Note: I am so very behind and so this review will be shorter than usual. No Random Thoughts section. 🙁
“Untouchable” tackled a lot in one episode and did so relatively smoothly. More importantly, it fell back on the strength of the character relationships to further along the story and provide some much needed emotional moments. Paired with some intense sequences and great character development, “The Flash” delivered another entertaining hour, but not without certain flaws that I’ll discuss below.
It’s absolutely wonderful that Iris continues to talk about her future. In the episode prior to this one, she was kind of on a high, risking it all to get a story that will put her on the reporting map. She also admitted that she wasn’t afraid to die, something that she may have believed at the time. However, in “Untouchable,” Iris admits she’s scared because events are transpiring and headed toward the exact headlines that are in the future. As a generally grounded and level-headed person, she’s thinking that her death may become reality.
This opened the door for her to let down her guard even more in regards to this possibility. This also led Iris to finally tell Joe about her future (I loved that she was the one to decide when to tell him) and he, understandably, doesn’t react very well to the news. Although Joe’s anger regarding the fact that Iris, Barry, and co. have been keeping this information under wraps is justified, I did find myself shaking my head a little at the hypocrisy of Joe saying that they shouldn’t have lied (we all remember the lies he told Iris all of season one and part of season two, yes?). In the end though, they all agree to be completely honest with each other moving forward. I’m glad the secret-keeping only lasted two episodes because if it had gone on any longer, it would have gotten to be too much.
This episode, more than anything, served a bit like a reality check for the team. Barry specifically, who has been adamant that Iris won’t die and keeps reassuring her of as much, seems to have been in denial of the future. But you can see some of the cracks in his optimistic armor and confidence begin to peel away. This is especially the case after Clive Yorkin, a metahuman with the power to decay people with just a touch of his hand, goes after Iris. Not expecting anything to happen to her so soon, Barry is visibly shaken and desperate as he watches Iris writhe in pain in front of him. It’s because of this that Barry really steps up to the plate and I can finally see him in more of a leadership role after this episode.
Later, after Iris is healed, she tells him that she has no reason to be afraid because she knows he’ll save her. It was a nice moment that also touched on the dual identities Barry has as the man and the superhero. We’ve seen before that Iris has kind of always separated the two. Even though she’s acknowledged that he is The Flash, she didn’t feel as though that part truly belonged to her and I liked that the show followed through with this thread. And as much as I’m liking Iris’ agency and the vocalization of her feelings about what might happen to her, I hope she’ll still get to actively investigate Savitar (or something tied to her future) in upcoming episodes. Perhaps as the deadline grows closer, her skills as a reporter will come back to the forefront. At least we saw her doing some reporting that tied in with the storyline in “Untouchable.”
You know you’ve been saying for weeks that you’re gonna save me from Savitar. And while I trust you with my life, it was hard not to feel scared. You know, sometimes it feels like the Flash is this guy my boyfriend becomes when he runs off to save other people. Like I’m the only one who doesn’t get the Flash. He felt separate from you. But yesterday when you saved me, I remembered I have no reason to be scared.”
Training Wally to get faster and teaching him about other speedster abilities, like phasing, is not only developing Wally, but Barry as well. It’s making Barry more mature and is also helping Wally to grow. The entire saving Iris situation links them in ways that prior attempts at bonding has not. It’s clear, though, that even though the two are getting along really well, that there’s still a bit of fun rivalry between them when it comes to Joe. Barry touches on the fact that, although most of them ended up being evil, he had mentors who taught him about his powers. It’s what Barry is trying to do with Wally and Wally feels terrible because he thinks he’s not getting it, and then later feels guilt for not getting to Iris in time to save her from Yorkin. But Barry ponders the way they’re going about it and instead of just telling Wally to do something, he later inspires him with encouragement.
I believe this episode may have been foreshadowing the future in regards to the teamwork they’ll both have to do in order to save Iris and defeat Savitar, with each of them playing a vital role. Just because Wally is training to go faster, it doesn’t mean Barry is going to sit on the sidelines and do nothing. This is his show, after all, and he pulled his weight nicely between being there for Iris and helping to stop Yorkin (that entire sequence of phasing the train was really, really good). It also proved that Barry can come up with his own ideas to stop other metas and doesn’t have to be overly reliant on the S.T.A.R. Labs team.
“But teaching, it’s a lot more than just doing something and expecting you to follow. It’s about inspiring and empowering you to use your gifts to succeed on your own.”
Speaking of the S.T.A.R. Labs team, Caitlin and Julian had a few scenes together and yes, “The Flash” is definitely getting them together romantically if the last scene where she asks him out to drinks (which, I’ll admit, was cute) is any indication. The pair bond and Julian is able to get through to Caitlin when she begins to turn into her evil alter-ego. Caitlin’s Killer Frost storyline easily went from intriguing at the beginning of this season to kind of cringe-worthy in “Untouchable.” Part of the reason is that the show still refuses to explain or expand upon this particular storyline and it’s clear they’re using it whenever they feel necessary, but have been lazy in developing it.
I still have a hard time understanding why Killer Frost makes her evil (a big plot hole in this entire subplot that I’ve tried to overlook and can’t), but besides that, it’s also the second time Caitlin has refused to help another team member because she’s afraid she’ll go full Killer Frost. Look, I get that she’s afraid of her powers and why (even though Cisco’s doppelganger was evil, too and that didn’t really affect him), but at this point, it would be wise to push aside that fear and work toward controlling her powers instead. If every time someone needed her assistance in a life-or-death situation she can’t just, pardon the pun, freeze up. The Killer Frost powers are a permanent part of Caitlin now and she can’t run from them forever. There has to be some kind of balance she can strike down the line.
Aside from some issues that have been a part of the show this whole season, “Untouchable” was a pretty good episode. “The Flash” continues to knock all the other CW superhero shows out of the water because they have great and strong character relationships that go deeper than just working together. At the core of the show is the West family and I’m so glad they all got to shine in their own way here. Barry is finally growing as well and in this episode he proved himself to be a competent hero, a good boyfriend, and he’s on the road to being a mature mentor. Even Cisco got to vibe the Flashpoint timeline, further proving how powerful he can be. The metahuman villain this week worked well because, even though his personality wasn’t particularly memorable, he tied in well with the season’s plot and helped develop all of the characters.
The metahuman villain this week worked well because, even though his personality wasn’t particularly memorable, he tied in well with the season’s plot and helped develop characters.