After finishing “The New Rogues” last night, I checked Twitter to see what people thought of the episode, not because I was unsure what to think but more because I’ve lost touch with how Flash fans feel about season 3 so far. Mostly, I’ve just been cranking out my episode reactions and moving on, hoping there are still some of you out there who care to hear what I think of the show but not really reaching across the aisle to see what everyone else thinks. Shame on me. High time I fixed that.
So, here’s a brief sampling of the “New Rogues” reactions I noticed:
Actually, those are the Tweets I liked (I tapped on the heart icon and everything) which mirrored my own thoughts. The majority of the other tweets I noticed alternated between dancing with joy over finally seeing Iris and Barry together, fawning over Iris’ impeccable fashion sense, laughing at anyone who still ships Barry and Caitlin, rejoicing that Caitlin finally has something vaguely interesting to do what with her now slowly morphing into Killer Frost, teasing Wally for taking so long to kiss Jesse, gushing about how talented Tom Cavanagh is considering how many distinctly different versions of Harrison Wells he’s been asked to play so far and nitpicking the show’s increasingly shaky time travel/multi-dimension logic. Plus, there were a couple of people who at least noted “Hey, they finally did Mirror Master. That’s cool. I guess.” Hardly anyone had any kind of response to Mirror Master’s girlfriend The Top, although when they did it usually took the form of a joke:
Don’t get that last one? It’s not exactly a compliment. You first need to have seen Seth Gamble’s insanely over-the-top performance as Vertigo on Arrow. Plus, you also need to know what Traci Lords looks like:
What I took away from all of this is that I’m wasting my time putting any considerable thought into writing these episode reviews/reactions. I don’t mean that as a condemnation of the fans. Quite the opposite. The “New Rogues” live-tweeters reminded me what this show is, namely that it’s something people watch because they might have a crush on one of the actors or they might ship for one of the couples or they just like seeing these characters joking around together or they have an invested interest as a fan of the comics. Everyone seems to realize the time travel plot machinations make no sense, and now all the business with the parallel universes has become oddly weightless and consequence-free (what, they can just grab some random other Wells from another Earth, and assume he’s cool because he was the only one who didn’t have a cartoonish accent?).
As Honest Trailers argued earlier this month, The Flash is a show which shouldn’t work yet kind of does. It’s campy as fuck (exhibt A this week being Ashley Rickards performance as The Top), yet not nearly as campy as Supergirl or Legends of Tomorrow. It’s an outwardly hokey show which somehow manages to make people cry and laugh non-ironically, even if the same old emotional cards the show throws down have grown tiresome (we get it, Barry’s super sad about his mom). So, let’s dispense with any overthought analysis and simply cut to the chase:
Favorite Moment(s): Iris checking out her jeans in the mirror Barry was stuck in. It feels like the type of joke the writers planned years ago when told to start brainstorming ideas for how to finally bring Mirror Master into the show.
Also, Barry’s complete confusion over what exactly Leonard Snart was up to on Legends of Tomorrow amused me to no end.
Plus, it was nice to see Caitlyn use her powers to help save the day because, seriously, Caitlyn is long overdue for something interesting to do on this show. That being said, this repeat of Cisco season 2 (i.e., “Oh no, I have powers, but I can’t tell any of my trusting, super scientist friends about it”) new power drama is a tad familiar.
Least Favorite Moment(s): Harry’s complete and utter nonsense of “Oh, we’ll just go get you another Harrison Wells.” Sure, it makes sense that he’d have plenty of Earth-2 business to get back to, but we’ve spent a full season wih him now. He’s a part of the show, and his outward grumpiness perfectly checks Cisco and Caitlin’s cheery demeanors. Season 3 has been all about changing things up, but removing Harry from the show, even if just temporarily, wasn’t a necessary change. Just because you’ve had two different versions of Harrison Wells doesn’t mean you need a third, who at first glance appears to be Tom Cavanagh’s Ed character updated to be a hipster.
Shipper’s Delight: One live-tweeter last night commented they simply cannot look at the screen whenever Barry and Iris kiss, cuddle or do anything romantic, the implication being the not-quite-incest, not-quite-normal relationship on display is just too weird. “New Rogues” was smart to acknowledge that about as openly as the show can. This was the “We get it. It’s kind of werid” episode, except they added the “But weird for whom?” wrinkle. Turns out, Barry’s the one most uncomfortable with it, and the solution to have him move out is a welcome twist, although I admit I’ve completely lost track of where Iris actually lives (more on that in the nitpicks section). Heck, I barely even remember where Barry lived before moving back home. I vaguely recall thinking he simply lived in that glorified loft apartment he calls an office.
As for Jesse and Wally, file this under the “We have a LOT of characters at this point. We’ve got to give them something to do” ala Caitlin and Jay’s romance last season. Actually, that’s not completely fair. They’ve been building to a Jesse-Wally pairing since last season, but they also have a fairly consistent track record of abruptly writing Jesse out of the show, probably due to the practical realities of the actress who plays her being a guest star and not a series regular. So far, she’s gone from season 3 after appearing in just two episodes. There is a sweetness to Jesse and Wally’s relationship, but similar to Wally’s initial reaction to her kiss attempt I found it hard to get too invested since Jesse probably wasn’t sticking around very long.
Also, I have no memory of seeing Joe’s new flirty friend before.
The Villains: At long last, Mirror Master made his way to the show, and he turned out to be a total, well, yawn, a beard and fancy suit in search of a personality. In fact, there was so much intersponal relationship stuff going on in this episode Mirror Master and Top felt a bit like also-rans, even if Barry’s method of defeating Mirror Master was one of those ultra-rare occasions of the show remembering, “Oh, yeah, Barry’s supposed to be really smart.”
Theories About the Big Bad: Surely the new Harrison Wells won’t turn out to be Dr. Alchemy, right? Been there, done that, right? Don’t go there again. Instead, Team Flash should, after having been burned so many times by would-be friends, treat the new Harrison (HR if you’re nasty) unfairly and with unfounded suspicion. He should really turn out to be nothing more than a sweet, goofy guy, with Team Flash’s distrust saying more about how they’ve been impacted by so much recent betrayal and less about him.
1. Does Iris live with Joe? If so, how the heck did she manage that when they weren’t talking to each other for all those months in this new Flashpoint timeline?
2. Jesse’s training included running at STAR Labs a couple of times, creating wind tunnels to stop a heavy object from crushing a building, receiving Barry’s version of a Oliver Queen speech, almost falling to her death after seriously underestimating her opponent and then defeating that same opponent just by running around her a bunch of times. Yep, totally ready to be Earth-2’s Flash now. Prediction: She’ll be dead within a week, a month tops.
3. Speaking of Jesse, how did Top know to call her “Jesse Quick”? Since when does anyone on Earth-1 know who she is or what her superhero name might be?
4. One last bit about Jesse: Am I the only one who feared she snapped her neck Gwen Stacy-style when Flash caught her in mid-air?