DC has an edge when it comes to creating villains. Out of the minds of its creators, we’ve been introduced to Deathstroke, Mr. Freeze, General Zod, and, of course, Zoom. These are the dark villains that’ll never change because they are evil at heart. But then there are those guys that straddle the line between good and not sure if they want to be evil. Men like Leonard Snart.
Leonard Snart a.k.a. Captain Cold didn’t have an easy life. He managed to survive an abusive father which, in turn, led him to a life of crime, a life he’d gotten pretty good at until he was recruited by Rip Hunter.
He made it very clear to the time-traveler that he had no interest in being a hero. That wasn’t the life he’d chosen for himself, and he had far too much fun stealing and outwitting the cops to change.
The New Beginning
Perhaps it was the idea of becoming a legend that appealed to him, but whatever the reason, Leonard Snart ended up on the Wave Rider, and that’s where his life began to change. The evolution wasn’t evident at first, but little by little, we saw glimpses of the hero even though he fought it every step of the way. But we weren’t the first ones to know Snart had a hero inside of him.
Remember the conversation he had with Barry on The Flash? It was clear Snart wanted to be a hero as much as he wanted to spend the rest of his life locked up, but Barry saw something inside of him that no one else saw.
As Barry said, it was only a matter of time, and though viewers like me got to enjoy the dark side of Leonard, we all collectively wanted to see the light emerge. And with each time jump the Wave Rider made, the rough edges of the man were hewn away, showing us his interior wasn’t as tough as his exterior. Remember the conversation he had with Sara when she had undertaken the mission to kill Stein?
The criminal Snart had been wouldn’t have given a rat’s behind about Sara pulling the trigger. He didn’t just talk her down because of what it would do to her, but he also wanted to save Stein’s life. Those aren’t the words of a hardened murderer. He was changing. And in fifteen episodes, Leonard Snart began to care more about people and less about himself.
He still played it tough, and even turned his cold weapon on Sara in his final episode, but even she knew he would never pull the trigger. He wasn’t that man any longer.
Finally a Hero
When he and Sara were hiding out from the Time Masters, Snart realized the path he’d chosen had been the wrong one. Maybe it was that moment when he knew he couldn’t change the man he’d been, but he could change the man he’d be.
When he made the choice to take Rory’s place, he chose to die, but he also chose to be remembered as more than just a lowlife thief with a hard past and a string of crimes behind him. He got his wish.
Leonard Snart is a perfect example of a guy who didn’t really know which side he wanted to be on. Choosing between good and didn’t come easily to him, but he stepped across the line into good when he saved the world from the Time Masters. He died as a good guy…a hero.