Spoilers ahead for “The New Rogues,” the latest episode of The CW’s Flash!
The short version: Barry and Iris are having trouble settling into their new romantic dynamic; Mirror Master arrives as a surprisingly solid Metahuman of the Week; Jesse Quick gets her first mission; and the team gets a brand new Harrison Wells.
The good: Mirror Master, Harry’s return, Barry becomes (a much nicer) Oliver
This week’s Metahuman of the Week story introduced a character very hard to get right in live action, but they pretty much nailed it. Mirror Master has all the trappings of being just too goofy, but they gave him just enough charm and menace to pull it off. He also represented a unique power set that gave Barry and Team Flash a new challenge. Having him fight speedsters gets old fast, but this one really did test the team’s mettle. His backstory also provided the perfect set-up for the return of Leonard Snart (albeit in flashback, hologram, and cameo form) to Central City. He’s been largely absent ever since his stint on Legends of Tomorrow (you know why if you watch that show) — and we know he’ll be back in some capacity across the shows — but it was great to see Wentworth Miller back in action.
Speaking of actors who have been sorely missed: Tom Cavanagh’s Harry Wells from is absolutely a sight for sore eyes. Cavanagh’s presence just brings so much to this ensemble, and the Earth-2 version of this character is just so much fun to be around. He has Jesse back safe and sound, and though he’s still a bit rough around the edges, Harry is a much happier and well-balanced character this season. From sparring with Cisco over naming the metahumans, to his mentor-esque relationship with Barry, this cast will always need a Tom Cavanagh and Harrison Wells (regardless of the dimension).
As Barry enters his third year of superhero-ing, he finally gets a chance to pass on some of his sage wisdom to young Jesse Quick. Jesse goes through some learning pains on her journey to be a hero, but comes through in the end. As Oliver looks to train up a new team of vigilantes over on Arrow this season, their teaching style is an interesting contrast. For my money, I think I’d rather learn under Barry. He yells way less (and wouldn’t make you ring a bell).
The bad: Hipster Wells, Harry and Jesse are gone(?!), Barry and Iris
As Harry prepares to return to Earth-2 with Jesse, he recommends the team look for another Harrison Wells from a different alternate Earth to join the team. Harry’s a bit busy on his own world, and the real Wells from Earth-1 is long dead, so Harry builds an inter-dimensional puzzle that only alternate versions of himself should be smart enough to solve. The results are hilariously absurd, as we see Steampunk Universe Wells and Pirate Universe Wells respond to the call — and finally Hipster Wells from Earth-19 (in the comics, Earth 19 is still in the Industrial Revolution and home to the Gotham By Gaslight stories, for what it's worth).
This story moves surprisingly fast, and by the end of the episode this mysterious alternate version of Wells is showing up on Earth-1 and signing up for Team Flash. It’s an interesting way to keep Cavanagh in the cast (and give him a unique role to play) for sure, but judging by the fact that next week’s episode seems to find the team looking into Hipster Wells for mysterious reasons, we have to wonder how long he’ll be around. This is a fun little direction to go, but c’mon, would they really just welcome a stranger from another world onto the team in the span of a few hours? Harrison Wells’ are typically a bit shady no matter the universe, so just telling this stranger all their secrets seemed like a weird move. Curious to see where this goes, though.
The show continues to try and figure out how it will work with Barry and Iris actually dating, and to the writers’ credit, they’re also making the characters themselves figure it out, too. We get some funny moments with Barry realizing he’s now dating Joe’s daughter, and all the awkwardness that entails. This is supposed to be a legendary romance from the comics, but it’s really not feeling like it at this point.
The episode ended with Harry and Jesse Quick heading back to Earth-2, though we have to hope they’ll be back soon-ish. The burgeoning romance between Jesse and Wally is far more compelling than Barry and Iris at this point, and we’d love to see where that goes. Can’t those two Earth-2 refugees just realize they’re really needed on Earth-1?
Caitlin discretely saves the day with her Killer Frost powers by freezing the mirror to let Barry escape, though she’s still keeping her abilities a secret from the team (why she’s doing that is still a bit fuzzy, though). But this episode saw her start to transform into the Killer Frost look — complete with the blue lips and white hair — so it’ll be a whole lot harder to keep that secret next week.
Could Joe be getting a girlfriend, too?! It’s about time. Dude deserves some happiness. Also, Barry will be moving out on his own this season. Which D-list villain will wreak havoc on his apartment hunt?! Oh, and what was Harry going to say as he disappeared?!
Lines of the night:
“Oh my God. I've become Oliver.” - Barry
“I care for you, too, you jack wagon.” - Harry
Next week: There’s a monster in town, and the new Hipster Wells isn’t fitting in all too well.