TV Review: The Flash - Season 3 Episode 4 "The New Rogues"
EPISODE 4: "The New Rogues"
SYNOPSIS: Barry continues to train Jesse and when a new meta human, Mirror Master, appears on the scene he lets her tag along. Mirror Master has teamed up with his old partner, Top, and is looking for Snart to even a score. Jesse is quick to join the chase but defies one of Barry’s orders which results in disastrous consequences.
REVIEW: What the heck is going on with The Flash this season? For the second episode in a row, the former jewel of The CW's comic book series has fallen flat in comparison to virtually every episode of the first two years of the show. As talented as this cast is and as expansive the multiverse concept can be, The Flash has managed very little in the way of gravitas after a promising open pair of episodes. This latest episode introduced one of the more famous Flash villains in the form of Mirror Master but instead reduced him to a bad guy of the week instead of the major foe he could have been. The Flash needs to find it's footing and quick rather than build up an hour of subplots with a quick and easy resolution to a seemingly impervious bad guy.
In tonight's main storyline, former colleagues of Leonard Snart who gained powers in the particle accelerator explosion, the newly dubbed Mirror Master and Top should have made for very formidable baddies in Central City. Mirror Master, whom we learn has a doppleganger on Earth-2 who uses a dimensional ray gun, has the ability to travel in any reflective surface by creating wormholes. Top, his girlfriend, is able to induce crippling vertigo on anyone. Together, these two could have made for fun season long characters but are instead turned into pulpy and campy one and done villains straight out of the 1966 Batman TV series. They are a joke and, despite trapping Barry in a mirror for part ot the episode, the duo are dispatched with relative ease.
I understand that this series has some character development that is necessary but it has felt in the last couple of episodes that the writers are trying to cram as much exposition into these up front hours so the action can carry the rest of the season. Last week saw the return of Earth 2 Harrison Wells and Jesse Quick and this week sees their quick departure. While some weeks have elapsed between the two episodes narratively, for the audience it feels rushed. Jesse joins Barry on the trail of Mirror Master and her inexperience leads to Barry getting trapped in a mirror. Her questioning of her abilities serves as a hold in the plot to allow Jesse and Wally West to finally take the next step in their burgeoning romance. For us, it just feels boring. Forgive me, but I care as much about the temporary addition of Jesse to the team as I do about finding a replacement for Harrison Wells.
In another subplot of this hour, Cisco, Caitlyn, and Wells team to find a replacement Wells in the multiverse to take the place of their Earth-2 colleague. Searching through a breach using an algorithm riddle, the trio audition various parallels Wells doppelgangers that include a mime, a cowboy, and a steampunk version. No, you read that right: we see the world's lamest variations of the Wells character before settling on a hipster version whom Earth-2 Wells doesn't trust. But, by episode's end, Earth-2 Wells and Jesse return home and Earth-18 Wells is a part of the team. On one hand, this gives actor Tom Cavanaugh some more variation in his performance but for the viewer it just adds an unnecessary wrinkle to an ever-confusing roster of timelines and universes to keep straight.
The other subplot this week follows the weak Iris-Barry dating issues from last week. This time, the pair are uncomfortable kissing in front of Joe. This leads to an awkward conversation between Barry and his adoptive father that is meant to be played for laughs but ends up feeling forced. Joe even has his own goofy exchange with his potential love interest. The whole debacle ends with Barry deciding it is time to move out of the West home and get his own place. Of course, everyone agrees and laughs at the tension in the room. The episode ends with a scene showing Caitlyn showering and freezing the water. Her Killer Frost abilities are manifesting and resulting in blue lips and white hair. Clearly, with the synopsis for next week focused on Caitlyn, we will be seeing more of her backstory.
For every episode of The Flash that I loved over season one and two, there were only a sparse number of bad outings. So far in the third season, the show has one decent episode out of the first four and the prospects are not looking good. The Flash seems to be following the pattern of Arrow and reaching a point of diminishing returns in regards to plot. Flashpoint is feeling more and more wasted by the second, especially in the underused light of Alchemy who has not been an impact for two weeks in a row. If The Flash wants to get back on track, the writers need to focus on the main plotline and throw these silly side stories out of the way. Or, at the very least only focus on one at a time instead of trying to fill entire episodes with secondary story arcs.
NEXT ON THE FLASH: "Monster" airs Novembr 1st - Desperate to understand what is happening to her, Caitlin visits her mother, Dr. Tannhauser, a renowned biomedical researcher, in the hopes that her mother can provide some answers about Caitlin's growing meta-human powers. Meanwhile, after a mysterious new meta-human attacksCentral City, Barry tries to convince Julian to let him assist on the case.