There’s a lot to unbox in this week’s episode of The Flash. “Killer Frost” saw the return of Caitlin Snow as the titular villain, Wally West’s transformation into Kid Flash, a battle with Savitar and the reveal of Alchemy’s true identity. So let’s get to unwrapping!
I’ll admit that my enthusiasm for Savitar is not where it needs to be. Savitar is one of my favorite villainous speedsters, I’m not too happy with the Sauron-esque design. As I mentioned last week, it simply feels out of place and definitely doesn’t convey a sense of speed. When you couple that with yet another season that revolves around an evil speedster that’s faster than Barry you lose a sense of momentum, which is the last thing you want from a show about the Fastest Man Alive. However, I was really happy to see Savitar in action. While I’m still not sold on the 10 foot tall armored look, I was pleasantly surprised to see Savitar use his speed effectively. The visual design of his celerity really sold the idea that Savitar was in a completely different league than Barry as the chrome god of speed created a wormhole effect when he ran. Dragging Barry all across the city, Savitar raked our hero across the coals before Team Flash was able to bail him out.
In fact, you have to really give it up to the supporting cast for helping out a flailing villain. Their interpersonal relationships more than shore up any weaknesses in the bad guys. That said, I hope we get a chance to learn Savitar’s identity sooner rather than later. I have that once we get him out of the armor, we’ll quickly warm up to this impressively fast villain. Even so, Savitar wasn’t the focus of this week’s episode, that honor fell to Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) as she succumbed to the dark side and became Killer Frost. This version of Killer Frost is far less over the top than her Earth 2 counterpart as she’s not really evil. Corrupted by her powers and frustrated at her inability to control them, Caitlin loses her moral compass. The end result was a conflicted character who didn’t necessarily want to kill her friends, but would definitely hamstring them (sometimes literally) if the situation called for it.
Despite her chilly power set, it was Caitlin’s ability to use her friend’s secrets that caused the most damage. Her accusation that Barry is essentially selfish really hit home as she revealed that Barry created Flashpoint as a way to bring his parents back. Even when he tried to fix these moments it was really up to Team Flash to clean up the mess, as evidenced by Caitlin’s powers and the death of Cisco’s brother Dante. In fact, this one accusation did more damage to the core group of Barry/Caitlin/Cisco than any other evil act to date. Barry’s selfish actions has made everyone’s life just a little bit worse, and he needs to be held accountable. In fact, I believe this is yet another hint that we’re not done with Flashpoint and in fact it’s still going on. If my guess is right, we’re going to see at least one more attempt to fix this mangled timeline before the season is out because the real villain of the season isn’t any outside threat, it’s Barry.
In fact I believe that Caitlin will be one of the strongest reasons Barry will ultimately go back to fix what he messed up. While she was able to suppress Killer Frost for the time being, it’s only a matter of time before this change becomes permanent. In fact, the fragile nature of her identity has already been compromised as Caitlin nearly killed Julian. Angry at her brazen use of power, Julian is finally able to get what he wants: Barry off the force. His agreement to stay silent if Barry leaves the CCPD was a great moment and reinforced that while Barry is flawed, he is ultimately a selfless individual who wants to make the world a better place. In fact Hipster Wells said it best when he declared that “Barry’s greatest super power, is hope.” So it makes total sense that Barry would make this sacrifice in order to protect one of his closest friends.
Even so, the scene did lose a bit of it’s sting when we found out that Julian was Alchemy. Just like the reveal of Harrison Wells as the Reverse Flash in Season One, this felt like a really predictable twist. I mean seriously, look at it. Introduce a new, smarmy co-worker that is thoroughly unlikable and then reveal he’s the bad guy. It’s nearly paint by numbers. Would it be so bad for Julian to just be an stand up, if severely grouchy, dude? Maybe, I dunno. However, it’s interesting to note that when Julian started to hear Savitar in his head, he was terrified. Is this a hint toward’s Alchemy‘s comic origin where there’s a dual personality at play? That would be a nice twist.
We also got a nice tease towards the future of The Flash as Wally West finally gained his powers. Joe, in a moment of justified parental panic, literally cut Wally out of his cocoon. The end result was a sizable explosion as Wally emerged from the blast in a state of super speed. After a quick session of “Where’s Waldo” things settled down and Wally disappeared for some “tests”. While it may have not been a huge moment in the show compared to the Killer Frost angle, it was a huge moment for the lineage of The Flash as the heir apparent has finally inherited his powers. From this point on we’re building a family of speedsters and watching a mentor train his protege. It’ll end in heartache one day, but that’s a while off. For now, let’s enjoy the Hero/Sidekick dynamic.
So, we’ve setup some pretty major material this week. I’m unsure how it will all tie together for the big Invasion cross over next week but it’s clear that we’ve got all the right elements in place for an amazing mid-season finale in the weeks to come. Until then Flash fans, stay speedy!