‘Family of Rogues’
The Flash, fittingly, rushes through plot points and treats the villains like second-class characters. So, it was a pleasure to see ‘Family of Rogues’ slow down and prioritise character relationships over parallel dimensions with the return of Wentworth Miller and Peyton List.
Leonard Snart/Captain Cold (Miller) is being manipulated into stealing diamonds by his father, Lewis Snart (Michael Ironside), and Barry (Grant Gustin) has to stop them. Matters become murky when it’s revealed that Cold’s sister, Lisa Snart/the Golden Glider (Peyton List) has a bomb planted in the base of her neck. Filling out the runtime is the soapy subplot about Detective Joe West’s (Jesse L. Martin) internal struggle as to whether he should tell Iris (Candice Patton) that her mother is alive.
It’s becoming trite to say that Jesse L. Martin is the episodes MVP, but with him and Patton sharing a tender scene it’s almost impossible not to shower him with praise. Thankfully, the show is finally making Iris active in her own storylines than passively waiting for everyone to tell her what’s up.
Wentworth Miller welcomingly brings back his hamminess and shows why he’s a Flash Hall of Famer. Barry and Cold’s dynamic is interesting and it’s nice to see them get under each other’s skin. For all his hatred of crime, Barry can’t help but be impressed with Cold so it’s just a shame that Barry harps on about redemption just so the show can forcibly foreshadow the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow. Normally, when Miller appears he outshines his other rogues but this time Peyton List steals his crown. Lisa’s relationship with Cisco (Carlos Valdes) feels completely organic and whilst you can’t entirely trust her, it’s clear that she is completely open with Cisco. He’s able to get her to reveal her true self whilst she’s able to turn him into more than the wise-cracking comic relief. They’re good for each other and make this a ship you want to see set sail (come on Flash fans, make this happen!).
Lisa’s revelation that she was beaten by her father as a child is dark material especially for a colourful show, but the casting of Michael Ironside as the Snart patriarch lends gravitas to the situation. So, it’s a shame Ironside takes a paint-by-numbers approach to villainy, but his character’s presence, coupled with the Joe and Iris subplot, allows the show to explore questions of nature vs. nurture. Would Barry, if he wasn’t raised by Joe ‘Mr Morals’ West, be a hero?
Elsewhere, Barry and Patty (Shantel VanSanten) are having meet-cutes over a decapitated bad guy and coffee. Barry and Patty’s connection is obvious with Gustin and VanSanten having nice onscreen chemistry. Hopefully, Barry can get over his Iris hump and for once do something for himself.
Speaking of coffee, you know you’re a popular hero when you have a cappuccino named after you. This may seem anecdotal but it’s the little details like this that separate The Flash from other superhero shows. Here, the residents and police force are behind the Flash instead of hating him, they support him and he inspires hope. Underneath all the quips and darkness present in ‘Family of Rogues’ were the underlying themes of hope and destiny, and it’s these themes make The Flash enjoyable.