“The Flash” was back for the third episode of season two Tuesday night, with “Family of Rogues.” Family was indeed the focus of this episode, thought not just for the Snart family — the West family also had to resolve some hidden issues. Michael Ironside guest starred tonight as Lewis Start, the infamous criminal father to Leonard Snart/Captain Cold and Lisa Snart/Golden Glider. This was the first appearance of Lewis Snart on “The Flash,” but it wasn’t Ironside’s first appearance in a DC Comics television show. He previously appeared on “Smallville,” as General Sam Lane. He also voiced the character Darkseid on both the animated “Superman” and “Justice League” shows.
Lewis Snart’s appearance on the show tonight set up an interesting story line, where Leonard Start (Wentworth Miller) actually made a choice that was for the good of someone else. The Leonard Snart viewers know up to know would only do something if it was in his best interest, but he showed his true colors tonight in an effort to protect his sister, Lisa. Because her life was at risk, Leonard was willing to work with his father, a man who, admittedly, he hated even more than The Flash. At the end of the episode, Barry took the opportunity to call out these true colors, by telling Leonard he could see that that he wanted to be more than just a criminal. This heart-to-heart moment between Barry (Grant Gustin) and Leonard was not unlike when Luke Skywalker tells Darth Vader he can feel the good in him. Did anyone else get a Mark Hamill/Trickster vibe during these moments?
That scene also brings to mind when Leonard tells Rip Hunter “I can’t imagine any kind of future where I’m a hero,” in the teaser for The CW’s new show “Legends of Tomorrow.” Could this episode be building the backstory to Leonard’s eventual heroic calling on “Legends of Tomorrow?”
Peyton List was back this week as Captain Cold’s little sister, Lisa Snart. What’s interesting about List playing Michael Ironside’s daughter in this episode is that she also played his daughter on “Smallville” as Lucy Lane — shout out to “The Flash” casting director David Rapaport for that awesome connection. It’s always great to see Peyton List on “The Flash” because that means we get to see more of Cisco’s awkward and adorable flirtatious side. If you remember, Lisa and Cisco first met in “Rogue Time,” when Cisco made her a gold gun and called her Golden Glider. Cisco’s flirtation with Lisa was back in this episode, but so was his considerate side. Even though Barry and Caitlin refused to trust Lisa, Cisco trusted her when she said Leonard was in trouble. He listened to her share about the violence her father inflicted on her as a child. He even got to save her life by diffusing the bomb her father put in her head. Cisco got a thank you — and a kiss — from Lisa for his heroics. Between Cisco and Lisa’s growing intimacy and Barry going undercover on a jewel heist to save her, this episode clearly shows how the lines between hero and villain are beginning to blur for Team Flash.
Another family dealing with issues tonight was the West family. As seen in last week’s episode, “Flash of Two Worlds,” Iris’ mother, Francine West (Vanessa Williams) returned to Central City looking for her daughter. Her return dropped a bomb on Joe, the fallout from which had to be dealt with in tonight’s episode. As far as Iris — and virtually everyone else — was concerned, Francine West died when Iris was a little girl. Iris spent her entire childhood looking up to her kind, perfect mother, who died around the same time Barry’s mom died. The death of their mothers was something that bonded Iris and Barry as children. With Francine showing up last week and sticking around Central City, Joe was forced to deal with telling Iris the truth. Most superheroes choose to lie to the people closest to them, in order to protect them. Barry lied to Iris when he became The Flash. Oliver lied to everyone when he became the Arrow. It’s common for superheroes to hide the truth from the people they love. Joe is faced with the same decision — does he pay Francine off, asking her to leave Central City and keep up the facade of her death? Does he come clean to Iris about lying all these years? Joe confides in Barry, who after a year of lying to Iris, knows it’s not worth it and encourages Joe to be honest with her.
Joe decides to tell Iris the truth, which is a fantastic deviation from tradition superhero decisions. He tells Iris the truth about Francine being an unsafe and unfit mother. He tells Iris that once Francine disappeared he knew he had to make it look like she was dead. Jesse L. Martin‘s acting in this scene broke me, and I couldn’t help but burst into tears as he shared Joe’s reasons for wanting to protect his daughter. Iris was heartbroken, but she forgave Joe, which again sets this show apart from so many other shows on television. Iris didn’t abandon Joe in his moment of honesty, she embraced him. Iris’s reaction demonstrated a complete 180 degree turn for the character this season. Last season Iris (Candice Patton) didn’t get a lot of character development. She was always relegated to the sidelines. She remained Barry’s closest friend, who he lied to all season. This season has been completely different — Iris is shinning! She was the driving force in Joe going after Barry in the season premiere, she has been a constant source of encouragement for Team Flash and she even got to be a part of the heroics in the first scene of this episode by alerting Barry to the presence of bad guys, jumping out a skyscraper window, and landing a cover story for her news paper! While this was a hefty emotional scene for both Iris and Joe, I’m glad Iris got to show her fortitude and strength of character by forgiving her father for lying about her mom.
The final arc to this episode centered around the wormhole that has opened up inside S.T.A.R. Labs. This wormhole is one of the 52 portals around Central City that act as doorways back to Earth-2. Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears) and Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) spend the bulk of this episode developing a stabilization speed canon that would allow someone to pass through the portal and step into Earth-2. Jay wants to use it immediately so he can go home, but Caitlin convinces him to stay. It’s refreshing to see her happy again, even though falling for a man from another universe might not be the best thing for her to do at the moment.
With the canon built and portal stabilized the team decides their next course of action is to find Zoom. What they don’t realize is that the door now works both ways. While the team is tending to Dr. Stein (Victor Garber), who flared up blue flames and passed out, the portal is opened and Harrison Wells arrives through it. The big question is, is this the Harrison Wells from Earth-2, presumably a good version of the man whom Eobard Thawne killed years ago on Earth-1? Or is it still Eobard Thawne in disguise? The glowing blue light around him reminded me a little bit of Zoom, but I don’t think they would make Wells (Tom Cavanagh) the villain two seasons in a row — or would they?
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