Flash: Shade

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Wally has some good dreams… at first

This week’s episode of The Flash starts off with Wally. He’s having very vivid dreams of being Kid Flash. While it’s great to see a live action version of the iconic Kid Flash costume, it’s a bit worrisome on the show. Joe is very worried that what’s happening with Wally is similar to what happened to Frankie Kane, and her dreams that led to her villainous Magenta persona. Wally argues that she was an evil split personality, and all he wants to do is help people. There’s definitely some tension between them about this.In the lab, Barry and Julian are still not getting on, despite the progress made last week. District Attorney Cecile Horton comes by to tell them Barry has been reassigned full-time to metahuman crimes, which is a bit weird, as the DA shouldn’t be assigning police personnel. Julian isn’t happy. Joe is, when he sees her, and they talk about their upcoming date. Gee, I’m sure nothing will happen to disrupt that…

Over at STAR, HR is still be annoying and not all that useful. He comes up with a plan to be the face of a new STAR Labs, which is when Caitlin and Cisco tell him about the previous Wells (no, the one before that) being a confessed murderer who’s believed dead. That’s going to complicate public appearances. He’s understandably not happy about this revelation. While they argue, Cisco’s metahuman cuffs come up in conversation. This leads to both some odd statements from HR and Catilin looking very interested (no, not THAT way).

Barry shares some more info about the Flashpoint timeline with the Wests. Iris sounds annoyed at first he didn’t tell them about the Wally and Iris crimefighting duo. He reminds her they told him they didn’t want to know. What he’s most concerned about is Wally’s fate there, although I really don’t see why that’s a foregone conclusion in the here and now. Barry could easily train him if he gets powers, which the Flashpoint Wally never had.

The villain of the week finally shows up, using a finance guy as his designated redshirt/power demonstration victim. Barry and Julian work the case, with no real leads. How do you trace a shadow? Barry tries again to be friendly with Julian, and gets rebuffed. Me, I think I’d stop trying. Julian, even with his motives explained, is a dick.

Caitlin, Cisco, and HR have another confusing scene at STAR. HR has a handy gadget that lets him transform his face, so he can now go out in public. Apparently it’s a common tool on his world, which is yet another thing that really makes me wonder what Earth 19 is like. Cisco’s cuffs have gone missing, but this debate gets shelved when Barry shows up and asks for help. Wells recognizes this guy as similar to a bad guy on his world, called Shade. There is a Shade in the comics, but he’s a much more complex and interesting character, or at least is when James Robinson writes him. This one is just a walking special effect, and not a great one.

Wally starts getting weird visions of his Flashpoint self, which worries Joe. Catilin worries Cisco by telling him about her emerging powers. Essentially, there is a lot of worrying about powers going around. It gets worse when Caitlin asks Cisco to vibe her future, and he sees a full out Killer Frost vs Vibe fight, which he lies about.

HR comes up with an interesting idea to isolate Wally from the influence of Dr. Alchemy. Most of them are appalled by it, but it’s actually clever, and Wally himself goes along with it. Despite all the chaos going on, most of the group decides it’s a fine time to go the big movies in the park event, because it’s not like there’s anything else going on, right? Sure enough, Shade shows up and attacks, which Joe might look on as a good thing considering how his date was going.

Eventually, Shade is defeated. Wally comes up with a plan to trace down Dr. Alchemy, and Joe agrees, but with the backup of Flash and the Central City SWAT. Because bringing along a bunch of heavily armed normals is a great idea, right? There’s some more Caitlin/Cisco drama, and a revelation that HR has a Grodd on his Earth, too. Maybe Grodd is a constant, like Big Belly Burger? There’s a terrifying thought.

The Dr. Alchemy fight goes about as badly as I expected it to. Dr. Alchemy has backup the team didn’t know about, and it gets really ugly. The episode ends with a lot of fighting, a few surprises, and Flash finding out he has a new foe he didn’t know about. It’s not looking good for the heroes.

What I liked: HR had a useful idea and a few good laughs. They’re making me really curious about his Earth. I’m glad Caitlin isn’t keeping her secret anymore, even if I don’t like how it spilled out. It’s actually kind of realistic that Julian isn’t suddenly best friends with Barry after one conversation.

What I didn’t:    Hero-moping. The CW loves this, and Barry’s coming down with it. I don’t see any way at all Caitlin’s powers are his fault, or why Wally will automatically die because he did (or came close) in Flashpoint. HR in general is getting annoying. I don’t like this version of Wells. Shade in the comics is so much cooler a character than this thing was.

I’ll give this a low 3 out of 5. It’ wasn’t a great episode, but it wasn’t horrible. It’ll be interesting to see how they resolve the cliffhanger in time for the big CW crossover the week after.

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