The Flash: Shade Review
The CW’s The Flash: Season 3, Episode 6: ‘Shade’ made some big strides this week with their villains by giving more focus on the mystifying Doctor Alchemy, having Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) one step closer to becoming Killer Frost, and getting a glimpse into DC villain Savitar. This show had it’s problems when it came to properly introducing their villains, and this episode also faced that similar dilemma with bringing in their main antagonist of the season into the fold.
The Flash has done really well with their character driven stories, but the writers continue to struggle with their villains and fail to treat them the same way as the major ones like Reverse-Flash or Zoom. This week’s episode introduced us to minor villain Shade, who acted more like a catalyst whose main purpose was to distract Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Team Flash while Alchemy tried to get through to Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale). Shade wasn’t given any background or any dialogue, as he was more of a one-dimensional villain with no motivation. The show didn’t bother extracting material from the comics into their version of Shade, which was quite disappointing since this was their chance to give this lesser known villain more of a role than just a random bad guy. To be frank, Shade’s role could’ve gone to any other second-rate villain from the comics.
Besides focusing on the villains, Team Flash had more of a central role in this episode. There were two strong developments made to move the season forward, with Wally having dreams from his Flashpoint timeline and Caitlin Snow’s secret about to come out. It’s good that the show hasn’t immediately turned Wally into Kid Flash yet. Wally’s story still is compelling to watch as we see him struggling to become a hero and the dark forces who tempt him. We also see that Wally is trying to branch out of his own and getting out of Joe West’s (Jesse L. Martin) constant worrying for him.
Jesse L. Martin pulled out a fine performance during this installment. Martin managed to portray Joe’s parental instincts well and going through some tough times as he fears for the safety of his kids while feeling guilty for treating one of his sons more than the other. Even Keiynan Lonsdale gave a great performance as he faced his own emotions during the hour. Even after what happens to Wally, the show is certainly trying to display this complicated relationship between Joe and Wally.
Caitlin also had some powerful scenes, some of which she shared with Cisco (Carlos Valdes) as both their friendships are put to the test. Seeing Cisco’s future of them two fighting was worrisome, implying that their friendship may soon be beyond repair. Most times, these visions turn out to be true, making their inevitable falling out that much more difficult. We may soon see Killer Frost make her appearance next week once Caitlin draws out her darkest emotions, so we may even see this fight take place.
H.R. Wells (Tom Cavanagh) did keep things light in what was a dark episode. If this is what Wells will be for the team, then he is a great addition to have. Whether it’s his crazy habits, his conning schemes, or just ruining Joe’s date, Wells was at the top of his game. We just want to point out that Tom Cavanagh has done wonders into putting a new spin on his iconic character Dr. Wells.
This episode started playing with the notion that even though Team Flash was at their best, the season always tends to lose some steam. Having the episode reveal Savitar towards the end felt really anticlimactic. The final scene was great in showing Wally’s fall from grace, but it didn’t quite establish Alchemy or Savitar as a terrifying foe as most major villains should be. We don’t know much about both of these guys and his followers. It’s hard to determine what his ulterior motives are, but the show really needs to give us a reason why we should invest in this character.
Revealing Savitar so soon may have been a bad idea on the writers’ part. Instead, they should’ve stuck with Alchemy a little bit longer before revealing his master, Savitar the god of speed. There’s also the fact that the show has done two major speedsters already for two seasons. So why should we care about Savitar? Can’t the show use a villain who doesn’t have speed as a superpower? This is something that the show needs to address, and having Savitar make his entrance doesn’t reveal why he’s the villain of the season. His design even draws on Transformers, which doesn’t seem as scary as we initially thought.
Having Barry be the only one to stop this guy was a good move, but we need to learn more about Savitar before diving deep into this conflict. The idea of having Barry become faster and stronger is feeling repetitive. Otherwise, this villain won’t be able to match the standards that Reverse-Flash or Zoom managed to establish. It’s good the note that Savitar’s ultimatim needs to be different from the other villains that Barry faced. We may soon get answers during the mid-season finale coming up.
‘Shade’ has put The Flash in a strange predicament. The main cast continues to pull of some great performances, with this episode bringing more life into the characters with some emotion and heart. The season still is having a hard time trying to establish itself as a better season from the last two. The episode didn’t try anything interesting with their villain, and the showdown didn’t resolve itself in the end of the episode, leaving some frustrating at what’s going on.
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