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THE FLASH Recap: Is Any Speedster “Untouchable”?

THE FLASH Recap: Is Any Speedster “Untouchable”?

Editor’s note: This post contains spoilers for the latest episode of The Flash! Proceed with caution, speedsters. For reals, if you haven’t yet watched this week’s episode, “Untouchable,” we highly suggest you do so before proceeding. Okay? We good? Let’s go.

While last week’s episode The Flash, “Dead or Alive”, perfectly encapsulated the show’s improvement since its underwhelming second season, “Untouchable” reminds us that there’s still some work to be done. Unfortunately, the character most in need of improvement continues to be Iris. While she exhibits increasingly greater will in her personality and autonomy in her career, her principal roles in the ongoing Savitar storyline are that of a victim and of a source of motivation for Barry, Wally, and her dad. It’s certainly not the fault of Candice Patton, who again has to work harder than any actor on the show to give her character some depth.

Iris is by no means a woman in a refrigerator (at least not yet), though part of her is literally frozen in “Untouchable.” She’s infected by metahuman-of-the-week Clive Yorkin, a refugee from Flashpoint out for mortal vengeance against the Central City cops who nabbed him. But it’s hard not to feel frustrated by the fact that “Untouchable” doubles down on season two’s renewed fascination with Iris as victim. Her task here is to lie in a hospital bed and court death, while other characters and relationships are furthered as a result of her helplessness. Most obviously Caitlin, who must keep Iris’ infection at bay with her powers and in the process comes dangerously close to letting out Killer Frost.

The Flash 2

Last time it was Barry who talked Dr. Snow down from the ledge, and this week Julian does the honors, essentially repaying her for telling him he’s not responsible for the metahumans Doctor Alchemy unleashed. That they go out for a drink afterwards further fuels speculation (at least on my part) that a romantic relationship may develop between the two.

Everyone’s so preoccupied with Iris in “Untouchable” and with explaining to an irate Joe that she’s likely to die in a few weeks, that nobody even bothers to give Clive Yorkin a code name. Clive serves as a means of furthering Wally’s training; the young speedster must force himself to phase through the villain in order to stop him. Barry illustrates how he too is still making things up as he goes and learning new techniques on the fly by phasing an entire train full of people though solid matter.

Another area in which “Untouchable” feels like a throwback to the show’s less evolved days is in the return of the dreaded pep talks. It’s no longer Joe delivering them to Barry (sparing us yet more tears from Grant Gustin), but rather Barry delivering them to Wally. But in any case, it still winds up denying us the satisfaction of watching the story’s protagonist solve problems with his head instead of a rejuvenated heart. After all, heart has never been The Flash‘s problem. Hell, there are days when it feels like Central City is powered entirely by motivational speeches.

And can we please have a moratorium once and for all on the members of Team Flash keeping secrets from each other? The show addresses this problem when they all agree not to do so. But these folks have already experienced the danger of hiding things from their colleagues, time and again for three years now. They shouldn’t need any more reminders.

Everyone, however, should soon get to lighten up a little. Next week marks the return of Jesse Quick and Grodd, the latter backed up this time by an entire city full of super-intelligent gorillas. And the Music Meister is waiting in the wings for a two-part musical crossover with Supergirl. So there’s no danger of the show getting dragged down by grimdark as it so often did in season two. And for that it deserves, as H.R. so often suggests, a pat on the back and a cup of coffee.

The Flash 3

Accelerated Particles:

— Oh, Julio, we hardly knew ye! In this reality anyway… It’s pretty cruel to bring back 1990s Flash star Alex Désert only to kill his character off so quickly.

— So Joe’s birth son Wally is now smitten with Joe’s girlfriend’s daughter while Joe’s adopted son Barry is in a relationship with Joe’s birth daughter? Er, got it.

—  The Kardashians are a thing on Earth-19 too? Damn it.

— “Run, Wally. Run.”

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).

Images: The CW

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