The Flash (The CW): S3 E4 - "The New Rogues"
Did I Mention The CW's "The Flash?"
One of these things might not be like the others, but yes, I am doing recaps of The Flash this season.
have watched every episode of the show since its inception and I find it both a starkly different (lighter) take on Superheroes but also occasionally provocative (sometimes in ways that the writers might not have intended).
If you haven't read last week's recap, read about Magenta here.
As always, if you have not watched S3 E3 "The New Rogues," watch it and then come back immediately, in other words, * Spoiler Alert *
Romance is in the Air in Flash Town (Central City)
You hear talk about The Flash having too many speedsters but on this episode, it was almost a case of too many romances.
I started covering The Flash because it was starting to really delve into some interesting science-fiction areas (time paradox, multiple timelines, string theory etc.) and because I thought the characters, while refreshingly less brooding, were starting to gain depth and heft.
I am starting to think that because of so-so initial ratings they are starting to backtrack back to more comfortable territory like one-off villains and Archie and Veronica interactions.
Oh right, I was talking about the possibility of too many romances.
So, we had:
Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris (Candice Patton) struggling over being intimate in front of their father/step-father Joe (Jesse L. Martin).
Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) and Jesse "Quick" Harrison (Violett Beane) struggling over being one heart beating on different planets
Joe and Cecile Horton (Danielle Nicolet) are making goo-goo eyes at each other throughout the entire episode.
And, finally, Rosalind "Top" Dillon (Ashley Rickards) and Sam "Mirror Master" Scudder are also madly in love (which is a nice trick since in the comics they were both presumptively heterosexual males and Top's name was Roscoe Dillon).
In fairness, more female superhero characters is almost always a good idea, I am certainly not complaining at all. In other words, I totally support this move, but I don't understand why they reduced her "Top" powers to only inducing Vertigo (as I remember it the Vertigo power came much later and had nothing to do with the Top's origin story - someone who is more of a Flash expert can correct me if I am wrong).
Anyway, there is so much love in the air of Episode 4 you would think that we were watching the show in February, not October and one wonders why the episode was titled "The New Rogues."
The New Rogues?
Okay, the CW writers are kind of a playing with us on the history here, because the only time during the "New Rogues" episode where the three members of the traditional comic book "Rogues" - Leonard "Captain Cold" Snart (Wentworth Miller), Mirror Master, and Top - are together is before the three of them obtain their powers.
Okay, so believe it or not, three years ago, at the precise moment when Mr. Snart was about to shoot Sam Scudder in the head, Star Labs exploded and the resulting spew of dark matter gave Barry, Top, Scudder, and many others their powers (Scudder, for example, was absorbed by the mirror that he was lying on where he remained trapped until the beginning of this episode).
Now, that is some fortuitous timing.
Anyway, Mr. Snart was going to shoot Mr. Scudder because he had broken some of the rules of their little gang which is a nod to the Rogues who did actually have a bunch of rules (especially odd for a group of super-villains).
So, Mirror Master gets on Team Flash's radar because he shows up and immediately tries to get his revenge on Mr. Snart (he tried to find out where Captain Cold was from an old acquaintance and when the acquaintance did not know where he was, Mirror Master tossed him out of a window).
Anyway, after Mr. Scudder originally disappeared, we know what happened to Mr. Snart (and his Sister) but the Top ran afoul of the law and ended up in the Iron Heights prison metahuman wing where Joe West goes to find out what she knows about Scudder.
Scudder shows up as Mirror Master and breaks her out by disappearing the both of them into the window of her cell (somehow, this allows him to escape even though later he has to follow a pathway through other windows or mirrors).
Scudder and Dillons regroup and decide to recommit to the life of crime they were living before the Star Labs explosion. Dillons alerts Scudder to her new powers and gives him the down low on the existence of The Flash.
A Very "Quick" Education
Ostensibly, the main reason for Jesse and her Father Harry Wells (Tom Cavanagh, remember Harrison was the second reverse Flash and Harry is the "Earth 2" Harrison Wells) is to get some speed-force training from Barry (I actually thought they were leaving after the conclusion of last week's episode but I was clearly wrong).
So, training they do.
Barry tells Jesse that she has to be smart about how she uses her speed and think before she rushes into a situation that she might not be ready for (afterwards, in a funny aside, Barry says saying that made him feel like Oliver).
In many ways, this discussion is a microcosm of my biggest complaint about the show, ignoring speedster strategy.
Barry is supposed to be a really smart guy and he is surrounded by theoretical physics level scientists but I still always have a nagging feeling that nothing that any of them do is particularly smart.
I have beaten Flashpoint to death at this point, but try to think of a moment when Barry did something strategic? Usually, despite all of the science and all of the support from "geniuses" Barry mostly is just trying to get faster.
I feel like he mostly tries to "Brute Speed" most of the obstacles that he faces.
In fairness, this episode actually does demonstrate some application of strategy by Barry, so I am hopeful that his mental capabilities will be used more to counteract what seems to be a neverending stream of people with speed-force capabilities.
Anyway, what happens next?
Team Flash get an alert that the Top and Mirror Master are robbing banks so they attempt to stop them. Barry tells Jesse not to follow him as he chases the "rogue" duo but she ignores his advice only to get "vertigoed" by the Top forcing Barry to break off his pursuit of Mirror Master in order to save Jesse from falling to her death from the top of a building.
While Barry's attention is on Jesse, Mirror Master shows up, grabs Barry, and throws Barry into a mirror and leaves him trapped there.
Now, I am not really sure how all of this works, but somehow that mirror or another mirror with Barry inside of it end up at Star Labs where Harry and Cisco (Carlos Valdez) are working out a way to get Barry out. They decide that freezing the mirror is the best method but they are unable to put together a machine that gets cold enough to freeze the mirror to the temperature necessary to free Barry.
They get distracted for a few minutes, and as they do, Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) walks over and uses her burgeoning freezing powers on the mirror. From the look on her face, she is starting to have a hard time controlling her powers (that nobody else on Team Flash even knows that he has). Caitlin approached the mirror from an angle Barry couldn't see her from but her efforts freed him.
Anyway, Barry's experience living inside the mirror helped him come up with a plan for fighting Mirror Master.
Captain Cold, and Meet Harrison, Harry, HR Wells
So, Barry's plan boils down to using holograms projections of Captain Cold to lure Mirror Master into an infinite mirror set-up. Barry correctly banks on Mirror Master's hatred of Mr. Snart, and ironic ignorance of mirrors, to trap him back inside a never ending set of reflections.
Also, Jesse Quick takes on the Top again and wins. Jesse says she learned a quick lesson, but it is not entirely clear what she did differently in the second encounter to overcome vertigo (it is possible I missed something here).
Like I said before, I do like that The Flash was being more strategic in encountering this episode's metahumans. I am not sure I like how quickly they dispose of enemies that traditionally provided a real challenge to the comic book Flash.
This episode also entirely avoided the larger season-long storylines of Alchemy and there was no appearance by Malfoy (okay that is not fair, poor guy probably hears that every day). There was no appearance by "metahuman expert" Julian Albert (Tom Felton).
There was, however, time for the introduction of HR Wells.
Sometimes This Show Gives Me The CC Jitters
In Season 1 we were introduced to the evil Dr. Harrison Wells who had assumed the identity of the reverse-flash (Eobard Thawne).
In Season 2 we met Dr. Harrison "Harry" Wells, the much more taciturn but just as clever Earth 2 version of Wells.
Since Harry has decided to take Jesse and go back to Earth 2, he suggests that Team Flash send a message out into the multiverse (all the alternative Earth's and timelines) to find a different Harrison Wells who is willing to come to Earth 1 and work with Team Flash fighting crime.
It appears that nobody, including but not limited to Wells learned anything about the problems that crossing these time and space lines can cause. Wells concocts an intricate galactic help wanted ad and sends it out to the multiverse.
Team Flash get responses from but decline offers from:
* An Old West Wells
* A French mime Wells (I can't make this stuff up)
* An uptight military-style Wells.
But, they ultimately decide on working with what seems to be a Nickolodian (not a Nick at Night) hip-hop version of Wells that for some reason Caitlin and Cisco like?
Turns out he likes to be called HR.
I am sure he will be awesome (sigh).
I do not enjoy Wells being the comic relief.
For the first two seasons, Tom Cavanagh was the one thing, the crucial glue, that truly grounded the entire show. Kind of like famous actors like Richard Harris and Dame Maggie Smith grounded the early Harry Potter films.
In other words, I hope this is not foreshadowing of the arrival of a "goofy" Wells for the duration of Season 3.
Oh right, and at the very end of the episode, Caitlin accidentally turns her shower into a deep freeze. I feel like they are trying to suggest that the onset of her powers is an ominous force. I am not sure I understand why this is the case? And why does she seem so reluctant to share what is happening with her (she is part of a team that supports a superhero for goodness sakes?)
Even if she can't control her powers, she can certainly "learn" how to control and use them (like every other superhero ever - does the DC universe have something like Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters? Blizzard, anyone?).
It doesn't even make sense in her own timeline. Time after time she has met versions of the same people from different "Earth's" who use the same power-set for good or for evil alternatively. Why would she assume because on Earth 2 Killer Frost was evil that means she has to be evil if she has the same powers (she just was hanging with Harry and HR Wells despite first meeting Harrison Wells who was evil).
Well, that does it for this episode of The Flash.
Until next week (hope was aren't getting close to when the CW starts taking multiple weeks and months off).
What did you think of The New Rogues episode?
Were you happy that they reversed the Rogues storyline?
Did you want Mirror Master and the Top to be more than just a one-off?
Let me know what you think, leave a comment!