THE NEW ROGUES
The New Rogues might be one of the most perfectly balanced episodes we’ve had of The Flash in ages. This week marked the debut of both Mirror Master (Friday Night Lights’ Grey Damon) and Top (Awkward’s Ashley Rickards). The duo were basically presented as Central City’s answer to Bonnie and Clyde, right down to the very retro-flavored wardrobe. But it sure did take a lot out of that first season playbook, which is just fine.Villain of the week episodes are unavoidable, and fortunately The Flash is uniquely suited to them. But as cool as the two looked, and as fun as their powers were to see in action, there really wasn’t much depth to Mirror Master or Top. They had no real motivations apart from a love of robbing banks and a vague desire for revenge against Leonard Snart. They mainly served to offer a on-the-job training for Jesse Quick.
For all of the great takes on classic Flash villains we saw during season one, Mirror Master was conspicuous by his absence, and The New Rogues was a great way to bring him in. I hate to say it took too long for the creators to introduce an original villain like the Mirror Master. But like Captain Cold’s introduction which coincidentally also came in the fourth episode of season one, the show demonstrates an understanding of the important flavours of Central City’s criminal element. These aren’t maniacs or mad scientists bent on world domination… they’re crooks. Kind of old school ones, with their own code of honour (sometimes), but mostly, they just want to line their pockets.
While Sam Scudder has a grudge with Leonard Snart, you can still see why they worked together in the first place (and why they may work together again… and you know damn well that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Wentworth Miller on these shows).
As for Jesse herself, it was fun seeing her in action alongside Flash once again . The visuals were terrific again, from Jesse Quick’s really cool costume to the actual super speed rundowns. (though why she only gets a flimsy domino mask where Barry and Wally get real masks is beyond me; She kinda reminds me of Tragectory).Hell, even the fight that kicked things off during the flashback sequences was one of the best pieces of hand-to-hand the show has ever done. It wouldn’t have been entirely out of place on Arrow.
But as good as that stuff looked, I feel the real gems came out of costume for Barry and the team. The stuff with Joe trying to come to terms with Barry and Iris dating was legitimately funny, from the super speed “we weren’t making out we were playing chess!” joke (complete with swapping the wine for a tallboy of beer) to Joe’s “I don’t love watching you two make out” delivery, to the exchange about Barry moving out (which I swear felt improvised, and Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, and Jesse Martin have exactly the right on-screen chemistry to make me believe it was)
Then again, so was the parade of Harrisons from the multiverse, which I would gladly watch more of given the opportunity.
So, this wasn’t a particularly weighty episode, and it really did almost zilch to advance the overall season three story, but it was fun. And even if Harry does sit out the rest of the season, at least we have a replacement. The hunt for a new Wells was easily the highlight of the week. It was really nice to see the characters themselves acknowledge how crucial Wells is to the Team Flash dynamic. I honestly think the show would lose something crucial if Wells were completely removed from the equation.
I think one of the many failings of season two was that it got so wrapped up in its multiversal concepts and the Zoom mystery that it forgot to just be a Flash show sometimes. So far, season three doesn’t seem to be in any danger of that. I’ll totally take more episodes like this if it means we don’t have to spend extra instalments agonising over the identity of Dr Alchemy or for payoffs that never come.