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The partnership between the Flash and Kid Flash is an accepted part of DC Comics canon, so it’s only natural that The Flash TV series would follow in its (metaphorical) footsteps. It took the showrunners awhile to reach this stage, as they seemed strangely reluctant to have Wally use his powers after reacquiring them during the Alchemy affair. The apprenticeship has been slow and at times tedious, but that process was kicked into overdrive last episode when Barry informed Wally that he would be the one to defeat Savitar. This week’s episode, “Untouchable,” picks up where its predecessor left off by opening with a scene in which Barry trains Wally in using the Speed Force. Naturally, whenever two speedsters are involved things will end up in a race—a race Barry wins by vibrating through a wall, a trick Wally hasn’t yet mastered. File that point away for now.
Meanwhile, Barry, Julian, and Joe are investigating a series of homicides in which the bodies are left badly decomposed. The prime suspect for such a strange crime would be a metahuman, although the team has yet to determine who he is, what his abilities are, and why he would want to kill these seemingly random targets. However, when the mystery meta with the death touch kills another victim, Barry recognizes him as a lounge singer named Julio Mendez. While he may be a musician with a hipster goatee in this universe, Barry also knew him as a police captain in Flashpoint. (Side note: the character of Julio Mendez is played by Alex Désert, who also played a character of the same name in the 90s Flash TV series.)
Barry uses the deus ex machina that is Cisco’s vibing powers to access the erased Flashpoint timeline. It’s there that Barry discovers that the meta they’re looking for is named Clive Yorkin—no clever codename this time, I suppose—who is taking revenge on the four cops who helped to arrest him (and apparently laugh and point at them while doing it). This opens a whole host of questions that “Untouchable” isn’t prepared to answer. The biggest question left unanswered is why Yorkin remembers Flashpoint and no one else does? When did he acquire the “touch of death,” since he clearly didn’t have it when the cops arrested him? Moving right along from those plot holes, we find out that Joe and another cop are Yorkin’s last two remaining targets. Yorkin shows up at the coffee shop where Barry and the Wests are spending quality time with Joe’s new girlfriend Cecile and her daughter. Kid Flash comes along to save the day (of course, he was there the entire time as Wally) and sends Yorkin scurrying away, at least temporarily.
Worried that her dad is now a target of a dangerous, death-dealing meta, Iris reveals to Joe that she is set to die in a few months at Savitar’s hand. Joe predictably blows up at Barry and Iris for keeping this vital information from him. In terms of long-term impact, this moment is the most important for shifting the dynamic within Team Flash. Frankly, it seemed like an untenable strategy to keep Joe in the dark for too long. And at any rate, it turns out that Iris’s life is in more immediate danger once Yorkin tracks her down at her apartment and applies the bad touch to her arm before Kid Flash can stop him.
With Iris’s life hanging in the balance, Caitlin is forced to use her Killer Frost powers in order to contain the contagion spreading in Iris. In one sense, it’s nice of The Flash showrunners to give Caitlin a plot line of her own that doesn’t involve pining over a man but the “fragile lady barely struggling to contain her awesome powers” trope is just as tired. And in any case, the writers seem determined to have her hook up with Julian, if hints from this episode are any indication. It’s Julian, after all, who talks Catlin down off the ledge (so to speak) by relating his own struggles with great power. In addition to Caitlin and Julian, “Untouchable” also works to establish a stronger mentor-mentee bond between Barry and Wally that rings a bit more true. Barry’s pep talk to Wally about believing in your abilities gives Wally the confidence to beat Yorkin by vibrating through his body (there’s the payoff from the first scene/paragraph!) and leaving in him some of Wally’s speedster blood (don’t ask) to counteract Yorkin’s powers.
Unfortunately, as has been the case for several episodes running, the villain of “Untouchable” was pretty lackluster. Besides the fact that Clive Yorkin is hardly a name that’ll strike fear in the innocent—he’s apparently based on a super-obscure Flash villain of the same name—his motivations are one-dimensional and confusing. As stated earlier in this review, it’s never made clear how or why Yorkin would remember Flashpoint, and thinking about it too hard breaks not only the episode but the series itself. The important role he plays is as a plot device that allows Wally to step up in his training. While the title of this episode would seemingly refer to the villain, it also winds being relevant to Wally as he’s able to master the time-honored speedster ability to vibrate through solid objects. It could also arguably refer to Wally’s heightened status. Could he be the “untouchable” hero Iris needs to save her from Savitar? Stay tuned.