Centering The Flash’s second season around DC’s multiverse was a shrewd choice by showrunner Andrew Kreisberg and the writing staff. It allowed The CW drama to craft an original story that was connected to the first season, but fresh enough for the sophomore run to have a life its own. Yet, as Zoom barreled through an inter-dimensional portal last week, bringing along the metahuman Sand Demon, a pit formed in my stomach. It was the same premise as the premiere, Zoom bringing a metahuman to Earth One and sending them on a quest to kill The Flash, and I worried the show would soon find itself in a rut, each week a new metahuman delivered by Zoom, all of which had the same, singular goal.
“Family of Rogues” laid that fear to rest and, really, after a well-crafted first season and promising start this year, I should have given The Flash the benefit of the doubt. Episode three didn’t pause the multiverse storyline, but did move it out of the limelight. Instead, the hour focused on Leonard Snart, AKA Captain Cold, and his sister Lisa, or Golden Glider. It was an interesting entry for the series in that Barry wasn’t the main focus, but more a side-player to Leonard and Lisa. “Family of Rogues” served as a background episode for the sibling criminals, shedding some light on their past, particularly the relationship with their father (who’s a real piece of work). As someone who enjoyed the writers’ handling of the Snarts, and their cohort Heat Wave last season, I was elated to see them given even more story in this episode. Barry believes there is good in Leonard (and, I imagine, Lisa as well, though he doesn’t say) and so he’s willing to put the negative Leonard has done aside in order to help Captain Cold overcome his father.
Wentworth Miller, who plays Leonard with more than a hint of self-awareness (similar to Lee Pace’s performance as Ronan in Guardians of the Galaxy) and Grant Gustin have a winning chemistry, which helped keep a light-action episode entertaining, but they’re not the only ones. From their initial meeting, Lisa and Cisco had a bizarre flirtatious relationship that felt both sincere and not, depending on the scene in question. Last night was a clear progression for the two, who lean closer to friend than enemy at this point. They spent the bulk of the episode together and their mutual attraction added a dose of fun. It was also amusing to watch Barry use his powers in a more clever fashion than normal. Generally, Barry’s abilities serve as the tool for him to defeat an opponent, but in “Family of Rogues” he employed them as a trickster in order to fool Papa Snart. The main story was, in all, well-paced and written. Though it won’t be remembered as one of the more thrilling hours the show has had, the character progression it offered for Leonard and Lisa was more than enough to make it a worthy addition to The Flash’s excellent back catalog.
Last week we were introduced to Patty Spivot, a CCPD officer who joined Joe’s metahuman task force and made quite the impression on Barry. Her inclusion muddied the role of Iris, who has been a ghostlike figure this season. In the waning moments of “Flash of Two Worlds,” however, the writers played a card that could give Iris far more to do this year. Bringing in Iris’ mother, who Joe claimed was dead, is an intriguing move, though I’m not sure it’ll work. It does give Iris a new thread to pull, but it’s also one that will be painful. Many of Iris’ stories have brought hardship, so much so that it makes one wonder if Candice Patton drew the short straw at a production meeting. After learning her best friend is The Flash and of Eddie’s death, Iris should be in shambles. Somehow she isn’t, and though that bothers me; I would like to see Iris removed from her damsel role and given the opportunity to kick some ass. Introducing her estranged mother doesn’t feel like the way to do that. But, now that she’s aware her mother is alive, we’ll have to see what happens when they meet. There may be more here than it seems.
In the final moments of “Family of Rogues,” a familiar face walked through the portal Jay Garrick spent much of the episode constructing. One of the benefits of multiverse is the chance to bring back characters that met their demise last season. Last week, we saw Earth-Two’s Harrison Wells for the first time, and so it was only natural to watch him mosey through space-time and into the STAR Labs basement. In the 30 seconds that he’s been on-screen, Wells appears to be just as menacing as he was last year. I’m hoping this is all a red herring and the Earth-Two Wells will resemble the scientist before his body was taken over by Eobard Thawne. Otherwise, The Flash will spend its second season treading ground it has already run over. But, let us remember to give the benefit of the doubt.
Lightning quick thoughts:
Patty and Barry are reminiscent of Barry and Felicity, and it is magical. Be in love, already! (Sorry, Iris)
Caitlin’s crush on Jay Garrick is an interesting move that I’m in to. Fingers crossed this one doesn’t die! Twice!
Though I’m lukewarm on the Iris mom storyline, the scene in which Joe told his daughter the truth was exquisite. Jesse L. Martin has been a rock on this show since the beginning, and the warmth he brings as a father to both Iris and Barry is wonderful.
Eric Walters is the Assistant Tech Editor for Paste and a regular contributor to the TV section. For more of his thoughts on comic book television, listen to his podcast.