Of all of its TV superhero brethren, The Flash may be the one most overtly about family and the many forms it comes in. Sometimes family is the group you were born into, and at other times, it’s a group you find along the way. Either way, that family can grow and evolve, shift in ways you never expected, and force you into difficult situations.
And for the Snarts, those situations can involve the decision to kill your own father.
Yes, that dark turn of events comes into play during the “Family of Rogues” climax, but there are familial issues for both heroes and villains throughout the hour. Surprisingly, very little of it directly affects Barry — he’s more present throughout “Rogues” to facilitate those moments than to actually experience them himself.
The most pressing of those problems is the one facing the Snarts, and if there was any wonder where Leonard and Lisa learned their criminal ways, look no further than Papa Snart himself, Lewis (Michael Ironside). Lisa first comes to Team Flash because she believes her brother has been kidnapped, but as Barry soon learns, it’s Lisa’s father who’s taken Leonard hostage.
Lisa can’t quite understand why. She and her brother hate Lewis, so Leonard must have a good reason for leaving the dark side for the darker side. What makes Lewis an even more vile character than the usual Central City fare? Well, in addition to his robbing ways, he was an abusive alcoholic, as Lisa reveals during her on-and-off flirtmance with Cisco. Leonard essentially raised Lisa and, understandably, hates their father. So she wants to save him, and Team Flash is willing to do what they can.
Unfortunately, the reason for his actions becomes a life-and-death matter faster than Barry can run from Central City to Star City. (Okay, nothing’s that fast.) When the body of a known associate to the Snarts shows up with his head blown off, and after a conversation with Leonard reveals that, though he won’t cross the “no kill” line, his father is willing to, Barry suspects what’s at hand.
And a quick scan of Lisa’s head confirms it. Lewis has implanted an explosive inside his own daughter’s head — which makes Joe, even in the light of his lies, the damn father of the century in comparison — and is threatening Leonard into helping him so that his cold-hearted father won’t kill Lisa. If there’s any parental figure in Central willing to do it, it’s definitely Lewis, and so Team Flash has a two-part plan on their hands: Keep track of Lewis to make sure he doesn’t detonate the head bomb, and do everything in their power to remove the bomb from Lisa’s head.
Oh and did they mention the bomb will explode if it’s exposed to air? Yeah… This is going to be a tough one.
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To keep tabs on Snart, Barry goes undercover as an old associate of Leonard’s named Sam. (Their former tech guy sadly lost his cool. And his head.) Sam is a tech genius, willing to lend his particular set of skills to the Snart father-and-son duo on a heist…which happens to take place moments after he’s hired. Lewis seems suspicious of him from the start, but the conniving criminal who has reduced his son to such a sorry state that he barely makes a cold pun the entire episode is too self-assured to be worried.
Together, the trio sneaks into their target disguised as janitors, where Barry has to pull a split-second Flash maneuver to save two guards from meeting Lewis’ gun. He also uses his super speed to try every button combination on a security keypad until he eventually finds the right one. For all of Barry’s hard work, Lewis shoots him.
Cisco has been hard at work while the heist is afoot and is preparing a way to extract the bomb. He thinks he has it, but it involves a highly pressurized gun being pointed at the current object of his affection’s neck. He’s nervous about whether it will actually work, but he has little time to overthink his decisions when Barry radios in from the crime scene.
NEXT: One father does wrong by his daughter while another tries to do right by his.