Flash – Season III – Ep. 6 “Shade”: A Review

Posted: 11/16/2016 in Uncategorized

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Ep. 6 of Flash titled “Shade” should have been titled “Feint” because that is what the episode truly was. This season has been more erratic than its predecessors. Having just re-watched Season II with my Missus, I am not overly surprised that this season is not resonating with the Flash fan base as others have. The show runners went so big with the scope and breadth of what was duly accomplished. Superior enemies, great visuals and engaging performances made Seasons 1 & 2 truly outstanding. The “Flashpoint” paradox is supposed to be a disruptive, game changing event but its brevity favoring a long term end game might prove to be a mistake as the show has simply taken a turn for the bizarre.

The episode was far removed from bad but it certainly wasn’t dazzling either. Wally West (Kieynan Lonsdale) speaks with his father Joe (Jesse L. Martin) about dreams in which he has powers and the moniker, “Kid Flash”. He sees these dreams as harbingers of good fortune, namely being gifted with powers and the potential for helping people. This aspect is an organic continuation of his changed character arc ignited last season in which The Flash both saved and inspired him. Joe balks because he sees these dreams for what they are; an attempt by this season’s enemy “Alchemy” to affect Wally and turn him into a villainous asset as he did with both the “Rival” and “Magenta”. The notion of other 4 “husks” being found by the CCPD CSI team, namely the still crabby Julian Dorn (Tom Felton) and Barry, sets the stage for more ‘rogues’ to come. So far, so good.

The growing rancor among the ranks of Team Flash is getting a little long in the tooth. Not everyone can have powers… That’s not how it works, or how it should work. What made this show good is that it allows for the notion that anyone can be a hero and contribute in some way. If everyone on the team becomes meta human, you basically have a small screen version of the Justice League and that isn’t what this show is about…or shouldn’t be. While Caitlin’s disappointment at the revelation that the Flash’s time tampering put her in the position she is in is valid, Iris’ “why don’t I have powers?” hearkens to the puerile behavior her character had seasons back. The writing team briefly skates Wally in a similar recidivist direction before making the right course correction. The interaction between Cisco (Carlos Valdes), Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), Barry/Flash (Grant Gustin), Iris (Candice Patton), and of course Joe West, is what maintains the generally joyful, supportive ensemble dynamic. I have left out H.R. Wells (Tom Cavanaugh) as while the actor’s ability to the play essentially the same character three different ways is laudable, this new version is just effing annoying in every way. His plans, his ideas, his manic, joke-y demeanor – he just doesn’t work. His revealing little bits of his world’s tech might lead to something or it might not…

Caitlin’s potential rise as Killer Frost is finally addressed as she asks Cisco to “vibe” her and see if she becomes the evil version of herself. He lies after he sees a moment where the two are battling. This is unquestionably a feint in my view, with the subtle intimation being that Cisco/Vibe is the one who goes rogue. Time will tell…unless Barry messes it up again.

The villain du jour, Shade, offered some cool visuals but nothing else. Strictly speaking he was an “appetizer” for the fight to come. The team’s sacrifice play involving Wally, who readily agrees so that they might stop Alchemy, not to mention end the bouts of pain the uber bad is sending his way, takes us to some holy eff moments that I am still processing. Alchemy overwhelming Flash continuously and his needing saving yet again by a member of his team is getting old, especially when one considers the masterful way Flash has overwhelmed various opponents in both this season and seasons past. Again…recidivism.  The absence of Julian from work might simply be a MacGuffin. The end sequence is either mind blowing, amping up for the remainder of the season, or a weird mess. The notion of yet another speedster opponent, even one declaring himself a god might be a misstep. The rendering I am hopeful was simply a starting point for the new villain introduced as he strongly resembled a poor man’s Transformer.

I don’t know about this one. I kind of like that they zigged rather than zagged with the final sequence which could have been a conventional take down. Where they go next is apparently wide open. While Flash Season III is still well worth your time, this episode was certainly not outstanding.

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