May 6, 2019
The Flash: Family is Terrible
Previously on The Flash: The Rogues are a thing, Jay Garrick from Earth-2 is in Earth-1, and there’s a huge dimensional breach inside STAR Labs.
Barry is working late in the Worst Lab Ever, doing something that involves water with red food coloring and an Erlenmeyer flask, but no clean surfaces. Iris calls, and he puts her on speaker; she’s in an abandoned building with gunshots ringing out. Despite being faster than a falling flask, Barry drops his important forensics work that could mean the difference between guilty and innocent and instructs her to jump out a window. She isn’t super excited about that idea, but she does it. Of course Barry catches her on the way down, then runs back up to take the guns away from the baddies (Iris uncovered their real estate scam). Crisis averted!
At STARLS, Team Flash (minus Joe) examines the wormhole in their basement. It’s very glowy and CGI-y, but it’s not functional. Everything Cisco tries to throw through it (including Barry) bounces back. Martin and Jay hypothesize that it’s not stable, so the team realizes they need to stabilize their end and probably the way through will stabilize too. Jay is obviously very invested in the functionality of the so-called “speed cannon” (comic check: if the writers are clever, this is a reference to a machine on a planet called Savoth that was supposed to be a defensive weapon but instead brought Jay to the planet, which he helped defend), but Martin dismisses the team, telling them all to go live while they’re young while he has a nap. He’s wearing a monitor after collapsing last episode, but the only symptom he has is increased blood pressure.
Joe meets with Francine, the mystery woman (okay, it’s not a mystery; she’s Joe’s ex-wife and Iris’ mother) from last episode. She is interested to see he’s still wearing his wedding ring, but he tells her that widowers don’t take their rings off, divorced men do. He also gives her an envelope of money and tells her she has two days to get out of town. She’s incredulous, but he points out that last time she walked away from her daughter for free.
Cisco, Caitlin, Iris, and Barry head to Jitters to partake of their new beverage “The Flash” (clever, Jitters), which is coffee with a shot of espresso. Caitlin is jittery about Martin’s dizzy spell, still, and steps away to call and check on him while a familiar woman brushes past Cisco – it’s Lisa Snart, a.k.a. Golden Glider, and her usual flirtatious behavior is clearly forced. She needs Team Flash’s help: Leonard, a.k.a. Captain Cold, has been kidnapped. Team Flash should care about this because…?
At STARLS, Lisa tells the team that she, Cold, and Heat Flash were robbing the racetrack cashier. Mick was burning through the side wall to get at the cash, but when she looked back, Cold was being thrown into a van. Before she could pursue, she was hit from behind and knocked out, and when she woke up, he and Mick were both gone. She says Mick ran off with the money, but I don’t see how we know he didn’t get kidnapped too. The team is reluctant, but Cisco’s Cold Gun Tracking System picked up activity eight minutes prior, so Barry runs off to investigate.
He ends up in an office building. Sure enough, Leonard is there, but he doesn’t seem to be under duress. He’s examining/stealing blueprints, and Barry is a little confused what with the whole kidnapping thing. Cold takes advantage of his confusion to freeze him from the neck down, and Barry gets to watch while an old guy wanders in to see what’s taking so long — Leonard calls him “dad.” (Comic check: general comic canon says that Papa Snart is an abusive drunkard; his name is Lawrence though IMDB lists the show version as Lewis). Luckily, Cisco has built thermal threading into the latest Flash suit, and he’s able to remotely melt the ice encasing Barry. Somehow that doesn’t also melt Barry.
Back at STARLS, the team is a little annoyed that Leonard was not under duress and was pulling a job with his old man, but Lisa is genuinely startled by the news. She reveals that Lewis is also an abusive drunkard in this universe and shows the team a scar he gave her. She retreats, but Cisco follows. She tells him that Leonard must be in trouble if he’s with their dad. Cisco agrees they’ll find out what’s going on.
Joe comes to visit Iris at the newsroom. He’s gearing up to tell her about her mother being in town, but Linda comes to tell Iris that they need her story and pictures ASAP because they’re going on the front page. Wait, doesn’t Linda work on the sports desk? Anyway, the distraction is all Joe needs to not tell Iris anything.
Barry goes to visit Leonard at the dive bar the Rogues favor. He tells Leonard he can’t leave things alone because he doesn’t think Lewis will care if people die, and predictably Leonard says he’ll tell everyone Barry’s the Flash. Barry says that doesn’t matter. Ultimately, it’s a nonproductive conversation where Barry gets no information about what Leonard is doing with his dad, but he does get to pay for Leonard’s dinner, so there’s that.
Joe calls Barry over to ‘fess up about Francine. It’s still not clear from their conversation what happened – Barry says Joe was reasonable to worry about Francine raising Iris because look how Leonard and Lisa turned out, which implies that Joe sent Francine away, but also implies she was an abusive drunkard? And yet from Joe and Francine’s conversation, it sounded like she left of her own accord when Iris was a baby. Either way, Barry tells Joe he has to tell Iris the truth.
Leonard and Lewis are planning their score, or rather, Lewis is. There’s a chance the guards will get killed; Leonard has a suggestion to avoid the guards altogether, but Lewis doesn’t care because there are casualties in this line of work. Their third criminal, the apparent tech henchman, talks back to Leonard, so Lewis kills him by blowing his head up with a little whining device. Neat!
Patty, Joe, and Barry investigate the headless henchman the next day, and Barry finds traces of bomb residue around the headsplosion: apparently Lewis fitted him with a tiny head-bomb? Barry insists to Joe that Leonard wouldn’t kill people even if Dad put a head bomb on him, but then they realize that the bomb probably isn’t on him — it’s on Lisa.
Caitlin brings Jay fast food down where he’s working on the wormhole, and he laments losing his speed a little. She tries to cheer him up, saying that he has just as much to contribute to the world as a physicist as a superhero, and he almost believes her, suggesting she help him with the wormhole stabilizing door. But before she can agree, Cisco calls her up to the cortex – indeed Lisa does have a bomb in her head.
Iris gets to the West home on the power of Joe’s cryptic message, and it’s time for The Talk. The real story is somewhere in between my guesses: when Iris was tiny, Francine overdosed while home alone with her, and Iris called it in. When Joe and his partner got to the house, the stove was on and Francine was unresponsive. Joe checked her into rehab (again, apparently), but she disappeared a few days later. When he couldn’t find her, he decided to tell Iris she died so Iris wouldn’t feel abandoned. Iris is, of course, a little floored by this information, but she tells Joe she understands, that he was just trying to protect her.
In the Cortex, Barry and Caitlin are trying to locate the bomb exactly so Caitlin can extract it, but Cisco quickly nixes that plan – it’ll explode if it comes in contact with air. Cisco swears they can figure out a way to get it out, but in the meantime, they need to keep an eye on Lewis to make sure he doesn’t blow Lisa up. Barry has the perfect plan: the crew needs a new tech guy, so he’ll just infiltrate.
Barry shows up at Lewis and Leonard’s hideout (how he knows where that is is a mystery) and tells Leonard they’re working on getting the bomb out. But then Lewis comes in, and he quickly introduces himself as Sam the tech guy. He does have enough technobabble to sound convincing, and Lewis agrees (apparently without injecting a bomb into his head first). Off they go for mystery theft!
They head into an office building, and Barry convinces the desk guards, who are much more interested in watching the Central City Diamonds play the Keystone City Salamanders, let them upstairs even though their badges don’t scan properly. On the 27th floor, he has to speed away the guards before Lewis tries to shoot them, and then he “bypasses” the security keypad by, I think, trying every potential security code but really fast. But then Lewis shoots him. Given how awkwardly weird Barry looks when he falls over, he probably caught the bullet, but he stays still; even Leonard looks vaguely sorry as the elevator doors close.
In the Cortex, Cisco has created a high-powered gun that will suck the bomb out of Lisa’s neck and safely deliver it to a vacuum canister, but it does use compressed air, so there’s a bit of a risk of explosion. Meanwhile, Leonard freezes the motion detection lasers. If his gun can freeze literal light, I feel like encasing Barry neck to toe would’ve been a little more than inconvenient earlier, so I guess the gun has settings. Lewis cracks the safe in about ten seconds and retrieves the diamonds inside, but Barry speeds up to stop it. There’s a decently tense standoff where Lewis is ordering Leonard to kill Barry while holding the detonator to kill Lisa and Cisco has the vacuum gun to Lisa’s neck, but it all works out: Cisco extracts the bomb and Leonard flash-freezes Lewis’ heart.
Barry visits Leonard in Iron Heights, and he knows his secret: he’d do anything to protect Lisa, and there’s totally good in him. Leonard scoffs, but all the rest of us know it too, so whatever, Captain Lukewarm. We all also know he’ll be out of Iron Heights in no time.
Patty and Barry flirt totally awkwardly in Jitters, and it’s kinda cute, which I hate. Speaking of cute that I hate, Lisa says goodbye and thank you to Cisco, and they even kiss.
Meanwhile, Jay has been in the basement the entire episode, and the wormhole is stabilized! Martin throws his heart monitor through the wormhole and it doesn’t bounce back, so they assume that means it’s totally working, which seems a little premature, but okay. Jay considers going home immediately, but they convince him that he can catch Zoom from Earth-1 because they need speedster tips since their mentor turned out to be an evil megalomaniac, and also because he looks good shirtless. Jay agrees incredibly easily. He heads off to shower and visit the sun, and Caitlin asks Martin how he’s feeling — he’s fine, he says, just needed rest, but of course he’s not. He stutters and then suddenly goes up in Firestorm-esque flames, first orange, then blue, and then he passes out.
And down at the stable wormhole, which the team apparently forgot was a door that goes both ways (where’s Hawkeye when you need him), someone comes through: hi, Harrison!
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