Spoilers ahead for “Shade,” the latest episode of The CW’s Flash!
The short version: Shade is stalking the citizens of Star City, while Wally is having visions of being Kid Flash. They use Wally to set a trap for Alchemy, but it ends with Barry being cornered by the Ultron-looking Savatar, aka the god of speed.
The good: Wally’s journey, H.R. and Cisco, Flashpoint fallout
Fans got the chance to geek out over Wally West’s Kid Flash in the season premiere “Flashpoint,” but then that reality was largely erased when Barry (mostly) reset the timeline. Ever since he was introduced, it was obvious Wally wants to help people. He idolizes the Flash, and tries to find ways to help people regardless of powers. When he was hit by the Speed Force wave last season, he basically enters a holding pattern waiting for his powers to kick in. All those story elements came to a head in “Shade,” as Alchemy targets Wally and it seems the once and future Kid Flash will finally receive his powers. The writers took their time developing Wally to this point, and however this story plays out next week, it really does feel earned. It’s basically taken a full season for Wally Wells to become the Kid Flash (assuming he does). We’ve gotten to know Wally as a person, and it makes that payoff even sweeter (assuming getting his powers through Alchemy doesn’t, you know, kill him).
Tom Cavanagh is awesome, and even when he’s playing the mildly annoying H.R. (a version of Wells from Earth-19), he’s still pretty great. H.R. continued his quest to prove himself to the team this week, and actually turns out to be fairly helpful (aside from putting the moves on Joe’s girlfriend, of course). As usual, the chemistry between Cavanagh and Carlos Valdes (Cisco) continues to spark. Seeing those two bicker is almost the warm, comfy blanket of the Flash-verse.
They might’ve rushed through the Flashpoint universe in just an episode, but it’s obvious the fallout will be felt far and wide. It doesn’t get a ton of attention, but Barry continues to try and take responsibility for all his screw-ups this week while chatting with Caitlin about her frosty new abilities. Between Alchemy and everything else, Barry has done a number on reality this season.
The bad: Cisco and Killer Frost, Shade
Caitlin finally came clean about her Killer Frost abilities to the team this week, after Cisco pretty much spills the beans for her. This entire story just felt a little off. Caitlin tells Cisco about her powers, he keeps it a secret. Then he tells the team anyway, telling her they shouldn’t keep secrets. She gets mad at him, then is over it a few scenes later. I mean, it’d good they didn’t needlessly drag this secret out a few more episodes, but the whole reveal just fell clunky. It’d have made more sense to have this come out a week or so ago when she secretly used her powers to rescue Barry from Mirror Master. if they were planning to spill the beans just a couple weeks later, why not do it when it was actually mildly relevant to the story?
There’s also the problem of the Metahuman of the Week: Shade. You know, the big shadow who pops up and literally has no lines or obvious motivation for causing all this trouble. It’s alluded to that Alchmey may have set him up to serve as a distraction but … c’mon, at least give us something. What’s the story with this dude? He was one of the weakest baddies the show has featured, and there’s wasn’t even a clever twist to catch him. Turning on the lights? Really? Who’d have guessed that one.
Lingering questions: Killer Frost vs. Vibe, Alchemy, Savitar
Cisco “vibes” Caitlin and sees them in what appears to be a battle to the death in the future, with Cisco rocking his vibe great and Caitlin gone full-on Elsa. They both assume this means Caitlin goes bad at some point, but we doubt it’s really that easy. Perhaps Caitlin is actually the good guy in this scenario, and Cisco has gone rogue for some reason? Hey, we do know the aliens coming up in the big ol’ crossover have some mind control powers…
This episode also seems to have brought the Alchemy story to some type of head, as Joe, Barry and a SWAT team use Wally as bait to capture Alchemy. But then all hell breaks loose, and a dude that looks like an Ultron knockoff shows up and pins Barry to the wall. This character is actually Savitar, a speedster from the comic canon. In the comics, he’s a test pilot who gets his powers after his experimental plane is struck by lightning, and he considers himself the “god” of speed, thanks to the fact that he’s mastered the Speed Force in ways no other speedster has managed. He’s also a classic Wally West-era rogue, so it stands to reason Kid Flash will be getting in on this action at some point, too. But, how does Savitar fit into all this? That’s what we’re waiting to find out.
Notes: H.R. has face-changing tech. That could come in handy down the line. Oh, and there are apparently a lot of smart gorillas (and another Grodd) on his world. Seeing Iris clock Wally and knock him out was awesome. Just when you think Wally is making a run for it, Iris kicks some butt. Also, anyone else notice Julian was randomly missing when Alchemy was causing trouble? Hmm.
Next up: Things get hot for Killer Frost!