This article contains The Flash spoilers if you aren’t all caught up through episode 18 of season six.
Save for Season 1’s Eobard Thawne – who also happens to be Barry Allen’s most iconic nemesis – The Flash has often struggled to craft compelling villains. From Zoom to Savitar and both versions of Cicada, the bad guys on this show tend to be fairly one-note, with goals that are generally straightforward and often not all that interesting. Steal Barry’s speed! Murder Iris! Take over the world with a weirdo brain helmet! Yawn.
The Flash Season 6 has worked diligently to reverse this trend, first with Ramsey Rosso’s Bloodwork, a villain driven by a fear of death and his own mortality rather than a lust for power and now in Eva McCulloch, a woman trapped in an alternate dimension for six years, who just wants to get back the life she left behind.
The arrival of Eva in Central City – or rather, in the alternate Mirror Universe version of same – is a pretty big deal for The Flash. Not only is she a gender-flipped version of the classic comics figure Mirror Master, she’s also the kind of villain who doesn’t always feel like a bad guy at all.
Den of Geek spoke to Efrat Dor about her role as Eva, how she views her character, and what the future might hold for the Mirror Master.
“I do not see her as a villain,” Dor declares firmly in the opening moments of our interview. “And I think Eva definitely doesn’t see herself as a villain.”
According to Dor, the morally grey nature of this supposed Big Bad is deeply intentional. “This is what me and Eric [Wallace, showrunner of The Flash] have been talking through all season. It makes [the story] so much more interesting when the villain is not really that bad and you can sympathize with her.”
A lot of the audience probably already does. It’s very easy to sympathize with Eva – and even root for her to some degree – trapped against her will in an alternate dimension as her husband, Joseph Carver, steals her life’s work and uses it for Black Hole’s nefarious ends.
After all, she never asked for any of this – and if we’re all going a little mad after eight weeks in our homes with TV and internet, imagine six years alone and without them.
“I think today everybody can really understand what Eva was going through. We miss people and hugging [and] making that human connection.”
For Dor, the torture that Eva has been forced to undergo over years in the mirror realm, is paramount to understanding the character, both in terms of the person she believes herself to be and in what she’s trying to accomplish.
“She was a victim. And she’s decided to step out of being a victim and go back to being a hero, which is what she always wanted [to be],” Dor says.
“The technology that she was working on for years before she went into the mirror was about humanity, and about finding a way to go to different planets or dimensions where there is no overpopulation or pollution or the different crisis that we have today,” Dor says. “She definitely still has – and always has had – humanity as her engine that drives her and her work.”
And while Dor admits that Eva has “lost her way a little bit,” what she feels the character is truly looking for is answers, specifically some “closure” with her husband.
“But I think [Eva’s vulnerability makes her] more interesting than if a villain is really strong and no one can hurt him,” she says. “Her husband is her Achilles’ heel. She still loves him. And I think that’s so human. Don’t we all have that person? [Someone] that really hurt us but we still love them? It’s so self-destructive.”
“Just dump him!” Dor encourages.
To Eva’s credit, she’s certainly not the worst villain Team Flash has faced. She doesn’t kill, even when presented with the chance to do so, and seems to genuinely regret leaving Iris behind in the mirror world that served as her prison for so long.
“She doesn’t do it wholeheartedly,” Dor says. “I think she does like Iris, even though she didn’t plan on liking her. Yes, it was half a show that she put on – but it was also real. It’s unfortunate in her eyes that Iris needs to stay there, but [from her perspective], she’s doing good.”
“She doesn’t want to hurt anyone. It’s the other way around, really. She is seeing her technology being used for destruction. She doesn’t want that to be her legacy.”
Unfortunately, the ending of the Eva’s story may remain something of a mystery for the moment. Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic that’s shut down production on virtually all the Arrowverse series, The Flash is concluding its season in a way that is…somewhat different than originally planned. Episode 19, “Success is Assured,” will now serve as Season 6’s finale and though that line has served as the catchphrase for her minions, it’s unknown whether Eva’s story will achieve any sort of closure before the final credits roll.
Dor herself doesn’t know what the exact end of Eva’s arc is – or will be.
“I got to pick and choose [for myself] how much I wanted to know [about Eva’s story], and when I wanted to know it,” she says. “At the beginning, I just wanted to know the beginning. I didn’t want to know how she left the mirror. And once she left the mirror, I wanted to know her whole plan. But I didn’t want to know how she was going to be stopped. So, I basically still don’t know, even though it’s been written.”
“I don’t know that she’s ever stopped,” Dor says, laughing.
This, of course, seems to indicate that we won’t see the defeat or capture of Mirror Master before Season 6 ends. Which, although an unplanned twist, is still a rather interesting one.
Other than Thawne, who’s popped up on the show multiple times, The Flash has never experimented much with villains that transcend multiple seasons (an understandable move, given how often it’s struggled with giving them 22 episodes of worthwhile story in a single one). But Eva as herself is such a different kind of villain, there’s every possibility that her story could work well in a more extended format, or one in which she appears sporadically over the course of multiple smaller arcs.
So, might we see Eva return in The Flash Season 7, either to wrap up dangling plot threads or offer up a new threat to Central City? Apparently even the Mirror Master can’t see the future on that score.
“I wish – because I would love to,” Dor says. “I like [Eva] a lot. But I don’t know.”