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THE FLASH “Shade” Review

By on November 16, 2016

Photo © CW Network

By Justin Carter

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching various superhero shows over the years, it’s that for all the talk between the main characters about not keeping secrets, they do a bad job at doing that one thing.

Oliver Queen still lies like it’s his first language, James is lying to Kara on Supergirl, and Firestorm’s secret-keeping is probably what’s going to bring all the CW/DC shows together in a few weeks.

Over on Barry’s side of the universe, he’s dealing with the repercussions of not telling the others about their Flashpoint timelines; Caitlin finally outs herself as Killer Frost, and Alchemy makes a play for Wally. The dreams of his Flashpoint life as Kid Flash are becoming more frequent and painful, forcing the team to lock him in the Pipeline to stop him from going after Alchemy himself — before realizing that the only way to end this is to just take the kid to Alchemy himself.

As is the case recently, Barry and Joe’s reasoning for not telling Wally is incredibly flimsy. Even though Joe’s father mode kicks into overdrive here appropriately, Wally is the fourth person (prior to Caitlin’s reveal) that the two have come across to have Alchemy visions. It’s been building for weeks, and with the clear knowledge that, as Iris puts it, Wally’s ‘always wanted to help people,’ they should have seen this coming. The scenes with Wally in the Pipeline before he gets carted off to Alchemy largely feel like marking time.

Caitlin’s secrets, unlike the youngest West, make more sense on both a narrative and character sense. With Cisco having Vibed the two of them fighting as their alternate personas, she’s more than desperate to keep her powers a secret however possible. When Cisco outs her powers and she snaps at him in front of everyone, it feels appropriate for her to do so. Normally, I’d be willing to think that the show was being intentionally vague with the Vibe–it wouldn’t entirely be surprising if this ended up to turn out to be a training sequence, or even if Vibe was the true bad guy here–but given the signs of evil we’re already seeing, it looks like Cait’s being set up as a tragic villain.

This week’s Supergirl fully cemented its main cast into the business of heroes in some capacity by making James into Guardian and integrating Winn and Mon-El into the DEO, and Arrow and Legends have begun that fairly recently or right off the bat. While Flash doesn’t entirely do that with all of its characters–Iris points out that she feels useless at STAR Labs, which feels more like the writers calling themselves out than anything out–it at least is finally making an effort to bring in the last two holdovers. While getting to that point has proven to be a less than ideal trip, the fact that we’re finally going to get Kid Flash for real makes this a good enough episode…even if it does end on a cliffhanger to extend that storyline a little while longer.

Additional Notes

  • The episode title, “Shade,” refers to the villain of the week, a giant shadow monster metahuman who only shows up twice. There’s honestly nothing to him beyond just being a distraction so Alchemy can get Wally.
  • HR uses one of his Earth’s face changing abilities so he can walk around with the face of an admitted murderer, something that he’s peeved no one told him about.
  • The way HR emphasizes that there are “many” sentient gorillas on his Earth certainly doesn’t bode well for the rest of this season….
  • Turns out Alchemy’s fellow baddie is a man…robot…thing called Savitar, the God of Speed. If he hadn’t announced himself, I would’ve thought that he was kidnapped from that upcoming Power Rangers reboot.
  • Over the two week break, WB also announced that Young Justice would return for a third season. With Wally here, Artemis on Arrow, and Miss Martian hanging around on Supergirl, I wouldn’t entirely be surprised if there was an eventual universe crossover or merging to get those three together for their own spinoff series.


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