Season Three, Episodes Six & Seven — “Shade”, “Killer Frost”
By Jarrod Jones. The reason the core function of Team Flash works so well is that, for the most part, everyone stays on the same page. Even if, let’s say, Cisco and Wells-2 disagreed on something — which they have, and often — by the end of the argument, one has acquiesced their crazy argument and moved on. Because there is always bigger things to worry about in Central City, regardless of whether you’re standing on Earth-1, Earth-2, or quite possibly, Earth-19. (Who knows what the hell is going on over there.)
That dichotomy has come under direct threat in the last two seasons, not because of some external tormentor, but because of the fluctuating team itself. S.T.A.R. Labs’ revolving door has allowed several new people to join the fold, and not all of them share the critical thinking enjoyed by the likes of Dr. Snow or Det. Joe. Sometimes these new members, like Jesse Quick or Wally West, make crucial mistakes, thus tossing the stability of the team askew. Meanwhile, evil mounts on the horizon, and sometimes, they strike when Team Flash is at its weakest.
That’s the big-time dilemma in “Shade” — Wally West is having dreams of Flashpoint, where he was zipping about as Kid Flash, having a ball, still working on the name. That would be a problem on its own, but Wally’s already-established jealousy over Barry and Jesse’s speed has painted a big, red (or yellow) bullseye on Mr. West’s back for Dr. Alchemy to see. If Kid Flash is to be the first post-Flashpoint rift in Team Flash, he’s certainly not going to be the last.
Barry’s chronal-conundrum jostled things around enough that Dr. Caitlin Snow has developed the same frost powers as her Earth-2 counterpart. The funny thing is, and I’m not sure The Flash is ever going to get around to explaining this, is that these powers are somehow making Caitlin extremely hostile, to the point where she’d do anything — including murder, it seems — to get these powers to go away.
Cisco tries to show her what all this means in the future tense: Full-on Vibe versus Killer Frost, is all Mr. Ramon has for us after his lens-flared glimpse ahead. One thing’s for certain, if Vibe’s snazzy jacket in his visions is any indication, it looks like Cisco’s about to go full-superhero on everybody before long too.
It looks like we’re gonna need as many superheroes as we can get, because Barry’s somehow released the Megatron-lookin’ Savitar into this reality. Who he is (“I’m the god of speed,” he says, which, somebody page Hermes), why he’s here (to torment Barry? I guess?), and why he’s using a subordinate named Alchemy to do all his dirty work (like give Wally West powers that will probably end up being used against him), remains to be seen.
As for Team Flash, everyone seems to be having a tough time placing the blame on somebody for all this mess. “This is not your fault,” Iris tells Barry. Um… Flashpoint? You’re a journalist, Iris. Time to use some of that objective reasoning.
Caitlin: “Basically, if you step foot outside of this lab, you’ll be arrested.” Wells-19: “What — you’re just telling me this now, you two rascals?”
Det. Joe: “They took Julian to County General. He’s still out cold — how hard did you hit him?” Barry: “I dunno, I didn’t mean to knock him out. Or maybe I did. I dunno.”
“Cup of joe, Joe?” – Wells-19, to Det. Joe.
“Barry Allen. Don’t you ever work?” – Detective Patterson. For real.
BEST MOMENT: Killer Frost drops some truth. Nearly every gripe I’ve had with Barry Allen on this show was addressed during Caitlin’s airing of grievances in Episode Seven. That’s what makes Killer Frost such a compelling villain — she knows everything about our hero, what made him, what drives him, and most importantly, what hurts him.
EPISODES’ MVP: Caitlin. The second Danielle Panabaker was cast as Dr. Snow, fans just knew there would come a day when she would transform into the villainous Killer Frost. No amount of Earth-2 trickery took our eyes off the prize either, and for the entire first quarter of of Season Three, Caitlin’s slow descent into supervillainy became a thing of narrative inevitability. Whether or not Dr. Snow’s due for another heel-turn is for the future to decide, but when it comes — if it comes — we’ll know the icy chill of Killer Frost will not be something to trifle with.
– Det. Joe tucks his tie into his shirt when folding laundry. I see this is not, in fact, his first rodeo.
– I’m as open-minded as anybody, but knowing that goofy-butt Wells-19 is into handcuffs is gonna take some time to process.
– Shade is a perennial Flash villain, created by Gardner Fox and Hal Sharp back in The Flash #33 (1942). He’s probably most famous for becoming Jack Knight’s Yoda figure in James Robinson’s Starman run.
– U.S. currency looks like a bronzed Dorito on Earth-19. What the hell is going on over there.
– It’s a good thing Shade popped by to ruin the movie, otherwise Joe’s date would have become HR’s date.
– “Killer Frost” marks the second occasion where media-hog Kevin Smith directed an episode of The Flash. (The first time ’round was for the Season Two episode, “The Runaway Dinosaur”.)
– That sock in the jaw Julian got from Barry is one that’s been a long time coming, and yet I’m so glad it was treated as an afterthought anyway.
– HR’s “All-Star team-up” crack was priceless, not because it’s perennially a DC Comics phrase, but because it’s one of my favorite episodes from The Flash Season One, “All-Star Team-Up.”
– The New 52 is dead. Knock it off with the 52 Easter Eggs, show.
7.5 out of 10
Next: “Invasion!”, soon.
Before: “Monster”, here.