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The Flash Proves The Arrowverse Can Fix Bad Villains After Crisis

June 5, 2020

The Flash season 6 became a testament for the Arrowverse that lackluster villains can be reinvented, whether it’s through Crisis on Infinite Earths or utilizing the comics further. Over the course of six years, the DC drama has introduced the majority of Barry Allen’s villains, particularly the Rogues. From Captain Cold, Heatwave, and Pied Piper to Mirror Master, viewers of The Flash have seen various portrayals of iconic villains. While some have come and gone, each of them had their own respective reception in how they were adapted from panel to screen. One of Flash’s most recognizable villains that came early in the show’s run was Sam Scudder a.k.a. Mirror Master, whose time in the series was short-lived.

Debuting in The Flash season 3, Grey Demon was cast as the first iteration of the Mirror-themed foe. However, the Arrowverse incarnation was slightly different from his comic counterpart. The TV version included Sam’s abilities to travel between any reflective surfaces which come from the New 52. But rather than go deeper into Sam’s character, similar to the comics, The Flash depicted their Mirror Master as a simple criminal who worked together with Rosa Dillon (who would later become The Top) and Leonard Snart before becoming Captain Cold. In his first episode, “The New Rogues”, Barry quickly stopped him and Top, and they were both locked up at Iron Heights in the end.

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His final appearance later that season was in “The Once and Future Flash”, where Barry fights a future version of Mirror Master and The Top from a timeline that no longer exists. But since then, The Flash hasn’t had Sam Scudder back due to Demon’s ongoing role on the Grey’s Anatomy spinoff Station 19. That became the end of this Mirror Master, since the actor’s availability became a factor in why The Flash couldn’t continue to flesh him out. Given the lack of connecting with Sam as a villain, it made sense why there, seemingly, weren’t any attempts in bringing him back given that this portrayal was as simple as he could get. That’s why The Flash season 6 did a wise decision in exploring the second version of Mirror Master, one that revolutionized the character.

The second half of The Flash season 6 introduced a gender-swapped version of the second Mirror Master from DC Comics, with Evan McCulloch becoming Eva McCulloch, played by Efrat Dor. This is where The Flash not only allowed the title of a former Arrowverse villain to be reinvented but also be given more character development and stronger storylines compared to Sam. With Eva’s introduction also came the Mirrorverse, which was one of the more complex storylines that The Flash has tackled in its six seasons. But the biggest fascination with Eva as Mirror Master (or Mirror Mistress) is that her villainy was three dimensional. Eva was, essentially, a victim whose husband took everything from her after she got trapped inside the mirror thanks to the particle accelerator explosion.

With Team Flash and Eva both having the same goal in stopping Joseph, Eva’s methods were more lethal than theirs. But unlike some of the past villains in the Arrowverse, Eva becomes one whose motivations are understandable, despite her murdering her own husband makes Eva criminal too. In some regard, the Mirror Mistress stands on the edge between anti-heroism and villainy, showing the Arrowverse that it’s not too late to fix some of their previous villains. Crisis on Infinite Earths rebooted the continuity and opened the door to revisit past characters by giving them a fresh take. In The Flash’s case, they took advantage of Crisis while also turning to the comics to use a different variation of Mirror Master as the perfect do-over. By allowing Eva to have proper time to develop and evolve, she became one of The Flash‘s strongest and most complex villains, which will ideally encourage other Arrowverse shows to do the same going forward.

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The Flash season 6 shows how the Arrowverse can reinvent some of their weaker villains, whether it’s through other comic variations or through Crisis.SR Originals

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