Another couple of characters showed up in this week’s The Flash episode, and it’s likely we’ll see them also in the next one. When Captain Cold and Heat Wave are planning their next heist, they target a rich couple who just bought in Europe a precious painting, Fire and Ice, and they steal the artwork from them upon their arrival at the airport. The two wealthy ones are Osgood and Rachel Rathaway, portrayed by James Ralph and Jane Craven respectively. When they arrive at the airport, they’re informed there’s a call from their son Hartley, but Osgood bluntly replies they don’t have a son anymore: things between them and their firstborn seem to be already been pretty deteriorated, but maybe this will change (in a way or the other) in the next episode, when Hartley will appear in flesh and bones. In the meanwhile, let’s see who his parents are in the comics.
Osgood Rathaway was the heir of a rich family in Keystone City, Kansas. When his father retired, he took up the direction of the company, and proved to be an even more skilled businessman than his father was, managing to increase the already remarkable wealth of his family. At a certain point in his life, Osgood met a girl, Rachel, another socialite who shared his cultural background; the two fell in love and got married, buying the house of their dreams (actually more a mansion than a normal house) just outside of Keystone City, a place in which the newlyweds could live in peace and tranquility, but close enough to the company to allow Osgood to intervene in case of necessity. Osgood and Rachel soon had a son, Hartley, the baby who would have inherited his father’s empire… but soon the doctors found out Hartley was born completely deaf. Worried for the hard life their son would have faced with his handicap, the Rathaways started looking for the best specialists in the world in order to find a cure for him, but their attempts didn’t bring any result. Finally, Osgood came in contact with Will Magnus, a genius engineer who had success where medicine had failed: with his futuristic technology, Magnus managed to cure Hartley’s condition, and to give him the sense of hearing. Osgood and Rachel were happy to finally have a son they could assure a normal life to… unfortunately, the new sense triggered something in the boy’s mind, and he became obsessed with sound, to the point that he used his remarkable intellect to focus on it only and to develop new techs on his own. In a few years, Hartley became the supervillain Pied Piper, much to his parents’ regret.
At first, Osgood and Rachel showed their son all the mercy and the forgiveness they could manage, hoping to help him regain his senses and come back home, leaving his new criminal career. Eventually, however, when it became clear Hartley was actually enjoying his new life more than his old one, the Rathaways decided to disinherit him, closing their doors to him once and for all. While the Pied Piper wrecked havoc wherever he went, Osgood and Rachel had another baby, this time a daughter, Jerrie. For a tragic irony, even Jerrie was born with a handicap, a developmental disorder: learning from their past, Osgood and Rachel didn’t look for any miracle cure, and accepted their daughter the way she was, helping her with all the affection and assistance she needed, but without “shortcuts”. Some year later, a financial crisis brought Osgood’s company almost to bankruptcy, and the businessman managed to save it only through the interested help of some disreputable “gentlemen”, associates of the crime boss known as The Turtle. The criminals’ usury threatened to bring Osgood’s company back to failure, so he tried to be smarter than his enemies and to use an account book against them: when the Turtle knew it, he sent some of his men to retrieve the book by any means. When the gangsters broke into the Rathaways’ mansion, they took Rachel and Jerrie as hostages, forcing Osgood to surrender the book to them: when everything seemed lost, the prodigal son came back home, and an alliance of the Pied Piper and The Flash sent away the Turtle and his men. Not only the Rathaways were saved from a financial breakdown, but they even gained back the long-lost son, who was now eager to prove he had reformed and he was a new man. Finally, the family was whole once again.
Osgood and Rachel Rathaway are among the richest people in Keystone City and in the entire country. Their main interest is their family, and they’re ready to do pretty much everything for the sake of their children, to the point of turning a natural concern into a detrimental over-protection.