Spoilers ahead for “Killer Frost,” the latest episode of The CW’s Flash!
The short version: Caitlin goes a little Killer Frost-y, but Barry brings her back from the brink. Savitar is insanely powerful and infinitely faster than Barry. We find out Alchemy is apparently Julian (called it). Oh, and Barry quits the Central City P.D. to keep Caitlin’s crazy day a secret.
The good: Killer Frost, Wally gets his powers, H.R. is less annoying
Killer Frost took top billing this episode, and didn’t disappoint. Caitlin has been battling her secret Killer Frost powers for much of the season, and finally goes past the breaking point after helping Barry escape from the mysterious new speedster Savitar. This episode has been a long time coming, and guest director Kevin Smith does an excellent job of finally giving Caitlin a meaty story to dig into. Every other member of the team has pretty much settled into a workable niche (even Iris), but Caitlin always feels more like window dressing to provide medical care when needed. Having her grapple with the darkness that comes with her powers was a great story of the week. Danielle Panabaker takes full advantage of the opportunity, and it really gave her character some interesting emotions and delicious evil to play with. Killer Frost laid all the secrets out on the table with icy precision (heehee), and it was a stark change of pace for the typically mousy Caitlin.
The scene between Caitlin and Barry where she takes back control was a bit cheesy, sure, but it also felt earned. Caitlin was tapping into those darker impulses to try and get rid of her powers, but Barry forced her to really face what it is she was looking to become. Thankfully, Caitlin realized she wasn’t quite ready for that type of darkness. She ended the episode rocking the meta human dampening cuffs, so it looks like they’re sticking a pin in this story heading into the four-part crossover. Looking forward to see where it goes next.
It’s been a long time coming, and Wally spent pretty much the entire episode in a giant, crystal cocoon this week. But finally seeing him get to geek out over his speed powers was worth the wait. Keiynan Lonsdale looks to genuinely be having fun with this young hero’s journey, and watching him grow into a legit Kid Flash has the potential to be one heck of a good story.
Tom Cavanagh is an integral part of this ensemble, even when he’s playing the alt-universe Wells character H.R. Thankfully, H.R. was decidedly less annoying this week, which is huge progress — because he’s been like nails on a chalkboard his first couple of episodes. H.R. is starting to pay off on the potential of having a different type of Wells, and Cavanagh is finally getting to play a little more comic relief.
The bad: The big Alchemy reveal (yawn), Caitlin ex machina
It’s been pretty obvious ever since these two characters showed up, and surprise!, Julian is apparently Alchemy. They’ve telegraphed this pretty hard the past few episodes (i.e. “Alchemy has been spotted! Wait, where’s Julian!”), to the point it felt like it might’ve been a red herring. Nope, they were just setting it up in the most obvious way possible. Julian has largely been an antagonist for Barry this year, but he actually saw some nice character growth the past few weeks. If they’re looking to just turn him into a cut-and-dried bad guy, that’s kind of a shame. Hopefully that’s not what they’re doing.
Joe busts Wally out of the cocoon early against the advice of everyone, and he comes out confused and messed up. Luckily, Caitlin is able to whip up an antidote in about five minutes, so everything is fine. It’s obvious this plot point was added as a way to push Caitlin back to Team Flash, but it came off as clunky. Caitlin is a great doctor, no doubt, but this one was a bit silly.
Lingering questions: Savitar, unemployed Barry
The season’s Big Bad has been revealed, and he’s apparently a whole lot faster than any other speedster Team Flash has faced the past three years. It’s no surprise they’re going with another speedster baddie for the season arc, but we could use a bit more set-up for Savitar at this point. He’s a huge, CGI mess who is so fast that Barry can’t remotely keep up. If he’s that fast, couldn’t he just scour the city, find Team Flash, and kill them all before they can blink? We need to learn a bit more about Savitar, and fast. We know he apparently has plans for Caitlin, which means we’ve certainly not seen the last of Killer Frost. They went ahead and revealed Savitar this early, and there needs to be a reason. Stat.
As part of his agreement to keep Caitlin’s wild night out a secret, Barry agrees to quit the Central City Police Department after Julian hits him with an ultimatum. It stands to reason Barry will return to the CCPD at some point — being a CSI is a major part of the character’s identity, even going back to the comic canon — but having him try something else for a while could actually hold some dramatic potential. Or, it could also be good for a laugh. Regardless, it seems fairly obvious Julian isn’t exactly the best arbiter for who is a “good” guy, right?
Other notes: Caitlin and Barry shared a kiss! It was just, you know, almost deadly and used as a weapon. But, still: ‘Shippers rejoice! Barry clocking Julian was a great moment. It was obvious that, despite everything going on, he kinda enjoyed it. Great callback to Jay Garrick. We need more Jay.
Lines of the night:
“Cup of joe, Joe?” - H.R.
“Barry's real superpower is hope.” - H.R.
“I'm broken, Barry.” - Killer Frost
Up next: All crossover, all the time.