In this episode of The Flash we’re introduced to not just one, but two Rogues from the comics – Mirror Master and the Top. Although there may be some major differences in these villains as they make their way to the small screen. Meet me after the super speed jump for my review of “The New Rogues.”
Three Years Ago…
There is a nice shout out to Silver Age Flash writer John Broome in the opening as we look inside a Broome Industries warehouse at our two new Rogues, ‘three years ago.’ A man, obsessed with his reflection, and a woman are planning a life together. This is Sam Scudder and Rosalind Dillon. They wait twenty minutes to tell us her name, an extra mic drop for the fanboys. Yes, the Top is female. It’s bliss until they’re interrupted by the pre-Captain Cold Leonard Snart and the rest of the gang. I am always happy to see Wentworth Miller III, even in flashback.
There’s seems to be a rift in the gang. The mirror admirer and his girlfriend want out, and to Snart, out means dead. After a scuffle, the event happens – the particle accelerator at S.T.A.R. Labs explodes, and Scudder and his lady friend get the full brunt of it. Scudder seems to melt into the mirror, where he exits today, mad and looking for Snart. When the accelerator goes, we also get a glimpse of the plane where the Weather Wizard and his brother are, nice cameo.
First let’s take a look at the comics versions of these two villains. Sam Scudder was a criminal always fascinated with mirrors, so much so that he made that his motif, his gimmick, as Mirror Master. A frequent foe of the Flash and stalwart member of the Rogues Gallery, he eventually met his end, ironically as a hero, in the Crisis on Infinite Earths. After that, the government gave his weapons and costume to someone more dangerous, but I’ll get to that. Scudder has shown up in various animated features and was portrayed by David Cassidy in the 1990s The Flash TV series.
Created by Grant Morrison, Evan McCulloch was the Scottish mercenary chosen to take on the Mirror Master’s identity. He was a murderer and used the weaponry in ways Scudder only wished he could. Able to move through mirrors, he discovered a mirror dimension. He has remained to plague more than one Flash since taking on the mantle, as well as other heroes like Animal Man, one of Morrison’s pet characters.
Like Mirror Master, the Top was one of the original Silver Age Rogues. Roscoe Dillon, like Scudder with mirrors, had always been fascinated by tops, and he took it a step up when he started his criminal career. Not content to simply devise top-oriented weapons and technology, he also taught himself to spin at high speeds, so fast he could deflect bullets. The Top was also the first Rogue to die. After that it was learned that he had dated and trained Captain Cold‘s sister, who then became the Golden Glider. One could say that the Top’s greatest contribution to the Flash mythos would have been the Golden Glider… until he came back from the dead…
While he was spinning, Dillon found that his mind had been altered. Not only did his spinning increase his intelligence, it also granted him powerful psionic abilities – so powerful, they extended from beyond the grave. The Top was able to possess people like a demon or spirit, among them, a Senator and Barry Allen’s father. Once again taking on his own body, the Top continued to menace the Flash and Central City with his mind-over-matter powers years after he’d died.
Apparently there wasn’t enough story in just Mirror Master and the Top rampaging through Central City, robbing banks, and looking for Snart, so the writers gave us some less serious things to worry about. Barry is weird about kissing Iris in front of Joe. This subplot takes up far too much of this episode. Why couldn’t this creepy Greg and Marsha aspect of the Barry and Iris relationship be a fatality of the Flashpoint reflux?
Then there’s the budding romance between Wally and Jesse, where Wally (obviously sabotaging relationships is a West family trait) treats her going back to Earth-Two like a long distance thing, so they’ll just be friends. Perhaps it’s just as well, she leaves at the end. Maybe Cecile will take Joe’s mind off the weirdness and awkwardness, so that will settle that, and Barry getting his own place should help too. I really wish this had been more about the Rogues than the wonky relationships and comic relief.
Common Sense 101
Not only does Wells trump Cisco on naming Scudder the Mirror Master, but he mentions a mirror gun-toting doppelgänger from his earth named Evan McCulloch. His partner (Rosalind rather than Roscoe) gained the power to cause crippling vertigo from the particle accelerator explosion. Cisco gets to name this one, the Top. Nice touch that her eyes flash yellow and green like the Top’s garish costume.
When Flash and Jesse Quick first go after Mirror Master and the Top, they fail miserably.
If you go after a mirror-themed villain, wouldn’t you want to stay away from mirrors and reflective surfaces, duh, right? I don’t get it. They knew their powers before they got there. Don’t get near reflective surfaces and don’t fight the dizzy-maker on top of a building. Flash ends up inside a mirror and Jesse with a headache.
I loved that Cisco uses Twin Peaks special effects to communicate with Flash in the mirror. Sadly once he’s talking, the whole sequence is used for bad jokes and moving subplots forward. Ironically and far too conveniently they need absolute zero to free Barry, so guess who lends a hand secretly? With an episode coming up called “Killer Frost,” I guess it’s just a matter of time… The after-credit stinger indicates that Caitlin is losing control over these abilities. Was I the only one who expected the bathroom mirror to say “Alchemy”?
In the rematch, Jesse and Flash are more ready for their foes, with plans in place to stop them. First, I would have liked to have been there for this planning, and second, why the heck didn’t they think of this before they fought them the first time? The Top has a pseudo-costume of yellow and green, hideous, but still nowhere near as ugly as the villain’s costume in the comics. I was a bit disappointed that no attempt was made to give Mirror Master a bit of villainous design, but perhaps the civilian look is an homage to the David Cassidy version.
Beyond the Rogues and the relationships, there was also an inter-dimensional job interview going on. For reasons I can’t fathom, with the loss of Harry, it’s determined that Team Flash must get a new Harrison Wells. Using Wells’ know-how and Cisco’s vibe powers, they send a message into the multiverse to alternate Harrison Welles asking for help. Yeah, I’m rolling my eyes, and I read comic books. And it’s pretty disrespectful to Cisco and Caitlin that they couldn’t possibly get along without Wells…
The first applicant is a Western themed cowboy named Hell’s Wells who is rejected right away. Keeping in mind that the numbering on television are different than the comics, the next applicant is from Earth-17 and seems to have a steampunk motif. Earth-17 in the comics is where the Great Disaster occurred. The next applicant, and the guy who takes the ‘job,’ is from Earth-19, the world of Gotham by Gaslight in the comics, but possibly not here. His name is H.R. Wells. I think they should vetted him more.
I’m assuming that H.R. will add that bit of mistrust that the Harrison Wells character has been missing for a while as well as give Tom Cavanagh a chance to do a little more humor. I’m not looking forward to seeing Caitlin as Killer Frost despite two years of foreplay, but let’s face it, they’ve given her little to do this season, and the idea that she was so much less in the Flashpoint timeline may indicate she’s come to the end of her usefulness. I hope not…