The Flash returns this week and things are getting intense! With dreams of Kid Flash and Alchemy’s voice in his head, Wally is worse for wear. Can the team do anything to help Wally and take down Alchemy?

Figuring out the best way to protect someone can be a tricky thing. Sure, The Flash helps people on account of his powers, but what about an average, everyday citizen. Do you keep a friend’s secret or reveal it to a group of confidants to better help him or her? Do you encourage your child to follow his or her dreams, even though you know it could end terribly? The Flash finds room in “Shade” to take on such weighty issues in a decent episode with a few great scenes.

The episode opens with some fantastic dreams that Wally’s been having of himself running around as Kid Flash. Joe, Barry and Iris are understandably less excited as they see this as a call sign of Alchemy, who is targeting those who had powers in the Flashpoint universe. While Joe wants Wally to be safe, the younger West sibling calls his dad out for letting Barry run into danger and screw-up all the time with barely a sideways glance. It’s a good point that the show handles well, as Joe sees a lot of his own young restlessness in his son.

Similarly, Caitlin doesn’t get the support she thinks she needs from Cisco. When she tells him about her powers and asks him to vibe her future, Cisco sees himself locked in a battle with Killer Frost. While he tries to lie about it, she sees right through him. Instead, he spills the beans about Caitlin’s ice powers to the entire team. Both Carlos Valdes and Danielle Panabaker bring the right combination of sadness, fear and anger at Caitlin’s predicament. These repercussions from Barry’s Flashpoint trip won’t fade away as easily.

But Caitlin is quickly sidetracked as Alchemy gets inside Wally’s head, torturing him until he goes to meet the villain. But Wally’s not alone. The Flash and the C.C.P.D. SWAT team are on-hand to take Alchemy and his followers out. It looks like they’ve got the upper hand, when suddenly they are attacked by what looks like an orb of light. Wally grabs Alchemy’s energy rock and is encased in a crystal cocoon. The orb of light turns into Savitar, the god of speed. As he prepares to kill Barry, we’re off to the credits for next time.

Assorted Thoughts:

– Oh, you may be wondering why the episode is called “Shade.” There’s a meta made out of shadows in the episode. He’s given no development and virtually no screentime before being defeated. He’s worth so little that he doesn’t even get a main article mention from me.

– H.R. creates a digital mask so he can go out in public, given that “the evil Wells, not to be confused with the dickish-but-not-evil Wells…” confessed to murdering Barry’s mom.

– H.R. has an idea to reopen S.T.A.R. Labs as a museum. His Earth’s money looks like weird metal triangles and he enjoys using handcuffs. Let’s leave that third one to the imagination.

– Joe gets to go on his movie date with Cecile Horton, the D.A. Of course, H.R. immediately ruins the night, possibly more than the meta-attack did.

– Julian disappears when all the action goes down with at the end of the episode. I really hope he’s not either Alchemy or Savitar. Those choices feel way, waaaaaaaay too obvious.