Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 3 - Family of Rogues

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


When Len Snart (aka Captain Cold) is kidnapped, Lisa Snart has no choice but to turn to STAR Labs and The Flash for help. It turns out the situation is more complicated than that, with Captain Cold being blackmailed into helping his father with a heist. Meanwhile, Joe West's wife Francine has returned to Central City. This proves problematic as Joe told everyone that his wife - a drug addict who abandoned their family - had died tragically to avoid upsetting Iris. And as Professor Stein recovers from his sudden collapse, Jay Garrick begins work on a way home.


Various The Flash comics involving Captain Cold and Golden Glider, though the characterization seems based upon Geoff Johns' interpretation of Leonard Snart - particularly The Flash #182.


There's a lot of good duet scenes in this episode. Peyton List and Carlos Valdes have tremendous chemistry as Lisa and Cisco. Ditto Danielle Panabaker and Teddy Sears as Caitlin and Jay. And Shantel VanSanten is starting to grow on me as surely as Patty seems to be growing on Barry.

The verbal dialogues go beyond the romantic subplots, however. Unsurprisingly, Michael Ironside proves a suitable menacing foe as Lewis Snart and Wentworth Miller once again has a brilliant turn bringing Captain Cold to life. The two play off each other brilliantly as father and son. And it's always a treat to see Grant Gustin and Wentworth Miller lock horns as Barry and Len.

Vanessa Williams isn't in the episode long as Francine West but she does have a suitable presence for such an important character for what little time we see her. Hopefully we'll get to see more in the season to come.

Once again, Jesse L. Martin damn near steals the show with his scene trying to tell Iris the truth about her mother.


The opening sequence with Barry running to save Iris as she jumps out the window of a building as her investigation goes awry is a fun little sequence all around. The writing, the direction, the effects and the performances all work in tandem. One wishes that had done more scenes like this with Iris sooner.

In fact, the writing of this episode in general is very sharp, with a number of great dialogues and some very witty lines. Even the subplot with Joe's wife - while rehashing a lot of old territory with Joe learning he needs to be honest with his daughter - proves enjoyable since we see here that Joe actually is learning to trust in  Iris' maturity.

The use of music throughout the episode and the soundtrack are both good.

The scene with Cisco having a gun drawn on Lisa and Cold having a gun drawn on The Flash is very well directed.

Flash Facts

While the "superhero saves reporter love interest who jumps out a window" trope is more famously applied to Lois Lane and Superman, The Flash saving Iris West when she gets into a tight spot while chasing a story - as Barry does here - occurs just as often in the original The Flash comics.

CC Jitters makes a custom drink called The Flash. It's a brewed coffee with an extra shot or espresso.

While never being named in the original comics, Len and Lisa Snart's father was an abusive man who beat both his wife and children. Lisa and Len's mother was largely absent and Len all but raised his sister alone.

In the original comics, Mr. Snart was not a career criminal. He was an ex-cop, who lived off of disability. Reportedly he had been kicked out of the Central City Police Department after it was determined that he was drunk on duty during the incident where his partner was shot dead.

As in the comics, Mr. Snart violently beat his children in order to teach them a lesson. In The Flash #182, he specifically discourages them from telling anyone that they love them and that showing emotion is a sign of weakness. This explains Captain Cold's cool and detached persona.

As in the comics, Len Snart is violently protective of his sister and will break his usual rules against crimes of passion to see anyone who hurts her suffer.

This is not the first time Peyton List and Michael Ironside played father and daughter.  Ironside was General Sam Lane on the Smallville TV show, where Peyton List played Lucy Lane.

David Rutenberg's body is found in a Danville Meatpackers truck. Danville is the name of a middle-class district in Central City - the one Barry and Iris west lived in in the original Flash comics.

As the heist begins, the security guards are watching a team called The Diamonds playing another team called The Salamanders.  In the DC Comics Universe, The Diamonds are Central City's Major League Baseball franchise and The Salamanders are the franchise in Keystone City.

The Flash bypassing a security system by trying every possible combination on a keypad at super-speed is another classic trope from the comics.  So is a speedster catching a bullet at super-speed and pretending to be shot to put a villain off-guard.

In the original comics, Captain Cold couldn't bring himself to kill his own father despite ample reason and an opportunity in the Rogues' Revenge storyline. Heatwave obligingly finished the job for him.

In a nod to her costume's color scheme in the original comics, Lisa Snart rides off on a golden motorcycle with a matching helmet.

Professor Stein exclaims "Excelsior!" as they successfully pass a book through the breach to Earth 2. This is the catch-phrase of comic writer Stan Lee as well as the State Motto for New York. It is a Latin word meaning "still higher" or "ever upward".


Professor Steins's heart-rate after he collapsed was 147 Systolic over 82 Diastolic. He claims this just a few points higher than the average range for a man of his age. That's actually a little high, with a Systolic number over 140 signifying Stage One Hypertension.

Stein theorizes that super-speed and a certain level of stability are required to traverse the breaches between Earth One and Earth Two.

Jay Garrick likens the breaches to doors, suggesting that the hallway between the doors is continually shifting and collapsing in on itself. If they can stabilize the door, it should stabilize the hallways so Barry can use it.

Cisco devised a method of tracking Captain Cold's gun since he didn't have a chance to plant a tracker on it when he was kidnapped to rebuild it. The method works the same way as thermal imaging, only instead of infrared heat signatures it seeks out ultraviolet cold signatures.

Cisco added therma-threading into The Flash costume. This allows Cisco to remotely super-heat Barry's costume in order to quickly melt any icy build-up.

The biggest challenge in Lewis Snart's heist is getting past a Draycon Systems keypad.

Lewis Snart injects thermite explosive into the necks of people in order to control them.

Barry determines, based on his examination of David Rutenberg's body, that his head was removed by an explosive. This is due to the thermite residue and the perforation around the neck being too jagged to suggest a cutting implement or weapon.

Jay Garrick once again refers to purifying heavy water without residual radiation.

Cisco detects traces of thermite on Lisa Snart's skin around her neck.

Barry determines the bomb casing injected into Lisa Snart must be made of some kind of ferromagnetic material. Caitlin plans to surgically remove the bomb as Barry holds it steady with a magnet. Cisco warns against this, saying that such a concentrated bomb will explode if exposed to magnetic friction and an oxidant.

Barry, in pretending to be a techie thief, refers to a diamond Snart stole a year earlier being locked behind an Amertek Industries Phase 3 Suppression Door with a Draycon XL-1218 keypad.

The gun Cisco builds to extract the bomb from Lisa Snart has an operating pressure of over 1,000 PSI. The only problem is that the gun uses compressed air, meaning there is a risk it could set the bomb off. Thankfully, it does not.

The Cold Gun is capable of disrupting a laser grid for somewhere between two and three minutes.

Jay Garrick was able to stabilize the breach using CFL Quark Matter - negative energy density with positive surface pressure. This is a breakthrough that Earth 2 perfected that Earth 1 has not.

Dialogue Triumphs

Professor Stein:
All right. No more tests today. All of you are leaving now. As am I. Cherish the gift of youth as I will go cherish my much-needed nap.

Captain Cold: You know what they say - "Live fast and die young".

Lisa Snart: The first time my father came after me I was 7. The second time I was 8. That's when I learned that a bottle hurts worse than a fist. He used to say he was trying to teach us lessons. I must have been a slower learner because the lessons never stopped.

Barry: You're a criminal, Snart. But you live by a code. It sounds to me like Lewis doesn't. Like he won't care if people die. That's why I can't leave this alone.
Captain Cold: Then everyone will know who The Flash is under that mask.
Barry: I don't care. I will take you down anyway. Both of you.
Captain Cold: We'll see about that. Thanks for dinner.
(Snart leaves the table, leaving Barry stuck with the check as the waitress walks up)

(As Barry walks into his hide-out)
Captain Cold: These visits are getting old.
Barry: Third time's the charm.

The Flash: Tell me this - what kind of man puts a bomb in his own daughter?
Lewis Snart: A very rich man.

(After Len shoots him through the chest with his cold gun)
Lewis Snart:
You're working with The Flash?  I thought you hated him?
Captain Cold: Not as much as... I hate you.
(Len kneels down by his now dead father.  Barry walks over and takes the cold gun away without a struggle)
The Flash: Lisa was safe. Why did you do that?
Captain Cold: He broke my sister's heart. Only fair I break his.

Barry: What's funny is that I finally figured out your secret.
Len: And what secret would that be?
Barry: You'd do anything to protect your sister.
Len: Well, I know your secret too. Better hope I don't talk in my sleep.
Barry: You won't. Today just proved what I've always known. There's good in you, Snart. And you don't have to admit it to me. But there's a part of you that knows you don't have to let your past define you. A part of you that really wants to be more than just a criminal
Len: So I should be a hero like you, Barry? What exactly does that pay again?
Barry: It's just a matter of time. Something you'll have a lot of in there.
Len: Not as much as you think. Be seeing you.


At CC Jitter's reopening, Iris refers to how Barry rebuilt the coffee bar at night and The Flash Day from 201.

Lisa refers to the events of 122 and how Captain Cold could have killed The Flash but didn't.

Cisco refers to the events of 116 and how he rebuilt The Cold Gun for Len Snart.

Lewis Snart's rap-sheet includes larceny, armed robbery, aggravated assault and assault with a deadly weapon.

Lewis Snart abused his daughter and son. He first hit his daughter when she was 7. She still has a scar on her right shoulder from the abuse.

Linda Park - Iris' fellow reporter, whom Barry briefly dated - is seen for the first time since 116.

Francine West was a drug addict who abandoned her family after Joe West checked her into rehab. He told everyone that she died and spent the next 20 years trying to forget her.

According to Jay Garrick, there are Big Belly Burger franchises on Earth 2.

There was also a Particle Accelerator Explosion that created the metahumans on Earth 2.

Barry uses the alias Sam when infiltrating Cold's gang.

Barry refers to Captain Cold's stealing The Kahndaq Dynasty Diamond in 104.

At the end of the episode, Len Snart is locked up in Iron Heights prison. Joe says he's already got Patty working on the paperwork to transfer Snart to the higher-security metahuman wing, even though Snart has no powers of his own.

Golden Glider remains at liberty.

According to Jay Garrick, Earth 2 has perfected the means of generating CFL Quark Matter.

Jay elects to remain on Earth 1 until Zoom is dealt with.

Professor Stein briefly manifests orange flames around his head and fists like Ronnie did in his Firestorm form. The fire briefly turns blue before Professor Stein passes out again.

At the end of the episode, we see Harrison Wells emerging from what appears to be the breach in the Star Labs basement.

The Bottom Line

A near-perfect episode, where even the weakest sections (i.e. the subplot with Joe's wife) are entertaining even if they do seem like padding. The entire cast is running on eight cylinders and the script is top-notch in every respect with a lot of great character moments and developments that show the cast is changing.

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