Season 3 is building up to what could be Iris’ death in the future, but The Flash puts her life in serious danger in this episode, titled “Untouchable,” when Central City is under attack by a meta who causes people and things to decompose at an alarming rate when he touches them.
Also, Wally’s trying to train to be faster in order to save Iris in the future, but it’s not going so well, and Julian feels guilty once he learns of the Flashpoint (and therefore the Alchemy) connection with the meta. Oh, and H.R. is a great cheerleader.
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A Lesson in Keeping Secrets: Don’t Do It
Iris continues to remain steadfast in her decision to not tell her father she could be dying in a few months, even once it looks like another headline from the future is going to come true. After a chef at Luigi’s is the first victim of the meta, she finds out from the owner that the restaurant probably can’t survive an attack like this and would have to reopen under a new name. “Things are changing,” Barry insists, pointing out that Wally stopped Plunder. But still, maybe it’s time to tell Joe. Not when he’s planning a future with Cecile, she maintains.
However, when Joe refuses to see anything different about his life being in danger when he becomes the meta’s next target, Iris decides it’s time he knows that one day soon someone (specifically Iris) could die. It’s the most emotional scene of the episode, as Joe learns that not only could his daughter be dying in a few months but also that everyone has known for a couple of weeks. The others might not know what Iris means to him, but Barry grew up under his roof, Joe reminds him. He does. Well, at least they didn’t wait any longer for that to happen.
After the team stops Clive Yorkin and saves Iris, Joe makes sure everyone knows that the time for secrets is over. They have to be completely real with each other. It’s kind of sad that this is something that has to be announced three seasons in.
How to Phase: A Lesson from One Speedster to Another
Wally’s training in this episode begins with Barry and Wally racing through Central City, with Cisco tracking their progress and speed with sensors that he’s set up. While Wally has fun taunting Barry a bit, Barry reminds him why they’re doing this: to save Iris. (Meanwhile, back at STAR Labs, the others are placing bets. And H.R. clearly should never be allowed to gamble on this Earth — ever.) Barry wins, after he phases through a building while Wally has to run up and over it.
That means it’s time to teach Wally to phase, which doesn’t go well — at all. It’s too bad the goal isn’t to run into the wall because then he’d be doing a great job. And Barry trying to explain how phasing works doesn’t help either. Feel everything around you, Barry ends up suggesting before Wally runs off to keep trying while H.R. provides more than enough vocal encouragement for the entire team. If only they had the 15 or so years that Wells had to work out his plan with Barry. But they don’t.
While Wally’s ego may have been boosted when Cecile’s daughter couldn’t stop raving about Kid Flash when she met Joe and his kids over coffee, it’s bruised when he’s not fast enough to save Iris from the meta-of-the-week, and Barry’s upset because he didn’t call him to help. However, Barry assures Wally that it’s not his fault. When he got his powers, he was lucky because he had a lot of people helping him, even if a couple of them turned out to be evil. He’s been letting Wally coast by on his raw talent, but teaching is about inspiring and empowering him to use his gifts to succeed on his own. In other words, Barry’s going to be a better teacher. (And he is.)
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How to Stop Someone Without Touching Him
Now that Julian’s in the know and part of the team, it’s much easier to throw protocol out the window and just bring a victim’s body to STAR Labs. However, it doesn’t matter when that body decomposes very quickly. All that first victim gives them is a chance for Caitlin to call Julian out on his bedside manner when he sees no point in using the victim’s name.
But thanks to Barry’s speed, he can run Julian and the second victim’s body back to STAR Labs in hopes of getting some of the killer’s residual DNA. It’s with the second victim that they realize the connection: Flashpoint, in which both were cops (and the second the captain) at CCPD.
Just as Julian’s suggesting that he might work faster alone, despite working against the clock, Caitlin manages to find the point of contact on the victim’s hand and runs a sample for DNA, using the time to remark on how she now understands why Barry was frustrated working with Julian. It is possible to not be a jerk all the time, she tells him.
The meta turns out to be one of the husks created by Alchemy, Clive Yorkin, and he shows up at Jitters to interrupt the meet-the-family coffee date for Joe and Cecile (and save Joe from having to possibly choose between The Flash and Kid Flash) because he’s after his next target: Joe. Clive refuses to let him ruin his life again. Just as Clive’s showing off his ability, Wally, with some coaching from Barry, does stop him for the moment, but he escapes.
Julian blames himself because he made Clive a metahuman, and when Caitlin tries to tell him it’s not his fault, he argues that people are responsible for their own actions and saying otherwise is just a way to make yourself feel better. Does that mean that he thinks Caitlin is making excuses for things she’s done? She’s starting to regret bringing him in.
However, when Wally’s not fast enough to save Iris, and Clive touches her arm, they need Caitlin’s powers to stop the spread of decay. She’s worried about losing control, even as Iris assures her that she’s stronger than she knows and she trusts her. While it works, Killer Frost does end up taking over momentarily. Because of their earlier conversation, it is, of course, Julian who talks her through it. He knows what she’s going through, and while he let it win and did horrible things to good people, he knows she’s stronger than he is and can win the fight. (Is it any wonder that the episode ends with her asking him out for drinks after that?)
As for Clive, Cisco and H.R. come up with the idea for Cisco to vibe Flashpoint so they can find out his next target. It works, and he sees the only one left — the officer who enjoyed his perp walk just a bit too much — Stone, a private investigator, whom Joe finds tracking a woman having an affair at the train station. He warns her that she’s a target, but she’s not letting her own target get away. So they board the train, as Clive watches.
Clive uses his ability to disintegrate the columns of a bridge along the tracks, and with the train unable to stop in time, Barry decides to try something he’s never done before: phase the train through the debris. It works, but it takes too much out of him to also deal with Clive.
That’s why it’s good that there are two speedsters. And because this is how TV works, in order for Wally to stop Clive, he’s going to have to phase through him. (Julian discovered that a speedster’s blood could stop Clive’s ability.) When Wally argues that he’s never done that before, Barry points out that he just did something he never had and tells him he can do it, even throwing in a “Run, Wally. Run.” Wally slices open his hand and runs right at Clive and phases through him. And when Clive grabs his arm, nothing happens. It worked.
Once Clive’s blood is stabilized, they make an antidote to cure Iris. After that, all that’s left to do is install a new door at Barry and Iris’ apartment because Clive disintegrated the last one. It has three extra locks, which should do a much better job of keeping people out than a custom security door at STAR Labs. (I like that they acknowledge that security is awful there.)
Jesse Quick Returns…
…with bad news. Grodd has her father in Gorilla City.
Are you happy that Joe finally knows about the future? Did you like seeing Jesse Quick again? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
The Flash season 3 airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW. Want more news? Like our Flash Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of The CW)