Family of Rogues
Lisa Snart shows up at Jitters seeking the help of the STAR Labs crew when her brother is kidnapped during a caper. When Barry investigates he discovers that Leonard is working with his father, Lewis Snart (Michael Ironside), on a series of robberies. Lisa claims this is impossible, that Leonard hates their father due to his sadistic and abusive behavior toward them growing up. Assuming Leonard must not have a choice, the team continue to investigate until they discover the body of a technician with his head blown off and traces of the explosive thermite on his remains. Cisco discovers traces of thermite on Lisa, revealing that she has been injected with the same micro bomb as the technician. Lewis has Lisa’s life in his hands and is forcing Leonard to help him. Barry infiltrates the duo by posing as a new technician that Leonard brought in to replace the dead one. During the robbery Barry stalls for time and protects the bystanders from Lewis while Cisco removes the micro bomb from Lisa. As soon as Leonard hears that Lisa is safe he turns his cold gun on Lewis and kills him. Leonard goes to prison for the attempted robbery and murder of his father. But Lisa is safe and Barry now knows Leonard’s secret – that he has a good heart under his criminal career choice, and that it will only be a matter of time before he changes his ways.
Meanwhile, Jay constructs a speed cannon around the STAR Labs breach in order to link the two worlds. Caitlin convinces Jay to stay and help catch Zoom on their side before going home. Dr. Stein, seemingly recovered after some rest, has a relapse and ignites in blue flames before collapsing again. Joe, having maintained to Iris that her mother was dead, reveals that her drug addict mother is still alive and back in Central City. As the episode closes, Harrison Wells arrives at STAR Labs through the breach.
This show is pretty great at the casting game and Michael Ironside as Lewis Snart might just be the most inspired choice so far. I just can’t see Ironside and think of anything but David Cronenberg’s Scanners, and I can’t help but think his ability to explode people’s heads wasn’t a gleeful nod to his part in the cult classic movie. That being said, I am also enamored with Wentworth Miller’s line readings as Leonard Snart. There’s almost nothing natural about his delivery and yet his performance is always compelling, unexpected, and completely appropriate. It was also great to get some backstory on the siblings and what brought them to a life of crime. Lisa’s tale of abuse is heartbreaking and all too real for too many children.
Juxtaposed with the Snarts is always the seemingly perfect and perfectly happy Wests. It turns out, though, that Iris’s loving and sadly deceased mother turns out to have been not so loving and not at all dead. Joe hints at a trend of neglect and irresponsible behavior as Francine West struggled with drug addiction. When he checked her into rehab for the last time he found she had disappeared two days later and seemingly without a trace. Instead of letting Iris grow up struggling with the knowledge that she was abandoned by her mother, Joe instead maintained that she had died. Of course, Francine shows up twenty years later asking for forgiveness and the chance to see Iris. Joe must face Iris with the truth, frightened that she will never forgive him for hiding it from her. Iris, big hearted as ever, understands why Joe lied to her and forgives him immediately.
The Speed Cannon
With Caitlin’s help, physicist Jay Garrick develops and constructs the method by which he may be able to travel between worlds. The Speed Cannon stabilizes the doorways of the breach and creates a hallway, allowing the traveler to pass from one universe to another. Jay wants to return home immediately to stop Zoom, but Caitlin convinces him to stay, saying that he can stop Zoom from here while also acting as consultant for them. Caitlin, of course, just wants Jay to stay after forming an attachment to him. He agrees, but while the Speed Cannon is left unattended in the basement, World Two’s Harrison Wells comes through the breach into STAR Labs. What his story, intention, or affiliation is is yet to be determined. Will this Harrison Wells be a good man like the one who was killed by Eobard Thawne, or will he be an egomaniacal sociopath? Could this Harrison Wells be Zoom? Mysteries abound.