Previously on The Flash
Before jumping into episode 6: Shade, let’s recap. Episode 5 of The Flash entitled Monster, focused primarily on the emotional monsters that the supporting characters face in contrast to the physical monsters that Barry faces so often. After trust issues with HR were becoming apparent with the gang, he finally revealed that he is a con artist who uses people to bring his ideas to fruition. At this point, there is no actual purpose for HR to even help Barry, however, his character helps mainly with the comedic moments in the show. With Caitlin’s powers becoming slightly more unstable, she tries to find answers about her cryokinetic abilities from her mother, an established cryologist. After studying Caitlin, her mother can only suggest to not use her powers anymore because doing so will expedite the physical and mental changes as a side effect of her abilities. Lastly, we finally get see a humanized version of Julian who hasn’t been given a direct motive for why he works solely on metahuman investigations. In order to focus on these three characters, the villain of the episode was extremely laughable because the villain turned out to be a bullied teenager with extensive knowledge of creating terrifying holograms.
The past couple of episodes have been mostly filler with emphasis on supporting character development, so to get the main plot rolling, Shade brings back Dr. Alchemy who is telepathically showing Wally his alter ego from the Flashpoint timeline. The episode starts off strong with Wally doing good deeds as Kid Flash only to find out that everything was a dream. Wally’s optimism in becoming a speedster was crushed when the gang learns that he is exhibiting signs of a Dr. Alchemy victim. With Wally experiencing dreams/visions from the Flashpoint timeline and the pain associated with his alternate timeline double getting injured, it was only a matter of time before Dr. Alchemy would leave his signature calling card etched on a glass surface. Barry and the gang realize that Wally would be the best way to find Dr. Alchemy’s lair, despite a reluctant Joe begging him not to risk himself by trying to attain powers. In addition to Wally’s story arc, Caitlin’s Killer Frost story arc steadily continues to develop.
With each passing episode, Caitlin’s character becomes darker and colder than her Season 1 and 2 counterpart. There is a noticeable decline in her mental stability as she tries to conceal her abilities from the gang. Her lack of understanding her abilities results in frustration that later evolves into anger. In Shade, Caitlin discovers that there are ability-dampening cuffs that she can use to restrain her abilities. The disappearance of said cuffs, engenders Caitlin to reveal her abilities to Cisco who she later asks to vibe her as a precaution. Caitlin’s downward spiral of anger seems to be triggered by her previous knowledge of Killer Frost from Earth-2 and the blatant fact that her life up to the current episode had been determined by Barry altering the timeline . Thinking she can confide in Cisco, Caitlin continues to conceal her abilities to the rest of the gang but is later betrayed at the end of the episode by Cisco who eggs on Caitlin to just blurt out her secret. The gang is surprised by Caitlin’s revelation, which at this point they shouldn’t when everyone is always keeping secrets from one another.
Shade started off strong and ended even stronger with the addition of a new speedster/villain called Savitar, the God of Speed. The episode was well-rounded in progressing Wally’s stagnant story and furthering Caitlin’s possible Killer Frost origin story. The villain of the episode, Shade, was extremely underwhelming to the point of being completely forgettable. This season there has been a noticeable focus on character development with the use of petty villains as the motive or driving force for a character to be developed. The inclusion of a new supervillain more powerful than Barry definitely gave the season a jump start from the monotonous filler episodes. So who is Savitar?
The God of Speed
In the comics, Savitar is a Cold War military pilot who was struck down by lighting during a test on an experimental supersonic plane, which ultimately gave him speedster abilities. This character has no known name, but gave himself the name Savitar after the Hindu god of motion. Similar to Reverse Flash, Savitar’s thirst to understand the speed force has made him one of the few speedsters to have extensive knowledge of it. Savitar’s abilities have documented to be unique from other speedsters because he has the ability to control the kinetics of objects or people (in motion or rest). So technically, he can slow down or speed up a person or object, even if they are not moving with the flick of a finger. This ability makes him the perfect candidate to be a supervillain, especially for Season 3. The supervillain trend for the past two seasons has been speedsters (i.e. Reverse Flash, Zoom) so it could have been easily predicted by fans of the comics for Savitar to the be next supervillain. However, it is unclear at this point how the CW plans to utilize Savitar, but at least we got a teaser of Savitar’s abilities in the show.
As a fan of Kid Flash, it was painful watching Wally yearn for nothing more than being a speedster only to be used a pawn to find Dr. Alchemy. Regardless of Wally not attaining speedster abilities, I’m going to continue to be optimistic for Wally’s fate in this season. The CW’s promotional advertisements for The Flash still uses the image of Kid Flash so that’s a sign of hope!
Speaking of hope, there seems to be little of it for Caitlin who I feel will inevitably become Killer Frost. After learning that her life is in shambles because of Barry, Caitlin turns her anger into blame towards Barry. This blame will most likely evolve into a physical attack towards Barry, which we might see in the next episode, Killer Frost. It is possible that there will be room for redemption for Caitlin this season, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
Lastly, Savitar was the breath of fresh air the show needed. The expected filler episodes were becoming difficult to watch, especially with Dr. Wells returning to Earth-2 and his replacement, HR, joining the gang. The subplots were becoming sub par and without a real challenge for the gang, there wasn’t much excitement for the viewer. My biggest concern is that the writers will not be able to tend to the gang’s personal issues, two supervillains, and Caitlin’s instability. There’s a lot of conflict between characters and internal conflict amongst a few characters that I hope the writers can resolve within the next few episodes so that the season doesn’t dawdle on the minor details. This season has great potential to explore Savitar and Dr. Alchemy, but as long as more subplots begin to branch from the main story, Season 3 could easily rush the fate of the supervillains into an anticlimatic event.
Barry’s words about Flashpoint and altering the timeline reverberate in Caitlin’s mind as she tries to rationalize her anger. Hope seems bleak for Caitlin as she slowly becomes the person she fears the most, Killer Frost. The Flash airs on The CW every Tuesdays at 8/7 Central. You can also watch The Flash on the CW app or website a day after the show airs for free!