In the comics, it’s usually the heroes who have complicated backstories and casts of characters. All you need to know about the bad guys is that they are, well, bad. Some villains do have that background, and some have families, loved ones, origins, backgrounds, and motivations. Captain Cold is a good example. He has friends and family. In this week’s episode of “The Flash,” we learn a bit more about Cold. We’ve met his partner, his sister, and now, his father. Join me after the super speed jump for my thoughts on “Family of Rogues.”
Windows and Doors
We open, just as we did with the season premiere, on good old fashioned Flash super speed action, the type of which makes old fanboy’s like me swoon. In the pursuit of a story, Iris is being shot at in a high rise. She calls Barry, who tells her to jump out a window. After a couple ‘do you trust mes,’ the Flash runs up the side of the building and saves the day. Cue credit sequence. Love it.
Cut to later when Team Flash, including Jay Garrick, is examining the biggest of the 52 singularities in Central City, the one conveniently in the basement of S.T.A.R. Labs. They theorize that this wormhole could be developed into a ‘speed tunnel’ and used to get Jay home. But could it also be used by Zoom to attack our heroes in their home base? And again I am struck by the similarity of these science geeks to the “Scorpion” crew with Iris as their Katharine McPhee.
While Joe deals with the return of his wife Francine, who as far as anyone knows is dead, Team Flash in its civilian mode runs into the Golden Glider. No combat, just flirtation over lattes called Flashes, but she’s asking for help. Apparently her brother Captain Cold has been kidnapped. Heat Wave ran off, perhaps giving actor Dominic Purcell time for Gridlocked, but she’s on her own, and desperate for help.
Cisco has decidedly gone from scared of Lisa Snart to smitten, showing just how naive he is and how little he’s learned. I found it odd they bring her to S.T.A.R. Labs, so she could see them in action, know how they track Cold, etc. Talk about bad idea theater. When Flash goes to find Cold, he’s not being held or forced, he’s pulling a job with dear old dad, and freezes our hero. Lucky Cisco had the new suit built for such a circumstance. It’s one step away from Bat-Thermal Underwear, I almost laughed out loud.
Though unnamed in the comics, the father of Lisa and Leonard Snart was a complete bastard – abusive, alcoholic, and if memory serves, a disgraced cop. Here on the TV series, Lewis Snart, aptly played by perennial bad guy actor Michael Ironside, is a career criminal with much the same disposition as his comic book counterpart. Alone with Cisco, Lisa practically begs the good guys to save her brother, because if he’s with her dad, he’s in big trouble.
Now Cold and Glider may be sociopaths in their own specific ways, but Lewis makes them look like the good guys. Here’s the kind of monster Lewis Snart is – he put explosives in his daughter to get his son to do what he wanted. Now that‘s cold.
Paralleling the bad guys’ family problems, Joe tells Iris the truth about her mother. She’s not dead, and worse than that, she’s not perfect. He tells her a sordid tale of a drug addict mother who left a little girl in a house filled with gas and an open flame. The suds are poured on so heavy, it makes things like super speed and multiverses more believable.
Iris of course understands. But, on that front, she hasn’t met her mom yet. Or at least not in years. Barry and Patty get closer, Cisco and Lisa (who leaves on a cool gold motorcycle) get closer, and even Jay and Caitlin get closer (I guess Jay hasn’t met future wife Joan yet over on Earth-Two?). It’s never a good idea when couples pair up on the CW. Something bad will happen sooner or later.
Barry and the Snarts
In order to save Lisa, Barry takes on the identity of Sam and joins Lewis’ crew as their new security expert. In a short sequence with a hot heist vibe, Lewis shoots Barry once the security system is bypassed. That said, this fanboy loved when Barry saved himself with Jay’s signature trick from the Golden Age comics – he caught the bullet with his bare hand.
Despite Captain Cold’s incarceration in Iron Heights for, yeah, the murder of his monster of a father, it seems that Barry and Len are developing a true friendship over and above any deals or codes or words. They care about each other. Perhaps this is what leads to Cold’s possible turn toward good in the upcoming “Legends of Tomorrow” series in 2016. I am stunned that the showrunners have actually made a bromance between the Flash and Captain Cold work. And work so much more believably than the mama drama going on with the Wests,
Here are just a few of the bits and pieces that comprise Easter eggs for this episode, little factoids, Crackerjack prizes for those who follow the comics. It was nice to see Linda Park again, and the villain bar Saints and Sinners, where Barry treats Cold to some unluckily salty French fries. Speaking of fast food, I loved Jay’s comment about no matter what Earth one goes to, there’s always a Big Belly Burger. Well, except for, ahem, Earth-Prime…
There’s a callback to Captain Cold’s attempted heist of the Kahndaq Dynasty Diamond, and mention of the Central City Diamonds getting beat by the Salamanders of Keystone City in baseball. That last bit is interesting because Keystone is Jay’s hometown on Earth-Two, supposedly on the same site as Central City.
With the speed tunnel finished, Jay can return whenever he wants, but agrees to stay until the threat of Zoom has been vanquished. Professor Stein, whose health has been wavering, the blame being high blood pressure, dropped to the floor and started the Firestorm transformation. The problem is that the fire is blue, and there’s no Ronnie to merge with. What is that about? And if that’s not bad enough, that Harrison Wells from the end of the last episode (or is it?) is coming through the speed tunnel…
Next: A new Firestorm??