This week’s episode of The Flash steps back from this season’s main story driver, that of the threat posed by Zoom and the breaches opening to a multiverse of worlds. That plotline isn’t forgotten. It’s just going to take Jay and Caitlin a little while to stabilize the wormhole that just so happens to sit in the Star Labs core. While we’re waiting for Cait to stop fawning over Jay and get to work, we get an episode devoted to setting up the next DC Comics/CW series, Legends of Tomorrow.
If you’re not familiar with Legends of Tomorrow, stop reading right now and check out the trailer on YouTube.
You back? Good. Now, we know that a few characters currently connected to The Flash are going to be making the jump to Legends. One of those characters, Leonard Snart, a.k.a. Captain Cold, a.k.a. Lenny, is featured in this episode. Lenny’s a tough nut to crack. He’s a bad guy. He has a bad sister. They’ve done some bad things, but they have a code. Lenny’s will steal anything of value that isn’t tied down —and anything that he can get untied– but he doesn’t wantonly kill innocent bystanders. Sure, he’ll jeopardize them by derailing a train, but kill them? Never.
Killing bad guys, though? That’s another story. In fact, the last time we saw Lenny, he had saved The Flash from another metahuman during a break out that Lenny engineered. So, Flash owes Lenny one. Somehow.
We kick off the episode with a fun action piece that this show does well, if sparingly. Iris is finally doing her job and being an investigative reporter. She’s checking out a shady real estate scam when she is trapped in an under construction high-rise. That’s what happens when you step up from running your own blog and decide to be a real reporter. (Note to self: no one ever got shot writing reviews of superhero shows.) It’s a good thing she has Flash’s cell on speed-dial. Barry tells Iris to jump out of a window, and in true superhero style, Barry catches Iris and brings her to safety. A fun way to introduce us to tonight’s very special episode theme of trusting in family and what decisions people are willing to make to protect the ones they love.
Everyone seems to be in a good place. Iris’ expose lands her on the front page of the paper. Caitlin has a new man to pine for, since that seems to be her primary motivation on this show. Jitters is back in business and naming drinks after the savior of Central City, as we find out from an “isn’t it cute” banter between Barry and Spivot. Patty Spivot. Even Cisco bumps into a woman he crushed on last season. Lisa Snart, a.k.a Golden Glider, a.k.a. Lenny’s sister.
It turns out that bad Lenny, bad Lisa, and Mick, a.k.a. Heatwave, were pulling a job when Lisa was knocked out and Lenny abducted. When Lisa woke up, Mick had pulled a Steve Miller Band and Lenny was gone. She needs Cisco and the Flash (but mostly Cisco) to help find Lenny and bring him home safe.
I guess not everyone’s having such a great day after all.
That includes Joe. Fed up that Joe has been avoiding her calls, Joe’s ex wife, a.k.a. Iris’ mother, a.k.a. Francine, breezes back into Central City and says that she’s here because Iris needs her to help cope with Eddie’s death. Which happened six months ago. I know, sounds pretty implausible, right? Must sound that way to Joe, too, who tells Francine to hop the next train to Star City and not come back.
Joe wants to tell Iris everything, but doesn’t want to spoil the good times coming her way at the newspaper. So, he does the next best thing and tells Barry. I appreciate this scene between Joe and Barry. Jesse L. Martin does a great job with the role of Joe West, and I bought into his performance here and his reasons for telling Iris that her mother died. The problem I have, as we here at GeekDad have pointed out time after time, that this feels like another example of “let us men decide what to do to protect the women folk”. Barry tells Joe that it’s time to come clean to Iris. She’ll forgive her father. Iris is a grown woman now. She doesn’t need protecting anymore.
Except when she calls saying she needs protecting because she was made by some heavies with guns while working on a piece for the newspaper.
Barry and Cisco (mostly Cisco) find Lenny, but he doesn’t want to be saved. Lenny has a new gig working for his old man. When Barry breaks the news to Lisa, she says that can’t be. Bad Lenny and bad Lisa have an even worse father. Lewis Snart, a.k.a. — aw, you get it by now. Lisa tells Cisco that bad dad Snart used to beat Lisa and that it was Lenny who had protected her and raised her to be the fine upstanding citizen she is today. No? Well, at least Lenny passed on that Snart family code of not killing innocents while you rob them blind.
And it’s a good thing Lenny instilled that lesson in Lisa, because bad dad Snart doesn’t abide by any such code. In fact, bad dad Snart has even gone so far as to plant an explosive in little Lisa’s neck. A bomb with the capability to blow Lisa’s head clean off, as bad dad Snart demonstrates for Lenny. (Okay, maybe “clean off” is the wrong phrase to describe decapitation by explosive.)
Barry understands. Joe made some questionable choices in order to protect Iris, to keep her from turning out like Lenny and Lisa. Lenny’s stuck in a similar situation, forced to play nice with bad dad in order to protect Lisa. So, Barry offers a solution. Now that Team Snart is down a tech guy, Barry goes undercover and poses as a criminal tech genius, claiming to have worked with Lenny in the past. Lenny goes along with the story, both because he is desperate to save Lisa and, I think, in part because he wants to see how all of this will play out.
Barry does double duty, convincing bad dad Snart that Barry is a criminal, and saving the innocent security guards from taking a bullet. What does Barry get in return? Said bullet. Only he didn’t, did he. There has been some discussion among the GeekDads about the questionable science here… how is it that Barry can catch a bullet and sell having been shot here, but Lenny always gets the drop on Barry with his cold gun? Shouldn’t Barry be able to outrun Lenny whenever Lenny draws? Even if Lenny catches Barry off guard, shouldn’t Barry be able to hear the weapon firing or feel the temperature change before being blasted and get out of the way?
Continuing down the questionable science path, Lenny uses his cold gun (“it’s not a freeze gun, it’s a cold gun”) to freeze… uh, cold the security system’s laser beams, which are made out of light and any small particles in the air that reflect the light. Hmm. In doing to, somehow the security system is froz–I mean, coldified(?)– so that it takes 2 minutes to thaw out. Which turns out to be just long enough for Cisco (completely, totally, and only Cisco) to remove the bomb from Lisa’s neck. Barry lets Lenny know that Lisa is safe. Good job guys. Let’s wrap this up and get to the preview for next week.
Wrong. Remember what I said about Lenny’s code not extending to the bad guys? In order to make sure that bad dad Snart can never hurt Lisa again, Lenny blasts bad dad Snart with the cold gun. Barry’s reaction? “That’s how we do it on season two, Lenny. Heroes kill bad guys. And you’re not just going to be a hero Lenny. You’re going to be a Legend.” Alright, I might have exaggerated a bit, but not much.
One set of family issues down, one to go.
Joe comes clean to Iris about her mother. Again, I buy Joe’s rationale for the decision he made to tell Iris that her mother was dead. What I don’t buy is Iris’ quick forgiveness. I mean, she held a grudge against Barry most of season one for essentially the same thing that Joe confesses to. Lying to protect Iris. Maybe Iris has grown from last season. Maybe this is character development! Do you think? Or, is it just weak writing for the sake of connecting plot point A to plot point B? Only time will tell.
Finally, back at Star Labs, Cait and Jay have the wormhole stabilized, creating a Speed Cannon between our world and whatever is on the other side. What to do? Send Jay back to his world, assuming that is the world on the other side of the Star Labs breach? Nah. Cait’s doe eyes and Barry’s “man, it sure would be cool if you hung around” keep Jay on Earth-1 for at least one more episode. How about we send Barry through? He could pop over, check out the other world, and be back in a matter of minutes? No again. Professor Stein –he of the moderately high blood pressure– says let’s call it a day, this episode is almost over. Then, Professor Stein collapses, going Firestorm red and Firestorm blue.
I sure hope they find a way to save him before Legends of Tomorrow premiers.