Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Flash Season 2, Episode 3: Family Of Rogues

This week The Flash takes a break from most of its ongoing storylines to check in on the Snart family. I have a sneaking suspicion this episode exists as a Captain Cold refresher course, in preparation for his appearance next year on The CW's Legends Of Tomorrow series.

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
Barry rescues Iris from a couple of thugs with guns in a fairly pointless cold open. At STAR Labs, the gang discusses the giant wormhole in their basement that leads to Earth 2. Jay Garrick wants to use it to get back home, but it needs to be stabilized first. Professor Stein seems OK after last week's health scare.

Lisa Snart, aka Golden Glider, approaches Barry and asks for help. She says her brother Captain Cold has been kidnapped, and wants Barry to find him. When Barry naturally asks why he'd want to help a known criminal, she reminds him that he owes Cold a big favor. So what's this favor, you ask? Cold knows Barry's secret identity and hasn't blabbed it to anyone. Big deal! Everyone on the show already knows that!

Anyhow, Barry agrees, and with Cisco's help, locates Captain Cold. It seems he's not actually been kidnapped, but is busy pulling a heist with his abusive father Lewis Snart (played by a perfectly cast Michael Ironside). Cold freezes Barry with his cold gun and escapes with his dad. Barry frees himself and returns to STAR Labs, where he gives Lisa the news. She says there's no way Cold would willingly work with their father, and thinks he's being forced into it.

Meanwhile, Joe tries to bribe his wife Francine into leaving town. She refuses, wanting to reconnect with Iris. Joe reluctantly tells Iris that her mother didn't actually die like he said, but was a drug addict who skipped out on them. Iris forgives him way too quickly for lying, and agrees to meet her deadbeat mom. I'm really hoping this dull as dishwater storyline is over quickly.

The Snart boys plan a new caper with the help of their tech expert Dave. When Dave sasses Captain Cold, Lewis activates a bomb he planted in his head and kills him. Barry and Officer Patty Spivot find the headless corpse the next day. This causes Barry to figure out why Cold's working with his dad. Lewis has placed also placed a bomb in Lisa's head, and he's blackmailing Cold into helping him.

Cisco, who you'll remember is sweet on "bad girl" Lisa, vows to figure out how to safely remove the bomb from herhead. Barry then infiltrates the Snart gang as their new tech guy, calling himself "Sam." Since Lewis has never seen Barry before, he buys his unlikely story. They sneak into a building and Cold and Barry use their powers to bypass the security. Once they're through, Lewis shoots Barry and seemingly kills him. He then opens a safe and steals a huge stash of diamonds. 

Barry, who actually caught the bullet as super speed and isn't dead, reappears and tells Lewis he's under arrest. Lewis orders Cold to kill Barry. When he hesitates, Lewis threatens to detonate the Lisa bomb. Just then Cisco successfully removes the bomb, and Cold uses his cold gun to kill Lewis.

Caitlin helps Jay stabilize the wormhole so he can get back to Earth 2, but talks him into staying a while. Professor Stein has another attack, and begins uncontrollably transforming into Firestorm. While everyone's occupied with that, the Earth 2 Harrison Wells steps through the wormhole and smiles an evil smile.

Thoughts:
• Iris apparently thinks she's Lois Lane now, and deliberately gets herself into trouble knowing the Flash will save her.

• When Barry runs into Patty Spivot in Jitters, she makes a Flash comment. He's taken aback at first, wondering how she knows his secret, but then realizes she doesn't and it was just a joke.

Don't worry. I predict by the mid-season break she'll figure it out. Everyone else on the show knows, so I don't see why she should be any different.

• In a related note, Cold knows Barry's secret identity, and uses the threat of exposure to manipulate him. I honestly don't know why Barry falls for this. Again, pretty much everyone in Central City knows Barry's the Flash, so it doesn't seem like Cold's got much in the way of dirt on him.

• Dr. Stein says "Excelsior!" again. Watch out, Professor! Stan Lee's gonna want royalties!

• When Joe meets with his "dead" wife Francine, she notices he's still wearing his wedding ring. Joe says, "Divorced men take their rings off. Widowers keep theirs on." Burrrrrrrrrrn!

• Iris finally does some reporting work at the newspaper. I was starting to wonder if she still had a job there or not.

• Michael Ironside was an inspired casting choice for a terrifying, abusive father with a fondness for implanting bombs in people and blowing their heads off.

Oh, Michael Ironside. You and your exploding heads (ten points if you get the Scanners reference).

• When Barry and the Snarts sneak into the hi-rise building, the guards are watching the Diamonds vs. Salamanders game. No clue which team, if either, is located in Central City.

• Is Captain Cold's hair really graying a bit, or are they coloring it to make him look... well, colder? I honestly can't tell.

• Caitlin continues to throw herself at Jay. Once again it apparently never occurs to her that if Jay can fall through a wormhole from Earth 2 to Earth 1, Ronnie could have done the reverse, and may still be alive.

• This episode is an absolute goldmine of preposterous comic book science. 

Cisco figures out a way to track Captain Cold's gun, saying instead of looking for infrared heat signatures, he's tracking ultraviolet cold signatures. So I guess in this universe, ultraviolet rays are cold?

Later during the diamond heist, Barry tells Lewis he can easily open an electronic Draycom keypad combination lock. He then does so by stealthily using his super speed to enter every possible code into the lock until he stumbles on the right one and opens it! Are you frakin' kidding me? There had to be millions of possible codes. Maybe tens of millions! And how did he know how many digits were in the code? The code could have been three digits, or five, or ten for all he knew. That would equal trillions of possibilities! Good thing it didn't lock him out after three tries, like my email does.

Once they get past the Draycom lock, they're confronted by a hallway guarded by dozens of intersecting red laser beams. No problem! Captain Cold steps up and uses his cold gun to freeze the beams. That's right, his gun can freeze a goddamned concentrated beam of light. And for the grand finale, he then calmly walks through all the frozen beams and they shatter and fall to the floor.

Jesus Jetskiing Christ! I have no words. Who the hell wrote this script, Ed Wood? I realize this is a comic book world, but that laser beam thing would make the Adam West Batman shake his head in disbelief.

• I was glad to see there were actual consequences to Cold murdering his father. Unlike last week, when Barry seemingly straight up killed Sand Demon.

• Barry visits Captain Cold in prison (wow, even the trials are fast in Central City! Ba DUM teesh!) and gives him the old, "I know there's good in you" speech. Which is odd, since Cold was, you know, locked up for murdering his father. But, no, you're right Barry, he's still got good in him. He's one of those good murderers.

• So Jay spends every waking hour building a machine to help him get back to Earth 2, but once it's up and running decides to stay. I guess it's the power of love keeping him here.

• Barry and the STAR Labs Gang seem quite impressed that Jay was able to stabilize the wormhole with CFL quark matter. I have no idea what that is, but according to Google it's apparently a real thing. Somehow I doubt it works like it did here though.

• Professor Stein has another attack and starts randomly transforming into Firestorm. Now that Robbie Amell, er, I mean Ronnie Raymond's left the show, Stein's going to need another partner to stabilize the Firestorm matrix. Enter Jason Rusch! We met Jason briefly last season in Revenge Of The Rogues. He and Ronnie worked on the F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M. project together. Jason was also an alternate version of Firestorm in the comics.

• The STAR Labbs Gang has a stable wormhole to another dimension in their basement. Instead of figuring out a way to lock it though, they all scamper off upstairs, leaving it wide open. Sounds about right.

• At the end of the episode, a shadowy figure emerges from the wormhole. It's the Harrison Wells of Earth 2!

I'm hoping he's not simply going to be the Earth 2 version of Harrison Wells/Eobard Thawne/Reverse Flash, because that could get old really fast.

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