The Flash S03 E12: ‘Untouchable’

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Now that it’s been sorta established that Iris has a death wish, what better time for her suspected murder from the comics, Clive Yorkin, to make his live action debut? And can The Flash make Kid Flash fast enough to save her from her future death? Find out after the super speed jump in my review of “Untouchable.”

Fastest Race Alive

We open on the Flash and Kid Flash in a race around Central City, part of Wally’s training to become faster. I was a bit unnerved that Team Flash was taking it so lightly as to bet on the winner. I am also getting tired of H.R.’s jokes about his Earth. I wish they’d concentrate on his different way of thinking over telling us about Vice President Al Capone or who’s on the hundred dollar bill. H.R. has been here long enough to acclimate.

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Barry wins the race, but by trickery. In honesty, both Flashes are about equal in speed right now, but Barry got the lead by vibrating through a building while Wally ran up and over it. Shouldn’t the next obvious step be Barry teaching Wally how to phase? At least they do that. The stunt also made me wonder about a power that Barry, and later Wally, had in the comics – lending speed to other speedsters. That would be really helpful now.

Death and Speed

There’s a murder at Luigi’s restaurant, something that ties in with news items from the future – that Luigi’s reopens after a murder. A man is dead, petrified and rotted, after only being killed just hours before. On scene, Joe and Barry indoctrinate Julian into Team Flash’s sneaky ways around police work, and he brings the body to S.T.A.R. Labs.

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Iris is also there, and this little bit of the future has her on edge, but of course not enough to tell Joe. She thinks Joe has enough on his plate, and is finally happy courting Cecile. In a side note, mention is made of Cecile’s daughter Joanie. My mind immediately goes to Joanie Swift, a woman who accidentally gained super speed in the Golden Age and was temporarily Johnny Quick‘s partner.

Julio Mendez

Shortly after Caitlin and Julian discover that this death touch is more of a constant accelerated decay by opening a body bag full of dust, we once again meet Julio Mendez. When John Wesley Shipp played the Flash in the 1990s TV series, Alex Desert was Julio Mendez, Barry’s lab partner and friend. As established in the Flashpoint world, Julio was the police captain. The bad news is the first victim was also a cop in Flashpoint.

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Here in the post-Flashpoint world, we see Julio again as a jazz musician confronted by the man with the death touch. He’s got a vendetta against Julio and wants to shake his hand. It’s a grisly end, sadly. On a happier note, the 90s series was sorta presented as being another Earth in “Welcome to Earth-2,” wouldn’t it be cool to drop in on these characters twenty-five plus years later, and especially see Shipp back in the red? Let’s do it!

Clive Yorkin

For comics readers of The Flash of a certain age, the name Clive Yorkin should put a chill down their spine, it did mine. Back in the 1970s, when Iris West-Allen was murdered (she got better), it was a long time before we learned who the real murderer was – the Reverse-Flash, of course, but for most of the time right after her death, there was another prime suspect, who lurked behind the scenes of the pages of The Flash for months, and that was Clive Yorkin. He was a prisoner on whom some pretty nasty Clockwork Orange-ish experiments called the Nephron Process were performed. The pain and pleasure centers of his brain became switched, he went insane, and gained a powerful death touch. Yorkin was found hovering over the dead body of Iris, and the chase was on for several issues. His twisted maniacal face was the stuff of nightmare.

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Here on television, he’s one of Doctor Alchemy’s Flashpoint husk creations, and has a death touch, and a disintegration touch, but without all the drooling maniac bits. He’s actually quite charming for a vengeful villain murderer. In fact, it’s kinda unnerving to hear Clive Yorkin’s name and see this dashing dude with a streak of revenge show up. Again the showrunners playing with the heads of the comics readers, nice touch.

The Real Hero

After some fruitless training where Wally can’t quite figure out how to vibrate through matter, and Caitlin and Julian discovering that Yorkin is likely a metahuman awakened by Doctor Alchemy, we have the coffee meet between Joe and Cecile’s family. Awkward and acrobatic conversation just doesn’t cover it. The topic of why Joanie likes Central City comes up, and it’s Kid Flash.

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The discussion becomes one of who’s better, Kid Flash or the Flash, who’s the real hero? It’s fun even when you realize the only two not in on the joke are Cecile and Joanie. This is another point where the idea of secret identities is put to the test. Would you really lie by omission to people you care about? I have always thought the scene where Clark Kent reveals to Lois Lane that he’s Superman should have been followed by her slapping the crap out of him.

Long Time Coming

After a clash with Yorkin – who again it is weird to see acting rather rational compared to the drooling maniac of the comics – at Jitters where Kid Flash gets to save the day, Iris finally tells Joe about her possible future. We knew this would be bad, and it is. Joe is mad more at Barry than Iris or anyone else. Barry should have known how he feels about his little girl. And it gets worse.

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When Yorkin can’t find Joe he goes after Iris to make Joe suffer. Kid Flash gets there too late before he touches her, but thankfully Caitlin is able to freeze Iris’ arm and stop the progress of Yorkin’s touch. Wally is feeling bad, as is Julian, and Caitlin is just freaked out enough that she might go Killer Frost without her power under control. There is a lot going on here.

Come Together

As I said, there’s a lot going on in the last fifteen to twenty minutes of this episode. It actually has the feel of the quick way loose ends were tidied up before the big Invasion! crossover. The thing is, as opposed to other episodes with iffy subplots that seem to go nowhere, it all comes together here. Everyone gets a bit of the spotlight toward saving lives and stopping Clive Yorkin.

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In the end, Barry and Iris’ love is stronger than ever, an actual bond of friendship and possibly more exists between Caitlin and Julian that actually may go somewhere other than giving the characters something to do, Wally is getting better as a speedster, and finally nobody is keeping secrets from anyone else – at least within Team Flash. We’re all on level ground as the next episode stinger comes up. Jesse comes through a portal for help. Her father has been kidnapped by Grodd

Even though this was one of the more complicated episodes of the season, and with subplots and twists galore, I really dug it. It had all the things I like in this show, the superheroics, comic book stuff, Barry and Iris together, Flash and Kid Flash together, and the good guys winning. More please. And really it can only get better with a Grodd two-parter coming up, bring it on!

Next: In two weeks, the first of a special two-part adventure against Super Gorilla Grodd in “Attack on Gorilla City!”

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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 February 10, 2017, in DC Universe, Glenn Walker, television, the flash and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. The Flash vibrating the train through the pile of concrete made up for all the recent ‘Barryisms’ too! 😀

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