A couple of weeks ago, I praised The Flash for creating a roadmap of sorts of the rest of Season 3. The first sign of this roadmap — the murder at Luigi's — arrived this week in "Untouchable" and not much was made of it. I can only guess that Team Flash is now going to prevent a local business from re-opening, unless they think that particular domino doesn't matter since they're arranging some other dominos on down the line. Better to just get that Italian place to shut down completely, to be safe.
To catch you up: Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) accidentally ran forward in time, and witnessed the death of his girlfriend Iris West (Candice Patton). Team Flash then figured out if they change certain events — let's call them Irispoints — they can potentially tweak the future to save Iris' life. Hence this week's incident at the Italian place.
It was for the best, however, that "Untouchable" didn't worry itself too much over an Irispoint domino since it remedied, at least this week, one of Flash's other lingering issues. In relation to the roadmap, Season 2's plotting lead to some uninspired villains of the week that existed to fill time between people worrying about last year's villain Zoom, as opposed to feeling like threats onto themselves. Strong standalone villains were a big reason for Season 1's strong narrative momentum and, ultimately, its overall success. "Untouchable" traveled back to the past to tell a Season 1 story in a Season 3 setting, and the results were — while not as invigorating as some of Season 1's best — still a good sign that Season 3 may be righting the ship a bit more now.
Much of this can be credited to Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) assuming the mantle of Kid Flash. By having Wally not only need to be trained but trained on a deadline, Team Flash has to train him to do everything Barry knows, to give him the best chance of saving Iris from this year's Big Bad, Savitar. The result is fun and light-hearted, like when Barry and Wally run a race through the streets of Central City; or Wally runs into a big wall of really tough wooden boards. They're both nice compliments to his posing with a bus of cheerleaders last week. It's amusing, and it keeps things from becoming too overwhelmingly dour — an issue Season 2 had a difficult time getting past.
The main reason that Wally's training deserves the credit for a return to form is that said training needs a villain to work against. Here's where "Untouchable" succeeded a bit better than most of the Season 2 standalone villains. It's not that Clive Yorkin (Matthew Kevin Anderson) is a particularly compelling villain personality-wise — indeed, he's more just a loose thread from the Savitar/Flashpoint husks from the start of the season — but that he has a cool power with his necrotic touch. It makes it difficult for anyone to touch him (unless it's coffee cup; maybe Yorkin can control what it affects, since otherwise his clothes would be constantly falling apart, too), and that means that the way of defeating him is tied to Wally's training. In this case, phasing through matter.
This is where Season 1, and some early parts of Season 2, really worked. When faced with a new foe, Barry had to develop new abilities to edge them out (as long as running faster didn't get the job done). This training allowed the episode to focus on the metahuman as a threat, as opposed to an afterthought, since the rest of the episode was, ultimately, leading up to a victory. And you see that throughout "Untouchable." Even some of the episode's other subplots, many of which have or will likely have season arc significance, end up feeding into the main story around Yorkin and Wally.
So, of course, the end result is Wally phasing through Yorkin to deliver his speedster blood into the metahuman's system, thus negating his power. Yorkin can't destroy what he can't touch, after all. It's a solid end point for the episode's journey, and it gives us the cool image of Wally phasing through Yorkin. Now the show can continue to address the various Irispoint dominos while still building up Wally through this kind of a model. (I mean, after they get back from Gorilla City, of course.)
It's also just a good way to handle character development for Wally. He gets to become more powerful, learn more about how his abilities work, and become really embedded in the team and in the city as a hero (he has way more fans than Barry does, for sure). And then, when something goes horribly wrong, he can you know, become Savitar. It's all lining up so perfectly!
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