Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 4 - The New Rogues

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


Two new metahumans - Mirror Master and The Top - emerge looking to settle an old score with Captain Cold. Barry and Jesse get in the middle of things, with Jesse's rash actions leading to disaster! Meanwhile, Harry Wells begins scouting the multiverse looking for another Harrison Wells that is willing and able to replace him on Earth One when he returns to Earth Two.


The Flash comics of John Broome (creator of The Mirror Master and The Top) and the television series Twin Peaks (Cisco refers to it when explaining how he can make Barry's backwards talk understandable).


It seems odd that Iris isn't the least bit disturbed by the idea of kissing Barry in front of her dad, like Barry and Joe are.


The romance between Jesse and Wally reaches its naturally conclusion and Violett Beane and Keiynan Lonsdale play it perfectly. Ironically, given that they are the younger couple, their relationship seems to be handled with more maturity than the romance between Iris and Barry and I put that entirely down to the performances of these two talented young actors.

Speaking of romance, Ashley Rickards and Grey Damon are stunning as The Top and Mirror Master. Turning these two Rogues into a romantic couple was a bold choice and damned if the actors do not make the most of playing a couple in love who are intent on building a new life for themselves... albeit by robbing Central City blind.


The cinematography throughout the episode is stunning, taking full advantage of the mirrors on the set and using them to establish a number of arty shots.

The special effects work is solid throughout the episode, from the high-speed chase sequences to the "twisty world" effects when The Top uses her powers, all the way to the final battle with Mirror Master jumping from mirror to mirror to evade The Flash.

There's some nice comedic irony in the script, with The Flash beating Mirror Master using a hologram and a mirror trick.

Flash Facts

The industrial building Sam Scudder uses as a hideout is Broome Industries. This is a tribute to John Broome - The Flash writer responsible for creating both The Mirror Master and The Top.

Sam Scudder a.k.a. The Mirror Master first appeared in The Flash #105 (March 1959). A criminal since childhood, Scudder became obsessed with mirrors and the idea of entering into them. Eventually, he somehow succeeded, discovering a whole other dimension which he dubbed The Mirror World. Scudder also developed all manner of weapons and devices based around the manipulation of light - chief among these being lasers and holographic illusions.

The DCTVU version of Sam Scudder differs from his comic book counterpart in that his powers are due to his status as a metahuman rather than advanced technology. He has the power to teleport himself and others through reflective surfaces. He can also trap people inside of mirrors.

Harry Wells says that there was a Mirror Master on Earth Two, but he wasn't a metahuman. He was a criminal armed with some sort of special mirror gun. Wells doesn't know how the gun works, but speculates that the gun had dimensional warping tech that changed everything into two-dimensions. This is a nod to the Mirror Master's powers in the comics.

Harry Wells identifies the Mirror Master on Earth Two as a man named Evan McCulloch.  In the comics, Evan McCulloch was the name of the second Mirror Master. An orphan with a dark side, Evan fell into the life of a criminal. After building a reputation as the sort of man who could reliably do dirty deeds with no questions asked, McCullouch was approached by the FBI - who had taken possession of Sam Scudder's costume and equipment after his death - and offered a chance to work for them while posing as a super-villain.  McCulloch played along at first but eventually went rogue (literally!) and soon fell in with The Flash's Rogue's Gallery.

The Top a.k.a. Roscoe Dillon first appeared in The Flash #122 (August 1961). As a boy, Dillon was obsessed with tops to the point where he ignored all other toys. Falling into the life of a criminal as an adult, he got out of prison and decided to build a new career around his favorite toy. Dillon discovered that by spinning at tremendous speeds, he could dramatically increase his intelligence. This eventually lead to him developing psionic powers, including telekinesis, telepathy and the ability to instill vertigo in people. He was also able to possess the corpses of the newly dead, following his own apparent death.

Rosalind "Rosa" Dillon, the DCTVU version of The Top, is a gender-flipped version of the original Top and Sam Scudder's girlfriend. She has the power to cause intense vertigo in other people.

The character of Cecile Horton first appeared in The Flash #332 (April 1984). She acted as The Flash's legal console when he was put on trial for murdering The Reverse Flash.

In the DCTVU, Cecile Horton is a prosecutor with the Central City District Attorney's office rather than a Public Defender. She is also an African-American woman, whereas the comic book version was Caucasian.

We see four versions of Harrison Wells from other dimensions - two of which are named by a specific Earth number. Curiously, these numbers do not correspond with like numbers in the official number of the various universes that make up The DC Comics Multiverse.

The first alternate Harrison Wells (aka Hells Wells) dresses like an American Old West cowboy and speaks with a Texan accent. This may be a reference to the DCM Earth 18 - the Wild West inspired world of the characters seen in the story Justice Riders.

The second Harrison Wells is dressed in a steampunk costume, with a top-hat and goggles. He is identified as being from Earth 17.

In the DCM, Earth 17 is also known as The Atomic Earth. In that world, the crash of the rocket carrying Superman to Earth triggered World War III and 97% of the world's population was killed in the ensuing nuclear fallout.

Curiously, this second version of Harrison Wells would seem to be a better fit for the DCM's Earth 19 - the setting of the story Gotham By Gaslight - a world in which various heroes came into existence during the Victorian era, but various advanced technologies existed.

The fourth version of Harrison Wells comes from what Caitlin labels Earth 19. As mentioned above, Earth 19 is a steam-punk setting in the DC Comics Multiverse.

Cisco refers to Twin Peaks and the character of The Man From Another Place in explaning how he can record Barry's speech when he is trapped in the mirror world and turn it into something they can understand using backmasking.

Joe understands the technique of backmasking and refers to hidden messages being placed in Ozzy Osbourne albums. Officially, Ozzy only did this once - as a sarcastic response to the accusations of hidden Satanic messages being found on his albums when played backwards. That message "Your mother sells whelks in Hull." was itself a parody of an infamous line from the film The Exorcist.

This episode confirms that Caitlin's cold powers allow her to chill an object to Absolute Zero. In the DC Comics Universe, only Captain Cold - out of all the villains with cold-based powers - has the ability to lower temperatures to absolute zero with his Cold Gun.

Ironically, The Flash uses a hologram of Captain Cold and an optical illusion to trap Mirror Master. In the comics, holograms and optical illusions are two of the Mirror Master's most frequent tools.

The Droste Effect is the technical term for when an image appears to repeat into itself forever. The effect is named for Droste cocoa powder - a popular Dutch brand, whose packaging was the first recorded instance of the effect in 1904. Artist M.C. Escher was fond of employing the effect and - as Barry notes in this episode - the effect can be created by standing between two mirrors, creating the illusion of the person between the mirrors repeating into infinity.


Jesse Quick is almost as fast as Barry, her top velocity peaking at just under Mach 3. This is just over 2300 mph.

Jesse's heart rate while running at top speed is 100 BPM.

Harry constructs a "fishing pole' satellite with which to broadcast his "bait" - a message embedded with a tachyon-enhanced laser.

Harry describes his "bait" as "a complex algorithmic cryptogram, designed to test deductive reasoning, intelligence quotient and problem-solving skills." Harry also describes it as an invitation and an elaborate "Help Wanted" ad. Cisco describes it as a riddle.

Harry speculates, when asked about the Mirror Gun of the Earth Two Mirror Master, that it had dimensional warping tech that changed everything into two-dimensions.

Sam Scudder is able to travel in and out of mirrors by linking Einstein-Rosen bridges through anything with high solar reflectance. Or, in simpler terms, he creates wormholes through reflections.

The Earth 19 Harrison Wells complements Harry's embedding secondary measures in the primary data string of his cryptogram.

The sounds made by a person trapped in a mirror sound backwards in the real world. This means that Barry can't be understood by his friends until Cisco figures out a way to take what he says and play it in reverse.

Cisco uses backmasking - a recording technique where sounds are recorded backwards onto a track that is meant to be played forwards - to translate Barry's speech when he's trapped in the mirror world.

Barry is unable to phase through the mirror once stuck inside it because the molecules of the mirror, once used as a wormhole by Scudder, are in a hyper state of flux. In order for the molecules to reach a state Barry can phase through, they need something incredibly cold to slow them down.

Once chilled to absolute zero, the mirror has to maintain zero-point energy long enough for Barry's molecules to pass through it. While doing this, they have to account for the internal energy of the mirror's molecules. This means that while absolute zero is the lowest possible temperature, it is not the lowest enthalpy state possible.

Harry and Cisco try to overcome this issue by building a molecular decelerator onto the cryogenic generator. However, it is only able to lower the temperature of the mirror to -280 degrees Fahrenheit. This is roughly half as cold as Absolute Zero, and is equal to -173 degrees Celsius and 99.8167 degrees Kelvin.

Absolute Zero is 0 degress Kelvin, -273.15 degres Celsius and -459.67 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Droste Effect is the technical term for when an image appears to repeat forever. Barry refers to it as an infinite reflective loop.

Every inch of Sam Scudder's cell has been modified with an anti-reflective material, to prevent him from using his powers.

Dialogue Triumphs

(Scudder is dressed in a fancy suit, admiring himself in a full-length mirror.)
Scudder: How do I look?
Dillon: Better. (pauses) How much?
Scudder: Do we really need to ask that question?
Dillon: Our take wasn't that big.
Scudder: Big enough.
(Scudder takes her by the hand and spins her in front of him, holding her close as he looks at their reflection.)
Scudder: The only question you should be asking is what size rock you want dangling from this beautiful neck. A kiss from you makes my world spin.
Dillon: (chuckles) You're so full of it, you know that?

(Barry trips Jesse as they are racing around the track in The Speed Lab)
Okay. Well... that wasn't very heroic.
Barry: Nope. But there is a lesson in there somewhere.
Jesse: What's that?
Barry: The difference between having powers and having precision.
Jesse: What do you mean?
Barry: I mean, it's gonna take more than speed to take down some of these metas. You've got to think. Anticipate. When you enter a new environment, you've got to case every inch of it. You never run in blind.
(Barry suddenly stops, looking astonished.)
Barry: Oh my God...  I've become Oliver.
(Barry laughs as Jesse looks confused.)

(As Harry is describing the criteria he is using to test his doppelgangers.)
Will it test their attitudes, too? I'm not sure I can stomach another Wells with your bedside manner.
Harry: I care for you too... you jack wagon!

(Wally enters the room where Jesse is thinking. He points to her mask, dropped on the floor.)
Wally: Aren't you going to need that?
Jesse: What's the point? You know, I thought I was ready. But clearly I'm not.
Wally: Jesse, you can't blame yourself for this. What happened to Barry...
Jesse: - was totally my fault! I mean, he told me to stay back but I didn't listen! You know, I just ran in blind and... and now he's stuck, so...
Wally: Look, you made a mistake. So what? I mean, I'm sure Barry made a lot of mistakes at first too.
Jesse:  ... yeah.
Wally: Don't let this destroy your confidence. You're meant to do this, Jesse. You're meant to be a speedster. That's why you have these powers and I don't.
Jesse: You're just trying to cheer me up. (sighs) I know you said you don't want to hang, so...
Wally: Uh, no. I said I didn't want to hang out because I was scared. Because you live on another Earth. But...I realized I don't want to be scared of that anymore.
(Wally moves in and kisses Jesse.  They hold the kiss a moment and then laugh softly.  Wally steps back does a courtly bow and offers Jesse her mask. She takes it with a wide smile on her face.)

(Mirror Master jumps into a mirror and comes up behind Captain Cold. He tries to punch him but his fist just goes through him. Captain Cold flickers and turns around.)
Captain Cold:
(The hologram of Captain Cold fades away as The Flash walks into the Hall of Mirrors.)
The Flash: Funny thing about holograms - they're just pale reflections of the real deal.


Mirror Master and The Top both gained their powers on the night of the particle accelerator explosion. Leonard Snart was present, ready to kill Scudder for violating his rules about spending their share of the loot while the heat was on.

Mirror Master was apparently pushed three years into the future when he fell into the mirror.

There are metahumans with telekinetic and cloaking powers on Earth 2. Harry suggests both as possibilities for how The Rival was killed in his cell in Iron Heights in 302.

Jesse Quick's costume resembles that of the villain Trajectory from 216, with the addition of a Flash logo.

While training Jesse, Barry refers to the speech Oliver Queen gave Barry while training him in how he had to learn not to rely exclusively on his powers in 108.

Oliver told Barry about Captain Cold leaving with the rest of The Legends.  Barry apparently told Joe about this in the pre-Flashpoint timeline, but didn't in the new timeline.

Caitlin has never been fishing before.

Barry has never taken Wally on a run at super-speed before.

Jesse kisses Wally.

Wally admits to being attracted to Jesse, but he doesn't want to start getting romantic with her when she's eventually going to go back to her Earth. They agree to be friends but Wally laters changes his mind and kisses Jesse.

Four versions of Harrison Wells from other Earths are able to solve Harry's test.

The first alternate Wells dresses like an sheriff from the American West and speaks with a Texas accent. He identifies himself as "Hells Wells" and says he has a checkered past he'd rather not speak about right away.

The second alternate Wells is from what Cisco dubbed Earth 17. He speaks with a British accent and wears a steampunk-style outfit with a top hat and goggles.

The third alternate Wells speaks French and is dressed as a mime.

The fourth alternate Wells is wears a trilby hat and button-up vest with a t-shirt and jeans. He is from what Caitlin calls Earth 19. He seems both nice and not-evil, according to Cisco.

Caitlin uses her ice powers to chill the mirror in secret when Harry and Cisco's improvised device can't get the job done.

Caitlin's powers allow her to lower temperatures to absolute zero.

The CCPD has the ability to monitor specific cells in Iron Heights from their main station.

Joe realizes that Cecile Horton is flirting with him but is afraid to ask her out.

Cisco vibes across 18 dimensions for the first time.

The Harrison Wells of Earth 19 asks to be called HR. He has a much better sense of humor than Harry Wells, speaking in a mock deep voice and saying "Greetings Earthlings" when he first meets Team Flash.

Harry tells Cisco that their device didn't work and that something else removed Barry from the mirror.

Harry and Jesse return to Earth Two, with Harry trying to tell them never to do something just before he vanishes.

HR Wells also likes Big Belly Burger as much as Harry.

Barry decides to move out of Joe's house and get his own place.

Caitlin's cold powers appear to be getting out of control, as she freezes the water in her shower by accident. Her lips have also begun to turn pale blue and a streak of her hair is bleached white.

Untelevised Adventures

The Top was apprehended at some point in the past after her powers manifested and locked up in Iron Heights' metahuman wing.

The Fridge Factor

The scene of Caitlin in her shower is a little fan-servicey.

The Bottom Line

A rare episode where one wishes we saw more of the villains of the week than the supporting cast. Mirror Master and The Top are two of the better baddies to be introduced in recent memory and the interplay between them as a couple is a neat twist on the usual villain partnership. It's certainly a lot more interesting than the forced humor of Wally feeling awkward getting romantic with Iris in the same house as Joe. The romance between Wally and Jesse is more enjoyable, precisely because Violett Beane and Leiynan Lonsdale underplay their scenes. Again, less is more and the episode - while enjoyable - would have done better to sacrifice some of its subplots.  Maybe introduce Joe's new love interest and the new Harry Wells another time?

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