"Don't do this," I scream at my television. No, I'm not watching a teenager in a horror film explore a dark basement. It's The Flash, choosing to do an obviously bad thing that its characters should be smart enough to know is awful and destructive and apocalyptic.
Must be Tuesday. This is what we do every Tuesday now.
Team Flash has decided that Wells and Jesse Quick need to return to Earth-2, but Team Flash needs a Wells to lead the charge. What do you do? Maybe kidnap a Wells from somewhere else in the multiverse and make him come work here.
Stop doing this. There's never been an inter-dimensional portal opened on this show that ended well. At all.
So what do they do? They open a portal to a dozen multi-verses at the same time and shoot an electronic riddle into the ether that only the smartest Wells on each world might be able to solve. Their responses come in the form of some dating profile style videos, allowing us to meet a wacky series of Wellii from across the universe. While it winds up being one of the stupidest possible ideas for revamping the Wells character— yet again — it does give a chance for Tom Cavanagh to shine and delivers some of the only good jokes this season. We end on Earth Prime gaining a kind of hipster/stoner Wells that I assume we're stuck with for the rest of the season.
It's episode four and we are still introducing new main characters. Why? This only pays off if we're going to start killing people off left and right.
But don't count on that. That implies a darker show that the second season was really starting to brush up against. Instead, we've got a show where Barry and Iris have an entire plot line about whether or not they can kiss in front of her dad. This is the kind of thing that would feel forced on Home Improvement. Dating Flash means disappearing to other countries for dinner or whatever, not awkwardly stammering around whether adults can kiss. Yikes, y'all.
This brings us back to the villains of the week, who get super slighted in their treatment here. Mirror Master (Grey Damon of Friday Night Lights) and Top (Awkward's Ashley Rickards) are a classic evil-doer couple who can jump between mirrors and make people spin like a top, respectively. The night of the reactor explosion three years ago, they were getting betrayed by Leonard Snart. Like Tar Pit before them, it appears that every single criminal was getting screwed over by someone at the exact point S.T.A.R. Labs went nuclear. Instead of being stuck in some tar, Mirror Master got stuck in a mirror. I would like to remind you that this is a show written for adults to watch. I dunno guys, this is getting bad.
Mirror Master seems to present some genuine threats, despite being functionally no different than any other speedster on the show. Top is ... nothing. If the show wants us to think of this team-up as the new Captain Cold/Heat Wave then ... ugh. As if truly believing they were up for the challenge, the writers made Mirror Master's primary motivation about getting revenge on Snart, which gave us a few glorious seconds of Wentworth Miller — reminding us what a worthwhile villain can do on this show.
It's episode four and we are still introducing new main characters
Barry gets trapped in a mirror, forcing Cisco to school everyone on production techniques from the show Twin Peaks and later requires Caitlin to reveal some of her Killer Frost powers manifesting. This is actually turning out to be the most interesting arc of the season. What if Caitlin isn't just slowly manifesting these powers, but is actually from a different Earth or a hold-over from Flashpoint? That's worth exploring.
The bad guys are inevitably stopped. We know nothing new about Alchemy. There are more characters and no real threat to a world now ripe with superheroes, including Wally West who is also pretty obviously hiding a big power reveal.
So where do we go from here? There's a big bad who seems to be doing more good than harm at this point — and tonight's villains of the week didn't even involve him? The story isn't moving forward and we're overpowering all of the characters. We're so far away from flawed relationships that we have to have Barry asking who he can kiss his girlfriend in front of? This is a world where there's a gigantic psychic gorilla and a whole bunch of mad scientists dabbling in tough ethical questions -- but we're doing sitcom work.
Come on, Team Flash. You know there's nothing worse than going too slow.