Things are starting to settle down on The Flash this week – no crazy timeline paradoxes, for once! But we have a new bad guy in town – another old comics favorite, but with a twist! Let’s take a look at my Top 5 for episode 3.04, “The New Rogues”:
#5: Ugh, CW Relationship Drama
While this was a strong episode over all, the sub-plot of Barry (Grant Gustin) being unwilling to kiss Iris (Candice Patton) in front of Joe (Jesse L. Martin) was just annoying. First of all, the issue wasn’t just kissing her; he gave her a kiss in front of Joe earlier in this same episode! It was really about the fact that he didn’t want Joe to see them full-on making out – and really, that’s a perfectly reasonable attitude! No decent man wants their girlfriend’s father to see them sucking face, and especially not when her dad is also your foster father! This was by far the weakest, most annoying plot line of the episode; thank goodness they resolved it by having Barry move out and get his own place, where he and Iris can have some genuine alone time.
#4: Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall
We’ve got a new set of Rogues in Central City. Well, a pair, actually, since Captain Cold and Heat Wave (Leonard Snart, played by Wentworth Miller, and Mick Rory, played by Dominic Purcell) departed to join the Legends of Tomorrow, Weather Wizard (Mark Mardon, played by Liam McIntyre) and The Trickster (James Jesse, played by Mark Hamill) are in Iron Heights, and Golden Glider (Lisa Snart, played by Peyton List) is on the lam. But our new pair includes an old comic favorite, Mirror Master, aka Sam Scudder (Grey Damon), and his girlfriend The Top, aka Rosalind Dillon (Ashley Rickards).
Of course, the Mirror Master of the comics is a tech genius, who can travel through mirrors using holographic technology. The TV show has chosen to make him a meta, but there’s a nice nod to his comics incarnation when Wells (Tom Cavanagh) mentions that they have a Mirror Master on Earth-2 with just such a description. The downside, of course, is that this Mirror Master is not particularly bright. He’s not dumb, necessarily, just not the super genius that Barry and Wally have faced so many times in the comics. After all, he gets fooled pretty easily by the team’s hologram trick, projecting an ersatz Captain Cold to draw him into a trap. (By the way, how good was it to see Wentworth Miller again? I miss Captain Cold, especially after his too-short sojourn with the Legends.)
That being said, Mirror Master is a fairly enjoyable, if slightly thin, villain, and a welcome break from the Flashpoint/Alchemy storyline. The showrunners of The Flash have been pretty good about dishing out these palate-cleansers, keeping the tone of the show from getting too somber early on, then letting things pick up pace toward the end of the season. I do wish Mirror Master had exhibited slightly higher ambitions than killing Snart and robbing banks, however. Somehow, I imagine that will be addressed later in the season; I don’t think we’re done with the New Rogues.
#3: Jesse Be Nimble, Jesse Be Quick!
We finally get to see Jesse Wells (Violett Beane) suit up as Jesse Quick this week! As geeked out as I was to see her costume in the box at the end of last episode, it was really great to see the whole ensemble this week. Once again, a great, sleek, HDTV-friendly design; it doesn’t really match up with any of the costumes the comics have ever used for Jesse, but it nicely avoids any of the problems all of those costumes had with being designed, not for practicality or friction-proofing, but rather to satisfy the male gaze.
(Speaking of Jesse’s costume, why does every speedster get a cooler costume than Barry? It’s time to give the Scarlet Speedster an update, wardrobe department. Maybe add the gold belt, if nothing else.)
Jesse’s still a little green as a hero – not much different from Barry (Grant Gustin) himself in season 1, actually. Barry even makes a joke to himself about this, in fact, saying under his breath, “I’m Oliver [Queen], now!” When she fails to follow his instructions the first time they tangle with Mirror Master and The Top, she gets taken out, nearly killed, and gets Barry trapped in a mirror. The next outing goes much better, of course.
It’s really too bad the Wells aren’t sticking around a little longer; I was really looking forward to seeing a relationship develop between Jesse and Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale). Ah, well…
#2: The Many Faces of Harrison Wells
The part of the episode where they take a look at the messages from the various incarnations of Harrison Wells from across the multi-verse was hilarious. (As a part-time actor myself, I’m a little jealous of the fun Tom Cavanagh must have had shooting all of those.) I think my favorite was Old West Wells, with heartburn to boot.
I’m intrigued by the “new” Wells, from Earth-19. Having a Wells who likes jokes, and even makes them, is going to be a little different for the show, but I’ve always thought Cavanagh was a good comedic actor, so it should be fun. (Note that, apparently, Amelia doesn’t share my excitement for a jocular Wells.) The big question is, what will the double-cross with this Wells be? After all, Earth-1’s Wells turned out to be Eobard Thawne in disguise, and Earth-2’s Wells was trying to steal The Flash’s speed for Zoom, until he repented. We already saw a hint in the preview of next week’s episode that Earth-19’s Wells is also up to no good.
#1: The Winds of Winter
Caitlyn’s (Danielle Panabaker’s) struggle to hold back the development of her powers is almost lost. Her lips are turning blue, and her hair is going white. It won’t be long before she’s Killer Frost in appearance, if not in behavior. What is her path going to look like? Will she take a walk on the wild side, and end up having to be reigned in by Barry? Is she going to go full-blown villain, join up with The Rogues, and use her intimate knowledge of Barry’s secrets to make his life hell? I’m excited to find out.
Also, note that Wells-2 is highly suspicious of what’s happening; he tells Cisco (Carlos Valdes) right before his departure that the machine they built wasn’t cold enough to freeze the mirror and let Barry out.
I’m really eager to see Caitlyn’s storyline develop, and it looks like that’s the focus of next week’s episode, “Monster”. Come back for my thoughts on that episode next week!
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