‘The Flash’ Sneak Peek: Captain Cold Returns, Shantel VanSanten Talks Barry and Patty’s Chemistry

If you think your family reunions are chilly, wait until you see Captain Cold’s daddy issues.

Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller) returns to “The Flash” this week, and after meeting his sister Lisa (Peyton List) last season, we’re about to discover why the rotten apples didn’t fall far from the tree, with Michael Ironside guest-starring as the duo’s equally felonious father, Lewis.

Variety has an exclusive first look at Leonard and Lewis’ frosty working relationship, and we also caught up with season two cast addition Shantel VanSanten, who plays Joe West’s (Jesse L. Martin) new partner on the metahuman task force, Patty Spivot, who also shares an undeniable spark with Barry Allen (Grant Gustin). Below, VanSanten discusses Patty’s burgeoning relationship with our titular hero and finding her groove with Joe at the Central City Police Department.

Has Patty’s approach to metahumans changed, now that she’s had a very close encounter with one?

VanSanten: Patty’s part of CCPD and I think that in the realm of Central City right now, a lot of people are aware of metahuman occurrences… For her, it’s about having justice for her father’s death and even if she were to never get to Mardon [Liam McIntyre], it’s about taking down as many people who use their powers for negative reasons and trying to make the world a better place, even if she’s not The Flash.

It’s good to hear that distinction -that she really is focused only on taking down people who use their powers for negative reasons, rather than being mistrustful of all metahumans.

That’s the part that’s really cool – I think coming into a show where it’s all about superheroes, we all want to be the superhero, and it’s so interesting to see the things Barry struggles with, but as a normal human being, the things we can also do and to play a human being that doesn’t have the powers but has the will and the desire to fight against them is a really beautiful thing.

It seems like Joe is always going to be pretty paranoid about another one of his partners getting hurt, given his history – how long does it take them to find a rhythm together?

There’s a lot of people who are guarded in general in real life, and that bleeds over into the characters that we find in “The Flash” – everybody’s a little bit guarded, everybody has their secrets, and they’re not necessarily as quick to open up as Patty was; but for her, when Joe confronted her about Mardon, she had to tell him because of her desire to join the task force. I think there will be things that come up that will force Joe to open up to Patty and for their relationship to progress even further, because I kind of come in like a wildfire. I think it’s a lot for Joe to handle, but they eventually find their groove and it’s such a fun working relationship with [Jesse]; he’s so wonderful.

It’s nice to find someone who is a fan of Barry and the police work he does rather than a fan of The Flash and his heroics – does it seem like Barry appreciates how nerdy she is about his day job?

Oh yeah, that’s the fun part, all of the banter you get to see – the human side of Barry and the quirkiness that they each get to bring out in each other. I remember when we were shooting the first episode and that Holy Grail moment came along, we were like, “we’re just gonna go for it, we have to just go for it!” We find a lot of those light, fun, really great moments between us and our characters because at their core they’re really nerdy, love science and have the most random, amazing jokes that I hope the audience gets and can connect to. They’re really connected in that place and can be really goofy and funny, and yet, Patty can hold her own with a gun and go after metahumans if she needs to. So there’s a great balance and Barry and Patty bring out that side in each other, because they’re not gonna find that in Joe – he’s not gonna be making jokes with me. [Laughs.] It’s been really fun to explore and play those moments.

We’ll see their first date in the November 3 episode, what can you preview about that?

I would say it’s not a conventional first date, and when we both read it, it’s very Patty and Barry to me. And again, a lot of the things we do are really lighthearted and I’ve seen little parts of it and so has he, and we’re both really happy with the way it turned out, and we both feel really invested in the relationship our characters are forming.

How would you describe Barry and Patty’s relationship moving forward?

It’s one that started out from such a mutual, fun place, as we saw – the love of science and the goofy references. And her going after metahumans and him being CSI, they work hand in hand on a lot of things day to day. And knowing — me personally — that he has a secret, I think at a certain point things could get tricky, because at a certain point there’s only so much you can hide and you have to eventually tell, and I don’t know how that’s gonna go. We haven’t reached that point yet, so I’m excited to watch the evolution. Right now it’s been a lot of really goofy, fun, wonderful moments, and also very real and human. They both have secrets – she has a purpose behind it that I don’t think he necessarily knows about, and it’s nice to not see a dark side to everything sometimes, and to see the different ways people handle pain. They both have the loss of a parent, so to be able to connect on that level is something that’s really great for them.

Joe’s also going through some upheaval in his personal life thanks to the return of Francine (Vanessa Williams) – how does that affect him at work and his dynamic with Patty?

I think he keeps a lot of secrets. [Laughs.] There’s a lot of things he can’t tell me that he’s involved in, and as partners the biggest thing is communication and trust, so I think we’re gonna hit a few roadbumps and have to overcome some things and he’ll have to open up too. It almost feels like I have two relationships, like a work husband and somebody I’m dating outside of work. It’s kind of great to develop these relationships with both Grant and Jesse, who are such amazing actors, and I get to work with the best. And now we just keep crossing our fingers — me and Danielle [Panabaker] keep hoping that we get certain scenes together or we get to do stuff in episodes because some of that world is so hidden. It’s been so great and they’ve been so welcoming — the whole show has — so I love it over there, it’s like a newfound family.

We know that Patty has a vendetta against metahumans because of Mark Mardon – do you think she’ll be ready to face him, if and when she encounters him again?

I don’t know when or if that happens – I’ve tried to really trust Greg [Berlanti] and Andrew [Kreisberg] so I haven’t asked many questions, so when the scripts come I get really excited to read what’s next as if I’m a viewer watching it. I hope that she gets the chance to, and I hope she’s brave enough – I think Patty is such a strong female character and I’m so proud to be alive and be an actress when people are really writing for women right now. I know she has the guts to if she needed to, I just don’t know where her heart will lie, what she’ll actually be able to live with, so I’m excited to find out.

“The Flash” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.

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