This Flash review contains spoilers.
The Flash Season 2 Episode 3
I don’t know why I wasn’t looking forward to “Family of Rogues.” I mean, why wouldn’t I want to see Michael Ironside in any capacity, not to mention the return of one of the bright lights of a cast that’s positively full of bright lights, Wentworth Miller?
Maybe it was because I was mildly disappointed with the first two episodes of season two. Only mildly, mind you. But they were talky, villain of the week affairs that had to set up a whole new set of rules for this season. I get it. It happens. And it’s a long season. I just had gotten so used to that ol’ Flash magic in the latter half of season one, that maybe I got a little spoiled.
Well, “Family of Rogues” was a big reminder of every single thing that works about this show when it’s working well. On its very worst day, it’s always saved by the cast. But this episode, which has the added bonus of adding in the aforementioned Mssrs. Ironside and Miller, plus Peyton List as Lisa Snart, and there were sparks again.
The whole Captain Cold (and by extension Lisa) arc has been a microcosm of the classic comic book philosophy of the Rogues. Most of Flash’s villains aren’t maniacal killers, or even particularly powerful crime bosses. They just love committing crime. They’re “super criminals” who love the thrill of a good heist and living outside the law. We’re now roughly a half-dozen episodes or so into this proper exploration of rogue psychology, and every time it feels more like a perfectly natural extension of the rest of this show’s world.
There are some downsides, though. Bringing in and dismissing the elder Snart was a little perfunctory, and that this could have used another episode to build things up, or that maybe the heist itself wasn’t really big or daring enough to merit things like blowing up your own daughter’s head. Perhaps two or three episodes would have given the show more time to really explore the deeper consequences of the abuse that Len and Lisa suffered. We get so many episodes that make us love (deeply) the fathers on this show, that Lewis Snart could have been a stronger counterpoint to that.
What’s more, while Vanessa Williams turns in a strong performance as Francine West, I’m not quite sure I followed all the logic of the backstory here. Are we to believe that Iris didn’t remember calling 911 when her Mom overdosed on the couch? It just felt a little unclear, and things went a little too smoothly with Iris and Joe. Plus, it’s another “everybody lies to Iris all the damn time” hangover, and I was hoping we had moved beyond that. Still, Jesse Martin was brilliant in these scenes, so I can deal…and we know Wally West is on the way.
All in all, though, this was a rather well-balanced episode. Despite not having a ton of costumed superheroics (that opening sequence was tremendous fun), it finally felt like the whole cast finally got something legitimate to do other than explain the rules of season two to the audience.
Oh, and this doesn’t quite fit anywhere else in this review, but can we just talk about Cisco’s Professor Stein impression and Barry subtly hiding the lower half of his face with his coffee mug when Lisa shows up at Jitters? Good for some solid chuckles, no?
Who the Hell is Harrison Wells?
I…I got nothing. I’m pretty much always wrong about Harrison, so that probably won’t change this year. But that seemed like a needlessly sinister entrance for him, didn’t it? That makes me think we’re being misdirected, and Earth-2 Harrison (or whoever he is) is actually an alright guy. Right? Anyone?
– Lewis Snart being a scumbag and Len’s complete devotion to Lisa is straight out of Flash history. Again, I do wish they had built this up a little more over time before Lewis was sent to the great prison in the sky, but whatever.
– And despite what I thought was simply a Suicide Squad reference was actually something much cooler, and I owe it all to the folks in the comments. Scanners star Michael Ironside got to do some head-exploding once again in this episode!
– Not strictly a DC Comics reference, but the way they handled Barry’s bullet catch at the commercial break struck me as a callback to old movie serials. Instead of just cutting to Barry on the floor with the bullet in hand, we see him get shot again, then they show the explanation of the catch, and there’s our resolution. If you’re ever in the mood to see what these things were like, do yourself a favor and watch The Adventures of Captain Marvel, which is honestly one of the best live action superhero things of all time, and certainly the very best of its era.
– I enjoyed Jay’s crack about how there’s a Big Belly Burger in every universe, although to be honest, to the best of my knowledge, I’ve only ever seen it in “main” DC continuity.
Also…did Jay get a haircut?
– I’m just gonna straight up quote the ever-reliable NotBob with his telescopic vision, because I can’t even pretend this one is me.
“The baseball game the security guards are watching contains canon teams. The Central City Diamonds were introduced by Venditti and Jensen last year (along with the Miners, their Basketball team and the modern version of the Coast City Angels). They are playing the Keystone City Salamanders, established by Tom Peyer in 2008 (so Wally West era). Assuming real-time, that would make the Arrowverse World Series a cross-the-river affair that should be getting some headlines.”
I’ll admit I’m not on my game right now with the Flash Facts, because I’m completely distracted by baseball (the Mets only make the playoffs about once every ten years, so please give me a break). Let me know what I missed, and I’ll get ’em added!