The Flash: Shade Review


By: Ashley Binion (@ashleybinion)

This week’s episode of The Flash, “Shade,” was written to have this large climatic scene in the final act that everyone would be talking about. However, the twist at the end was more of a letdown than anything else.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Not every episode of The Flash has to have a fantastic “villain-of-the-week” premise to make a good, memorable episode. Over the course of the series’ run, that has been proven over and over. The same can be said for any superhero show or even its comic book origins. There are villains who make fans roll their eyes, but they stay for the hero. However, sometimes it does make a difference, like in this episode of The Flash.

As a villain, Shade was the worst. I firmly believe that this episode should have done away with Shade all together. Would it have fixed the other problems in the episode? No, but it would have helped immensely. It’s a telling sign when I almost fall asleep during any episode of TV, but especially The Flash or Arrow. Shade was a horrible bad guy, or at least a poorly written one. Taking the villain down by headlights is so lame. And there was no motive at all. He was a walking plot device. It’s like the writers spent all their time figuring out how to do the Dr. Alchemy and Savitar reveal.

I have no qualms about The Flash using Dr. Alchemy as a minion of Savitar. This season, Arrow did a similar thing with Church and Prometheus. However, I do have issues with how Dr. Alchemy had no motive of his own. On Arrow, Church had his own motives and was a fantastic villain. The Flash made a mistake bringing in Savitar, especially so soon. I did not want another speedster villain and yet here we are. Dr. Alchemy would have been such a great Big Bad, but the series had to go and ruin it.

Speaking of villains, Caitlin’s powers are out in the open now. I’m loving Caitlin’s storyline. Really, it could be that I love that she actually has one for a change. Looking at Cisco’s ‘vibe’ of Caitlin turning into Killer Frost, I’m convinced that something else is going on. It can’t be as black and white as it seems. Maybe Cisco turns out to be the villain.

Team Flash keeps way too many secrets from each other. They talk about how much they trust and respect each other, yet they are constantly hiding things. At this point, the team dynamic is not healthy.

Furthermore, Iris continues to be a problem. How do you fix an issue with a character like that? The Flash still hasn’t figured that out and neither have I. “Shade” addressed the pink elephant in the room, but did nothing to solve the Iris problem. It’s interesting how Barry was so insistent about how much he needs Iris and how there would be no Flash without her. I disagree. He never actually said why she is so important. Is it just because he loves her? That’s not a good enough reason. There would be no Flash if it wasn’t for Caitlin, Cisco, and Reverse-Flash disguising himself as Dr. Wells. They were the three who helped him rein in his powers and develop them. Iris has had little to nothing to do with that as she didn’t know about Barry’s powers until much later in the series. Let’s hope the conversation stirs up something in the writers and they actually utilize her in a more effective way.

Finally, Hipster Harry continues to be the series lone bright spot. Between hitting on Joe’s date and talking about Earth-19 Grodd, Hipster Harry is simply the best. Can we go to Earth-19? Maybe that’s where The Flash’s fun went.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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