The Flash S3: E4 – 'The New Rogues'
on 2016-10-26 08:54
Since there is a brave new world on The Flash this year, it may be fitting that there are new rogues to go with it. Still, that change was in the making long before Flashpoint, after old rogues leader Leonard Snart/Captain Cold left to join the Legends of Tomorrow and get killed off for a brief moment.
So before an eviler past version of Snart is brought back to join the Legion of Doom on Legends, two of his old associates emerge to take his place in Central City, although Snart isn't the only one getting replaced by the end of The New Rogues.
WARNING: SPOILERS FOLLOW
Wentworth Miller's first appearance in the DC TV universe since his "death" scene on Legends fills in what Snart was doing when the particle accelerator exploded. Naturally, he tried to kill two subordinates who wanted their own cut, and managed to get away while they got turned into metas. Given that one was trapped in a mirror for three years and another is a locked up, vertigo inducing meta, Snart got the better end of the deal despite not getting powers too.
On the other side of the mirror, new speedster Jesse is officially learning the ropes from Barry, new suit and all. Ironic enough, this actually makes Barry the Oliver in this dynamic, coming full circle from the first few times Grant Gustin showed up on Arrow. But after Barry's universe wrecking mishaps with time, placing him as a mentor even after all his time line mishaps is extra ironic, even by comparison to a newcomer.
With that still in mind, Barry saying he has everything he ever wanted for the first time remains an uneasy prospect, given the collateral damage caused to secure it. Dr. Alchemy's rampage is one thing, since it takes a back seat this week, but Cailtin's still secret transformation into Killer Frost thanks to the Flashpoint mess is even harder to brush aside. Fititngly enough, it comes in handy for Barry's sake behind his back at a key point, but her own state of mind is another matter, which will be expanded upon next week.
Before Barry gets to feel uneasy for that mess he created, his awkwardness this week has to do with Iris, or rather being close with Iris around Joe. For a minute during a make out scene, it almost feels like it might be The Flash's version of Jane the Virgin, which might be a very on point comparison for many more reasons beyond their shared network. Surely the pillow on Barry's lap after he interrupts their make out scene before Joe gets back isn't an oversight, but sadly, neither is the awkwardness after Iris insists Barry talk to Joe about their PDA in front of him.
Unfortunately, this running gag/subplot goes on for a few extra scenes, achieving a sense of uneasiness all too well. Since they want us to brush aside the fact that Barry and Iris were technically quasi brother-and-sister for years before they dated, this material and Joe still calling Barry and Iris "my kids" does not help at all. But between Joe's own unease around a female colleague, and Jesse not getting the reaction she hoped for after kissing Wally, there's more than enough cringey stuff to go around.
More intentionally funny material comes when the team starts looking across the multi-verse for a new Harrison Wells. After three episodes, we now know how Tom Cavanagh will stay a regular even with Harry going back to Earth-2, which appears to cement that we'll be getting a new Wells every year or two a la Doctor Who. This time around, however, there is actually an audition process, as an unbeatable equation straight out of Good Will Hunting is sent to every Wells still in existence.
Four Wells send an answer, giving Cavanagh four different chances to dress up and clown around. But only one of those comic relief Wells from Earth-19 seem to fit the bill, even though Harry isn't quite ready to face it yet. Nonetheless, after a few final bits of banter/problem solving with Cisco and reassurances that there's only one Harry, it is time for Harry to give way to H.R.
The prospect of a Wells who doesn't start out as a suspect for once is a refreshing change of pace, even if he might be too much of a goofball instead. However, the promo for next week's episode certainly tries to put H.R. in a mysterious light anyway, so change of pace might be a premature statement.
No other Wells could probably top the Reverse Flash Wells in evil, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't try one of these years, if not this one. It is somewhat ironic that this change comes after Barry talks in reverse for a bit while trapped in a mirror, as they resist the temptation to joke that he's now a Reverse Flash. Since Flashpoint had the actual Reverse Flash call Barry the villain instead of him, maybe they hit their quota on spelling out such comparisons.
Barry may feel like the bad guy again next week or in future weeks when Caitlin's powers break out, yet recent history suggests he'll be let off the hook after a few acts. Season 3 is still looking to establish official villains, although The New Rogues have a way to go to live up to Captain Cold, assuming they ever come back. But with Alchemy and prime Alchemy suspect Julian only mentioned in passing this week, this is the second straight episode that tries to be like a normal pre-Flashpoint hour and get the show back on its old footing.
With Captain Cold and Killer Frost cameos, another changing of the Wells guard and the like, The Flash is inching back to business as usual even with all the new wrinkles. Yet the awkward steps in some of the transitions and the mere set up material in others make The New Rogues less of a step forward back to normal than last week. Even so, a few more pieces of the new normal are set up for bigger results next week.