If your excitement in this week’s The Flash was fueled by thoughts of seeing the full-on Killer Frost, I must warn you that disappointment may abound. However, if you get your kicks from Barry getting his butt outclassed, going all-in on that hero’s guilt thing, and getting hit with the least surprising end of episode twist I’ve seen in some time, well then “Killer Frost “ has that in spades.
The first moments directly follow last week’s cliffhanger ending as Barry came face-to-face with Savitar, God of Speed. The unimpressive looking big-bad does a thorough job showing Barry just how far out of the Central City speedster’s weight class he is. In fact, if not for Cisco and Caitlin, particularly the latter, this episode would’ve been more of an ‘RIP-Flash’ sendoff. As it is, Caitlin saves the day but the use of her powers twists her persona more towards the cold, calculating disdain and rage of Killer Frost. It’s a back-and-forth struggle she must face throughout the episode and there’s nothing easy about her struggle.
On the topic of struggle, Barry’s feeling himself quite a bit, though most of his issues are self-inflicted. Now don’t get me wrong, every hero experiences some semblance of guilt if they are unable to save someone. Barry takes that to the nth level. Wally’s current chrysalis predicament taps into part of that guilt, which is understandable considering Wally was given as the bait to lure out Doctor Alchemy. It only deepens as Caitlin, searching for Alchemy in the hopes he can remove her powers, lays into him at one point. Not only does her rage pick at Barry’s well-known fault of taking everything onto his shoulders, but she also reveals the most damning Flashpoint secret that Cisco’s brother Dante was alive prior to the Flash’s time-altering jaunt. Cisco’s reaction is one of confused rage. He admits at one point he has no idea how he should feel. The schism that knowledge creates between the two best friends will follow Team Flash for the foreseeable future.
On the topic of futures, how about Wally’s rather premature (thanks, Joe) emergence from the chrysalis? While Joe’s inability to stand by and wait for Wally to emerge causes his son’s mind and body to fall out of sync, more than anything, it’s a plot point that drives Barry to reach out to the (at that time) a very hostile Caitlin Frost (more on that in Flash Facts). Things are quickly resolved but now we have a new speedster in the mix. And boy, was it fun to see the joy on Wally’s face as he tested out his powers. It’s so similar to the infectious joy Barry had once upon a time-before so much hell broke loose in his life. Wally’s fresh take on his gifts will hopefully help Barry find his way to enjoying life and, as HR observes, use his true super power of Hope.
“Killer Frost” had another game-changing moment when Barry, in the attempt to keep Julian from outing Caitlin as the meta that attacked him in her search for Alchemy, agrees to resign as CSI for the CCPD. Though Julian’s arrogant stance on the issue is irritating, I can see things a bit from his point of view. He’s all about doing the right thing and if he believes that Barry compromises that for the sake of friends, I don’t blame Julian for believing that Barry’s moral compass is out of whack. It’s more than ironic though that Julian takes that particular stance and, at the very end, it all comes together that he is, in fact, Doctor Alchemy, grand acolyte of Savitar.
- It was great to see that other side of Caitlin. Though she was never the full-fledged Killer Frost we saw from Earth-2, we did see the potential of how formidable her alter ego can be. Barry was able to reach the true Caitlin when she needed it most but that begs the question, what happens now? Will she continue to battle with the colder side of her persona when her powers are in use or was that initial battle the war? That’s an unanswered question but, based on one of Savitar’s followers, the God of Speed still has a plan for his Killer Frost, which means we haven’t seen the last of bad Caitlin. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
- One of the things that have rankled me throughout the first few seasons of The Flash has been Barry’s superhuman ability to take on every single aspect of failure or disappointment and assume the blame. Sure, some of the events (*coughFlashpointcough*) are absolutely on him but there comes a point when you have to acknowledge your part of the blame and move forward. Thanks to Iris, it seems as if Barry finally understands this. There’s still some things to be ironed out, particularly his relationship with Cisco, but Barry taking the mantle of leader means he can no longer wallow in the guilt. It may also help him to have Wally as his partner in fighting crime.
- There isn’t much to say about the big reveal, only because the theory that Julian and Alchemy were one and the same has been floating around for some time. Additionally, that was also one of the Alchemy plot points in the comics. While the reveal wasn’t anything too earth-shattering, I’m curious to see if Julian will remember any of his actions as Alchemy and, if so, how will that change his dynamics with Barry? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.
- One more quick nugget: HR is starting to grow on me. I was ready for him to be put on the train back to Earth-19 after the first two episodes but he’s slowly become a likable (and surprisingly useful) character. Sure, he doesn’t have the science but, similar to Xander from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he’s able to see things that the rest of the group may overlook. From suggesting how to track down Caitlin to giving Joe the confidence to rely on his cop instincts to find Wally, he’s become an integral part of the team. I look forward to see how he continues to evolve as the season goes on. Now, let’s hope he doesn’t lose an eye for his insights. With that said, I still miss Harry.
The Flash: “Killer Frost” –>3.5/5 Lightening Bolts