Season Two, Episode Three — “Family of Rogues”
By Jarrod Jones. There’s every reason to get excited about a guest-appearance from Wentworth Miller, but *squints* is that — did he — yes! He brought Michael Ironside with him! It’s a Captain Cold Kinda Family Reunion on this week’s episode of The Flash, but the Snart clan isn’t the only family desperate for catharsis; Detective Joe West has a serious bombshell to drop on his loving daughter Iris, which means waterworks.
Family drama, top-shelf superheroics, and a bonafide heel turn from Barry Allen himself makes “Family of Rogues” easily the strongest episode of The Flash‘s second season thus far, even if it loses Professor Stein and Jay Garrick in the shuffle. (Though the teaser for next week, which you can watch below, promises to right that ship, but quick.) And did I mention that Cisco got a smooch this week? Because *giggle* he totally did.
WHAT WORKED: Crafting breathless action was never an issue for The Flash, and this week’s opener, where Iris dodges bullets from two nameless hoods, is a stunner. “You need to jump!” is all Barry has to say, and in a blur of scarlet and lightning, we have a save. Brisk, lively, and exhilarating: this is the show at its very best.
It’s not everyday that Barry gets to straighten out Det. Joe’s worries and cares — and in fact this might be the first time that Mr. Allen talked the elder West through a pickle — but it certainly works this week. With Mrs. West back, alive, and rarin’ to get back into Iris’ life, Joe has to confront his long-sequestered demons. It takes him down dark roads (his demand to Francine that she has “48 hours to leave Central City” was uncharacteristically cruel, and I guess he’s day drinking now), but Barry, true to form, is the show’s guiding light. The resulting heart-to-heart between Iris and her father is easily one of the saddest things this show has ever presented to us. Respect.
“Nobody talks to my son that way. Nobody.” Michael Ironside’s guest appearance as Captain Cold’s subarctic poppa was every inch the sadistic joy I thought it would be. There are certain themes attached to The Flash that could easily give a darker show like Arrow a run for its money, but it’s not every week that this series explores them. With Ironside here to seethe and menace — two things the actor excels at, by the way — the show has an often-overlooked opportunity to get messy, and it worked. (I’m not advocating that someone’s head explodes every week, mind you.)
WHAT DIDN’T: I know this show can get pretty squishy at times — it’s on the CW, for cryin’ out loud — but having three separate subplots converge on one lone coffee shop is way too coincidental. Maybe we could have had Lisa Snart bump into the S.T.A.R. kids in the street as they lovingly gripped their to-go coffees? I’m nit-picking, sure, but yeesh. That’s a lot to unload in two short minutes.
“Iris, you need to jump.” – Barry.
“We need a name for it.” “It’s not a pet, Cisco.” – Caitlin and Cisco, concerning the breach in S.T.A.R.’s basement.
“Does it physically pain your family not to rob people?” – Caitlin.
“It’s good to know whatever Earth you go to, there’s always a Big Belly Burger.” – Jay. Jerry Ordway is likely dancing in his armchair right about now.
“Scientific minds, can we confer, please.” – Cisco.
“Told you Draycon was my jam!” – “Sam”.
“Excelsior!” – Professor Stein.
BEST MOMENT: The heist, and consequences. Barry’s subterfuge as “Sam” was a chance for Grant Gustin to flex his comedic chops some, dropping tin-eared slang like the Grade-A square he is. And if Papa Snart didn’t have a sudden need for a new tech guy (due to his itchy detonation finger), he’d put “Sam” to pasture. Instead, we get a thrilling heist sequence featuring Captain Cold, The Flash, and Michael friggin’ Ironside, all culminating in a palpably tense climax. When The Flash fires on all cylinders, it’s magic.
EPISODE’S MVP: Captain Cold. Nobody glowers like Wentworth Miller. I’m rarin’ for CW’s Legends of Tomorrow like crazy, I can’t even tell you.
– Easy, Barry! Spilling chemicals is the quickest way to get superpowe–oh, yeah. Nevermind.
– “I can’t wait to write about this.” I can’t wait to see you write anything, Iris.
– Hey! Jay got a haircut!
– Coffee with a shot of espresso is called “The Flash”? No, it’s called a “red eye”. I’m right, show.
– Hearing Darkseid’s voice come out of Snart’s poppa was pretty damn cool, I’m not gonna lie. (Michael Ironside provided his gravelly tones to Superman: The Animated Series‘ big bad, and it was glorious.)
– YOU GUYS I CAN’T WATCH DET. JOE CRY. *sniff*
– Cisco Ramon: Coolest Guy on Earth-1.
– Professor Stein emitting a blue flame? Seems familiar somehow.
– Are you ready for… The Harrison Wells of Earth-2?!