Tonight's episode of "The Flash," -- titled "Shade," -- covered a lot of ground. The episode continued to tease a tense dynamic between Barry and Julian, it established the romantic potential of Joe and Cecile, it showed how Wally was being influenced by Alchemy, it addressed more of Caitlin's new powers, it even circled back to Flashpoint. The episode also introduced a new speedster -- the long awaited and deadly Savitar. Savitar's identity and purpose was not revealed, but his super speed and nickname was. He called himself the "God of Speed" and raced around so quickly that no one could even see him move except Barry. This episode astutely called into question two prevailing concepts: can someone be effective without powers (like Wally and Iris,) and did Flashpoint cause all of the chaos that has been happening? Both Wally and Iris struggled this week with being powerless, and in a touching scene between Caitlin and Barry, Barry confessed that Alchemy's existence, Cisco's brother's death, and Caitlin's powers all happened because Barry created Flashpoint. Tonight's episode ended in a massive cliffhanger, easily the most intense cliffhanger since Zoom broke Barry's back in Season 2. Next week will have to pick up where "Shade" left off, revealing both Barry and Wally's fate.
Wally Dreams About Being Kid Flash
"Shade" opened with a voice-over by Wally West. In this voiceover, Wally is Kid Flash, the hero of Central City. The voice over was Wally recounting his dream to Joe, who instantly knew that the dream was from Alchemy. Wally was excited about having powers and discounted Alchemy's influence, but Joe couldn't shake what had happened to Magenta. After telling Barry and Team Flash about the dream, Barry finally confessed that Wally was Kid Flash in Flashpoint. The team agreed that Wally should stay inside the pipeline, to protect him from Alchemy, but that turned out to be a trap to get Wally alone. While Joe, Cecile, H.R., Caitlin, Cisco, and Barry were all at a movie, Shade attacked them. This was a diversion from Alchemy's real attack on Wally, which came as torturous pain. Alchemy promised the pain would stop if he came to him. Iris let Wally out of containment, and when he almost attacked her she knocked him out. During the episode, Iris also wondered about having powers. Barry encouraged her, however, that he wouldn't be The Flash without her.
Caitlin Tells Cisco About Killer Frost
Iris and Wally's desire for powers came in stark contrast to Caitlin's struggle this week because she had powers that she doesn't want. After seeing her mom in "Monster" and learning that her powers were consuming her, Caitlin was committed to controlling them on her own. When she decided to tell Cisco this week, she did so on the condition that he wouldn't tell the rest of the team. Despite Team Flash being like a family, Caitlin's first tendency was to isolate and pull away. When she asked Cisco to vibe her future, he saw himself fighting against her -- he saw Caitlin as Killer Frost and himself as Vibe -- locked in a fierce battle together. At first, he lied to her about this, but he eventually told her the truth. He also told the team about her powers, which made her pull away even further. Thankfully both Barry and Cisco talked her out of leaving, reminding her that they were all better together. Caitlin's powers will be further explored in next week's episode, "Killer Frost."
Alchemy Draws Wally to His Lair
In a self-sacrificial and dangerous move, Wally let himself be the bait in Joe and Barry's trap for Alchemy. After being tormented by images of his own death in Flashpoint, Wally went with Joe, Barry, and a heavily armed SWAT team to find Alchemy. When Alchemy saw Wally, he offered Wally anything his heart desired. When Wally said he wanted Alchemy gone, Alchemy realized he was caught in a trap. Alchemy put up a tough fight against The Flash by wielding his Philosopher's Stone. He was disarmed of the stone, and in a moment when Alchemy was caught and could have been unmasked, a strange blue light filled the room. No one could see the light except for Barry, who realized it was a speedster. This speedster took down all of the SWAT team so quickly Barry couldn't stop him. The final moments of the episode ended on two cliffhangers: Barry captured by the blue speedster (who revealed himself to be Savitar, God of Speed) and Wally, encapsulated by a giant husk. The episode cut to black, leaving the fate of both Wally and Barry unknown. The episode also failed to unmask either Savitar or Alchemy, whose identities will have to be revealed in a later episode. Either character could secretly be Julian, especially since he had been "missing all day." The episode also introduced a unique easter egg from The Flash comic books: The Flash Museum. H.R. Wells proposed the construction of the S.T.A.R. Labs museum as a way to conceal Caitlin and Cisco's work with The Flash. The Flash Museum is a huge part of The Flash comics -- it serves a base for Barry Allen's version of The Flash and countless other Flashes into the distant future.
Kevin Smith Brings Killer Frost to Life
In next week's episode -- titled "Killer Frost" -- Caitlin's powers begin to overtake her. Kevin Smith directed this episode, his second of the series so far.
THE FLASH “Killer Frost”— (8:00-9:00 p.m. ET) (Content Rating TBD) (HDTV) KEVIN SMITH DIRECTS; KILLER FROST EMERGES — Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) uses her powers to save Barry (Grant Gustin) but as her mother predicted, the effort unleashes her inner Killer Frost. Killer Frost goes on a rampage looking for Dr. Alchemy, kidnapping Julian (Tom Felton) and battling both The Flash and Vibe (Carlos Valdes). Meanwhile, Joe (Jesse L. Martin) and H.R. (Tom Cavanagh) have a heart to heart talk. Kevin Smith directed the episode with story by Judalina Neira and teleplay by Andrew Kreisberg & Brooke Roberts (#307). Original airdate 11/22/2016.
Starring Grant Gustin as the Scarlet Speedster, “The Flash” airs Tuesdays at 8 pm ET/PT on The CW. The series also stars Jesse L. Martin, Tom Cavanagh, Carlos Valdes, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Keiynan Lonsdale and more.