Hey guys, remember how scary Zoom’s first appearance and fight with Barry was? I think Savitar is aiming for the crown now. So, let’s talk about “Shade” and how great of an improvement it was in comparison to “Monster”. We had all the right elements in tension between the team, a great build up to finally revealing the villain, the will they or won’t they of Wally getting husked. Each of them by themselves could have made for a really cool episode but combining them together with the appropriate balance made up for everything that was bad about last week. We got to know a little bit more about this Flashpoint universe and the guilt that Barry is feeling about all the changes he has inadvertently made. We can see that under the surface Barry still wants all of his friends to be ok no matter the consequences. Unfortunately all of the consequences have a rather large cost to the team.
Lets start from the top, Caitlin and Cisco’s drama over Caitlin’s powers. There is definitely a solid arc as Cisco makes a strong point about how secrets hurt the team and Caitlin makes an excellent counter point about how it was her secret to tell not his. Basically, everyone is in the right in this situation and it is exciting that the team is finally all in on helping Caitlin and making her feel comfortable with her new abilities. Of course there is the counter point of Cisco’s vision and see the two friends seemingly fight to the death raises a lot more questions about how we end up there. Is Caitlin truly destined to be evil or are there other forces at work that will lead to this confrontation. Either way both Carlos Valdes and Danielle Panabaker to great work with the material they are given.
Same thing goes for Wally’s storyline as there was a good amount of tension as to whether Wally was going to give up everything to get to be Kid Flash again. Keiynan Lonsdale did a great job of not only portraying the frustration of not getting to have powers, but the temptation as Alchemy attempted to draw him into what was seemingly a giant trap. I mean I can think of a ton of people who would have just given into Alchemy as first word, so for Wally to hold out as long as he did says a lot about his character. Sure it is mostly undercut by Wally actually touching the stone and getting cocooned at the end to the episode, but there was enough solid build up to the pain and anguish that you can somewhat emphasize with him. Now we unfortunately have to wonder just how long Wally will be out of commission and if the cocoon will actually give Wally his powers without any ill side effects.
Unfortunately where the characters succeed the main villain of the episode was lack luster at best. I mean Shade as a villain could have been compelling, but there was no rhyme or reason as to his attacks and much like last week we were left without a solid motivation beyond causing mayhem so that Alchemy could get to Wally. I mean what reason did he even have to attack that random person in the first place? Was it under Alchemy’s orders or did he simply do it for shits and giggles. I know that The Flash is able to write compelling villains when they want to so why are they struggling so much with the villains of the week? They have to be able to do better than Shade, Mirror Master, and the weird monster from last episode, or else Alchemy and now Savitar will have to be front and center more often.
Speaking of the two big bads they definitely have more of a presence this week than any episode so far. I really am digging the Freddy Kruger vibe Alchemy gives off. He can get to you anywhere, anytime, and he can tap into your deepest desire. That makes him a more dangerous foe than either Zoom or Reverse-Flash as his followers actually want to be around him. As for Savitar we only see him for a few seconds but he is definitely more imposing than anyone Barry has dealt with before. Not only is he physically huge, but the self proclaimed god of speed looks like he is not from this world. It is certainly a distinctive look and the addition of white lighting and the fact he can only be seen by speedsters apparently already elevates him to a force Barry will have trouble overcoming.
Overall it was definitely a step up from last week. Now bring on Killer Frost and Savitar.
Final Grade B
+Caitlin and Cisco drama
+Wally fighting for control
+Alchemy and Savitar are interesting villains
-Shade had no motivation
-HR and the face swap idea
-How long will Wally be cocooned?
-Gorilla Grodd exists on Earth-19 and by HR’s reaction he is not too thrilled Grodd is a constant.
-VIbe’s suit looks cool. Can’t wait to see the actual coloring.
-Julian is not going to be Alchemy, that is simply to on the nose of a choice.