FLASH SPOILER Review: Episode 3x06 - "Shade"

The Flash (3x06) - "Shade"
Written by:         Emily Silver & David Kob
Directed by:       JJ Makaro

So we start this week with Wally telling Joe about his dreams of being Kid Flash.  Joe of course notices how this is pretty much exactly what happen to Magenta to the detail.  Wally thinks it’s totally different because… Because it’s happening to him, I guess.

At the station, Barry tries to make nice with Julian and it goes as well as you’d expect.  Good thing DA Horton shows up and makes Barry essentially Julian’s underling in the Meta-human Task Force.  I’m sure this won’t lead to tension between the two.  Speaking of tension, here’s some of the sexual time as Joe arrives and Barry learns that Joe and Cecile have a date planned for later.  She leave but before Barry can gossip, Joe tells Barry about Wally’s dreams and that throws a big wet blanket over everything.

Over at STAR Labs, it seems HR has got himself a case of cabin fever and that’s led to him trying to come up with ways for their partnership with the Flash not to be so obvious to the public.  His idea: The STAR Labs Museum with him as the figurehead.  Cisco and Caitlin think this is a great idea except for Harrison Wells being a known murderer.  So while, HR runs off to figure out a new greatest plan ever, Cisco notices Caitlin’s been acting a bit weird lately.  She plays it off but eyes some power dampening handcuffs Cisco has been working on.

At the West Home, Barry explains to Wally that his dreams are a big, big problem and Wally and Iris are understandably upset that Barry didn’t tell them sooner.  I know, I know! They told him not to tell them about Flashpoint but this is a little different that not telling Joe he was drunkenly spiraling out of control, Wally having powers made his a prime target for Alchemy.  What’s worse, Wally believes that the reason Barry and Joe are fighting him getting powers so hard is that they don’t really trust Wally.

Cut to some random business guy saying the business equivalent of techno-babble to someone on the phone.  It all sounds very businessy so you know he’s either about to become this week’s villain or a victim of this week’s victim.  So it isn’t much of a surprise when he’s attacked and murdered by a giant shadow.  The next morning, Barry and Julian are looking at the body, unfortunately there’s very little evidence beyond eye witness accounts.

So Julian puts Barry to work so he can go off to work on the more important things back at the lab.  Before he leaves, Barry tries to invite him to a movie but Julian already has plans with his girlfriend, sorry.  Joe shows up to see if Barry has anything for him and let Barry know that Wally is avoiding them all now and that they’ll have to keep an eye on him because this looks like it’s only getting worse.

At STAR Labs, Cisco’s meta-cuffs have gone missing and he believes HR took them.  However, HR has a different toy he’s playing with; a light-bending face-changing, pen that looks an awful lot like it came from the Doctor Who collection.  Barry shows up and recaps them on the murder and at the prompting of HR Cisco uses the city’s cc-cameras to see the murder.  (Side note: The constant surveillance in Central City creeps me the hell out.)  Barry sets the team to work but he has to deal with the Wally problem and the Julian problem.

At the Police Station, Joe is trying to track down Wally but luckily for him Wally is waiting for him.  Joe decides the best way to diffuse the situation is something rarely tried by these people; Explaining why he’s worried.  Joe tells Wally the reason he’s worried about Wally is that Wally is a lot like him and that Joe knows what he would do if he had powers or if he had the opportunity to get them and that scares him.  The pair decide to head to STAR Labs to see if they can maybe rule out Alchemy.  Unfortunately, Alchemy steps up his recruitment routine with painful visions.

Back at STAR Labs, Caitlin tries this new honesty fad that seems to be going around Central City and tells Cisco she took his cuffs because she’s on the road to Killer Frost town and she’s scared.  She asks Cisco to vibe her to give her some hope that’s not turning evil but what Cisco sees (her trying to kill him) is not very comforting. 

Later, the whole team is together trying to figure out exactly how screwed Wally is when HR comes up with the plan of locking Wally in the Pipeline until they can either help Wally or capture Alchemy.  It’s not the greatest plan, but it is the plan that everyone agrees to.  Speak of plans, this looks like Joe’s date plans are in serious jeopardy but Cisco volunteers to go with him as do Caitlin and HR after he shows off his light-bending pen including the “my friends can see through my disguise so we don’t have to have another actor around all the time” feature.

At the park, while HR is off getting snacks Caitlin convinces Cisco to try honesty since it’s so cool and trendy and he admits that he saw Killer Frost vs Vibe to the death in his vision but he promises to help her fix this cause friends don’t let friends become enemies.

In the concession’s line, Joe and Cecile are flirting while Joe tries to keep an eye out for messages from Wally.  When she notices his split attention he explains what’s going on with Wally and she understands because she has a teenaged daughter that she worries about too.  Honesty works again!  It’s so hot I wish I was more up on the latest trends so I could have an analogy here!

Back at STAR Labs, Iris and Barry are keeping an eye on Wally up in the control room (even if you really were worried about Wally’s well-being you’d at least be down there with him.) So it must be time for a heart-to-heart.  After a nice little moment where Iris laments not being able to do more for the Team and Barry explaining that she’s the whole reason he has the heart to do the things he does we go back to the park where Cecile gets to meet Cisco Caitlin and HR.

HR and Cecile are getting along great but before Joe can kill HR the movie starts.  But before we get a chance to see Jack Torrance driving up to the Overlook Hotel Shade hits the scene.  Time to call the Flash!  While Barry races off, Alchemy makes another move on Wally.  (It’s at this moment we realize that someone’s been a distraction the whole time so Alchemy could go after Wally.)  With everyone but her gone, it’s up to Iris to talk Wally through the pain or failing that lay Wally out with a right cross when he tries to attack her.

Flash vs Shade isn’t going well, but fortunately Cisco has a plan to use light to overwhelm Shade and he uses the STAR Labs equipment to hack into the lights in the park to do it.  Fortunately for Barry, since Shade is basically a toady for Alchemy the plan works without a hitch and he is defeated.

Back at STAR Labs, the team tries to figure out how to help Wally since as Alchemy works harder to get Wally to come to him it’s doing more and more damage to Wally.  Thanks to HR they realize that Alchemy definitely wants Wally and will likely keep sending out metas to attack them until Wally comes to him.  To make things worse, Cisco can’t keep Caitlin’s secret any longer and basically forces her to tell the others what’s happening to her.

After she storms out, Barry follows her to talk to her.  Judging by the way Barry just centers on her powers being his fault because he created Flashpoint I don’t think it goes all that well.  However before Caitlin can do or say anything Iris comes in and tells them Wally is getting worse.

After they get Wally through a seizure, Joe decides enough is enough and calls in the SWAT Team.  Meanwhile, back at the Lab, Cisco and Caitlin talk through the tense moment they just had and she laments that stopping her from becoming Killer Frost is looking pretty impossible at this point.  Cisco then promises to help her fix things because if there’s one thing Team Flash is getting pretty good at it’s the Impossible.

Wally leads Barry, Joe and the SWAT down into Alchemy’s underground lair.  There Wally finds Alchemy with three acolytes worshiping some glowing stone in a pillar.  Alchemy promises to give him his powers but Wally springs the trap.  It doesn’t actually go all that well for Barry, since Alchemy still has his laser rock.  They still manage to stop Alchemy but it looks like he may just be a lackey himself since somethings shows up that is even faster than Barry and kills the SWAT Team.

Meanwhile, Wally picks up Alchemy’s rock and is enveloped in a cocoon of some sort before the thing pins Barry down and reveals itself to be: Savitar, the God of Speed.

This was a pretty good episode, moving the story along always helps by default.  Seeing Alchemy has a plan of some sort of beyond “bring back the old continuity” like some asshole fanboy with a mask while still not knowing what that plan is was welcome.  I liked the Caitlin/Cisco stuff a lot, especially the Chekhov’s gun of the Vibe/Killer Frost fight since it basically puts a big ticking clock over Caitlin’s head since it’s very likely that next week’s episode will be a fake out to put the cast’s minds at ease while ratcheting up the audience’s tension.

In case you didn’t notice, I really enjoyed that the characters avoided the classic “I must keep this secret” trope.  Yes, characters making bad choices is what creates drama but every once in a while you have to do this so we don’t just think the characters are all idiots and assholes.

Savitar, eh? It’ll be interesting to see if they go with Savitar’s actual origin or if they make him more like current comic villain Godspeed (which would put Julian front and center of the suspect list) but that will have to wait as I imagine the through line of the next few episodes will be Wally gaining powers and trying to keep him and Caitlin from turning on the group.

In the end, this episode couldn’t have come at a better time.  I was already a bit down on the season and after the very, very heavy handed episode of Supergirl (Did you know if you don’t believe in the Climate Change hoax you're totally evil, guys?!)

I was starting to wonder if I was going to completely lose enthusiasm for the CW/DC-Verse.  So to see The Flash returning to form was very welcome.

Last but not least, a word of advice to anyone planning a scary movie for a first date.  The Shining is a terrible choice, the horror comes from a near constant ratcheting of tension that becomes terror as the characters start to turn on each other.  There’s only one real jump scare in the movie and it comes very late.  A good scary movie for a first date would be something more akin to Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street.  Shorter builds with more pay offs.  Take it from me, kids.  Also, don’t do the yawn and stretch, you’re better than that.

Three Things We Learned This Week:

1)      Alchemy works for someone or something named Savitar.
2)      Caitlin has told the others about her powers.
3)      HR’s Earth has had some very significant technological advancements.

Three Questions:

1)      Who or what is Savitar?
2)      How long until Caitlin’s powers truly corrupt her?
3)      Will Wally be a problem for the team going forward?

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