When it comes to Superheroes in TV, The CW has it figured out. Well, for the most part (*cough* Supergirl). While Agents of SHIELD are chasing poorly animated ghost, The CW pulled off the most bad ass superhero crossover we’ve seen in a long time. The crossover was so impressive that the mid-season finales paled in comparison. Yes, the TV Justice League is well on their way. However, one thing is holding them back, an old superhero trope that needs to stop now.
The Mirror Villain
Is it a villain that turns people into mirrors? No that’s dumb. “The Mirror Villain” is a villain that reflects the hero, is eerily similar to the hero and sometimes represents the antithesis of the superhero’s beliefs. They’re usually deeply complex and help the hero explore his morals and determine his values. 100% of the time they have the exact same powers as our hero, the only thing that making them different is that they are evil.
My criticism with the CW showrunners is that they rely almost exclusively on Mirror Villains, to the point of gluttony. I’m sure you’re already thinking of the numerous examples. Flash and Reverse-Flash is the most “on-the-nose” of these. In fact Barry has had an evil speedster in every one of his season and all of them are corner stones of the season’s story arc (not one-shots): Reverse-Flash, Zoom, and Savitar. In the first season of Supergirl the villain is a Kryptonian that looks like her mom. And just think of all the bow-masters in Arrow. The sheer number of expert archers is absurd.
Reviewing the shows, especially Flash, I have to say I’m extremely disappointed. Yes, the shows are fun to watch and pose good stories, but aren’t you just a little sick of it? I would love to go one season and see just one archer and one speedster. When I saw Prometheus and Savitar introduced, I rolled my eyes. Arrow is five seasons in and still peddling the Mirror Villain. To be far, they mixed it up with Slade Wilson and Damian Dahrk, but the fact that they had to revert back to another archer is just sad. Flash is even worse! Back-to-back-to-back evil speedsters is absolutely pathetic. There, I said it…pathetic.
By constantly resorting to the Mirror Villain, the show runners are ignoring creative opportunities. There are thousands of different villains, each with different motivations. The writers could explore different themes with these various baddies. All three evil speedsters that I mentioned earlier all want to challenge Barry because they want to be the fastest. “There can only be one speedster.” How many times have we heard that? If another speedster appears in Season 4 of The Flash, I’m going to flip a table…but still begrudgingly watch it.
It’s time for the writers to step up and challenge themselves. They need to crack open a few comics for inspiration. I’m sure there are plenty of “Mirror Villains” in the comics, but that doesn’t give the writers permission to shovel that crap. The shows and characters have us hooked. Now it’s time for risk taking. I highly doubt that anything they do will result in a mass exodus of viewers. Instead the new would be greatly welcomed. I think the introduction of aliens is a decent start, but we’ll have to wait and see…
Till next time!