Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 6 - Shade

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


When Wally West begins having dreams of having super-speed, Barry realizes he may have to break his promise and tell Wally, Joe and Iris precisely how things were different in The Flashpoint Timeline in order to keep Wally safe. Unfortunately, Dr. Alchemy may already have his Wally in his grasp and a new shadow-manipulating metahuman is on the loose in Central City. Meanwhile, Caitlin reveals her cold powers to Cisco and asks him to vibe her future.


The Flash comics of John Broome (creator of The Shade) and Mark Waid (creator of Savitar).


No motive or explanation is ever given for the first man Shade kills. They don't even bother to name him.

If Shade's powers only create the illusion that he is a shadow, how is he able to lift a man off the ground and strangle him with one hand? Or appear as a giant shadow right underneath The Flash and lift him off the ground?


The music in the confrontation between Alchemy and Wally is good.

Flash Facts

Barry says the first Shade murder occured in Chubbuck, on the corner of Palmer and Racine.  In the DC Comics Universe, Chubuck is a residental district in Central City and home to Central City Hospital.

In the original comics, The Shade was one of Jay Garrick's villains. He first appeared in Flash Comics #33 (September 1942). Originally, The Shade was just an ordinary thief with a magical cane that allowed him to animate shadows.

The Shade underwent a major retcon in the 1990s Starman series, where he was given a full background and his powers were revealed to be his own - not derived from a magic cane. The Shade was also revealed to be an immortal - a side-effect of his powers - and that he had been alive since the Victorian era.

Shade's powers are a manifestation of a strong connection to The Darklands - a mystic realm of malleable darkness and nightmares in the DC Universe. In addition to being able to fashion illusions of shadow-stuff and manifesting solid "terrors" in a manner similar to how a Green Lantern manipulates light, The Shade can teleport himself and others across great distances through The Darklands. According to one story set in the future - he eventually gains the power to travel through time using his shadowy portals.

The DCTVU "Shade" is but a shadow of the more intersting anti-hero from the comics. We are not given a name or any motive for his doing what he does in this episode, apart from acting as a distraction for Alchemy.  His only power appears to be creating the illusion of being a giant shadow.

HR identifies one piece of currency from his world as "a helbing". This is a nod to The Flash writers Aaron and Todd Helbing.

The villain who appears at the end of the episode says that he is Savitar, The God of Speed. In the Hindu religion, Savitr is the "lord of that which moves and is stationary".

Savitar was a villain introduced in the Mark Waid run of The Flash. A pilot for an unnamed Third-World country during The Cold War, the man who became Savitar as struck by lightning while testing a supersonic jet and developed super-speed. He took the name Savitar and began to study the applications of his powers, developing techniques no other speedster at that time had. Among these abilities were the creation of force-fields made of inertia and the power to drain the speed from moving objects. He developed a cult of followers, whom he was able to loan his speed to and sought to depower every other speedster on Earth who was not one of his followers.

We know little about the DCTVU version of Savitar so far save one thing - he is apparently so fast that ordinary humans cannot even percieve him. When he grabs a hold of Barry, everyone else sees an invisible force pinning Barry.  Even Barry only piercives Savitar as a white bolt of light when he is in motion.


Cisco constructed a set of power-dampening cuffs for controlling metahuman prisoners. Caitlin steals the cuffs to try and keep her powers under control.

Petechiae around the eye, a crushed larynx and finger-prints around his neck indicate strangulation.

Barry notes that despite this - in the case of the first Shade killing - there are no indications of an assailiant - no laceration or finger-nail marks or DNA evidence under the fingernails of the victim.

Earth 19 has facial transmogrification technology. This allows HR to use a hand-held device to give himself the face of his business partner, Randolf Morgan. He thinks it works because of light-refraction but isn't really sure how the science works.

According to HR, the Earth 19 version of Shade was able to vibrate at such a high frequency that it created the illusion that he was a shadow. This is the same thing that Barry Allen does to phase through solid matter.

Cisco determines the Earth One version of Shade is doing the same thing, due to a fluctuating heat signature and a ridiculous red-shift. Caitlin further states this means Shade must be slowing down his molecules when he attacks.

HR gives the rest of Team Flash a retina adjustment through a flash of light so they will see his real face while the rest of the world see Randolf Morgan.

Earth 19 has different currency than Earth One. HR Wells identifies one coin - an equilateral triangle of pink plastic - as a helbing.

Light slows down Shade's molecular vibrations.

By hacking the computers of all the cars in the park and turning on their headlights, Cisco is able to light up the area enough that Shade can't use his powers.

Caitlin gives Wally a dose of Lorazepam - a medication used for treating epilepsy and anxiety.

Dialogue Triumphs

Wally: (voice-over) I'm fast. Really fast. I might even be the fastest man alive. And when I'm running, there's no greater feeling in the world. I can move through the city like a guardian angel, protecting people who need me.
(Kid Flash runs in front of a truck just barely getting a girl on a skateboard out of the way in time.)
Kid Flash: Woah! You've got to slow down and watch where you're going, okay?
Girl: Okay.
Kid Flash: Okay.
(Wally kicks up the girl's skateboard and hands it back to her. It has yellow lightning bolts on it.)
Kid Flash: Cool skateboard, though.
Girl: Thanks!
Wally: (vocie over) They even have a name for me. They call me Kid Flash.

(Regarding HR)
Cisco: Do you think everyone on Earth 19 is missing crayons in their box or just him?

(Cisco accuses HR of stealing his power-dampening cuffs.)
HR: What - you think I took them? I didn't take them. What do I need cuffs for?  I just got to this Earth. I came alone. I haven't met anyone yet. It's going to take a while, even when I do meet them, to get to the cuffs stage.
(Caitlin makes a face at HR as she realizes what "The Cuffs Stage" means.)

(Barry and Iris are watching Wally in his cell through a security monitor.)
Iris: I hate that we have to do this. He so badly wanted powers and now, to keep him locked up so he doesn't get them, it's...
Barry: It's hard. I know.
Iris: I don't know if you actually do.
Barry: What does that mean?
Iris: All Wally wants to do is to help people. And to see you do that every day while all he can do is stand by and watch... it's hard being a bystander sometimes.
Barry: You don't... feel that way too, do you?
Iris: Barry.... c'mon. My contributions here are limited. I don't know science. I don't have powers. I don't know how to help you.
Barry:  I couldn't do this without you.
Iris: That's not true.
Barry: That is true. Whether you realize it or not, there is no Flash without Iris West.

Caitlin: Cisco, I am so sorry about how I reacted. I understand why you told everyone.
Cisco: Never helps when we keep things from each other.
Caitlin: You're right! And.. I'm glad that you told everyone. I'm just not very good at asking for help. I get that from my mother.
Cisco: You're better than your mother.
Caitlin: I don't know. I'm just so terrified because she said if I keep using my powers then it will be impossible to stop them.
Cisco: Your mother might be one of the most accomplished scientists on this planet. But when it comes to the impossible? We're the experts. (he takes her hands) We're going to help you Caitlin. Okay?
Caitlin: Okay.
Cisco: Let's go help Wally.
Caitlin: Okay.


Joe refers to the dreams Frankie Kane reported having before her powers manifested in 303 and compares them to what Wally reports.

As the episode opens, Julian Albert is working on the sixth Alchemy husk discovered.

Barry is transferred to the metahuman CSI department full-time.

Joe finally asks Cecilia Horton out on a date to see The Shining at a "movie in the park" event.

Nobody told HR that the Earth Prime version of Harrison Wells was truly dead and that - thanks to Eobard Thawne - the public thinks he's a murderer.

HR suggests turning STAR Labs into a museum, to act as a front for their activities.

Barry tells everyone the truth about Wally West being Kid Flash in The Flashpoint Timeline in 301.

Julian Albert has a girlfriend.

HR drinks nothing but coffee, according to Caitlin. He also does inversion stretches in The STAR Labs intake and medtitates in his bedroom.

HR's partner in the STAR Labs on Earth 19 was a man named Randolf Morgan. Randolf Morgan was the brains of the operation while HR was the face of the company.

HR is apparently a practitioner of BDSM.

According to HR, Earth 19 had a villain called Shade who could seemingly change into a living shadow, like the mysterious killer.

Cisco has a vision of himself in a costume, fighting with Caitlin, who appears to have changed completely into Killer Frost. He lies to her about the vision at first but later confesses when she says he's acting strange around her.

Cisco says everything he's vibed has come true, except for the destruction of Earth 2.

Cisco was scared by the movie The Shining and couldn't make it past the scene with the twins.

Cecile Horton has an 18 year old daughter, who is a year away from going off to college.

HR introduces himself to Cecile as HR Randolf. He then goes on to take over Joe's date.

After Shade is captured, Joe guesses that means Alchemy has three other metahumans working with him. We later see three robed figures along with Alchemy during his fight with The Flash and the CCPD.

Cisco tells the rest of Team Flash about Caitlin developing cold powers and his vision of her being Killer Frost in the future.

Julian Albert is curiously absent as the CCPD gets ready to move on Alchemy.

There is a Gorilla Grodd on Earth 19.  According to HR, there are many sentient gorillas on his Earth.

Wally touches Alchemy's stone and is trapped inside a cocoon at the episode's end.

The Fridge Factor

The whole idea of Caitlin hiding her powers for this long and her inevitably becoming evil because of them feeds into a series of negative tropes involving women with ice powers and women with power in general being inherently evil.

The Boomerang Factor

The subplot with Shade is completely pointless and a waste of one of DC Comics' richer characters, even ignoring the crap explanation for his powers that completely contradicts what we see on screen.

The Bottom Line

A filler episode that serves no purpose other than stretching out several storylines that really should have been brought to a close sooner. Despite giving the episode its title, Shade is barely in the episode and is defeated right after the half-way mark. The only things that redeem this episode are the Cisco/Caitlin interactions and the drama of the last 10 minutes when the plot finally starts moving.

No comments:

Post a Comment