I always look forward to an episode featuring Wentworth Miller as Leonard Snart aka Captain Cold. The Flash’s encounters with Cold always end up with the two of them in a romantic-ish telenovela scene — like a lover’s spat in a moonlit forest or one of them saving the other’s life before fleeing town. I mean, I know SnartBarry (or ColdFlash?) isn’t a real “ship”, but the dynamic between the superhandsome superhero and his superhandsome supervillain entertains me even more than WestAllen or Snowbarry. Yeah, I said it.
This official, non-dream season return of Captain Cold was no different; Family of Rogues was a real (frozen) treat. Their relationship is so complicated.
A Leap of Faith for WestAllen
Speaking of complicated relationships: The writers are really making a point to establish Barry and Iris as best friends this season sans angsty romantic pining, and that’s what makes me root for them. I’ve constantly made the journey comparison between Clark Kent and Lois Lane in Smallville: I want to love Barry as Barry, and I want to love Iris as Iris. Give me a reason to think that Barry deserves to be with someone as amazing as Iris (and vice versa!) by setting it up… don’t force it on me!
In the opener, seeing Barry literally drop what he was doing to race to Iris… okay, it’s something we’re used to seeing, but this time it’s different! It just felt different — less SMH and more YAY!
Because Iris went meddling with some Central City mob dudes for a story and was actually dodging bullets! “But I love it,” I sang like TheWeeknd. He asked her if she trusted him. She instantly replied the affirmative. She jumped out of a skyscraper. I screamed. He caught her. Then, they giggled about it like two little kids, and she ran away to write her story as if that didn’t happen. IT WAS PERFECT.
No forced lingering looks: just genuine affection and real chemistry.
The Wormhole Hallway: Breach Doors Between Earths
CISCO: “So we stabilize the door, we stabilize the hallway.”
BARRY: “And then I can jump through it.”
JAY: “Exactly. It would serve as a kind of cannon. A ‘speed cannon’.”
The scientists of Team Flash (Cisco, Caitlin, Barry, recovering Stein, and newly added non-speedy Jay Garrick) gather around the largest of 52 breaches in Central City which conveniently happens to be in the S.T.A.R. Labs basement. Good!
Maybe you can use the basement to privately build a science-y stabilizer thing around it while bonding with the moon-eyed Dr. Caitlin Snow, Jay? Oh you will do that? Okay. While you’re at it, name it something really cool to pique Cisco’s interest in strengthening your bromance. Perfect.
But be careful, Team Flash. Doors open from both sides. Put a lock or a passcode on it or something or else anyone could just — nevermind, too late. It’s Earth-2 Wells. And he’s doing The Terminator entrance.
West Family Secrets
And they are doozies.
Twenty years ago, Francine West was banished from Central City. Joe West, the banisher, told their daughter Iris that her mother had died. “Banish” is a dramatic word, but it damn-well applies to this plot twist of a storyline. Joe attempts to keep Francine’s return a secret by offering her money to leave town; but Francine refuses insisting that Iris needs her after losing her fiancé.
Apparently, Francine West was a drug addict and pre-cognizant, toddler Iris West dialed 911 when her mother nearly ODed and passed out in the West family kitchen. The secret decision to exile his wife from seeing their daughter and then continuing to lie about her to Iris has burdened Joe and transformed him into a Papa West Puddle of Mess. It’s jarring for the audience to watch this character of strength and personal conviction so self-loathsome and unsure, even moreso for Iris as she sits across the table as Papa Joe tells her the truth.
I braced myself for Iris’ reaction. Remember when she found out that everybody knew about The Flash’s secret identity before she did to keep her safe? I did not think it would end well. Joe didn’t think it would end well. But guess what happened?
Incredible. There is some backlash on whether or not Iris should’ve been angry at Joe. Anger would be, after all, a totally human and understandable reaction. Personally, I love that she isn’t mad; it’s a testament to her love and trust in her father that she understands not only Joe’s choice, but his guilt and remorse. Joe raised his daughter to be the big-hearted, sympathetic person that is able to forgive such a secret because of his decision.
Snart Family Values
Lisa Snart comes to Cisco in a coffee shop asking him for help from The Flash because her Brother Cold has been kidnapped. Reread that sentence. Yeah, it’s strange but that is actually the main plot of the episode. It’s also weirding me out how she keeps calling Captain Cold, “Lenny” so affectionately. I can’t stop picturing Captain Cold raising bunnies on a farm.
Lisa plays the “Life Debt” card for The Flash (she doesn’t know his identity), and Barry-in-a-suit speeds over to Cold’s latest pinged location to see if he’s being held hostage or committing crimes under duress. It got weird:
After Barry defrosts from Cold’s freeze ray sass thanks to an upgraded therma-suit feature, he relays to Lisa that her brother was with their dad, Lewis Snart. Lisa becomes more worried because their father is a real “bad guy.” He’s the kind of bad guy who drank too much and hit his kids claiming it was character building. Oh, that’s why she her voice is so soft when she says, “Lenny” — her brother was her protector.
Somehow, Barry finds Leonard in a sketchy dive bar eating his feelings in french fries. Why does this always happen with the two of them? It’s almost like they’re on an awkward Tindr date.
Leonard assures Barry that he remembers their Gentleman’s Agreement in the woods and no Central Citizens will die. Barry argues that Daddy Cold doesn’t have the same “code of honor” that Leonard has, and people are definitely going to die because Daddy Cold is the fucking worst. Leonard threatens to out Barry’s identity, but our scarlet speedster doesn’t care. Why is Lenny so desperate to pull this job with dad?
BECAUSE DADDY COLD TURNED HIS DAUGHTER, LISA, INTO A BOMB.
While Cisco and Caitlin try to find a way to… deactivate Lisa, Barry plans to pose as a tech criminal on Daddy Cold’s heist team. Caitlin is both bewildered and dubious. Barry is adorable, as usual.
We see Barry in Criminal Mode which is basically Barry “Sunshine” Allen with the dorky whiteboy swag of Grant Gustin in his Facebook videos. Lenny rolls his eyes the whole time, probably torn between shooting Barry and smiling. Also, The Flash and Captain Cold wearing janitors’ uniforms is conceptually ridiculous; they looked like Blue Collar models and instantly suspicious. As soon as Barry feigns hacking by speed-entering as many possible passcode combos and actually cracking the Draycon lock
because it’s his jam, Daddy Cold shoots Barry not knowing that our hero is faster than a speeding bullet.
Not today, Daddy Cold. Team Flash has de-bombed Lisa, and Barry relays the message to Leonard as he switches the Cold Gun’s target from The Flash to Daddy Cold.
Barry delivers Captain Cold to Iron Heights prison, and promptly visits him… much like a boyfriend would. I’m sorry, they’re ridiculous.
Barry tells Lenny that he knows his weakness is keeping his sister safe. Barry sees a new, warmer side to Captain Cold, and for a split second he is our optimistic Season One Barry once more.
Between this visiting hours heart-to-heart and the farewell/thank you kiss between Cisco and Lisa… I don’t know what the hell is going on with the alliances of the Snart siblings.
Setups on setups on setups for Legends of Tomorrow… especially since next week we’re getting a rebooted Firestorm! (And he’s half-black, y’all!)
- Season 2 WestAllen. Specifically, Iris adorably telling Barry “Thank you for coming!” as if he just gave her a ride home from the airport or something.
- Cisco wanting to name the breach. Old habits die hard.
- The Flash coffee order at Jitters. Extra caffeine. “First I have a day named after me. Now I have a drink.” –Barry
- Caitlin watching over Dr. Martin Stein. Caitlin is extra-clingy and concerned for Ronnie’s other half. It’s cute that she feels obligated to do so. And heartbreaking a little bit.
- Linda Park! I guess they’ve settled their differences and are now besties in Off-Screen City. That’s good… considering Linda needs to prepare to meet Iris’ kin, aka the love of her life, Wally West.
- Earth-2 Harrison Wells. Why does Harrison Wells love ending tags so much? Is that just a character trait of being evil on all earths? ALSO, WHY IS WELLS EVIL ON ALL EARTHS? Well, I guess technically he was good on Earth-1 until Eobard Thawne body snatched him. Also, I do not appreciate his Earth-2 handsomeness.
- Cisco/Lisa. GoldenVibe? I don’t understand this relationship. But I’m all in it. I wonder if Lisa will be featured in Legends of Tomorrow? I’d prefer for her to stay in Central City and drive Cisco around on her motocycle. Or let him ride in the sidecar that used to be attached to her brother’s bike.