"What good is power without precision?"
Tuesday's new episode of The Flash, "The New Rogues," continues the show's recent theme of exploring what it means to have abilities and how to use them. Barry teaches Jessie that you need brain with your brawn as Caitlyn grapples with the power inside her.
"The New Rogues" follows a typical Flash episode structure, abandoning some of the most intriguing new through-lines of this season. Namely, Tom Felton's Julian and Dr. Alchemy are nowhere to be found. Instead, we get two pretty mundane, familiar villains that would have felt more at home in season one than season three.
Sam Snutter and his girlfriend Rosalind Dillon are introduced to us at the top of the episode as two gangsters hoping to take down Leonard Snart (Captain Cold) on the night of the particle accelerator explosion. The explosion traps Snutter in a mirror, giving him the ability to travel through reflective surfaces, and it gives Dillon the ability to induce vertigo in her enemies.
Snutter, deemed the Mirror Master by Harrison Wells, is literally a product of the events of season one and is conveniently placed in this episode three years later with not much of an explanation as to why. He breaks Dillon out of the prison and they decide to rob a bank, as gangsters do. Barry and Jessie come to fight them but quickly find out using just speed and brute force won't be enough to win this fight. Snutter and Dillon get the best of our speedsters and trap Barry in a mirror.
The team sciences Barry out of the mirror (with secret help from Caitlyn, but we'll get to that). Barry and Jessie use their brains and their powers to outwit and outfight Snutter and Dillon, thus saving the day once again. It's all pretty routine, but hammers home the notion that being a hero requires as much thought as it does physical ability.
The Flash writers have created a unique problem for themselves in Harrison Wells. Tom Cavanagh is a phenomenal actor, but by making him the villain in season one and from another Earth in season two, they keep writing him off the show. "The New Rogues" solves this problem by introducing yet another Harrison Wells, who will hopefully be around longer.
Earth Two Wells is anxious to get back home so he suggests Caitlyn and Cisco open up the breach and pull in another Wells from a different parallel universe to take his place. They send a complicated algorithmic puzzle out into the universes and wait for applicants. After swiping through multiverse Wells like it was Tinder (including "old west" Wells, "steampunk British" Wells and "French" Wells), they land on "cool guy" Wells and bring him through. Cavanagh seems to be having fun playing this humorous new Wells, who goes by HR, even if it's a completely manufactured and forced plot device.
Elsewhere, this episode is preoccupied with the budding romances on the show. A lot of time is spent on the awkwardness between Joe, Iris and Barry as the latter two move ahead with their romantic relationship. This makes sense considering Joe is a father to both of them — and understandably has a hard time seeing his children (biological or not) get together. This story doesn't do the show any favors, as focusing on that draws attention to the fact that, yes, it's kind of weird for semi-siblings to be hooking up.
We also see the budding love between Wally and Jessie. They've been flirty for a while now and Jessie, emboldened by her powers, takes the step of kissing Wally. At first Wally is hesitant because she's leaving, but by the episode's end he's like "screw it," and they share another kiss. Jessie leaves with her father, but this likely won't be the last we see of her.
Caitlyn's dilemma fuels some of the most intriguing parts of "The New Rogues." She has ice abilities but because of how evil Earth Two Caitlyn was, she's afraid to embrace them or let the rest of the gang know. She helps Barry escape from the mirror in the middle of the episode, but keeps it a secret from everyone.
The episode's stinger ups the stakes by showing that Caitlyn isn't even in control of her powers. Her shower suddenly turns to ice, and when she steps out, she sees a white streak in her hair and blue lips. She quickly cuts the streak out with scissors.
Making Caitlyn hesitant about her abilities adds a welcome layer of depth to The Flash. Her fear and her secret juxtapose nicely with the other heroes and villains who are so quick to embrace their powers. It should provide even more fertile ground for stories as this season dives even further into the idea of having supernatural gifts.