The second season of CW’s “The Flash” opened up with a bang and introduced many new possibilities for the show and its universe. But with that said, the thrilling narrative of Jay Garrick, Zoom and the multiverse came to a halt in the third episode, “Family of Rogues.”
Instead of continuing the exciting story arc of the aforementioned, this episode was primarily focused on one of The Flash’s long lasting recurring rivals: Leonard Snart, also known as Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller). We’ve seen Snart in the past season become a recurring threat for the team due to him being a genius at escaping the police and not getting caught by The Flash. Why? Because Snart knows The Flash’s identity, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and threatens to reveal it to Central City if he’s ever stopped. But it seems that Snart may need some actual help from our hero this time around.
Leonard is once again up to no good and robs the Central City Racetrack with Golden Glider, his bronze gun wielding femme fatale sister Lisa (Peyton List) as well as Mick, the flame gun-wielding criminal known as Heatwave. In the process, they are ambushed and Leonard is kidnapped, Lisa is knocked unconscious and Mick was able to escape. With no hope, Lisa asks for help from Team Flash, Cisco Ramone (Carlos Valdes) and Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker), to rescue Leonard from whoever he was kidnapped from. The team finds out that Snart’s abusive father Lewis Snart (Michael Ironside) kidnapped Leonard to do his bidding, and if Leonard doesn’t comply, he will detonate a bomb that was implanted inside Lisa’s head when she was unconscious. What a happy family, huh?
While the episode didn’t continue the more exciting arc of the multiverse, it nonetheless was still a solid episode. The focus was on the drama between the Snart family. Michael Ironside as the careless father Lewis Snart brought more beef to the antagonist role than others. His character doesn’t care if someone lives or die, and Ironside displayed this thriving force with his very intimidating character. He made the usual antagonist roles of Leonard and Lisa Snart irrelevant as we actually cared for the two this time around. It’s a reluctant team up for Leonard and his father and a skeptical one with Lisa and Team Flash. The interactions between Lisa and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) is notably one of the strong points of this episode. The constant flirtation and tension between the two was certainly hilarious to watch unfold.
On the other side of the spectrum was the more drama-heavy subplot involving Detective Joe (Jesse L. Martin) having to deal with the dilemma of Francine West (Vanessa Williams), the estranged wife of Joe, who came back to Central City to see her daughter Iris West (Candice Patton). Joe reveals that all these years he has been lying about what happened with Francine. Iris always knew that her mother was dead, but Joe reveals that in actuality, she was a drug addict who abandoned the two. Martin particularly plays his role with strong emotion and showcases once more why he is one of the best actors on the show. It emphasized the more grounded drama that can occur in a world rampant with superpowered humans. Not much is said of this subplot after the scene and I don’t think it was necessary even though Martin showcased a strong performance. Francine is not even seen again and we still don’t know much about her. I felt myself asking, “okay, is that it?” It definitely felt out of place with everything else.
An overarching theme of good and bad is seen throughout and it was interesting to see it play out between the Snart Family and the West Family. While he’s certainly a criminal, Captain Cold has a code to live by, unlike his careless father. Deep down, he cares for and protects his sister, and that’s why he has no choice but to work for his father to make sure nothing happens to her. He’s hesitant in letting Allen as The Flash help, knowing that it’s his problem to deal with. It’s an intriguing inner struggle inside a criminal mind such as Leonard’s. Allen sees good in him, and tells him that Leonard can be something more than a criminal. It’s a unique relationship between the good Allen and bad Leonard as they do respect each other even though they are rivals. Even with a campy performance, Miller makes the audience really feel for his morally ambiguous character and it should definitely be applauded.
With the West family, it was the inner conflict in Joe’s mind of knowing if it was good or bad to lie to Iris about her mother that connects it back to this theme. Even the mother’s motive of wanting to see her daughter can be seen as letting the bad past go and beginning a good future with them. It’s ironic actually, as in the episode Allen said to Snart that “the past shouldn’t define [him],” very much tying in with the West situation. It’s certainly interesting, for a show about physically and visually presenting the good and bad forces clashing with each other, to have a look at the psychological and internal aspect. It’s a great element that was utilized in this episode and brings something new to think about other than the usual fun fare that the show brings.
Even though the episode took a different turn than what was expected, it was still a solid outing for “The Flash.” I would’ve loved to see the more exciting multiverse story arc continue but I’ll let it slide as “The Family of Rogues” brought more of an intriguing look at the internal struggle the characters face this time around.
Rating: 3.5 stars