[Review] The Flash (2014) Episode 3×06: “Shade”

It’s never worth it to keep your friends in the dark in this week’s recap of CW’s The Flash.

We start out with Wally telling Joe about his dreams, essentially remembering his time as Kid Flash while Joe tries desperately not to freak out in front of him.

Spoilers under the cut.

Meanwhile, at police headquarters, another husk has been found. Julian is still cold to Barry despite the events of last episode, but that tiff is interrupted by Cecille, the Assistant District Attorney and Joe’s new love interest. Seems Joe’s asked her to movie night, which Barry overhears and is super excited for. Then Joe drops the name Kid Flash, and Barry pretty much wants to run away again.

At S.T.A.R. Labs, H.R. has come up with a new schemean awesome idea: reopen S.T.A.R. Labs as a museum to cover the fact that they are working with the Flash. He can’t be the face of it like he wanted, though, on account of his dopplegänger murdering Barry’s mom, confessing to it and then dying. In all of this, Caitlin gets her hands on Cisco’s power-dampening cuffs in order to stop her killer transformations.

We cut to the West household, where Barry tells Wally and Iris about what happened in Flashpoint. Wally doesn’t seem to heed the warning behind what Barry’s saying, accusing Joe of not trusting him the way he trusts Barry. But, I mean, it’s true. Joe doesn’t. He’s known Barry virtually his whole life and Wally for less than a year. It’s a fair point.

Just then the Shade strikes, killing a stockbroker at the train station. Barry and Julian rue the lack of evidence, and I swear to god one of the writers is trying to ship these two because Barry invites Julian to movie night. Which is outside, in a park with a giant movie screen, full of people in the dark. Well, there’s certainly no chance of the Shade showing up there, no siree.

Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Cisco and Caitlin bear witness to H.R.’s deus ex machina, the facial transmogrifier. Barry calls them all up for a meeting and they figure out what the Shade can do – namely, vibrate at different speeds to make himself more or less solid – and start working on a plan.

Over at CCPD, Joe tells Wally he does treat him differently than Barry, but mostly it’s the Alchemy thing he’s worried about. Which, turns out he’s right, because Wally immediately gets a vision of Flashpoint and getting beaten up by the Rival. Cut to S.T.A.R. Labs, where Caitlin finally admits to Cisco she has powers and asks him to vibe her future. Turns out their future is trying to kill each other in a superpowered showdown. You know, pretty normal friendship stuff. Cisco lies, because Caitlin wants to run away if she becomes evil.

Everyone has regrouped at S.T.A.R. Labs, and they decide to put Wally in the Pipeline until they can figure out the Alchemy situation. Joe says he’s going to cancel the date with Cecille, but the kids don’t let him, and the S.T.A.R. Labs crew invite themselves along to the movie after H.R. shows off his face-changer.

At the park, after sending H.R. off to get snacks, Caitlin asks Cisco what he saw and gets the truth. He begs her to tell the others, but she says no. Joe and Cecille flirt, and it’s really just too cute. Iris and Barry monitor Wally at S.T.A.R. Labs, and Iris lets Barry in on how frustrating it is sometimes to not be able to help as much as they want to.

Cecille is introduced to the rest of the gang, and H.R. starts his “most annoying man across the dimensions” routine until the movie starts and oh look, the Shade shows up. What a shock. Didn’t see that coming. Completely blindsided.

While Barry rushes to the park, Alchemy starts talking to Wally, psychically torturing the young West with the promise that it’ll end when Wally finds him. Barry gets to the park and pretty quickly gets a shoryuken for his troubles. Caitlin takes off her power bracelets and hands her earrings to Cisco while he hacks the lights to turn them on. Barry uses the cuffs on Shade after Cisco hits the lights and that’s the title villain down. Huh, a little earlier than usual. That can’t be good.

Iris lets Wally out. Wally tries to run, but Iris has a mean right hook. Cisco forces Caitlin to reveal her powers, and she storms off. She’s ready to run as Barry talks to her, telling her that she didn’t have powers before Flashpoint. Wally wakes up in the middle of this and convinces the team to use him as bait to get to Alchemy. They agree, but Joe’s bringing a SWAT team as back up. Caitlin and Cisco chat and make up, with Cisco convincing her to stay.

Flash, Joe, Wally, and the SWAT team close in on Alchemy’s location, and Barry’s not vibrating his face or modulating his voice so all the officers there probably know exactly who he is now. Doesn’t matter, though, as after they arrest Alchemy and his goons, Savitar kills them all faster than Barry can even blink. Wally grabs the Philosopher’s Stone and is cocooned, and Barry is about to get a blade to the chest. Good mid-season cliffhanger.

Thank the Maker that this episode broke that terrible slump in previous episodes. I mean, it’s not perfect. The Shade storyline makes no sense (why did he kill the stockbroker?), the fact that they haven’t figured out Julian is Alchemy yet is troubling (he no-shows work whenever Alchemy is active), and H.R. is the most annoying thing in any dimension, but I will forgive a lot if the ending is solid. And they stuck this ending, y’all.

George Hatch’s episode score was cancelled out by the Russians giving it a 2.4. Friggin’ Putin is destroying everything nowadays. George can be found on Twitter at @Raeseti.

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