ORIGINAL AIRDATE: 11.22.16
Frozen chickens come home to roost
Now THAT’S what I’m talking about. This episode was a return to the greatness that we saw in Season One. Meaning more specifically: real consequences, realistic reactions from the characters given the circumstances, and not everything being completely reset by episode’s end.
Killing Me Frosty with His Song
This episode was about two things: the audience getting a good look at Savitar (the newest villain to instantly and thoroughly kick Barry’s butt), and Caitlin’s long anticipated transformation into Killer Frost. To really understand the character of Savitar, I highly recommend (with FIVE STARS) that you read Dead Heat. It will take your enjoyment of this character and the show to a whole new level.
BUT having said that, let me state, yet again, that I hate the hero getting trashed. Especially the way they do it every week on this show to Barry. I believe that DC has had an extreme and unnecessary reaction to all the complaints about Superman being too powerful. And how such power means there’s no tension. So now, the heroes are humiliated and destroyed by the villains at every turn, and can never win without help or a magic solution. I call chicken crap. Superman guest starring on Supergirl found ways to deal with this without making Kal look like a total tool.
The Transformer god of Speed
Seriously, doesn’t Savitar look like Megatron after one too many heroin binges? But anyway. He doesn’t look like he does from the comics; there he’s clearly human. The way they had him move though, and the fact that only Barry could see him? Brilliant. It was a more clear establishment of the relative velocities of the speedsters, which is often sorely lacking on this show. Savitar is so fast that only a speedster can visually perceive him, and his movement feels more like teleporting than running. That is some serious speed. Barry is probably going to have to learn to borrow speed from both Wally and Jesse to beat him, as he did in the comics. But it also begs another question: if he’s facing Savitar in Season Three, how are they possibly going to up the ante next season? I thought that Caitlin should be the main villain this year, and Savitar or Reverse Flash should be the last villains that Barry faces at series’ end. How do we find a villain faster than Savitar?
Danielle Panabaker has been KILLING it this season. She took everything to another level with this episode though. This is why I continually laugh at people that say she can’t act. Wrong. She realistically showed us the evil that is Killer Frost taking over the lovable Caitlin Snow that we knew. It was like Bruce Banner hulking out, but in slow motion. As she began to lie to the group, deceive Joe, use her frost powers in new ways, and mercilessly torture Julian, we saw a new character emerge. And it was exciting beyond belief. She sold it too, because Cailtin’s brilliance and innovation combined with KF’s anger is chilling, pun intended. She was scarier than anyone we’ve seen since Thawne/Wells. Killer Frost is cold hearted, ruthless, and has no respect for any of Team Flash. And the way Caitlin used her knowledge of science and Barry’s powers to wound him. Again, brilliant. The best part of seeing KF emerge tho? Was the fact that FINALLY, somebody spoke the truth out loud. Killer Caitlin verbalized the things that we as the audience have been screaming at the screen for weeks now. All of this IS Barry’s fault. Their lives ARE different because of his selfish tampering. Everyone on his team HAS been negatively affected by Flashpoint. That is fantastic writing. We see Caitlin do things with her powers we’ve never seen before, we get the emotional payoff we needed, her descent into darkness was believable, and Barry has to begin to answer for his choices. Awesometacular.
That ship has sailed. But not.
Okay, I tend to not speak on ‘shipping’ stuff because that’s always an intense subject. But this episode basically forced us to deal with it. I call absolutely 100% chicken crap on this idea that “Barry can’t be the Flash without Iris.” Not even remotely true. If they’re trying to say that Iris’ handful of pep talks is what drives Barry, remember that the pep talk function was handled by all three of Barry’s dads in the first two seasons. Thawne/Wells, Henry Allen, and Joe West sang the ‘Run, Barry Run’ chorus every week. And it was those father/son relationships that made us fall in love with the show, remember? Iris was a FLASH GROUPIE, initially blogging about him. She used her fangirling to land a job, but it was because of him. He was not becoming the hero that he was because of her. Did they WATCH their own show? And remember when they reset the timeline at the beginning of this season? They tried to sell us on the idea that Iris, who is just now meeting him as an adult, WHO DIDN’T EVEN KNOW HIS NAME (“Garry, right?”) is his rock and anchor and motivation and blah blah blah. Yeah, NO. This is Anakin and Padme all over again. We’re supposed to believe that these two are “destinied, star-crossed lovers” because the plot tells us to. Not because they’ve earned it in the slightest. Because they haven’t.
Barry’s true love anchor, besides his dads? It’s Caitlin. And vice versa for her. This episode proved it. Snowbarry is written in stone now. Know why? Because of the way they resolved the conflict. There is no way that Barry would’ve challenged Caitlin to kill him without knowing that she loved him too much to go through with it. And no one ever, EVER, talks Caitlin down BUT BARRY. She even said that herself, “you always put me in check.” So it’s not that the Team Flash love wasn’t evident as well, because they all love Cisco. And kudos to Carlos Valdes for selling us Cisco’s hurt at the knowledge of what Barry’s tampering did to Dante. Because that was the way anyone would react. But Barry directly challenged her to be evil, and live up to her name. Kill. We know she would’ve killed Julian without hesitation. “What part of ‘I’ll freeze you to death’ did you not understand?” And as many cops as she needed to, because she was determined to get rid of her powers. But put her face to face with Barry? Caitlin comes back to the surface and starts bawling. THAT. IS. MORE. THAN. “FRIENDSHIP.” Only actual love could do that.
There were moral issues at play here too. I keep stating that it’s a mistake to make your protagonist unlikeable. That’s what they’ve done to Barry. It’s fantastic drama to unfold these Flashpoint consequences, but it shows how much of a selfish jerk Barry is. And that’s not who Barry Allen actually is. Because everything Killer Caitlin said was true. As was what Cisco said when Flashpoint first started…Barry went back in time to save his mother, but he wouldn’t to save Dante. I know that Barry had learned by then that altering the timeline was a bad idea, but we can see it easily from Cisco’s point of view too.
Also, they resolved Wally’s storyline a little too quickly and easily for me. Joe’s fatherly concern came through incredibly well. Jesse L. Martin is always phenomenal. But, Team Flash never learns ANYTHING. They all just stubbornly charge ahead with their own ideas at every situation. That’s getting a little old. So Wally comes out of his cocoon (because Joe cut him out which Caitlin had warned him not to do) and he’s quickly stabilized and faster than Barry. No. I can’t stand it. He should’ve been disoriented longer, and taken longer to adjust to his powers. He and Jesse got them too easily, I just don’t like it. I hate it when the MAIN HERO has the WEAKEST POWERS and is the LEAST DEVELOPED CHARACTER. They could have, and should have, extended Wally’s pain and transformation and PRICE for having his powers. Instead he’s all smiles and speed. *sigh*
But at least for one scene Barry finally grew a pair and knocked the CRAP out of Julian at superspeed. That was great. The FlashFrost/Batman Returns style kiss was great. That’s Killer Frost’s iconic signature move. And Julian is Alchemy! …To absolutely no one’s surprise. But that’s okay, it’ll be interesting to see where it all goes.
I really kind of feel like the season has peaked with this episode. It left me breathless, with my heart pounding, wanting more. The last time I felt that way was ‘Out of Time.’ Next week is the crossover week, as Supergirl, Flash, Arrow and the Legends of Tomorrow team up. It will probably be more corny and funny than anything else. Have you noticed how dark Flash has gotten, both tonally and visually? It used to be lighter. But this was one ep where that dark tone serviced the show well. I LOVED this ep, it is cemented as one of the series’ greats. Kudos to the production staff!
The Justice League will be on TV next week! (Well the CW versions anyway)