The Flash S03 E06: Shade

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Flashpoint, though avoided, has still caused much damage to the Flash and his friends. Among those threats are those awoken by Doctor Alchemy to their powered Flashpoint selves. Things get worse when Wally starts to realize he was Kid Flash. Meet me after the super speed jump for my thoughts on “Shade.”

Need for Speed

Even before he was hit by the dark matter wave, and besides the point he was Kid Flash and later the Flash in the comics, Wally West has wanted to be fast. Whether as an illegal drag racer or a super speedster, he’s got a need for speed. We saw how busted up he was when Jesse got powers, and also saw him step in front of a car in hopes to awaken his speed, but now as his transformation approaches, it might not be a good thing.

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Wally has been having dreams of being Kid Flash, even gets to do the voiceover in the opening sequence. He’s helping people and wearing the yellow and red – but aren’t dreams how Doctor Alchemy brought fellow Flashpointers Magenta and the Rival into his thrall? Will Wally be the hero we all want him to be, or just another of Alchemy’s pawns against the Flash?

Trust

Once Barry tells the team that Wally was Kid Flash in Flashpoint, something he should have done months ago in my opinion, there’s a trust issue with Joe. Barry can have powers and screw up all he wants to, but Joe doesn’t have the same trust in Wally. Once all that’s out in the open however, the team elects to put Wally in the Pipeline for his own safety. Wow, great family you got there, Wally.

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Caitlin trusts Cisco enough to tell him about her powers. She asks him to vibe her future to see if she becomes Killer Frost. What he sees is himself as Vibe in his comics costume in full-on fight mode with Killer Frost. Very cool, but not what he wanted to see.

The Shade

Last week in my article, Ten Things I Still Want to See on The Flash, I hinted at maybe seeing more of the Earth-Two villains, the Shade among them. This week we actually have an appearance by the Shade, or Shade as he’s called here, in name only. This villain is a living shadow and a killer with speed-based powers. More of a brute made of darkness than anything else.

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In the comics, the Shade is a sophisticated anti-hero who sometimes plays the villain. Seemingly immortal and born in the 19th century, Richard Swift can control and channel darkness for his own purposes. He has fought both the Golden Age and Silver Age Flashes, was a member of the Injustice Society, and later was mentor to Jack Knight, the son of the Golden Age Starman.

The Shining

Joe finally gets to go on that date with Cecile, the woman who has been pursuing him. It’s a group date, the whole cast minus Wally in the Pipeline and Barry and Iris who are watching him. Everyone else is seeing The Shining in the park. Even H.R. is there, with his new face, because the team finally told him he had a murderer’s face.

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As H.R. charms Cecile away from Joe, Wally is called by Alchemy. And just before Joe is about to sock H.R., Shade comes out of the movie screen. He’s depowered by light after throwing the Flash around a bit, but it’s obvious he’s one of Alchemy’s husk metas being used as a distraction so Wally could heed his master’s voice. So sad that such a complex and amazing villain was reduced to a minor plot device.

Cold Comfort

In the aftermath of the disappointing struggle with Shade, the team starts doing the math. They found six husks. The Rival, Magenta, Shade… who else is there? Kid Flash could be the fourth, and trying put it all out there, Cisco outs Caitlin as Killer Frost. She reacts badly, and Barry tries to talk her down. I wonder why he didn’t tell her she wasn’t Killer Frost in Flashpoint. It would seem a very relevant point, right?

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We are often told that Caitlin and Cisco are friends but we rarely see it. Here we get a bit of that when Cisco apologizes for ratting her out. I really hope we’re not going to lose her. It does seem like she’s being edged out this season. I guess we’ll find out for sure in the next episode, titled aptly, “Killer Frost.”

Bait and Switch

Team Flash makes the decision to let Wally go to Doctor Alchemy, so they can find the villain finally. He’ll have the Flash, Joe, and a S.W.A.T. team full of fodder to back him up. When Wally gets to Alchemy’s lair, it’s a bit more like what we might think another Flash foe’s lair might look like. It’s all culted up like Savitar‘s might be…

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The Flash, Joe, and S.W.A.T. move in to capture Alchemy and his hooded cultist henchmen before Wally can get his speed, but it triggers something else. As foretold by Alchemy, something is coming, and it begins to pick off S.W.A.T. guys. When it gets to the Flash, it reveals itself… Savitar, the god of speed…

Waste and Loss

If this is the end of the road for the Doctor Alchemy character, I have to say I’m disappointed, almost as disappointed as I was with the TV version of the Shade. Both are fascinating characters with much television potential, and yet, here they’re wasted. Speaking of waste, again I must repeat I hope we’re not losing Caitlin as well.

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There were notes of similar possible loss as well. As a fan of the comics, I loved the bit where Barry says, “There is no Flash without Iris West.” But in the context of how these shows work, it could mean a loss of Iris as well. She’s already feeling like a fifth wheel. Iris went away in the comics for a while. It didn’t work out well.

I don’t mind saying I didn’t like this episode much. So much wasted potential, and still no satisfying final conflict with Alchemy and still no Kid Flash. Savitar was never a character I liked in the comics, so I’m not looking forward to upcoming episodes all that much.

Next: Killer Frost, and then Invasion!

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About Glenn Walker

Glenn Walker is a professional writer, and editor-in-chief and contributing writer at Biff Bam Pop!. A blogger, podcaster, and reviewer of pop culture in all its forms, he's done stints in radio, journalism and video retail. Ask him anything about movies, television, music, or especially comics or French fries, and you’ll be hard pressed to stump him or shut him up.

Posted on November 21, 2016, in DC Universe, Glenn Walker, television, the flash and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. To be fair, Wally agreed to the tubular incarceration too … but then … it was Iris’s turn to drop a whopper of a Barry-ism, and UNLOCK the door! … I still do a ** headdesk** at the mere thought of it. However, it wouldn’t be the Flash is there wasn’t at least one per episode. 🙂

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