This week’s Flash begins with a bit of a flashback (no pun intended for once). We see more events the night of the infamous particle accelerator explosion at STAR Labs. Interestingly I didn’t realize that Captain Cold/Leonard Snart had his trademark gun back then. In fact, I’m pretty sure I remember Cisco invented it after Barry got his powers as a way to stop him if he had to. So I guess this is somehow a ripple from Flashpoint, although that seems a bit thin since these events happened so long before Barry started time traveling.
At any rate, also present are Sam Scudder and Rosalind Dillon. In the comics, Sam Scudder is the original Mirror Master, and Roscoe Dillon is the Top, both members of Flash’s Rogues Gallery. Here, Roscoe has become Rosalind, and both of them get affected when the dark matter wave rolls through Central City. Scudder falls into a mirror, and comes out years later, although for him, no time passed. He now has mirror based powers, and Rosalind has gained essentially super-vertigo projecting powers, a bit like Count Vertigo, the recurring Green Arrow foe in the comics.
While Scudder is dealing with his return and figuring out his powers (why doesn’t that set off Cisco’s metahuman ap?), Joe and Barry are showing the footage of Clariss’ death to the rest of Team Flash. Theories abound, but there’s a shortage of hard facts. Since they can’t make progress on this, Jessie and Barry go train. Wells mentions he wants to go home, and this leads to a discussion that ends up with the weirdest “Help wanted” project ever, as Cisco, Caitlin, and Wells send a hugely complicated puzzle out into the multiverse to see which alternate Wells answer. Barry pulls a trick on Jessie in training to show her the value of checking things out, rattles off a few pointers, then says, “Oh my God, I’m becoming Oliver.”
A recurring theme of the episode is romantic awkwardness. There’s a lot of it with Barry and Iris, some with Wally and Jessie, and then a bit with Joe and DA Cecile Horton, just to round things out. Cecile is a new character, who we either just never happened to see before or another ripple from Flashpoint. It’s kind of hard to tell at this point.
Mirror Master, as Scudder is eventually dubbed in a name-off between Cisco and Wells, is searching for Snart, not realizing Snart’s been gone for a while now with the Legends of Tomorrow. It’s a decent bit of writing and some nice continuity. Eventually, Sam finds Rosalind, his girlfriend and fellow metahuman, and springs her from her cell right in front of Joe and Cecile. Together, Mirror Master and Top are the titular, “New Rogues.” One interesting bit is that Wells mentions a Mirror Master on Earth 2, who has the same real name as the second villain to use that codename in the comics.
There’s a really entertaining scene at one point when Caitlin, Cisco, and Wells get a hit on their replacement Wells project and leave. Iris checks that Barry tried to iron out some of the awkward with Joe, and she leaves. Barry sits there at the computer and comments, “I have to find a metahuman that apparently no one else cares about.” Priorities, Barry. The Caitlin/Cisco/Wells combo go through several amusing alternate Wells in their “interview” process.
Dillon and Scudder compare notes, and figure out what to do with the alliance of their new powers. The awkward theme carries over into family night, so it’s almost a relief when the metahuman alarm goes off. Barry and Jessie rush off to fight Mirror Master and Top, and none of it goes well. By the end of the fight, Barry is trapped in a reflection from one of the office buildings they were fighting around, up, down, and over. That’s an annoying ability there, Mirror Master.
They bring the window Barry’s stuck in back to STAR (I’d love to hear someone explain that to building maintenance), and eventually figure out how to communicate with him. There’s more chaos and confusion, both between Jessie and Wally, and among the Caitlin, Cisco, Wells contingent. Eventually, they agree on which “new” Wells to try, and how to get Barry out of the mirror. It doesn’t work right until the process gets a secret boost from someone with a Flashpoint secret still left, although some of the others might have figured it out now.
Now freed, Flash and Jessie Quick get their rematch with Mirror Master and the Top. They use holograms, mirrors, and some general cleverness to defeat the two Rogues. Wells and Jessie go back to their own Earth, new Wells comes to STAR, and Barry makes another life decision that some would argue is overdue. Caitlin gets an unwelcome surprise when she goes home to end the episode.
What I liked: The Flash/Jessie Quick team up was good to see. Mirror Master was the last of the major Rogues that hadn’t been used yet, which was a nice celebration for the show’s 50th episode. I’m intrigued by the new Wells (although I wonder what all these guys’ lives are like back home that they’ll just abandon their lives and their whole worlds for a Help Wanted ad, no matter how cool it is). I loved Cisco’s comment about the new Wells being, “Nice and not evil, which isn’t a Wells combination we’ve had before.” I’m glad the STAR crew member risked their secret to help Barry. It was great seeing Mirror Master (I admit I’ve never been a big Top fan). Cisco and Wells’ name-off was fun.
What I didn’t: For all that a few of the characters kept repeating, “We’re adults,” they didn’t much act like it. All the romantic subplots were horribly awkward and didn’t really need to be. Barry’s new idea for his life is likely going to complicate his secret ID a lot.
I’ll give this one a 4 out of 5. It was fun, good action, and only marred (in my view) by the emotional clumsiness. I think most of the CW shows have improved a lot this season, and this is definitely one of them.