“I’m strong because I have people in my life who actually care about me.”
There isn’t one group more affected by the adage of something being too good to be true than superheroes. Barry’s experienced this multiple times, as has Cisco. This week, it’s Caitlin’s turn as she finally tracks down her father, Thomas Snow who isn’t quite the man he appears to be.
Before jumping into the find-a-father plotline, let’s get into the more secondary story beats. In order to better understand Cicada’s powers—and to hopefully negate them—Sherloque, Nora, and Iris team up to track down Sally the satellite’s core. Interspersed with dark matter, it may give the gang what they need to gain the upper hand on Cicada. Their mission in some ways takes a back seat to Nora’s desire to get to know Iris a bit more, especially after seeing Iris jump off a building to save Barry. There’s not much in the way of substance in regards to the mother-daughter dynamic but it does hint at the big 180 Nora has taken in regards to her mom and will most likely be a theme explored over the next several weeks.
While the Team West-Allen-Wells is tracking down the satellite core, Ralph partners with Cecile in the hopes of discovering Cicada’s true identity. This levity-focused segment finds Ralph supporting Cecile in her attempts to regain her intimidation factor in lieu of Joe being out with their daughter. And for someone less than five-feet in height and about as big as a button, Cecile proves just how much of an intimidator she can be. Not only does she regain her mojo but the pair get the team’s first clue towards Cicada’s identity; a ten-year-old girl by the name of Grace Gibbons.
As the title suggests, though, the real story is Caitlin finally tracking down her father, Thomas. It turns out that his story is pretty rote as it pertains to origins; stricken with ALS, Thomas Snow used cryogenic treatments to arrest the disease’s progression. More than that, he practiced an altered version of his own therapy on Caitlin due to her sharing the same ALS markers. At first, the father-daughter reunion is a pleasant one, with Caitlin able to commune with the dad she thought long-dead. Barry’s caught up in the happy reunion but Cisco, even without using his abilities, senses something not quite right with Thomas.
It takes a bit of convincing but Barry and Caitlin finally see that Thomas’s story doesn’t quite make sense and that’s because Thomas is no longer home. Like Caitlin and Killer Frost, he has his own dual personality; that of Icicle. His plan to forever erase the traces of Thomas still left required Caitlin’s trust and her DNA to complete the change. He’s nearly successful in his plan, if not for the fortuitous return of Killer Frost. The once Frosty villainess saves the day and her words of friends and family is a reminder of how far she’s come. Icicle does get away but not before Caitlin/Frost catch a glimpse of the Thomas Snow still trapped inside.
Though there were some good moments littered throughout “The Icicle Cometh” with the promise of future payoffs—Icicle as a recurring villain, Caitlin reconnecting with her Killer Frost side—the episode seemed both rushed and incomplete, as if the writers took two hours’ worth of content and crammed it into 45 minutes. There aren’t any real bad parts within the episode per se, but that real sense of missed opportunity. More often than not the writers are able to tell cohesive and complete (ish) stories in the allotted time but there are times like this when it’s obvious that the narrative would have been better served by expanding the time given to a particular story. Not their fault, just a circumstance of the episodic vehicle.
- Six episodes into Season Five and Joe’s been conspicuously absent for half the season. The lack of his presence has noticeably affected the show’s strength as, even when he’s been present, it hasn’t been the same. As good as everyone has been in their roles, Jesse T. Martin’s gravitas as the father-figure is a necessary cog in the Team Flash dynamic.
- Maybe more than any other week this season, this episode was rife with pop culture references. Cisco’s references included ‘Snow Country for Old Men’, Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman, Johnny Cage, and Snow Patrol. Even Ralph and Cecile got in the game, with the former referencing Deanna Troi (of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame) and the latter (though by accident) calling the FEMA assistant Bagger Vance. And then there was Cicada’s victim; a meta whose arms morphed into blades just like the T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Pretty obvious the writers had a blast crafting some of these references into the script.
- When Thomas Snow mentions that he knows both Cisco and Barry, he tells them he’s kept up with other scientists; two of the ones he references; Louise Lincoln and Victor Fries, are straight from the comics. Lincoln is one of the comic aliases of Killer Frost while Fries is best known for his own icy transformation into Mr. Freeze. Whether this is just another cool Easter Egg or a hint of what’s to come remains to be seen.