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The Flash - Killer Frost - Review: "Cool, Cold and Warm"

28 Nov 2016

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So this episode of The Flash was pretty great. Like, probably the best of the season, as it works perfectly thematically, character and plot wise. The pacing is great, the visuals are splendid and overall the show just showed us its best self. I only have some minnor complains that will keep the episode from a straight A, but you could consider it a defacto “A” since it is so great and does almost everything right.

First shout out to H.R for finally proving to be actually useful: he is supposed to be idea man and to a way he is like an orchestra director, leading the players to use their full potential and I felt that there was a bit of that through the episode. It was the right call to have Caitlin and Cisco rescue Barry and it was a great idea using Captain Cold’s file to find Caitlin. So I’m becoming more confident that he’ll prove and earn his place in the team, and I hope he becomes a more interesting (and funny) character.

Now, I’ll put the Savatar/Alchemy stuff on hold for now because they didn’t have the biggest chunk of the episode to themselves (though I’ll come back to Alchemy by the end) and just say that I love the effects shown for Savatar and that I’m looking forward to see what they do with him. I hope the route is widely different from Reverse Flash or Zoom and it becomes an interesting story.

So, let’s talk Caitlin. Man, this was a huge episode for Caitlin: I felt really bad for her. Everyone says how her powers are messing with her brain, but to me it’s pretty obvious that what it is happening is that all what she has repressing is surging: her fears, frustrations, anger and sadness is all surging up and the powers alongside with that dark side of her is just a manifestation of all that. But our beloved Caitlin remains, she is merely incredibly hurt and as such some of the best scenes of the episodes are when she confronts Barry about what he has done.

Barry has screwed up big time. Like BIG TIME! Flashpoint has been a mistake of colossal proportions, not just creating it, but undoing it has caused splendidly awful consequences. I talked over some past reviews on how Barry should have just let Flashpoint be and as the show moves forward, the more it shows that it would have been a better alternative (seriously, the only bad thing happening there was Wally being unconscious and I stand by the point that he’d wake up) and Caitlin make a big point towards that.

Undoing Flashpoint gave Caitlin powers and killed Cisco’s brother Dante, not to mention it may have created Alchemy all along. Caitlin confronts Barry about how the things that he did can’t be things, and that’s very true to life: some stuff can’t be undone, the only thing that you can do is deal with it. There is probably no way to remove Caitlin powers, she will have to learn to call for the better angels of her nature, and Cisco will just have to accept that Dante is gone, but his relationship with Barry will be forever fractured; they may start to get along better, but the stain should remain there. How the show deals with it will show how great it can actually be.

Now, let’s take a look at this piece of dialogue.
Caitlin: You know? For a hero, Flash, you sure let a lot of people around you die.
Barry: This isn’t you talking, this is the powers.
Caitlin: I’m broken, Barry.

That was definitely Caitlin talking, she would just not say it like that without the powers. It’s a powerful moment that showcases just how much Barry has failed in his route of a hero. The people who died gave their life for Barry’s quest to save as many people as possible, but it also showcases how much of their sacrifice may have been undone by Barry’s decision to create Flashpoint.

Iris gets one of the biggest speeches of the episode when she tells him Barry to be strong as she knows he is, and that he needs to be the leader even if he doesn’t want to be. As many mistakes as the writers have made while writing for Barry, I’m glad to see that Iris is able to bring the best out of him, that she can bring the inspiring Barry, because heroes don’t just save people, they also are able to inspire hope (ask Supergirl, for instance).

The best moment of the episode though - and there have been really strong moments thus far - is Barry going to Caitlin asking for help, letting her out and allowing her to kill him if she wanted. She tested her believing that she was still Caitlin Snow. Underneath that cold there is still you. That was an incredibly powerful line, and seeing Caitlin going back to normal was a touching moment, especially when she hugged Barry. Not everything is fixed, but Caitlin found her way back from the anger, frustration and fear.

Now, the whole Wally thing. I’m skeptical as to the effects this transformation will have on his character: since he got the powers from Alchemy I think bad stuff is bound to happen, but at least I hope we can see a better version of him from now onwards. I was frustrated, however, by the seemingly stupid decision of breaking him off the cocoon. I understand that Joe was scared to death, but this was still too rash for his characters, especially considering he didn’t know what could have happened to him and it was frustrating to hear him say “what did I do?!”.

Now Julian… man! I’m so bummed he is Alchemy because he is a great character and now I’m 99% sure he is done after this season. And here I was looking forward for Tom Felton becoming main cast… maybe that 1% of hope still exists. Now, I’m wondering, is he aware of his other persona? I mean, he was conflicted about it, so he may have some notion, but does he know everything he does as Alchemy? That will be interesting to find out.

As for Barry quitting the CCPD, it was a sad moment for the character, but I think it’s going to be a positive move for the show. Maybe he can start making a Flash fundraiser to subside his CCPD paycheck and be a full time superhero. Ok, I’m partly joking with that, but I do think the show has outgrown Barry being a CSI, and it’s ready to embrace Barry being superhero full time. And there is something intriguingly true about Julian’s speech about the moral compass; is friendship more important than justice? That’s something to ponder about, and there are no easy answers, but to Barry it’s obvious that he needed to exonerate Caitlin because he loves her and knows he is responsible for what happened there.

Overall, this was a great episode of The Flash. Though season 3 had a very shaky beginning, I think the show has found its pace to become better, to get back to its groove. It’s not season 1 levels of excitment, but it’s better than season 2 by miles. There is much more to the season before deciding how it goes, but I’m glad that The Flash is still committed to its characters, their stories and show us that the best heroes are not the ones who fight the villains, but the ones who inspire us to be better.

Grade: A-