Flash: Untouchable


On Your Mark…

The writers dug deep into Flash’s past for the villain in “Untouchable.” Not only does he not have a codename anywhere I could find, he doesn’t even have a costume. It’s a decent episode, but they make a few weird choices along the way. We’ll get to that as we go.

It opens up with Flash training Kid Flash, in this case by a race through the city along a route that Cisco has already planted sensors along. Kid Flash is being cocky and smug, while Flash is a lot more worried about getting his sidekick to increase his powers so he can hopefully defeat Savitar in the upcoming confrontation that’s supposed to end with Iris dying. It’s a very close race up until the end, when Flash phases through a building. Kid Flash still hasn’t mastered that trick, and has to run up the side then down again. They argue a bit about whether phasing is fair, and then go back to their friendly rivalry about who is faster.

The next day, Joe, Barry, and Julian are at a crime scene, and it’s a nasty one. The body looks like it’s largely decayed, although the victim was seen alive hours earlier. After some of the usual dickery from Julian, they persuade him to examine the body at STAR, which has better equipment than the Central City Police. That’s a touch that’s sad to hear, but very believable. Iris is getting more and more worried about her upcoming potential death, and Barry reassures her. Point for Barry here: he doesn’t blindly say everything will be ok, he says he’s doing everything in his power to keep her safe. I like that he made that distinction.

While Barry and Iris talk, Julian and Caitlin examine the body. They bicker about the respect due the deceased, with Julian being his usual pain in the ass self. Their argument ends when Caitlin opens the bag and finds the body has pretty much turned to dust. Not only is that going to be hard to test, but it means whatever is effecting the body is no kind of disease or bacteria they know of. So, basically, it’s another meta with a weird power.

Since they’ve revealed this, they show the bad guy in action as he kills off a musician named Julio Mendez. That’s a name that’s important to Flash tv lore- he was not only a captain during the Flashpoint timeline, but the character was Barry’s lab tech/sidekick in the 1990’s show. Sadly, this time out, Mendez is basically a redshirt, showing both how the bad guy’s power works and giving a hint as to what his motivations are.

At STAR, they are trying to teach Wally the phasing trick, and it’s not working. He’s having a very painful looking series of accidents as he tries to pass through a wall. It’s a good thing speedsters heal quickly. Barry tries to offer some pointers, but it’s kind of vague, zen-like stuff which sounds like it should be coming from Max Mercury, about the only DC speedster from the comics we haven’t seen yet. Barry gets called to the scene of Mendez’s death, where he starts to put the pieces together about the victims being part of his Flashpoint timeline. After Barry whisks Julian and the body off to STAR, Joe brings up a coffee date for his family to meet with Joanie, the daughter of Joe’s girlfriend, Cecile, the District Attorney.

Caitlin and Julian investigate the second body. Julian is being pushy and not helpful, as is often the case. They finally manage to isolate a strange element in what they believe is the killer’s DNA. Julian gets very worried, because it’s something from the husks that metas used to regain their Flashpoint powers. Julian is now convinced that the meta is his fault, from when he was unwittingly forced into the role of Dr. Alchemy.

The coffee meeting goes awkwardly. Joanie is in college out in Coast City (Green Lantern’s home and frequently mentioned in the tv shows, but so far not seen). The only thing she misses from Central is Kid Flash, which creates some tension at the table. I also wonder how that’s working, since Wally hasn’t been Kid Flash all that long. When did she go to school? Their event is interrupted when the bad guy, Clive Yorkin, shows up looking for Joe. In the confusion of evacuating the restaurant, Wally changes to Kid Flash and manages to hold Yorkin off. Joanie is delighted to see her hero in action.

Back at STAR, Barry thinks Joe should go into hiding. There’s a bit of arguing, Iris reverses herself about telling Joe about Savitar, and then most of the team leaves. Julian makes another dickish comment about always being responsible for their own actions, which leaves him blaming himself for his time as Dr. Alchemy again. Caitlin takes offense, wondering if he’s thinking of her problems as Killer Frost.

Iris is at home, checking a few things on her computer, when she gets a surprise guest- Yorkin. Iris uses her panic alarm (one of the best inventions of the post-Flashpoint timeline) and Kid Flash responds because he was closer. But, even though Kid Flash is impressively fast, he doesn’t prevent Yorkin from touching Iris. She gets contaminated, but it’s a lot slower in this case than the past victims. I guess it’s more dramatic this way.

They rush Iris back to STAR, where they come up with a desperate idea. Caitlin uses her cold powers to slow the spread of the power. Wally feels guilty that he wasn’t fast enough, and Barry says he hasn’t been a good enough teacher. Cisco and HR come up with a clever idea, and use Cisco’s Vibe powers to look into the Flashpoint reality to figure out who else Yorkin might be going after. This works, and Cisco sees that Yorkin being arrested by the victims so far and a woman called Stone. Joe goes to warn her as the others work on curing Iris or stopping Yorkin. I think this is the first time one of the Flashpoint people didn’t have powers then but does now. I’m not sure how that worked.

Stone is working as a private investigator, following a man at the train station. Joe warns her, and she agrees to talk with him on the train (amusingly, the Star City express). Yorkin is lurking in the background as they get on. Back at the lab, Julian is not finding a way to cure Iris, but has an idea about how to stop Yorkin. Caitlin is losing her grip as she keeps using her powers to save Iris. Her eyes go silver and that vocal shift that heralds Killer Frost starts up. Weirdly, Julian manages to talk her down.

Yorkin somehow or other gets ahead of the train and uses his power to collapse some rubble on the tracks. Joe alerts the others, and Flash and Kid Flash respond. Flash says they don’t have time to evacuate the train, although he’s done that kind of thing before and now has help. Instead, he phases the train through the rubble, which is a really impressive trick. Kid Flash is left to face Yorkin, and needs to master phasing to do it. Barry changes up a recurring line by saying, “Run, Wally, run.”

Everyone gets together to celebrate back at STAR. Cisco teases HR about already writing this up for one of his books, which is weird, because HR can’t send them home anymore since Gypsy told everyone he’s dead. They all agree if they are going to beat Savitar, they need to not have any more secrets between them. Julian stalks off, vowing to bring in the other meta he created as Dr. Alchemy. His resolve doesn’t last long, since he immediately agrees to go out for a drink with Caitlin. That’s a pairing I saw coming, and was hoping I was wrong.

When everyone else takes off, Wally stays behind to practice his new power more. Suddenly a rift opens behind him, and we see a special guest pop up with a lead in to next episode. Cecile and Joanie say goodbye to Joe as Joanie goes back to school. Joanie is still excited about having seen Kid Flash. Barry and Iris settle in at home, replacing the door Yorkin destroyed, and they get in a joke about STAR Labs’ utterly ineffective security system.

What I liked: It was nice to see Barry teaching Wally, because he was right, he hasn’t done a lot of that so far. Their friendly rivalry is amusing. I like that they manage, at least most of the time, to remember that Caitlin does biology and Cisco does technology, a distinction that’s frequently forgotten between Fitz and Simmons over on Agents of SHIELD. Barry’s joke at the end about STAR security was funny because it was so true. They need one of those “X Days since someone broke in” signs. The end scene with Wally’s guest has me really looking forward to next episode.

What I didn’t: Yorkin’s power was inconsistent, time-wise. It was near instant with Mendez, but lingered with Iris. I get it, they want drama, but that was an odd way to do it. I also don’t get how Yorkin managed to get ahead of the train Joe and Stone were on when he was at the station when it left. And I really don’t like Julian and Caitlin as a couple. I’d also like an explanation as to why Caitlin is the only one so far whose powers make her a different person. Magenta had mental issues before her powers. And why was Yorkin the only one with no powers in Flashpoint? That was part of who Alchemy was luring people in, promising to restore what they lost. I’m not sure what Joanie being around added to the plot in any way.

It was a decent episode. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5. I’m getting a little tired of Iris veering back and forth between “I’m not going to die now,” and yet still terrified when things get bad. I am looking forward to next time, as one of the villains I’ve always really liked returns.