The Flash: Season 3 Episode 4 review – The New Rogues
A string of weird Harrison Wells alternatives from different Earths, a villain who can jump in and out of reflective surfaces and Barry literally getting stuck in a mirror made this week one of the strangest episodes of The Flash ever put to screen. Below you’ll find our spoiler-heavy review of last night’s episode.
The show has always been one to have its characters discuss the scientific reasoning behind the team’s devices, which is fine and sensible. We know a lot of the science here is fantasy, not factual, or that it is science that would take years for anyone to crack. This week is the first time, however, that we felt the writers were playing it a little too fast and loose with their scientific premises on the show.
From talk of worm holes being created out of reflections, to the other Mirror Master having a gun that makes objects 2D, to Cisco and Wells being able to simply send a signal out into the multiverse as easy as placing an ad online, all of it felt a little too unrealistic and wild to us. Combine the above with Barry literally being stuck inside a mirror for part of the episode (which, granted, probably did happen in the comics at some point – see the below image, for example) and it all felt a little too out there.
The variety Harrison Wells’ that provided auditions for the role that our Wells is looking for were way outside the scope of what one might realistically expect from alternate universes. It’s true that with the multiverse theory, all choices are played out in each universe, which means that Wells would indeed live very different lives in some. The experiences that you go through in life do shape your personality (nature versus nurture), but we would argue perhaps not to the degree that was shown here. If you look at the way that Barry’s Flashpoint adventures changed the timeline that he returned to, things might be different about the people but the people themselves are essentially the same.
This Wells parade was like seeing entirely different people with entirely different mindsets. As if we were watching Tom Cavanagh undertake one terrible Pantomime after the other. Where the writers went for comedy here we think this scene might better have been served by showing less drastic changes in the alternate Wells’ – in both dress and personalities. That being said, we don’t mind the Harrison calling himself “HR” so much (note that H.R. Wells is awful close to H.G. Wells) and his presence could provide some interesting interactions between him and our Wells.
The “welcome to Earth One” line was a nice touch and shouldn’t be swept over. This week Supergirl episode was titled ‘Welcome to Earth’. The use of that line in both shows might seem like happenstance, but we get the feel that the writers intentionally plant little parallels like this, with the intent of making each week feel like part of one greater whole (which it will be when Episode 8 arrives, although Supergirl won’t be involved).
This episode was supposed to be about The New Rogues, who are an established team of villains in the comic, yet this week it felt more like a duo of villains, as Mirror Master (whose dress sense is massively modernised, compared to the comic book costume) and Top (who the writers have gender-swapped here, placing Ashley Rickards in the role) shot around the city together, first looking for Captain Cold and then with other nefarious intent in mind. The gender swap implemented here with Top was no doubt a move to make these two a more closely bonded unit (having them be a couple). Again, the show suffers from its inability to cast these comic book villains even remotely similar to how they look in the comics, or to place them in any kind of recognisable costume (the striped skirt doesn’t count – we’d have much rathered they placed Rickards in a full costume like the below image).
Already the writers are having us lose Jesse (who oddly, is already almost as fast as Barry), just like they gave us Wally West for a short period of time and then took him away. In both respects, the writers seem reluctant to have other speedsters on the team and seem adamant to only have the spotlight be on Barry. We could understand if some fans of the Wally West and Jesse Quick comic book characters felt a little cheated with the way that the show has teased these two characters (as speedsters) for so long and then failed to provide either for any lengthy duration.
This week again addressed Barry and Iris’ relationship – this time how to find a way that both Joe and Barry are comfortable with this in their home. This conundrum only further reminded us, however, just how weird it is that Barry is dating Iris at all. Joe is the Foster Father of Barry, meaning that Barry and Iris (although not related) basically grew up together like siblings, which means that really Joe should have far more issue with their coupling than he does. The show has never really addressed this sibling factor and just treats their pairing like it’s entirely normal, whereas we would argue that growing up with someone like this would make you siblings in some fashion.
Ultimately, the only thing we’re excited about with The Flash at the moment is seeing Killer Frost fully return to our screens (we’re hoping Caitlin doesn’t stop the transformation), which indicates to us that something is terribly awry with this season. We miss the days of being completely and utterly glued to our screens, as we were in Season 1 and Season 2.
Image credits: The CW, DC