe/Francine storyline is interesting and I can’t help but feel sorry for Jesse L. Martin and Candice Patton for having to deliver such terrible dialogue in a scene that feels like it was written decades ago for some daytime soap.
By the time the episode ends, Jay Garrick manages to successfully build the speed cannon, an express tunnel between the two worlds, and in doing so he allows Harrison Wells of Earth-2 to cross over to Barry’s world. Meanwhile, Prof. Stein is now self-combusting without Ronnie to share Firestorm duties and thanks to Caitlin Snow’s swooning, Jay Garrick agrees to stick around.
I believe it’s important that The Flash sometimes slows down in order to focus more on the characters rather than the action, but this week “Family of Rogues” struggled to maintain a perfect balance between the three story lines. It feels like the start of season two is primarily interested in setting up a spinoff show rather than the titular character, and while it’s still a ton of fun I’m hoping it doesn’t get bogged down in setting up a cinematic universe rather than concentrating on the show itself.
- Lisa: “The first time my father came after me, I was seven. The second time, I was eight. That’s when I learned a bottle hurt more than a fist. He used to say he was trying to teach us lessons. I must have been a slow learner because the lessons never stopped.”
- Cisco incorporated thermal lining into Barry’s new Flash suit. I wonder what else he added to the suit?
- Barry’s back and forth flirtation with Patty Spivot felt more organic than his flirtation with previous love interests. So far, I’m really loving her character.
- Since when are Barry and Joe alright with Iris risking her life?