Warning: this review contains spoilers. You can find my all of my reviews of The Flash here.
There’s this thing The Flash does that I don’t quite get. Two weeks ago, the promising Caitlin subplot was completely underserved because the episode decided to focus way too much on the far less interesting monster hologram. This week, the titular main villain in “Shade” was utterly negligible. He barely had any screen time, yet his inclusion damaged the episode by splitting its focus for no reason.
Which is a shame, because “Shade” would have otherwise been a great episode.
First, Caitlin received much more attention this week, which was to the episode’s benefit. True, all her worrying about her powers automatically turning her evil, though not unfounded, was a bit much. Becoming evil isn’t an affliction; it’s a choice that, with enough willpower, she can avoid making. We don’t even know the context for Cisco’s future vibe. He could simply have misinterpreted it.
Still, I was glad to see “Shade” give Caitlin’s subplot enough screentime to mean something. Especially since her powers are finally out in the open, which I very much prefer to the secret-keeping. Next week’s episode is called “Killer Frost”, so I’m sure the consequences will be interesting.
Speaking of gaining powers, Wally found himself Alchemy’s target in “Shade”, plagued by visions of Flashpoint. After much deliberation, this finally led Wally to Alchemy’s hideout, with Flash and the police right behind him.
Thus began the big showdown with Alchemy and the debut of Savitar, both of which ended up being a bit anticlimactic. Part of that is thanks to the climax being crammed into the last 10 minutes of the episode. A little bit less stalling with useless villains would have helped.
Another reason, though, is that we still don’t know much about Alchemy, let alone Savitar (who looks impressive, if a bit Transformers-like). Without being invested in them as villains, I couldn’t be too invested in the showdown. Aside from the inherent cool factor of an evil speedster in action, that is.
Oh, and HR was again hilarious thanks to Tom Cavanagh. “Shade” also introduced a convenient device to mask Wells’ face from the world at large except for the main characters—and the audience. Even though the pseudo-science behind it strained credulity.
“Shade” ended in a cliffhanger, but it was more of the “hmm, interesting” variety than the jawdropping kind. Hopefully the remainder of the season works on this episode’s flaws, and presents a compelling reason to have yet another speedster as the villain.