[SPOILERS ahead for The Flash season 3, episode 4.]
Season 3 of The Flash has introduced some big changes to the series. Most have been a result of the Flashpoint event, where Barry again altered the timeline by traveling into the past, and they range from the tragic (Cisco's brother's death) to the unexplained (Caitlin's new powers) to the downright suspicious (Julian Albert's sudden appearance). Then there are the changes which have nothing to do with Flashpoint, like Earth-2 Harrison Wells' daughter Jesse becoming a speedster. And with new heroes joining the ranks of Team Flash, it's only appropriate for new villains to appear to antagonize them.
In tonight's episode, 'The New Rogues' -- written by Benjamin Raab and Deric A. Hughes, directed by Stefan Pleszczynski -- two new villains are added to The Flash's rogues' gallery: Mirror Master (Grey Damon) and The Top (Ashley Rickards). They've come to town to even a score with Captain Cold -- last seen making the ultimate sacrifice on Legends of Tomorrow, so how could he be here? Barry brings Jesse along to intercept their new enemies, but when she disobeys one of his orders, it has disastrous consequences.
Rogues Old & New
The Flash season 3 has already introduced a few villains, but Mirror Master and The Top are the first new Rogues the series has introduced in some time. And Rogues are different from your average 'villain of the week' because they have staying power. These are the baddies who will continue tormenting The Flash for now and forever. They include Captain Cold (still deceased but not forgotten), Heat Wave, Golden Glider, The Trickster, Weather Wizard, and now Mirror Master and The Top. (Full disclosure: in some iterations, Magenta is also Rogue but not generally.)
And the new Rogues of 'The New Rogues' are a great addition, bringing interesting powers (which are wonderfully visualized) and a different dynamic by having these partners in crime also be romantic partners. Their scheme may have been a simple one of robbery and revenge, but Grey Damon and Ashley Rickards have a great chemistry, elevating the pair of ne'er-do-wells into more captivating villains than their descriptions would lead you to believe. Also, though these versions of Mirror Master and The Top are metahumans, having Harry confirm that the Earth-2 Mirror Master used a mirror gun of sorts was a nice nod the comics, where Mirror Master uses advanced tech and not superpowers.
But these two weren't the episodes only Rogues - Captain Cold also made an appearance, albeit in a flashback and then as a hologram, but it was still fun seeing Wentworth Miller's Leonard Snart again. His character may have died on Legends of Tomorrow, but with Flashpoint's new timeline and the multiverse, the possibilities of an actual return of Captain Cold seem endless.
Love & Family
Last episode, Barry and Iris began taking their relationship to the next level. Which for them, meant actually going out on a date. Sure, each attempt was interrupted by a call for The Flash, but at least they were giving it a go. Then this episode saw them take it a step further, participating in some actual P.D.A. - and in front of their father, no less!
Which is where, understandably, things begin to get a little weird. And it's even a little surprising that The Flash hasn't thought to comment on this before, but even though Barry and Iris are not all related, they were still raised like siblings from a young age. Barry may not call him 'Dad', but it's clear Joe was more of a father figure to Barry than his own father (though by no one's fault but Thawne's). And maybe this episode is all we need on the subject, as it seems that Barry, Iris, and Joe have reconciled the awkwardness of the new relationship, but it will always be a little odd that The Flash chose to introduce Barry to the woman he was destined to fall in love with, by having her be his "adoptive" sister.
(At least it looks like there's romance in the future for Joe. That guy could seriously use a life outside of his work and children.)
Three Of A Kind
'The New Rogues' proved better than any episode in recent memory how essential the snappy rapport between Team Flash is for the series. Specifically, the interactions between Cisco, Caitlin, and Harrison "Harry" Wells. Though, the way in which The Flash has reached this point is extremely confusing, and when you think it about it too hard, it doesn't really make any sense considering that the first Harrison Wells was actually Eobard Thawne. Unless that didn't actually happen anymore, since after Barry and Thawne returned to the night his mother died, Thawne wasn't trapped in the past like he was supposed to be and... argh! Time travel.
But looking beyond all of that, the Earth-2 Well was, more or less, the same as the Wells that Thawne had been portraying, except he wasn't secretly a murderer. Essentially replacing one with the other is a narrative trick that only a series which deals in multiple realities can get away with, but it's working, because the three of them "sciencing" their way out of problems is so enjoyable and reminiscent of The Flash's very beginning.
So why go and ruin it? Well obviously, this episode will not be the last time Harry and Jesse come to Earth-1, but the inclusion of a new Harrison Wells is more than suspicious. He's also a total weirdo. Harry may be a little harsh, but he's forged real relationships with Team Flash - and now so has his daughter - and those won't be so easily severed. Plus, Harry isn't a total weirdo. (Seriously, what's up with this Wells "with a sense of humor"?)
'The New Rogues' ended on yet another tease of Caitlin's impending transformation into Killer Frost, with her lips turning blue and a streak of white appearing in her hair. It also featured a moment of Caitlin outright using her powers - something that only Harry seems to be suspicious of, though he does also mention it to Cisco. But if she's beginning to lose control, as the episode's stinger is implying, it won't be long before everyone knows Caitlin's secret.
The Flash season 3 continues next Tuesday with ‘Monster’ at 8PM on the CW. You can watch a preview of the episode below: