The Flash‘s “Rogue” episodes, all featuring Leonard Snart (Captain Cold) and sometimes extending to his sometimes partner Mick Rory (Heatwave) and sister, Lisa Snart (Golden Glider), have been a little bit hit and miss. Though it has to be said that Wentworth Miller always puts in a great, though somewhat hammy, performance as Captain Cold. As the main non-meta human villains in the snow, all using special powered guns (ice, fire, and… gold, somehow?), they provide a nice reprieve from the fully super powered antagonists of other episodes. “Family of Rogues” is probably the best Rogues episode yet.
The last time we encountered the rogues was in Rogue Air, the penultimate episode of the first episode, where the Rogues agreed to help the Flash team transfer some metahuman prisoners out of Central City, but betrayed them in the process. This time Golden Glider seeks the Flash team out to locate Captain Cold, who has gone missing. They find him quickly enough only to find that he’s working with their father, Lewis Snart, a career criminal — though Golden Glider refuses to believe it at first. It turns out he wasn’t a very good dad, and is blackmailing Leonard to use his cold gun to help him with a big job by threatening Lisa’s safety. This A-plot then diverges into two, with a great sequence where Barry has to pretend to be a criminal, and a surprisingly intense sequence where Cisco has to find a way to negate the threat to Lisa’s life.
Speaking of dads Jesse L. Martin kills it as Joe West in this episode (as usual), His absent wife has returned to Central City after dropping off the map and abandoning him and Iris when she was only young. Unfortunately Joe told Iris she was dead so she didn’t think she was abandoned. Martin always manages to put a lot of emotion into Joe, and this story gives him a lot of material to work with. Also going on this episode — Caitlyn and Jay work on stablising the singularity breach in STAR Labs, and Dr. Stein continues to experience health problems in Robbie’s absence.
It’s a pretty tight episode, so not a lot happens besides the Rogues plot. But this tightness really makes the episode stick out. There’s not a lot of fluff. That was one of the downsides to some of the season 1 Rogues episodes — they had too many slow bits, too much downtime. This is pretty well structured, with genuine emotion and stakes. The stuff with Joe and his ex-wife is the biggest sub-story going on besides this, and it’s very well acted. It’s not clear how her reappearance will really affect the overall plot yet, but it’s hard to get worried about it when the human drama is as watchable as Martin makes it.
If this episode is the second season really beginning to get going then it’s more than welcomed. It’s very solid and a great watch, and proves that the team behind the show have really worked out how to improve on some of the first season’s elements.