Review: Is [Spoiler] the New Big Bad on The Flash?

Wednesday, 16 November 2016 - 10:08AM
DC Comics
The Flash
Wednesday, 16 November 2016 - 10:08AM
Review: Is [Spoiler] the New Big Bad on The Flash?
Season three of The Flash has definitely lived up to the high standard set by its first two years on the air. It has all of the heart, humor, and spectacle of the preceding seasons, and is seamlessly incorporating stories and subplots that have been brewing for the length of the series.The Flash didn't air last week, but it certainly made up for it in this week's episode, entitled "Shade," by making some of the most exciting revelations concerning this season's big bad and the future of Team Flash.  

In "Shade," the team attempts to track down a meta who can physically control shadows while simultaneously dealing with Wally receiving visions from Dr. Alchemy. Though Shade himself proves to be another run of the mill, weekly baddie and the team takes him down rather easily by the end of the episode, it's believed that he was meant to distract Flash from the issue with Alchemy. Meanwhile, the team locks Wally in one of the meta holding cells, but the visions put him in a seizure-like state that could result in permanent brain damage if they don't stop. They then decide to use Wally as bait, as Flash, Joe, and a team of CCPD officers follow him to Dr. Alchemy's lair. Though the Flash is nearly beaten by Dr. Alchemy again, a twist is revealed when a lighting-fast entity zooms in, aiding in Alchemy's plan. This entity is revealed to be Savitar, the god of speed, and the episode ends with his hand on Flash's neck.

Also during the course of the episode, Caitlyn finally reveals her powers to Cisco, who subsequently announces the fact that she's a meta to the entire team. The issue is heightened when Cisco vibes a future scene of he and Caitlyn doing battle - he as Vibe, she as Killer Frost. Yet Caitlyn's not the only one who's powers are now out in the open; before disappearing in the final scene, Alchemy drops his magic stone, which, upon touching, cocoons Wally in the same material as the husks that have been popping up all over Central City. If things proceed as they have, he'll likely be a speedster for his next appearance on the show.  

Another interesting development comes from a brief reference being made to Julian's absence during the crazy things that are happening with Alchemy. The writers have obviously been dropping hints that he's actually the baddie (i.e. showing up at the same time, working with chemicals, suspicious behavior, etc.), but it almost seems too obvious at this point. It'll be interesting to see if these hints are being dropped only to throw the audience off track, or if he actually is the creepy, power-bestowing, magic-stone wielding, gas-mask wearing, bad guy.  

"Shade" makes a few huge revelations that make it a truly memorable episode, and it's evident that it's intended to be a turning point for the season. It accomplishes this by foreshadowing what's to come with Caitlyn and Wally and introducing the villain that's likely to be the real big bad of season three. Still, there are certain things that keep "Shade" from being all that it can be. There's surprisingly little humor in the episode compared to most others, and the weekly baddie is extremely flat, only being utilized to provide a little action and serve as a minor plot point, distracting the team from the bigger issue at hand. Likewise, the Savitar reveal is likely meant to be the analog to season one's Dr. Wells reveal and season two's Jay Garrick/Zoom reveal - yet it doesn't have quite the momentum behind it as its predecessors did, making it feel a bit hollow.  

Still, "Shade" proves to be yet another worthwhile episode of The Flash. While the show's defining humor and spectacle may not be as present in the episode, the revelations that are made are enough to make it a worthy watch for plot alone. The tension is definitely high, and there's no way that any fan of The Flash would want to miss next week's episode after how "Shade" ends.

The Flash returns next Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on the CW.
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