TV Review: The Flash [S3EP6] “Shade”

ORIGINAL AIRDATE: 11.15.16

You can only keep secrets for so long

And that’s what Team Flash learns this week on every level. More revelations and confessions and admissions and realizations are what’s front and center in this episode.

Shade The Flash review DT2ComicsChat David Taylor II

More title wordplay

The clearest reference encased in the title “Shade” is of the Shade, the Changing Man from the comics. Problem is, the character featured in this episode has more in common with this version of Shade, and also with the Shadow Thief. So, as the show is known to do, it combines characters to create the villain. Sometimes that works well, but here it’s unfortunately just a plot device. There is virtually no characterization for this villain. Good news is, we’ve still got plenty of villainy this episode to go around.

Memories of the way we were

Wally West. Once a speedster. Now no more. Yet that is his destiny. So what the show has done is mixed its message. Flashpoint was wrong and bad, and just a terrible decision by Barry. But Flashpoint gave Wally his powers, and his life as Kid Flash. So…that’s a good thing, right? Wally West is one of the most beloved characters of all time. So the moral question then becomes: is it wrong for this timeline’s Wally to crave his powers? To crave a life he once had that is now gone, but only because Barry erased it? Or is the show saying, Wally would have (and needs to) become Kid Flash no matter what? It’s a true ends-justifying-the-means scenario.Shade The Flash review DT2ComicsChat David Taylor II

What makes metas evil?

Everyone’s concerned that Wally’s on the same path as Frankie Kane/AKA Magenta, yet Wally keeps reminding them that Jesse has powers now too. Do the powers make people evil? Or were they already evil and the powers turned it up to eleven? Or something else entirely? So Joe makes a group date (nobody understands why he refuses to be alone with this woman) and then expresses his concern for Wally.

And what does Barry do? He has to confess that Wally’s dreams are actually memories. That has to be both exhilarating and heartbreaking for Wally. Because it validates his deepest greatest dreams, yet the people that love him don’t want him to brave the danger that comes with being a speedster. Wally is brave and wants his turn, and I love that. Wally also makes it clear that Joe is making an unfair difference between his sons. And he’s right. It was one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard on the show, I thought they were going to milk it further. Nobody seems to really call Barry to the carpet for the amount of damage he’s done to their lives. [EDIT: But Killer Caitlin does!]

Throwing Shade

So we get introduced to the power dampening cuffs. That’s critical for what Caitlin’s going through. Also facial “transmogrification,” yeah that’s Calvin & Hobbes! Everything else about HR just gets on my royal nerves. Tom Cavanagh is fantastic but this character is beyond annoying. And he’s not funny. He’s just incompetent and useless. Wally gets more warnings from his dad. Which doesn’t dissuade him at all, but then the dream migraines hit again.

Biggest revelation here? Caitlin tells Cisco that she’s turning into Killer Frost. And she’s scared to death. So Cisco vibes them in the future and they’re fighting each other, in full costume. Cisco then lies about it and Caitlin seems to buy it, initially. That’ll change.

Fast and Loose

It’s not really clear anymore what the rules of Flashpoint are. In the comics, what drove Barry was the fact that his memories of the pre-Flashpoint timeline were fading, painfully. He knew that if he didn’t hurry up and restore time, he’d completely forget the life he had. Here, Barry retains his memories of all timelines with no pain, yet Alchemy can project memories of others into their heads. Hopefully there’s a bigger reveal down the road that justifies these conflicting concepts. So the lock Wally up in the pipeline, which, if you think about it, is their solution to absolutely EVERYTHING. It’s also cruel and unusual punishment unsanctioned by law enforcement and ignored by Joe. But okay then.Shade The Flash review DT2ComicsChat David Taylor II

A group date, really?

Caitlin knows that Cisco is lying. Because seriously he’s the worst liar ever. It’s funny how we all assume that Caitlin’s the villain in that scenario he vibed. Maybe she’s defending herself against an Evil Cisco. Back at Star Labs, Iris finally says out loud what the audience has been saying since the beginning of this show: “My contributions here are limited. I don’t know science. I don’t have powers. I don’t know how to help you.” That’s exactly right. Read why she’s not a character but only a function (hero’s girlfriend) right HERE. And then Barry says he couldn’t do what he does without her. Yeah that’s completely false. EVEN IRIS SAYS IT’S NOT TRUE. Everybody watching laughed out loud as soon as he said it. Cut to HR moving in on Joe’s date and why Joe doesn’t knock him the heck out is beyond me. OH LOOK IT’S SHADE!

Fight fight fight!

Barry confronts Shade, is winning for a brief second, gets his butt kicked. What else is new. Light the place up, a being using shadows goes away. Did it take a whole team of scientists to figure that out? Anyway it’s just a distraction because Wally is being drawn to Alchemy. Iris ducks a punch from Wally (with her normal human reflexes, something that superspeed-reflex-havin’-Flash can never seem to do) and knocks him out.

And then Cisco outs Caitlin. That was just so wrong. She should’ve known he couldn’t keep that secret. Caitlin’s reaction is entirely appropriate and normal and I loved it. Sometimes Team Flash just confuses and angers me. So then what does Barry do? He does the worst thing possible he could do given the situation: he makes it clear that Caitlin is only going through this because he changed the timeline. *sigh* Did he really think that would help? Because yo Care Bear, IT DOESN’T. It just fuels Caitlin’s rage, and RIGHTFULLY SO.Shade The Flash review DT2ComicsChat David Taylor II

Into the Dark Lair

So of course Caitlin and Cisco make up (too soon). Wally volunteers to be bait to get them all to Alchemy. Turns out Alchemy? Is just a lackey. He’s like a Dark SpeedForce Jedi working for the Speed Sith Savitar! And he tempts Wally to the dark side by promising him the powers he craves. Wally at first cooperates with the police, but can’t resist the temptation. He grabs the Alchemy orb and into the cocoon he goes. Yikers. Then the Speed Sith himself shows up, moving so fast that only Barry can see him. Double yikes! DUHN. DUHN. DUHN.

Shade The Flash review DT2ComicsChat David Taylor II Savitar
“Who am I? I’m the god of Speed, you crackhead.”

Same time next week!

So this episode was a really good alley in the alley oop setup for next week. We need to see what becomes of Caitlin, what becomes of Wally, and exactly what this Savitar creature wants. And is capable of doing. So we have to tune in next week and hopefully get some payoff. The way they deal with each one of the situations that were setup in this episode is going to set the tone for the rest of the season.

Maybe even the rest of the series. WHOA.

See you next review Flash Fans!

Recommended comics & media for Shade & Shadow Thief

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