This season of ‘The Flash’ has put a lot of effort into building up Wally to be Barry’s protégé, if not successor. This only strengthens my suspicion that something bad will happen to him at season’s end rather than Iris.
In episode ‘Untouchable’, Barry and Wally race for the first time to determine which of them is truly the fastest man alive. This prompts a lot of betting from their friends on Team Flash, with H.R. excitedly rooting for Wally. Ultimately, Barry wins the race by phasing through a building. Wally hasn’t figured out how to do that yet and has to run up and over it. As Barry points out, being a speedster is about more than just running fast. You also have to run smart.
The main plot of the episode introduces a new meta-human named Clive Yorkin, whose touch causes anything (or anyone) he comes in contact with to disintegrate into ash. Fortunately for him, his clothes aren’t affected. Nor is the ground he walks on. I guess it’s pretty lucky that his power is so inconsistent.
Yorkin murders seemingly random people without clear motive, until Barry makes the connection that all his victims were police officers in the Flashpoint timeline he created. He wants revenge on the cops who busted him, even if they’re not cops in this timeline. Julian realizes that he’s responsible for turning this meta while he was Alchemy
Yorkin’s next target is Joe. When bullets simply crumble upon hitting his chest, Wally saves his dad by creating a wind blast and blowing Yorkin out the door.
When he can’t get to Joe directly, Yorkin then goes after Iris instead, hoping to punish Joe by killing his daughter. Iris signals the team for help. Feeling cocky for having bested Yorkin once, Wally races to face him again. This time, unfortunately, he isn’t fast enough to prevent Yorkin from touching Iris. As an infection starts to travel up her arm, Wally must choose whether to save her or go after Yorkin. Obviously, he chooses Iris.
Wally rushes Iris to S.T.A.R. Labs. Conveniently, even though all of Yorkin’s other victims died within seconds, the infection moves much slower through Iris. When no one has any ideas for how to save her, Cisco begs Caitlin to use her powers to freeze Iris’ arm and halt the infection’s spread. Caitlin is very wary of doing this, because she’s afraid that she’ll turn into Killer Frost again. She can’t just zap Iris’ arm frozen; she has to stand there holding it until a cure is ready. Nonetheless, after some prodding, she agrees.
The only way to stop Yorkin is to determine who his next victim will be. To do that, Cisco has to vibe Barry back into Flashpoint. Barry questions how that’s possible if Flashpoint doesn’t exist anymore. In fact, he went back in time and prevented it from ever existing in the first place. Cisco explains that he only did that in this universe. However, the mutiverse contains infinite possibilities branching off from infinite decision points, and there must be at least one other universe where Barry didn’t destroy Flashpoint. Got all that?
Cisco uses his power to find this alternate timeline in an alternate universe, and vibes Barry there. This allows them to watch Yorkin being arrested by a cop named Laura Stone. Back in this universe, she’s a P.I. and Joe knows her.
As feared, Caitlin’s Killer Frost personality starts to come out. Of all people, Julian manages to talk her down and keep her from turning evil.
Joe meets up with Laura to warn her that a meta-human is coming after her. Of course, this is precisely the moment that Yorkin attacks. He tries to derail the train they’re on by causing a giant pile of rubble to fall on the tracks in front of it. Barry and Wally both race to the rescue. Because they don’t have time to clear the rubble, Barry tries something he’s never attempted before. He vibrates so fast that he causes the whole train to phase and pass through the rubble without harm.
This action leaves Barry depleted, so Wally has to face off against Yorkin alone. Cisco and H.R. tell him that his own speedster blood will counteract Yorkin’s power and essentially make him human again – assuming he can get his blood inside Yorkin without touching him. There’s only one way to do that. He’ll have to phase.
Wally cuts himself on the hand and runs toward Yorkin. With Barry’s encouragement, he successfully phases and passes right through the villain. Yorkin reaches out and touches Wally, but nothing happens. Wally’s blood worked. Yorkin’s power is gone.
After the bad guy is captured, Cisco and H.R. also find a cure for the infection and save Iris. How they figured out the cure is not answered. They just do, and we’re supposed to accept it. Fine. To celebrate, Caitlin asks Julian to go out for drinks. Will these two be an item now?
While he’s alone in the lab, Wally practices phasing some more. He’s pretty excited about this new trick. Suddenly, a portal opens and out jumps Jesse Quick. She tells Wally that she’s come to get Team Flash’s help because Gorilla Grodd has kidnapped her father.
The villain this week has a neat power but not much personality. The way this show distinguishes the difference between alternate universes and alternate timelines is confounding, to say the least, and rarely consistent from one episode to the next. Somehow, the way it’s explained here feels like it makes sense, even if it really doesn’t when you think about it at all. I suppose that’s still an improvement over, say, anything that happened in Season 2. All in all, this is a pretty solid episode.
The next one should be even more fun. I look forward to both the visit to Earth-2 and the return of Gorilla Grodd. Will the team bring H.R. with them? I think it would be a hoot to have the two Harrison Wellses interact with one another.