[Review] The Flash (2014) Episode 3×04: “The New Rogues”

I’m pretty sure this means Mirror Master is a bottom on this week’s recap of CW’s The Flash.

This week, I want to talk about suspension of disbelief, why this episode sucks so much, and more inherent sexism coming out to play. Just in case you haven’t heard of it, suspension of disbelief (as coined by Samuel Taylor Coleridge) is a willingness to suspend one’s critical faculties and believe the unbelievable or the sacrifice of realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment. Basically, it’s a level of “I want to be entertained and it doesn’t matter if it makes sense.” As a wrestling fan, I have to use this skill a lot. Everyone’s capacity to suspend disbelief is different, and every show has an audience buy-in which allows it to strain credulity. But once that line gets crossed, it will ruin an episode, maybe even a series for you.

The Top broke my suspension of disbelief, and only because they decided they wanted to do a cool effect with her eyes. Her power is literally to stare you in the eyes to give you vertigo. She has to look you in the eyes. SHE. HAS. TO. LOOK. YOU. IN. THE. EYES. Her power can be counteracted by putting your head down and charging or just wearing a welder’s mask. It’s the dumbest decision since putting her in the episode.

And no, I’m not bitter because they changed her gender from what was in the comics. This is about the showrunners wanting to have Jesse Quick punch somebody, but apparently she can’t punch a man, and a man definitely can’t punch her back. This stupid sexist bullshit is why in 2018, it’s still a thing when (going back to wrestling for a second) Rhonda Rousey putting Triple H through a table is still considered groundbreaking. Now if only they could have done this with any other media sensation than noted transphobe Rhonda Rousey, but I digress.

No, the entire point of turning the Top into a woman was to give Jesse Quick a villain, but the implementation could not have been worse. First, they tie her into a relationship with the Mirror Master so they can do a Harley and Joker story, because I guess everyone in the office had just watched Suicide Squad. Then, they make her so reliant on him for agency that she’s just hanging out in prison for years until he breaks her out. Then they give her the blarg glare that any speedster should be able to bypass by closing their eyes and shoulder-checking her at superspeed the second they start feeling queasy. Finally, they have to get a commercial break into Jesse and the Top’s duel, so they have Jesse suddenly come down with a bad case of stupid as she stares straight at the Top for a minute and then gets infected by blarg glare.

This could have been fixed by tweaking the Top’s powers so that they work by concentrating on or touching someone. That would have been more interesting. And it’s not like the Mirror Master stuff itself wasn’t done well, it’s just they shoehorned this other thing in there in the stupidest possible way and they broke me.

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